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April 1. T-minus 30 days
I found out on a website that, statistically speaking, I will die fifty years from now, 2050. Earlier I found a website that narrowed the date down to November 11. So I'm supposed to die the same day as my mother on the year that I'll be asking everyone about. I'll be talking about what the world will be like when I die. That's something to remember for the book, I would think.
I picked up my bike yesterday, an awkward ride, very touchy steering, but I know it's the bike for me. Just need to work the right muscles. I've decided to christen it Viaticus Rex. King of the Journey. I think I will be able to store all my equipment on the bike without having to add a pannier! That will cut down on weight a bit.
Can't get to sleep. Legs a bit sore and... well, nervous. No, not nervous, but anxious. I'm all packed up and ready to go, and it still doesn't feel really real yet. When will it? When I actually leave on May 1st and it's too late to back out? Of course, it's too late to back out anyways... going to sleep now.
Moving day! Dad and Tracy arrived and we were on our way. Of course I got up at 7 after 4 hour sleep, and they didn't arrive until 11ish. Long long trip, but eventually we got here. I took them out to Chinese dinner and watched Grey Owl.
My fortune cookie read: Next month will prove to be pivotal in your life.
April 2, T-Minus 29 Days
Dad and Tracy went home, and I went for a ride to Victoria. Really got a sense of the power a Bent is capable of. They weren't kidding when they
said that it works different muscles than a regular bike. But it's so worth it on the downhill slide, man sometimes I think I'll lose control! Bought
some tools for it, but still need more bits and pieces.
April 3, T-Minus 28 Days
I have officially christened it Viaticus Rex, "King of a Journey", painted in red on the blue chassis. I biked to UVic and went with Gillian a bit there,
people ask me if I built it myself, and I'm tempted to answer "No, it was a normal bike until I hit a car, it just ended up like this", or something that's
actually witty. Control is a bit of a problem still, especially at high speeds, and I'm still trying to start up effectively and with style. The bike gets a
lot of looks and a fair number of inquiries, this should be good for the trip.
April 4 T-Minus 27 Days
No biking, screwed up Gillian's computer, had to try and fix it and wait for IPC call that didn't come
April 5 T-Minus 26 Days
Still no biking, computer still screwed. Got a cold sore from the sun and wind (I assume). Will bike tomorrow. I see my bike like my Millennium Falcon.
April 6 T-Minus 25 Days
Another long run, went around Victoria, my legs don't hurt, but man my arm does now! It was cold, it rained, and it even hailed. This was the first
time I learned not to corner too quickly on a bike with road tires. Wiped out like a motorcycle, scraped my arm a bit, but I pressed on. Piked up a
few parts for my knapsacks, a Victoria badge, and clip pieces. Price shopping for sleeping bags, probably going to go to MEC in Vancouver though.
April 7 T-Minus 24 Days
Did the Uvic trip, but this time with a modified bike. I added the bike computer and clips to put my knapsack. Both worked fine. Slight accident,
the cap on the front gears popped off on an upward climb. I am still getting used to the way this bike shifts, especially uphill
May 3 T-Plus 3 Days (new T-Minus 4 days) ah screw it, I go when I go.
A lot has happened. My Psion broke down and I had to send it in for repairs. I only got it back today! The entire screen had to be replaced and cost me almost as much to replace as the computer itself (second hand). Still, it's great to have it back. Once again I feel like a writer. Of course, if I need a "thing" to make me feel like a writer, maybe I'm in the wrong line of work. But that's another issue...
I've been sick, as a result, I've delayed departure until the end of this week. I've slacked off on my biking a bit, but today made up for it with a run all over town. I've got almost everything worked out on the bike by now. The luggage problem has been solved, along with weight distribution. I've applied sealant to the tires so that they won't get a flat under most circumstances. Nevertheless I'm taking extra inner tubes. Better safe than sorry.
The bike I have carries the following: Speedometer, electric horn, water bottle, sleeping bag, tent, inflatable mattress, two knapsacks and a handlebar bag (the combined content of which is over fifty granola and fruit bars, a dozen cans of pasta, several cans of fruit and vegetables, extra inner tubes, repair kit, bike pump, extra pants, shirts, shorts, ect... not to mention the usual survival stuff one of my knapsack carries (first aid, sewing kit, swiss army knife, mini Maglight, butane lighter, SAS Survival guide (mini version), and condensed role playing rules for Star Wars (how did that get in there???). All in all a decent package)
I'm not feeling out of shape, and have renewed hope that the trip will take less than three months. This is good because then I can take my time and enjoy the trip more. This will be good for the book.
