Little Tornados Everywhere - Unchained Melody - CycleBlaze

November 18, 2023

Little Tornados Everywhere

Preparations

Heart 6 Comment 1

Little Tornados Everywhere

To prepare for a three month bicycle adventure means that many little tornados start swirling around me.  In the past month I have counted 103,237 of them.  There are so many concerns that must be addressed; so much to plan and do.  It all swirls in my head to the point where I don't think I can accomplish all of it before that day of departure.  

Several months ago I decided I couldn't look at the front porch of my house another year and I devoted much of my summer to finally fixing most of its many problems.  That project had many little irritating tornados as well but I was determined to figure it all out on my own.  I had looked at many layers of lead based paint peeling, unfinished carpentry, no siding in places, lots of repair work, rotted studs underneath and no trim around windows and on and on, far too long.  There was an outlet someone had installed in the most prominent visual position next to the front door three feet off the floor!  Who does that?  It was an eyesore that bugged me for 33 years.  It had to move and the porch needed to be transformed into something that pleased me every time I entered the house.  After almost two and a half months of grueling, dirty and toxic hard work I had it more or less finished.  But that meant that I had not done anything to prepare for our bicycle trip yet. As I had been sanding I had time to think about it though.

How did I ever live with this for so many years!?
Heart 4 Comment 0
That's more like it.
Heart 17 Comment 7
Andrea BrownTo Keith ClassenDidn't he do a phenomenal job? Just gorgeous.
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3 months ago
Bruce LellmanTo Keith ClassenThank you. All the wood to make the trim and lintels and the siding I needed I had found years earlier in dumpsters. It just needed a lot of cleanup. Not counting two gallons of paint (paint is so expensive now days) the cost was $21 for Bondo for Wood.
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3 months ago
Bruce LellmanTo Andrea BrownThank you for your constant encouragement.
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3 months ago
Keith ClassenTo Andrea BrownHe sure does! I would keep around if I were you.
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3 months ago
Keith ClassenTo Bruce LellmanVery resourceful! Yes everything is so expensive these days. Great job!
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3 months ago

By then fall was in the air and the garden needed to be prepared for winter.  The garden is large and it seems I have done everything I could to make it the most labor intensive thing in my life.  A visiting "friend" looked over the beautiful garden once and said, "Bruce, it looks like you have it to the point where you don't need to do much work anymore."  I replied honestly, "Yeah, I have it down to only 50 hours per week 9 months of the year." 

Leaves were and are falling fast.  Everyday for the past two weeks I've been sweeping and picking them up by hand.  I don't rake because that usually implies there's grass but I removed all the grass long ago.  Grass is easy and remember I was making the most labor intensive thing in my life and filled every inch of the yard with vegetation. Each plant requires a certain amount of attention per year.   Plus, sweeping takes way more time than raking.  I'm sweeping the neighbor's sidewalk too, the one between our houses because I know she hates those trees I wedged between our houses.  They are my air conditioner.  But they are also My leaves.  

Heart 15 Comment 5
Keith ClassenToo pretty to rake or sweep!
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3 months ago
Bruce LellmanTo Keith ClassenI agree. Made to photograph.
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3 months ago
Ron SuchanekThat's amazing.
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3 months ago
Jen RahnBreathtaking.
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3 months ago
Heart 8 Comment 0

There are cars to deal with in various ways.  One is 37 years old and seems to have sprung a leak somewhere I can't figure out.  It's concerning because the driver's floor gets soaking wet and to leave it all winter would create a moldy mildewy mess to come home to.  I threw a tarp on part of the car and hopefully that will prevent the horror.  My other car, much newer, is a Think City, all electric, made in Finland.  It too leaks a little bit and I have not been able to stop it.  I guess they didn't THINK things through completely when they made the car because my mechanic tells me they all leak.  

But, wait, there are way more things to deal with to prepare for a long bicycle trip in Asia.  It's more complicated than just going over there to travel by public transportation.  From sunscreen to lights, batteries to mosquito repellant, sleeping bag or no sleeping bag, clothing for cycling, is the foam padding inside my helmet still intact?, what kind of tires?, extra this or that in case this or that breaks, spf 50 lip balm, is the visor on the helmet wide enough for maximum sun protection, I need a new bike computer that is wireless, our old racks don't fit the new bikes!, we should get AirTags for these new bikes, my water filter doesn't work properly, I need to modify my ClickStand because this new bike is a different height, how many water bottles?, which water bottles, how many Clif Bars, what flavor Clif Bars?, charging devices, phone and extra phone because my phone is now my camera and I've never traveled without a back-up but my old phone needs a new battery so I have to go to the Apple Store to get one installed.    

