Years have passed…

Wow.  I haven’t updated this blog since January 2021.  Over two years.

Recently I have been in touch with people from way back, in the 1980s, from my years in Colorado.  It’s interesting.  We are all many years older.  Time has molded us all, as time does.  People have died.  People have had children.  Marriages, divorces, etc…the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune that come to us all, I suppose.  My choices haven’t been theirs, and vice-a-versa, of course.   We all find happiness and our sense of being in our own way.

There is no denying that the pandemic has changed my thinking, as it has for many.  An old friend fled LA at the beginning in 2020 and moved ‘temporarily’ to New Mexico.  He’s still there.  He’s found his place, one of many in his lifetime.  Others have drifted until they found safe harbor.  Whatever it takes.  I followed the route of many others and bought a small house, renovated it and have been living in it since November 2021 (please see the previous blog entry).  I have also been taking piano lessons for over a year.  I’m better now than when I began.  I have picked up the guitar again after a long hiatus and am enjoying that too.  My photography has been fruitful, mostly analog, and my darkroom is a busy and deeply satisfying place to work these days.  Work.  I love that word.  I love to labor at my craft.  Once in a while I splash some paint on a canvas and see how I feel about that.  I try not to take things so seriously.  I think being happy is better than being right.

In my family, common questions were ‘How’s your work?” and ‘What are you working on these days?”  Of course this never applied to our day jobs, how we paid our bills.  “Work” was always “work.”  In my case it was music, writing, photography…my sisters each have their own artistic paths–visual, literary and academic.  That’s just the way we were raised.

There is a wonderful quote by the techno-music godfather Giorgio Moroder that has been informing me these days.  Taken exponentially, I find applies to anything, not just music…how I navigate life.  He said, “Once you free your mind about a concept of music and harmony being correct, you can do whatever you want.”  That’s it, isn’t it?  It’s so easy to fall into a pattern of ‘correct’ and ‘right’ whether it is in life or the arts.  It’s a place of stagnation and boredom.  The random and potentially exciting is supplanted by the predictable and mundane.  Work becomes toil.  I become serious, rigid.  Inflexible.  Moroder’s philosophy demands work, some internal yoga to loosen the thinking, stretch the concept.  As I said before, being happy is better than being right.

And so I work.  I take pictures, develop the film, produce the prints.  I use a digital camera too.  I play piano and guitar.  I study music theory.  I stretch canvas and splash paint.  I ride my mountain bike and even swim in the sea during these winter months.  I read good books and eat healthily.  I sleep well.  I try not to take myself seriously.  I find happiness.  I let go of the rest.


Welcoming 2021…

 “There is an insubstantial quality to life these days that is difficult to quantify.”–JDCM 2020

A friend wished me a happy rest-of-my-weekend the other day and qualified it by remarking “…as if there’s a difference in these amorphous and indeterminate days and weeks of the covid epoch.”  This sums up much of my emotional state since this ‘epoch’ began last February: one same day after the next with the same news feed, everyone seemingly watching the world turn while quarantined inside our homes.  This isn’t completely true but it feels that way.

Last February I was wrapping up a winter-long darkroom silver-gelatin printing project.  It was for a solo show in July. At the same time I was mapping out a 2-3 week bicycle ride through northern and western Greece that would have taken place in May.  Needless to say, neither of these events came to pass.  The show was cancelled and the ride was put off until the autumn (when it did not happen again).  By the end of October I was left with a porfolio that meant little to me and a lot of maps going nowhere.  But that is looking at these past months the wrong way.  So much may not have happened yet so much actually did occur.

On the advice of a friend (to whom I am eternally grateful!) last March or April, I bought a little house.  The papers were finalized in August and a full renovation began, finishing in the first week of November.  The place really needed to be gutted.  Ancient electrical, plumbing, crumbling walls, etc…I documented it online.  I have now rented it to someone who needed a home.  Then I got the wild idea that maybe I should stop paying rent and buy and renovate my own space!  So I did.  In a few weeks (crossed fingers) I will finalize that deal and begin renovations.  I hope by the end of November 2021 I will have moved into my new home.  So to my friend MM who started this process…many thanks and eternal gratitude for shifting my thinking.

                              Prickly Pear #1

Photography…writing…I have come to the conclusion that, for me, social media, as a whole, is a stifling and shallow platform for art or communication of any true depth.  These applications have actually hampered my creative process.  I have produced less photography and written fewer blog entries since I started being more on my phone with a popular social media app.  I let it suck the creative juices from my mind and soul.  So…I would like to make more real photographs in 2021, write more, produce more real work.  The new house will have space for a darkroom and a small digital area–room for a printer, perhaps a computer with a larger monitor than my laptop.  A place to work.  A home studio.

