A few weeks ago I wrote a post about making things happen instead of just making ‘someday’ plans. In that post I mentioned that my friend Nathan and I were riding from his home here in Farmington to his parents house in Ohio. It occurred to me that I haven’t updated things here about that trip, so here you go!
In June of 2017, Nathan and I did a slightly botched trip from Chicago to Memphis. That trip was our first together and despite the impromptu change of plans along the way, we had a blast and had every intention of going on another adventure together. Last fall, Nathan mentioned to me that he had long dreamed of riding from his driveway in Farmington, MO to his parent’s in Plain City, OH and that he thought it would be a good trip to take in the summer of 2018. As usual, I was all in from the get go and excited to spend some time in the saddle, exploring areas I hadn’t been on a bike before.
Over the winter, Nathan made and refined the route. The plan was to go through mostly rural areas, camping along the way. The camping piece was the biggest new thing for Nathan. His previous excursions had been hotel and/or AirB&B. That also meant that we would have to carry more equipment than we did last year. None of these things were new for me, but I was so very excited to get out and hit the road on another adventure! Our plan had us set to leave town about 2PM on Friday June 1st.
Much to my own chagrin, as I tend to do, I was a bit underprepared for the trip, even as the date to leave was approaching. I have no explanation for why I wait to the last minute, but it has repeatedly happened. For months Nathan and I had discussed what we would need to do to get ready, but I always found other things to occupy my time. A few things that I had given myself as todos were to make Nathan two feed bags for his bike and I also needed to make a new tarp for my hammock setup. My tarp that I normally carry would be used by Nathan on the trip, so I would need another. Several times Nathan offered to buy a tarp so I could use my regular one, but I would have none of it. Not only do I really enjoy making the gear, but I also intend to start an online business making bikepacking and hammock gear. What better time to get a head start on things than when you are preparing for a trip? Yeah, I know. I could have found an easier way to do this, but that wouldn’t be “me”. This procrastination made Nathan nervous and several times he asked about progress. His prompting goaded me a little, but not much.
On Monday evening, May 28th, (Memorial Day for those that don’t know and only four days before we were scheduled to leave on our trip) I sat down to design and construct Nathan’s feed bags. I had made several different versions in the past for myself and had a few ideas for what I wanted to improve. I spent all evening working on them and was pretty pleased with the outcome. They turned out aesthetically pleasing, utilitarian and light weight. I presented them to Nathan and he was more than pleased. In fact, he went on and on about them. Not only was I pleased with the bags as well, but I felt good about getting them done earlier than I expected. That spark led me to envision myself wrapping up my tarp quickly and easily the following evening. That didn’t happen!
In the latter days of trip prep, Nathan had realized he would be able to get out of town a bit earlier than originally expected. We changed plans to leave Friday morning. That meant I would have to have my stuff together the night before. No problem. In the remaining evenings of the week leading up to our departure, I found myself doing all sorts of things, but none of those were gathering my gear, preparing the bike or sewing the needed tarp. I did chores around the house, got caught up on work, sat around watching TV, hung out with friends and generally procrastinated. Just like old times!
In the past, I would normally get pretty anxious about my procrastination as my deadline approached. This time I did not. Somehow I felt at ease and just knew I would get it done, even if I went without sleep.
Thursday evening about 10PM, after all my chores, work and family time were done, I got my materials out and started cutting the tarp pieces out. My wife was somewhat flummoxed that I had waited so late, but not terribly surprised. I told her good night and settled in, figuring that I could pull the tarp together in a couple hours. I could then gather my things and get a few hours sleep. No worries.
As you can imagine, things did not go as planned. Now, it wasn’t that I had problems or couldn’t do what I needed to do. It simply took much, much longer than I expected to cut out and sew the tarp. As the clock ticked, I sewed. Little by little it came together. I put the finishing touches and guy lines on somewhere early in the morning and started going through my bike. After my maintenance was done, I started gathering up all my gear for the trip. There was a trip to Wal Mart to grab a few items that I needed, then I packed it all on the bike.
I ended up staying up all night getting things done, but not once was I worried about it. The last time I stayed up all night was during Trans Am Bike Race in 2016 and it was invigorating to know that I would be hitting the road in just a couple hours. Once it was all done, I kissed my wife as she headed out for work. I then grabbed a shower and got dressed for my adventure. It was time!