On and on it went, weeks of preparation amidst all the vaccinations and doctor appointments and then I got sick for two weeks which involved a visit each to Immediate Care and then the ER.  I got a summons for jury duty!  What!  The bathroom sink isn't draining!  A downspout is plugged too.  All the smoke alarms need new batteries.  I can't stand the noise these ancient light timers make.  Just trying them out to see if they still work, the ticking is driving me nuts.   "I'm going to the store to finally upgrade them."  

Fortunately there is Andrea The Planner.  She found out that you MUST have an E-Visa to enter Vietnam before you get there.  That may sound like a simple online application but hold your horses, it was kind of a mess.  The photos of ourselves that she uploaded came back with "Overly Compressed" written across our faces.  I'm so glad I have Andrea to figure out how to decompress me.  It gave me more time to come up with an upgrade to my little Q-tip zip lock bag, which was much needed.  Then Vietnam sent our applications back to each of us addressing us, "Dear Lellman," and "Dear Brown,"  because we hadn't included our middle names as our "given name".  In Vietnam my name is Brucejohn apparently.  I should have just written Boof but they would have rejected me for that too.  They would have said, "Boof what?"

This bag needs an upgrade. And maybe I can save a bunch of weight if I don't bring as many Q-Tips.
Heart 3 Comment 1
Jen RahnThat's alotta Q-tips!!

There's another running total I'd love to see: Q-tips used.
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3 months ago

On our bike trip last year I kept thinking the gear I took was five pounds too much.  As I've been packing I've been carefully eliminating or reducing.  If I have two of something and can't decide which one to take I weigh each.  If one is an ounce less, guess which one I take.  I reduced the first aid kit down to only one!   We are taking fewer tools too, leaving the hammer behind.  In that scenario Andrea found a tool online that looked like it could combine a lot of ours.  It was called 'Snowflake' because its 18 tools-in-one configured to look like a snowflake.  In the end Andrea decided this, "I'm not inclined to put all of our eggs in that snowflake basket no matter how appealing the conceit is."

These don't need to come. More weight savings.
Heart 3 Comment 0
A big weight savings here.
Heart 3 Comment 2
Jen RahnSurely you took a pencil-wrapped miniature roll(?)
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3 months ago
Bruce LellmanYes, exactly. Well, no it was a pen-wrapped miniature roll.
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3 months ago
And here.
Heart 4 Comment 0
And there are 12 ways to save weight here.
Heart 6 Comment 0

Amidst the swirl of all the little tornados there are also wonderful people.  I've had to deal with a bunch of financial stuff which entailed going to several banks and opening an account at a credit union for the first time.  I had to tell each person I dealt with that I needed to expedite the transaction and invariably they each asked why.  Then a conversation ensued with me telling them about our looming bike trip as well as previous trips.  Each and every person was incredibly interested, excited and amazed that we were doing such a thing.  "Not on a tour?"  "Back roads where?"  "You are so brave!"  "Just the two of you?"  "You must be in great shape!"  I gave each of them our card with info on the back about our journals on CycleBlaze.  ALL were super excited to check it out.  Co-workers overheard us talking and came over from their desks to hear about this odd trip. Lines of people formed behind me but the workers didn't seem to care about them, they wanted to hear more stories.  I was a star and they wanted to dream while on their jobs.  Those people in line, they can wait.  

I was quite surprised and warmed by how interested everyone was.  It was a genuine interest and I left each institution smiling.  That's part of what makes a trip like this with all the little swirling preparation tornados worth it.  People.  People here, and we already know how wonderful the people are over there.  

The light inside the fridge is blinding, brighter than I've ever seen it.  It must be time to go.  

lovebruce

I've heard some people grow tape balls. I go for tape boxes.
Heart 6 Comment 0
Rate this entry's writing Heart 19
Comment on this entry Comment 5
Andrea BrownSomething tells me I should check my duffel to make sure Boof hasn't snuck any of those items in.
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3 months ago
Kat MarrinerRelieved your flu/virus/death-grip left you in time to sort out tools and such. Looking forward to sitting on that porch in the spring sunshine with you.
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3 months ago
Bruce LellmanTo Kat MarrinerEven two days ago I had yet another coughing fit in the middle of the night. Nasty illness lingering longer than any I've ever had. Don't get it! But now I feel I am on the mend for sure. I'm still sad we didn't get to see you because of the stupid illness. Spring time we will.
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3 months ago
Bo LeeYour porch looks beautiful and inviting, especially sans outlet! Glad you're on the mend and the illness didn't stop ya. A little bike riding will do you some good. :-)
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3 months ago
Rachael AndersonYou’re such an amazing writer! I’m exhausted just reading everything you needed to do.
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3 months ago