I have rested on what laurels I may have gathered long enough.  I will make a new commitment to my art, to my life.  Wheels are in motion.  Let them stay moving, well-greased and clean running.



Let’s talk about America…

…and by that I mean, of course, The United States of America. I’ve been thinking about it lately. My family is from there and it is only by chance that I was not born there. But by the time I was 6 months old I was in Ancramdale, New York, home. So I’m an American, despite what my Irish birth certificate says.

Prairie Storm, Oklahoma Afternoon

America’s a big place. Maybe too big, maybe not. Certainly larger than any European country, and third largest worldwide in population after India (2) and China (1). Home to numerous ethnic groups, multiple languages, a geography spanning Alaska to Hawaii and everywhere in-between. From Portland, Maine to Los Angeles, California it is just over 5200 km. That’s a good stretch. You can drive it in 48 hours if you want, but it’s best to take your time. Because in between you’ve got pretty much anything you can think of: bible thumpers, truckers, rock ‘n’ roll, barbecue (too many kinds to count), corn, wheat, mountains, prairies, big rivers, cities, towns and wide-spots-in-the-road, liberals, conservatives, pro-choice, pro-life…man, the list goes on and goddamn it if never ends. It’s the Great Experiment, the City on the Hill, home of Elvis, William Faulkner, Miles Davis, Robert Motherwell, James Baldwin, The New York Yankees, Ansel Adams, gumbo, The Ramones, The Dallas Cowboys, Emily Dickinson, stock car races, hot dogs, Bob Dylan, apple pie, the New England clambake, Raymond Chandler, Pete Seeger, rodeos, Hollywood, Robert Johnson (sitting at that crossroads hoping to make a deal), the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, the Mississippi River, Tom Petty, Mark Twain…and did I mention the barbecue? This is the thing. Where do you start? It never ends!

Ok…we have fucked up a lot–who hasn’t? Name one non-American country that is not guilty of racism, xenophobia, and mindless, senseless bloodshed? Yes, America is guilty of terrible genocide against the actual residents of the North American Continent. We are also guilty of propagating slavery into the middle of the 19th century when everyone else had made it illegal–and a racism that still haunts us after a devastating and still unresolved civil war. We’ve poisoned rivers and levelled majestic mountains–nothing unique there. Yes, yes…I know all this. But most of us are willing to change. Most are willing to take responsibility, heal and move along. Maybe it’ll be like pulling teeth, but it’ll happen. There are some rotten apples. There are rotten apples everywhere, not just the USA. Look to your own back yards. I think ‘back yards’ are American, by the way.

I guess what I am saying is that despite all the crap we have been accused of and all the people around the world who point fingers at us, blaming us for this and that, cringing at how loud we are in restaurants, how boorish we can seem…such barbarians at the gate…ha!

If you’re not an American you have no idea what it’s like to be an American, to be part of this experiment, this massive work in progress, to know and feel what that means. To paraphrase Louis Armstrong (another American), it’s like jazz. If you have to ask, you’ll never know.


View from here…

I have been keeping a ‘Plague Journal’ since mid-March. It is often just the every day occurrences of my life, interrupted periodically by the realities of living during the Coronavirus Pandemic. I will post some excerpts for your perusal…some of it isn’t pretty, or nice, or particularly smile-on-your-brother pablum. It’s just not the way I feel about most things these days.

“March 17, 2020 09:10

I have gone out on the bike and picked up 15 litres of water, gone to the PO…normal stuff really.  Interactions next to zero. There is far too much dis-and-mis-information on the web, especially WhatsApp.  I received a long attachment this morning from someone in Australia who just passed on the whole rigamarole about hot drinks, sunshine, heat, etc…all bullshit.  Covid-19 does not have a cure, vaccine or any drug, real or imagined, that stops it.  Hand washing and avoiding personal contact is the way to break the chain.  The fellow who sent this mailing is suspect to me anyway.  I consider him a fraud and a huckster, a charlatan of the first order.”

“March 19, 2020 08:30

“I have looked at the news and there is nothing new from yesterday, nothing significant anyway.  China says it has no new infections. They saw their first in November 2019.  That was 5 months ago.  If that is the case then we have another 3 months of this to handle and we have yet to see the worst of it.” 

