Well, we sat down–MBF and I–and looked at what we were doing the next few weeks, months, and years and asked ourselves when we could hit the road. Would “the road” be a longish vacation? A move to live somewhere else with our current jobs? A leave of absence to hike the PCT or the AT? Leaving our jobs altogether and hitting the road full time?
Those answers are unclear still, but one thing was clear: we will likely remain stateside and in our jobs for the next two years while MBF completes his coursework. While we both chafe at the idea of having to stay somewhere or do something we’re told to do, I think I’m slightly relieved I have extra time to update the house and yard AND stick around a bit to enjoy it.
So for now, I’ll look to those welding classes I’ve been threatening to take, and fully NOT doing, since I moved here, find a contractor* to do some remodels here, try to get my volunteer work to complete my certification, and fiddle a whole lot more in the yard.
That’ll be nice.
*taking recommendations. Anyone?
So I’m reading the article linked above and they say “if you were to account for the time the average American spends earning money just to pay for standard home in the US, you work 15 years of your life just for your house.” Sweet. My plans* for peace-outing will continue!
Should I back up and clue you in? Ok.
The big wide world awaits. I’ve got so little time—we all do—and I’m sure not set on sitting behind a desk for 40 years of it, hoping that I’ll be able to get out and see some of it in my final 20.
Since the end of my first 20, I’ve been working behind one desk or another. Why? I built a house too big to afford, then sold it. I bought a smaller house and still need roommates to afford it. It’s just crazy and useless. And I’ve got 25 more years of this to go? I’m all set, thanks.
Recently, MBF read about a study predicting a full collapse by 2030. (This assumes we survive the great zombie apocalypse of 2012, but I’ve already got my zombie bug-out plans, so I’m set.) If that’s the case, I need to get my world-seeing in before 2030, and get hunkered down somewhere slightly before.
A quick timeline:
-3 years to settle into a place
2027 year to finish up travels
-2013 when I can first leave home
14 years to get my adventures in, without a home to tie me down while I do it.
Perfect! I’ll still be a year ahead of the game, saving myself 15 years of pointless toil (for a home) and exchange those for 14 years of homeless touring.
I like math.
*”Plans” are more like “structured daydreams”. Playdreams, I like to call them. I do all the math, all the planning, all the phone calls as if I’m actually going to go through with it. This used to scare my (now ex-) husband and has panicked at least one aunt, prompting her to call my mother. Tattle tale. Know ye: it’s simply a very vivid daydream. Nothing makes me happier than scribbling out budgets and numbers on a page, torturing numbers until they suit me. Then I smile and get back to my real job making donuts and cranking out the big balls.
Ok, but maybe I’ll actually do this. In fact, I’d call this one “likely“.
Every day at Ragbrai, I saw tons of folks with “VIRGIN” markered on their calves. I saw hazing: underwear worn over shammies, Speedos without any padding, and nicknames smeared in semi-permanent ink. I wasn’t the only first-timer by a long shot.
So having survived and enjoyed my first Ragbrai, I thought I’d take a moment to list out some tips I picked up along the way, so next year can be even better. in a word: carpe.
Treat it like a vacation. Enjoy it. If you want to stop for beer, stop. If your friends don’t, that’s ok. It’s their vacation, too. You can meet up later or continue enjoying the day alone. Carpe joy.
Get out early. Iowa is mufkin hot and humid, and that pavement radiates heat up as the sun bakes it down. Unless you like ovens, leaving as early as possible leads to better enjoyment and more time for fun stuff along the way. Carpe morning.Keep your eyes peeled. Watch for free water, lemonade, or beer along the whole way. Stop as soon as you see it! This is the good stuff, the social friendly heart of Ragbrai. Carpe free stuff.
Eat anything you want. You’re burning 2-3000 calories a day, so enjoy! Especially enjoy the homemade pies and ice creams. Skip the smoothies. They’re fine and refreshing, but homemade, there’s-the-churn-right-there ice cream is rare. There’s-grandma pie is also a jewel. Carpe homemade.
