Well another week has come and gone, and on the 2h1hz front it is more spreadsheet hell as we look at the budget and what gear we need, and building Amazon shopping lists so we can keep track of items we will need. Eventually we want to share the Amazon shopping list with everyone, and see if any friends we have already have items shoved up in the attic or the back corner of the garage that they’d be willing to donate.
We have no interest in being outfitted for comfort, but of course we need the basic needs of shelter and cooking supplies, along with a need to fend off the weather (both summer and winter) and tools to keep the bike running and in top shape. Even if Kate and I were rolling in expendable income, we are both the type to seek second-hand items. In the second-hand market you often find better quality than the made-to-break discount items that end up in landfills and don’t do much to improve the quality of life of the workers on the factory floor making them.
Military surplus and used gear are oftentimes very good quality and at roughly the same price, and many people have plastic bins full of their old or disused gear sitting in a corner. If we can put it to use on this adventure, all the better.
We have a lot of what we need but since we normally camp for only 2-5 days on our trips, we are looking at tents and sleeping bags since what we have is pretty small. My sleeping bag for example, has been with me since I was in the Marines back in the year 2000. It is a 3-piece system and I only have one part of it, the filling long since worn out and several holes in the outside. Fine for a few nights in mild temperatures, but 5 months of camping? Up into the mountains? In January? Probably not.
But hey, the title of this post promised you a story about a story, and that’s why I’m here. I wanted to share a piece of inspiration I ran across the other day. Charles Flemming wrote a piece for the Vintagent about a married couple who set out 95 years ago on a two-year trip aboard a motorcycle sidecar outfit. Now this obviously piqued my interest, but it turns out those two people were Bill and Lois Wilson.
The names might not ring a bell to most, but Bill is one of the founders of A.A., Alcoholics Anonymous, and Lois is responsible for the Al-Anon program that supports those who have been affect by the alcoholism of someone close.
The story already goes into detail at this link so I will save you having to read it twice. It’s relevant though, this link to A.A., since Kate has several friends involved in the program, and I myself have a real back-and-forth relationship with drinking, going way back to my teen years. I’ve never had the “a ha” moment that caused me to give up drinking, but I’ve had to walk away from it quite a few times over the years.
Lois Wilson secretly hoped the time away would help Bill control his drinking, though that ended up not being the case. It was an eye-opener to find this story right as Kate and I are getting ready for our own trip, mostly focused on exploration of the country, but you can’t take a trip like this without entering an exploration of yourself. It is my assertion that one major difference between travel and adventure is just that: an adventure leaves you changed in some way, whereas traveling leaves you with good memories of places seen and people met.
If anyone is interested in the book mentioned in Charles Flemming’s article, there is a copy posted online at the website for the west Baltimore group of Alcoholics Anonymous, at this link: http://westbalto.a-1associates.com/LINKS/Lois%20diary.htm .