“March 20, 2020 12:05

Happy Spring!  Ha!  Right.  the Greek government has closed all the year-round hotels in the country except for two in Athens and one in Thessaloniki.  Probably for diplomats and their families. It was dead quiet last night and today too, even though the ferries are still running. There have been numerous letters and articles in the Greek press about stopping people from Athens coming to the islands.  Good.  Now, let’s see who listens. I fear it is too late in many ways.  This plague will be with us for many months before it is gone, and then we will still have to be careful until we develop immunities and vaccines.  2 years probably.  Travel will be a chancy thing to do so most people won’t do it. I am worried that this crisis will allow hard-line right wing governments to really take control, declare martial law.  A friend told me today she is afraid there will be real violence because of this. We shall see.  Certainly what this crisis is forcing us all to do is discover what is really important in our lives. It is sunny and quiet.  The birds are singing.  Skies are clearer.  There is not so much traffic.  I am lucky to be living in such times as these.”

“April 4, 2020 13;15

The addle-brained and porcine US President along with his greasy verminous son-in-law make policy on the fly, surrounded by assorted bootlickers and other greedy bastards.  The Vice-President looks on, expressionless, hoping in his empty heart for the end of Days to arrive so he can be with his precious fucking Jesus.  My answer to him?  To quote the late Max von Sydow, “If Jesus returned today he would never stop throwing up.”  These people are dangerous and evil.  They will do anything to stay in power, including trying to kill off the American voter.  Don’t be surprised in November when that Fucker in the White House tries to “postpone” the election.”  

“April 5, 2020 10:27

It is cloudy and windy today from the West and I have sheets out on the line.  It is Sunday, the day I do the wash, etc…Even during this strange and terrible time, the banal still occurs.  An old friend in America…his teenage son was killed in traffic accident last week.  A grandmaster of chess died the other day as a result of a car accident as wel…Mexican drug cartels are still killing people.  The ordinary still happens. This virus is terrible for everyone, but for the poor, the disconnected, and especially the people in ‘third world’ countries, it is worse.  They will be the hardest hit and we won’t see those numbers until late this summer and even then they will be inaccurate.  Low, that is.  There is no need for me to leave the flat today.  I have more than enough food, entertainment, etc…I want for nothing.  I am part of the global elite who has internet, lives in a free country, has financial means.  I am lucky.  My social backpack separates me from many.  Today I am filled with ennui.  And I feel odd, as if there are people conspiring against me.  As if there are people spreading bad rumours.  During this time I try to stay in contact with people I know, people I would normally consider friends.  Yet I rarely hear from anyone unless I make contact first. I can count the people who contact me on less than one hand.  2, maybe 3 people.  This bothers me.”



I think that Instagram uses a lot of my blogging energy. That’s my excuse for lagging on the blog-o-sphere…so…what to blog about? There is the obvious stuff, and if you have been reading the news even just a little bit…so I will try not to, but it is all part of the daily conversation I have with my parea at the cafe. The virus…dangerous old men…our planet on fire…hmm…yes…Italy has closed its borders and this should terrify us all. However, there is so much around that seems worse…maybe I am anaesthetized ?

I was supposed to go to Athens this month for a couple of days but I have decided to skip it and wait until after Easter.

And so I work, which is all I can really do. As a result my new portfolio is almost finished, almost ready to go to the framers. I will have a small solo show this summer, here on the island, to celebrate. I haven’t had a show, or been in a show, for a few years so it is time. It’s ok. I have been busy with other aspects of photography. It feels good to get back out there and put some pictures on the wall. They are all medium format silver gelatin images of wood, stone and water, hence the title of the show wood:stone:water I’ll get a poster done and put it up, around about…Nothing edgy about this work. Nothing shocking. Nothing obviously philosophical, unless you glom onto the fact that it is about wood, stone and water. Well then…that’s something else entirely isn’t it?

I am getting ready for another bike excursion this May. I’m staying in Greece. I’ll be seeing parts of the country I have never seen before and doing it by bicycle. It’s about 1400km, return. The most difficult parts will be between Rafina and Agios Nikolaos–traffic, population…after that it is mostly farmlands, smaller hills, bigger mountains. I will stop in Meteora and see that. Then up into the Pindus. Then back. I hope to return in time for a 10k run on Antiparos on May 30th. Crossed fingers!

This won’t be like Ireland. Less rain and no hotel reservations breaking up my travel flow. I hope to do at least 80km per day which puts me into Bikos National Park in about 10 days. Or that’s my little scheme, anyway. We’ll see what happens. No rush.

Not much else going on around here.