Talk with people. Dance with people. Ragbrai is about the people. Hell, the whole world is about the people. Spend a few extra minutes in town; they’re putting on a big party for you, after all! Carpe people. This might be literal, depending on how much free beer you’ve found and how loose the dancing is.
You will hurt, but you’ll forget the pain and remember only the good and awesome things. And they outnumber stupid things like pained wrists, numb fingers (mine still are tingly almost a week later), chapped ass cheeks, and muscle cramps. Also, your friends are hurting too. They just won’t say it. Carpe badass.
Eat breakfast as soon as you see it. The next town might have nothing at all, the mileage to it might be listed wrong, or it might not be as fun as here. In fact, I hardly ever saw two towns back-to-back that both had breakfast. Carpe breakfast.
Above all, this is a rolling party. Don’t get so caught up in the ride that you forget to have fun. And don’t get so wasted that you miss the ride. They’re both amazing. Carpe Ragbrai.
Well, we did it. I was the only sagger and still the turtle to boot. On days 5 through 7, the Teammies really made an effort to stay back with me and keep me company. That was nice!
In fact, on the last day we managed to stay together, seven of us for just about the whole way. We caught up to speedy Katie near the end and finished with the whole team at once. That made finding each other way easy!
My thanks to my teammates of Stars at night are Big & BRAIt for being, pardon the pun, good sports and letting me set the pace. “trying hard” is not something I like to do. 😉
Anyway, here are pics from those days, including the front tire dip in the mighty Mississip.
I had a nightmare last night about riding RAGBRAI. First, some details:
- RAGBRAI is a nigh-500 mile ride straight across Iowa. River to river. In July. Late July. Hot, humid July. The elevation gain during the race is comparable to the Ride the Rockies. So… it ain’t flat.
- My team, about 10 of us, is based around a native Iowan who recalls seeing the riders go by as a kid. She plans to frequent the lemonade and cookie stands that are all along the race route.
- The ride’s a big party. Each town the route goes through has a party that day for the riders. Much beer flows. In fact, the biggest issue on the race is the drunk cyclists heading from the penultimate town—the big party town—to the final town where you sleep that night. It seems to be a giant roadhouse-crawl on bicycles. Not something to nightmare about.
Ok, with me so far? Here: since it’s no fun to have a blog entry without a pic, and also for future reference since this is the ONLY Wake Forest jersey for sale I’ve found online (sheesh!), here is the jersey I might get for the collegiate spirit day. I like the yellow, in particular. It’s “DON’T HIT ME!” color. Why oh why are cycling jerseys so expensive? Nevermind how insultingly small they are…
Alrighty. So the nightmare:
We’re all up in Iowa, and for some reason MBF and my mom are also there. That’s not nightmarish. That could actually be fun. So it’s the eve of the ride and we’re all about to bed down. MBF and I look at each other and ask where the tent is. Snap, neither of us packed the tent. Well, while we’re at it, neither of us remembered to find a lawn to set the tent up in, either. We’re completely unprepared, have nowhere to sleep, and have no alternatives this late in the game.
Somehow, we end up finding a back room in a church where we sleep. It’s got beds, but it also has toilets. Just four toilets, open air, sitting there without privacy or embarrassment. Why do my nightmares always have non-private toilets in them? This is clearly an issue I have, deep-seeded. Seated? Anyway.
Anyway, we sleep, and in the morning our teammates drive up in the support vehicle and say we should have already left for the day. We look down at the river, where the other 200 RAGBRAIders are still camped. RAGBRAI has riders in the thousands, easily, so this is just silly anyway. But my teammates are annoyed that we’re delaying them, are wholly unprepared, and are in every way holding them back. They drive off flipping us the bird.
That’s pretty much it. It sounds pretty lame now that it’s out of my head, but for some reason I woke up really shaken. I guess I can start working on getting us a lawn and shower in the one place I know folks in Iowa. Hmm… Stupid brain.