Empty Days

Monday, August 23, 2004



Olympic dream continues.

Actually, I woke up at 6am this Sunday and it was such a shiny, beautiful day. I felt like taking off then and there but having slacked on preparations in previous days, there were still things needing fixing.

So today I made sure I would finish arranging the tarp-tent setup - put in some more eyelets and finally found a reasonable configuration with enough head-room which proved difficult with an A-shape if I don't want the tent to be too high. Finally found the trick to make enough space while keeping the whole thing at 3-feet high and less: not to fix the two rear corners but rather stake at the next set of eyelets a feet forward, so that the lower-end of the A-shape is cut forward and there are two flaps left over that can be closed from inside (with tape or metal paper-clip). The front-end corners are fixed normally. Then two middle sets of side-eyelets are staked to form something of a pentagonal space in the tent. It still looks A-shaped from outside, but on the inside there is much more room and the head doesn't bump into side-walls all the time. All this is possible with 3 feet height at one end and a little less on the other. The length of the tarp is 9.5 feet by 8.5 feet wide. I attached both ends to trees, thus no poles are necessary nor available - it will be a matter of length of rope if the tree configuration is not accomodating. For stakes I used two long metal bolts that I have in my scrap and two screwdrivers, plus sticks found on the ground.

I have no idea how such a tent will fare in wind and rainstorm - it should take the wind (?) but it will likely need a plastic screen taped over the main entrance. I am taking a sheet of clear plastic with me for that very purpose. The ground situation will likely be a problem - assuming it will keep the shower out, what will happen to a deluge of water accumulating all around the tent? Well, it would normally want to get in if it is not absorbed by the ground. With thunderstorms I expect this is inevitable. Idea: find a stone or thick branch to sit on for elevation during this sort of deluge. With feet in water? Put on plastic bags. Stuff gear in garbage bags and pray for the best. Sleeping in such a storm won't be possible due to noise of water and thunder. All this assuming I will find time to put up the shelter and prepare before such a rain begins.

*

I could go tomorrow but it's already 2am and I am not about to go to bed. Weather people said it's gonna be cloudy and rainy tomorrow, not a very inspiring configuration. Will be bright and shiny on Tuesday though - and there is still some chicken-soup left, maybe I should finish it.

But basically I am all set and ready to go. I will not need to go see my parents (which always takes a lot of time, most of the day in fact) as I decided to leave the keys hidden near the fire-exit door - so my father may come to feed the cat.

*

The most amusing thing is that I truly have no idea where exactly I am going. The only part I am set about is to go north rather than south (in Quebec there are only two possibilites in any case - either north shore or south shore of the great St-Lawrence river along which all humanity dwells one way or another). The southern part is flatter but is also more densely populated and is plagued with too much farmland. The northern part is mountainous, has more forest and is colder. I am not sure about other characteristics - I am so unfamiliar with this province I basically have no idea what to expect. So in a way it doesn't matter where I go - the main goal is to seek out less populated areas.

In the northern direction there are three overall possibilites - go north-west or north-east following the river more or less, or go all the way north into the mountains. Ouch. I have no clue how steep that particular route might prove to be but I can't reasonably expect any easy rides there. But like that "roughstuff" world-tourer said (and this is experience rather than theory): look for mountains if you want to find less heavily trafficked roads. I guess the reason for this (excluding some main highway that leads through such an area, of course) is that less people overall live in mountains than in flatlands. A natural fact of human settlements, I guess.

At the end of the northern-most road lies a pretty huge national park (about 200 km just to ride through). With my tremendous bike and speed I would certainly end up spending at least two nights in there - and I don't think there are shops to buy food in that forest. Heh - I thought of taking a 28oz metal can to boil water over fire and cook pasta/make tea in case I get so stranded. I also have no clue whether they require a fee to even travel through that park - just to give you an idea how clueless I am about out-of-town life.