One of the things I plan to do on this trip is, well, everything I've never done before. I want to go on the bridge of the ferry I cross to Vancouver, I want to ride with James in the ambulance in Windsor, I want to go to a rodeo, a strip club, talk to a politician (the last three just might get rolled into one, who knows?). Point is, if I haven't done it, I should do it now.
The survey is coming along nicely. I have too many questions, in fact. I might have to trip some and round it out in other places.
Well, that's it for today, you're pretty much caught up. Gillian is in Mexico for two weeks, I miss her already, but it won't belong before I'm back.
Now to go back to the apartment and relax. I've done enough for one day.
Okay, Grandma called and gave me Elaine Lunn's address: XXX Wild Rose Avenue, Brooks, Alberta, T1R XXX (403) 362 XXXX Work number: (403) 501 XXXX
Dang! It turns out I lost all my addresses! Got to redo it and make a backup.
It's Friday. Just about everyone has called or been called to give their two cents worth about the trip.
I think now is the time to make a mission statement. This will be sent as my first email to everyone on the day I leave:
If this sounds overly formal and rehearsed, it's because I've been writing bits and pieces of it for the past couple of days.
By the time you read this letter, I will probably be en route for Nanaimo. While most of you know all about the reasons for me leaving, I figure a formal declaration is in order.
What is this trip about? It started as an idea to travel somewhere I've never been before without having grandma or dad or some adult to drive me there and spoil all the fun of discovery and adventure. When I was in grade 9, I first had the idea to bike up to James Bay and back (or bus there and bike back). By the time I was in university it had grown to crossing the country.
Today, It's more than that. It's not enough just to cross the country, there had to be a purpose. Something to give the trip meaning and legitimacy. So I feel like I'm actually doing something.
I am a writer, and it stands to reason that if I had an interesting trip, it would be worth writing about. But if my past experiences have taught me anything, it's that very little happens to those just passing by. If I spend the trip only biking, all I'm going to get is muscular legs and a bunch of photos. I need to interact with people, and to do things I've never done before.
So, I've written a survey to ask people where we think we are going in the future, and have resolved to do things and go places I never ordinarily would. I've shaved my head, and may not shave for the duration (though that part might change... I really don't like beards). I hope that by journey's end I'll have more than enough experiences for a book. I only hope I have the talent to see it through.
That is what my trip is about.
Expect me when you see me.
What on earth is wrong with me? For the past week every day I feel like I can take on the world, and every night my stomach is tied in knots with dread. In both cases I am fully aware of what lays ahead of me, and yet the very time of day completely changes my outlook. It's as if I feel vulnerable at night, and not all the pepper spray, flares or batons will make a difference. During the day I feel untouchable, an equally unrealistic view. So what is wrong? Tonight I'm going to feel the same thing again, and the night after that until I leave. Then... then I don't know what will happen.
I figured out where Mossfoot should go, he'll actually be looking over me on top of my knapsacks. Very cute.
Worked on the survey more... but what I need to know is, is it too long? What can I do to shorten it up? Should I?
I find quite silly that the Trans Canada Trail is finished enough for the millennium relay to be underway, but not finished enough to get any information about how to get on it or use it. Stupido! I realize now, despite early misgivings, that I would MUCH prefer using the trail than roads, only to have it not available to me! At least, not officially... maybe someday I'll do the trip again using the entire trail. Maybe with Gillian by my side.
A thought. Chilliwack will be like "The Last Homely House" before the "Misty Mountains" (yeah, yeah, I got it backwards, so what? Heck, there is a big park I have to go through, maybe like Mirkwood? :) )
I have to be a better writer than this.
Oh, the first chapter should be about preparation. No not chapter, the introduction. Explain how this started out simply as a trip where I hoped to
have an adventure and end up with maybe a book out of it, then all the PR attempts, the hopes, the crushing of those hopes, and a return to what I
started out doing. Simply a trip where I hoped to have an adventure and maybe a book out of it. Nice symmetry.