Empty Days

Tuesday, September 21, 2004



And here it goes again.

Went to walmart and got another sheet of tarp - blue but with a dull silver ligning - which is what I am going to use for camouflage. I suppose I'll have to go back there if I want to get some serious rain-suit as opposed to the thin vynil thing i've been using on my last trip - the funny thing with vynil is that besides keeping rain out it also admits some inside as a sort of inexplicable condensation - well pretty much the same condensation as under the tarp sheet during night-long rains. I was lucky i wore nylon pants under the vynil ones because they sure got all wet in there - none of this was ever a sweat problem.

I guess one line of vynil is just not enough - though I don't remember any of this happening with plastic bags, for instance (like my shoes stayed all nice and dry under grocery bags). Perhaps instead of looking for anything water-proof i should just wrap myself in garbage bags? Or get a piece of really thin plastic they use to cover the floors while repainting a house. I am not sure how this shit works but it may just be that vynil and polyesthere tarps are too porous compared to just plain plastic.

Food for thought - i am going to do some october riding, can't count on no-rain-ever situation.

*

I also think I will manage with the sleeping bag and wool blanket I have even without a mat (I looked at those rolls of foam at walmart - they're insanely huge, not at all something I can use on a bike). I guess I will wrap the tarp around the bag with myself in it, and the tarp will already be in several layers at least. Oh mother Earth be kind to me! Do not freeze me to death out there, please. Looking forward to near-zero night temps.

*

One problem is that I don't really have a fall jacket except for some pretty heavy leather things that i would hesitate to bring on a long trip. I have a down jacket of small stature yet bulky - it might work fine for evenings and nights but during the day it will likely be way too warm. Right. I saw pretty cool warm-yet-light stuff at walmart but this shit goes for $50. Just forget about it already, heh.

Shoes? Still those very same canvas sneakers. Hopefully wool socks will save the situation - if I travel all the way to really chilly temps I will likely buy something on the road with credit card.
Bad idea maybe. I will take a look at the salvation army store tomorrow - just in case some gods of the universe really care for that next trip of mine.

*

Besides that I am pretty much all set. Yeah, those rear-rack bags of mine are a bit of a pain in the ass as the capacity is very small, but I'll manage, I guess. And you know what? When those experienced world-travellers tell you "take 2 shirts and 2 pairs of socks max" - they actually mean it. Taking one more is useless. I wore the same t-shirt for several days and when I changed it, all I had to do is take a moment and wash that first shirt. Right - what else do you need, really? Same thing for underwear. As well - it is actually true that syntetic underwear washes faster and dries faster. It's also true that it gets smelly faster. But I guess it's still saving some space only to take two pairs of all that first-layer stuff. A bit of stink on the trip is nothing new - as long as you're the only one to notice, you're in the acceptable average.

However I am sure I will still experience packing problems with these bags - even if I take the strictest minimum. Such generally insignificant things as a wool cap that is a bit bulky as opposed to a wool cap that is thin and stretchy - it makes a difference actually. And when I first thought I might take that big thermos with me for early morning coffee? It might require a third bag all to itself. I might consider adding a front rack for such a luxury (though wouldn't it be nice etc - no, it wouldn't!).

*

Oh yes - the tools. Right. I've been stupid about tools. I gotta take *one* screwdriver, one *small* wrench, and a tube repair kit. That's it that's all. All the rest is superfluous and adds "enormous" weight. It's true that i've been using those additional screwdrivers as tent-stakes. But there might be a better solution to that. On the other hand cisors came in handy a few times and I only took a very light aluminium alloy pair with me - from the cheapest dollar store out there.

Other essentials: candles, zip-lighter fuel to start campfire in wet weather, small pocket torch, twine rope, matches, *spare tube new*.

*

On this trip I will have the luxury of a generator and head-light for night-riding. Don't know where I will go with it but days have sure gotten shorter since august - might come in rather handy, as I don't see myself going to sleep at 8pm just because I can't move and got nothing better to do.

Do you know that it gets pretty lonely at night when you're in the dark, all alone in front of that campfire? Not to mention when there is no fire at all. Sleeping is the only option - basically.

*

Surfed a Finnish hiking site where they advise hikers to make sure their campfire leaves no trace by cutting a large piece of surface ground and actually roll it over - to put it back in place over the fire spot the next morning. I don't see myself doing that - maybe earth is different in Finland. Here you can't just roll it away like some lawn sheet.

Actually, now I know I can make campfire on the lawn or in the field - all it takes is some fresh grass over it to hide any trace whatsoever (animals would still be disturbed by all that smoke of yours, so no point being too particular here).

*

Life is short - I intend to live some of it now - and we'll see for later.





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