But it's amazing how little human presence there is only about 400km north of Montreal - look at the map and all you'll see will be innumerable lakes and rivers and a few far-between gravel roads. Tough land up there - maybe a bit too much for my canvas sneakers and no camping-stove or cold-weather clothing.





/ 10/19/2003 - 10/26/2003 / / 10/26/2003 - 11/02/2003 / / 11/02/2003 - 11/09/2003 / / 11/09/2003 - 11/16/2003 / / 11/16/2003 - 11/23/2003 / / 11/23/2003 - 11/30/2003 / / 11/30/2003 - 12/07/2003 / / 12/07/2003 - 12/14/2003 / / 12/14/2003 - 12/21/2003 / / 12/21/2003 - 12/28/2003 / / 12/28/2003 - 01/04/2004 / / 01/04/2004 - 01/11/2004 / / 01/11/2004 - 01/18/2004 / / 01/18/2004 - 01/25/2004 / / 01/25/2004 - 02/01/2004 / / 02/01/2004 - 02/08/2004 / / 02/08/2004 - 02/15/2004 / / 02/15/2004 - 02/22/2004 / / 02/22/2004 - 02/29/2004 / / 02/29/2004 - 03/07/2004 / / 03/07/2004 - 03/14/2004 / / 03/14/2004 - 03/21/2004 / / 03/21/2004 - 03/28/2004 / / 03/28/2004 - 04/04/2004 / / 04/04/2004 - 04/11/2004 / / 04/11/2004 - 04/18/2004 / / 04/18/2004 - 04/25/2004 / / 04/25/2004 - 05/02/2004 / / 05/02/2004 - 05/09/2004 / / 05/09/2004 - 05/16/2004 / / 05/16/2004 - 05/23/2004 / / 05/23/2004 - 05/30/2004 / / 05/30/2004 - 06/06/2004 / / 06/06/2004 - 06/13/2004 / / 06/13/2004 - 06/20/2004 / / 06/20/2004 - 06/27/2004 / / 06/27/2004 - 07/04/2004 / / 07/04/2004 - 07/11/2004 / / 07/11/2004 - 07/18/2004 / / 07/18/2004 - 07/25/2004 / / 07/25/2004 - 08/01/2004 / / 08/01/2004 - 08/08/2004 / / 08/08/2004 - 08/15/2004 / / 08/15/2004 - 08/22/2004 / / 08/22/2004 - 08/29/2004 / / 08/29/2004 - 09/05/2004 / / 09/05/2004 - 09/12/2004 / / 09/12/2004 - 09/19/2004 / / 09/19/2004 - 09/26/2004 / / 09/26/2004 - 10/03/2004 / / 10/03/2004 - 10/10/2004 / / 10/10/2004 - 10/17/2004 / / 10/17/2004 - 10/24/2004 / / 10/24/2004 - 10/31/2004 / / 10/31/2004 - 11/07/2004 / / 02/20/2005 - 02/27/2005 / / 02/27/2005 - 03/06/2005 / / 03/13/2005 - 03/20/2005 / / 03/20/2005 - 03/27/2005 / / 03/27/2005 - 04/03/2005 / / 04/03/2005 - 04/10/2005 / / 04/10/2005 - 04/17/2005 / / 04/17/2005 - 04/24/2005 / / 04/24/2005 - 05/01/2005 / / 05/01/2005 - 05/08/2005 / / 05/08/2005 - 05/15/2005 / / 05/15/2005 - 05/22/2005 / / 05/22/2005 - 05/29/2005 / / 05/29/2005 - 06/05/2005 / / 06/05/2005 - 06/12/2005 / / 06/12/2005 - 06/19/2005 / / 07/03/2005 - 07/10/2005 / / 09/04/2005 - 09/11/2005 / / 09/11/2005 - 09/18/2005 / / 09/18/2005 - 09/25/2005 / / 09/25/2005 - 10/02/2005 / / 10/02/2005 - 10/09/2005 / / 10/16/2005 - 10/23/2005 / / 11/13/2005 - 11/20/2005 / / 11/27/2005 - 12/04/2005 /