Posts Tagged ‘road trip’

Settling back into daily life

The epic Pacific Northwest road trip is over. We logged 1940 miles in the car, camped in beautiful redwood forests, enjoyed a rare entirely sunny four day stretch in Seattle, and vowed to go camping more often.

A week before the trip, I got my Sour Apple Green Citizen Tokyo folding bike delivered at work. Besides the minor logistical problem of them delivering it with *pink* brake and shifter cables (which I switched out to white), it’s a great little bike for a reasonable price. I rarely buy new, but in this case, it seemed worth it to me to have a trouble free bike on such short notice. I used it to putter around the campgrounds, and put it to the real test during our time in Seattle. Not only was it the perfect solution for traveling between our hotel and the conference center with ease, but we took a great ride from downtown to Fremont to see the troll. On the way back, after a tough (for 16″ and low gears) three block long hill, I got to enjoy an amazing stretch of downhill riding on a bike lane that was very smartly designed! The buses on that street stopped closer to the center, and had a little traffic island separating stops from the bike lane. I was able to fly down the whole way. 

I was surprised to see a lot of touring cyclists on 101 and 199 (the road that connects 101 to 1-5 in between Crescent City, CA and Grants Pass, OR). It seemed like a tough ride – narrow shoulders, lots of curves, and many cars navigating those curves who were not locals. I’m not too familiar with the trails in that region – hopefully, there are some better options! Mad respect to all of those who were doing it, though – I hope to someday be in good enough shape to join them. 

As far as finances for the trip, they weren’t perfect. We had a snafu with our propane stove – we left the hose at home, and since we had saved money by buying an older model off of Craigslist, we actually got burned on the deal because they no longer sell replacement hoses for that model in any store, even ones that specialize in Coleman stoves. We ended up having to buy a new stove, and in the days beforehand when we were trying to figure this all out, we bought more meals on the road than originally intended. We still did pretty well – we made enough yogurt and granola to have some for breakfast everyday, and I made a lentil and tomato soup in the crockpot in our hotel that lasted us several meals. We also made good use of the peanut butter, jelly, and bread (one loaf gluten, one loaf gluten free) that we brought with us. 

I also bought swimming trunks and flip flops – several opportunities came up to go swimming, and I was craving the exercise. I will get good use out of them, because I loved swimming so much that I intend to hit up the local city pools. 

Upon our return, I scrambled to clean the house and do laundry for a few days, and continued to eat crap food, but that ends now. I just made a batch of curry and rice, and some granola for the morning. My old regime of bringing lunch to work every day is back in effect. I was able to save a remarkable amount of money for this vacation very quickly by pre-planning meals and eliminating other frivolous expenses, even as I socked away money for retirement. (I ate much healthier, too.) It was a good lesson in what is possible when you prioritize saving. Now, on to the next adventure!

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Gearing up for the epic Pacific Northwest road trip

Time on the internet has been mostly about researching, not writing.

Two weeks from today, I will be writing out an epic list of things for my staff to do while I am on vacation for TEN WHOLE DAYS. I will be setting up my away message on my inbox, and perhaps cleaning my desk so it is nice and tidy when I get back. That’s the idea, at least.

Vacationing and frugality don’t go hand-in-hand, but we’re attempting to stretch our vacation dollars. Other than the conference weekend, we’ll be car camping our way up and down the coast. I had to buy my tent new, although I waited until REI did a 30% off all outlet clearance sale and bought the tent for half of its original price. We’re borrowing one sleeping pad, and I already had the other. I got our cooler for free. Another friend is lending us her camping chairs. For the hotel, we’ll be bringing the crockpot and utilizing the fridge and microwave heavily, and you better believe that we’ll be bringing full batches of granola on the road.

My one splurge, which I hope will pay for itself in gas and parking fees, was buying a folding bike. Alex was bringing his and I imagined myself in some of the bike friendliest cities in the country feeling sad and forlorn about having to drive. I went uber-budget and got myself a Citizen Tokyo. I tried finding something used on Craigslist, but most of the folding bikes were either too high end and out of my budget range, or had mechanical issues I didn’t feel qualified to fix, or were not priced competitively with the new bike. (One person was trying to sell a used Citizen for more than the new price!) The few hardcore naysayers were mostly people who had never ridden the thing. Common issues seem to be that the bike is heavier than similar folding bikes, or that taller riders had issues with the frame geometry. Those who tried to ride the bike many miles a day were getting sore. I don’t need it as a commuter, so I’m not too concerned. I just want to casually toodle around and enjoy some new scenery. I got the 16″ size because I’m also excited about the possibility of taking it with me when I fly east to visit my parents.