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Kat Marriner : January 27th, 2008

Packed and Loaded

div align=”left”span style=”font-family:trebuchet ms;”It starts innocently enough with the junk drawer. One day I open it and realize that someone else, some stranger living in our house, is going to open our junk drawer in search of scotch tape. I shudder at the thought and empty it, sort it, organize it, and rest assured that I now have nothing to hide. It occurs to me that this is not a bad thing – to be compelled to sort the detritus of life every couple of years. I like the tidy feeling, something like getting your teeth cleaned. The junk drawer leads to bookshelf thinning, medicine cabinet purging and ultimately closet cleaning. Where does all this stuff come from!? Closely linked to that thought is, how can I leave all this stuff behind?/spanspan style=”font-family:trebuchet ms;” /spanbr //divbr /div align=”left”a href=””img id=”BLOGGER_PHOTO_ID_5160047778941788690″ style=”FLOAT: left; MARGIN: 0px 10px 10px 0px; CURSOR: hand” alt=”” src=”” border=”0″ //aPacking for a 3 month bike ride has it’s challenges. We have a running list of camping gear, bike gear, cooking gear, his and hers clothing gear, health and beauty supplies, the catch-all “miscellaneous” and the very short “critical” categories. With all this listing going on, you’d think it would be easy… but creep happens. That extra shirt barely weighs anything… I hear English books are hard to come by… What if I loose the other 3 lip balms? If we hike, we need something more than sandals… While we’re in Bogota, don’t we need a nice outfit? Suddenly it looks like we could use an extra trailer. This is a royal “we” since Willie really could stick to the list, but I can’t. The lack of things bums me out. Mr. Extreme has allowed me to add a line-item to his clothes for a non-cycling t-shirt of my choosing that he will wear when it pleases me to see him in something else. And that takes some of the edge off. Somehow, it all needs to fit./divdiv align=”left” /divdiv align=”left”/divdiv align=”left”This checklist is key to getting it all gathered, but it takes a feat of engineering and organization to fit it all in 9 bags attached to 2 bicycles. We no longer leave this feat to the night before. Lessons learned from the all-nighters of old taught Willie and me to pack it up early. The 13-egg omelet at Beth’s All-Night café was fun at 4am once upon a time. I think it would actually still be fun, but not the stress that precedes it trying to get all the loose ends wrapped before that early morning breakfast and flight out of the country. So with our age comes some wisdom and we instituted the tradition of several days before the plane departs, riding to Hale’s pub packed and fully loaded to raise a pint with friends before we //divbr /div align=”left”The agony of limitations and reality of space meet up somewhere in the middle. Weight, when carrying the equivalent of a house on your bike, is less of a consideration. It seems silly to me to scrimp the ounces on a compact toothbrush while starting a trip pounds over-weight. I’d like another beer please./divdiv align=”left”br /a href=””img id=”BLOGGER_PHOTO_ID_5160058056798528082″ style=”FLOAT: left; MARGIN: 0px 10px 10px 0px; CURSOR: hand” alt=”” src=”” border=”0″ //aBut a hard battle won, we do manage to make mole-hills out of mountains and ride into the sunset. /divbr /p align=”left”span style=”color:#ffcc66;”Deeter joins the ride./spanbr //pp align=”left”With friends Chris and Mark escorting across town, we set off for our well-earned pint. The travel gods smiled and blessed me with a flat before the first uphill. Another reason to take the test ride early and discover the Mr. Toughie’s in the tire are wearing a quick ridge and pinch a flat within a couple of miles. We also find the new handlebar bag is missing part of the connector, the clip on back-light works great, Zeb needs a new bungee, and oh, I forgot to train. Well, that’s what the first couple of weeks are for. /ppIt was a glorious party with so many friends come to raise a glass and wish us well. Many, many friends have seen us off over the years and I’m so thankful for the support. I think we should all get together when we’re not leaving some timebr /span style=”font-family:trebuchet ms;”/span/ppspan style=”font-family:trebuchet ms;”And then there was the ride home. Breathtaking in it’s beauty. Seattle has never looked more pure, crystalline clear and sparkling than in the late evening hours last Wednesday. I pinched myself to see that it was real. We live in a most precious place and are surrounded by love that calls us /br /******/spanbr //spanspan style=”font-family:trebuchet ms;””I think,” said Christopher Robin, “that we ought to eat all our provisions now, so we won’t have so much to carry.”-A.A. Milne/spanbr /span style=”font-family:trebuchet ms;”******/spanbr /span style=”font-family:trebuchet ms;”Tell me: What one possession would you not leave home without? /span/p

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