Portuguese Kale Soup…

The story of the Portuguese diaspora in America is fascinating. It begins somewhere in the late 16th century and continues right up until the beginning of the 20th. For the most part they settled in the coastal areas of New England–Massachusetts and Rhode Island–and the phonebook of Fall River, Massachusetts has more De Silvas than you can count. Portuguese Jews came to escape persecution. Others settled for business–whaling and fishing primarily. Over the decades they became a large part of the once puritanical fabric of Mayflower territory, contributing their blend of spice, culture and industry. From Newport to Cuttyhunk, Martha’s Vineyard, Nantucket and New Bedford, Falmouth, Wellfleet, Provincetown, Gloucester…The list is as long and convoluted as the coastline it covers. I suggest you go here to find out more details.

Like all diaspora they brought their food. Many years ago I spent a summer cooking on a small island in the Elizabeth’s (a small island chain off of New Bedford) and made more Cioppino than you can shake a stick at. I drank enough Vino Verde (courtesy of Padanaram Liquors) to satisfy any thirst and ate enough fresh baked pastries to choke a cod fish. However, the best Portuguese dish, I feel, is Portuguese Kale Soup. I am not sure if they made this in Portugal but all up and down the New England coast you can find it, especially when the weather turns foul and the rains begin and the winter sets in. I grew up eating this soup in Provincetown and Truro from the time I was born until…well, now we come to it and to be honest I am getting a little weepy right now.

It is December 3, 2019 as I write this and I will post this tomorrow, December 4th. My mother died on December 4th four years ago, surrounded by love, and as peaceful as if she had just gone to sleep. She made Portuguese Kale Soup and that’s how I will always remember it. The recipe is simple and begins in the meat section of the A&P out on Shank Painter Road in Provincetown where mom would buy a package of Gaspar’s linguica and a box of frozen kale, a can of whole peeled tomatoes, a couple of potatoes, onions…the rest we had on hand. You basically just put it all in a pot, cover it all with water, add a bay leaf or two, some salt and pepper and cook it until the large-diced spuds are soft. As memories go it is a real winner. So much so that for the past year I have been trying to have some linguica, real-Massachusetts-grade-A-Portuguese-linguica, sent to me here on Paros. My sister brought some from Maine but the TSA took it. Every outlet I tried in the USA told me they couldn’t ship it overseas. Even Amazon didn’t have the right stuff. You see, there is a difference between Portuguese linguica (from Portugal) and the stuff I want. Worlds apart, as they say. And kale in Greece? What the heck is that?

But I found some kale…a little pale, but sturdy enough–fresh, not frozen. For the sausage I had to compromise. I will be using a mildly spicy Italian sausage I bought in Florence a few weeks ago at my sister’s suggestion. I am also using a little stock, not just water. The rest is the same. Almost. Yes…a little weepy again, but that’s alright. I have my mother’s spirit guiding me and her practical kitchen sense approving the alterations I must make. Because you see, the temperature is dropping and the rains are beginning and the winter is setting in on this little island in the sea and what I want is a bowl of Portuguese Kale Soup and the memory of a steamy kitchen filled with garlicky aromas and a voice saying, ‘Now…we’ll just let that sit and tomorrow it’ll be terrific…”


Riding a learning curve…

The weather these past few weeks on Paros has been luscious. Comfortably dry nights and days that soothe the soul like a tropical compress. I guess I should talk a bit about Ireland. But first, a disclaimer: I knew what I was getting into. I knew it would rain a lot. I had been to Ireland a few times before-hand. None of this was particularly novel. There were few surprises. I chose this route for a first long-distance ride for pragmatic reasons–ease of language, availability of services and to discover if I enjoyed long-distance bicycling…and as learning curves go, I learned a lot, but not what I expected.

The bicycling itself was quite easy. I had already practiced a bit here on Paros, so I knew what it was like to ride 70km on a bicycle weighing 50 kilos. I had ridden up and down hills already on the treacherously questionable roads of Paros. Imagine my joy at the roads of Ireland–smooth, well-paved, clean and, until I reached County Antrim, free of potholes. So riding 50-80 km a day on the bike was not difficult. The hills and “mountains” of Counties Cork, Kerry, Galway, etc…not so tough. What was difficult was Day #4, when I woke up and realized I had to ride another day. And then Day #5 when I was resigned to my fate. After that I rarely thought about where I was going or how far I needed to ride that day. I had established my routine. When it was raining I packed up the tent and rode in the rain. There was no other choice. As I remarked to someone in Donegal Town, “If I didn’t ride in the rain I’d still be in Cork City.”

The Dawes Karakum in the shade of the tamarisk trees.
It is a much happier bicycle here on Paros.

And it rained a lot. Sometimes three times a day. Mostly on me. I got wet. I didn’t melt. I dried out. I rode the kilometres I needed to and then I was done. I saw some beautiful sights–dramatic cliffs all along the coasts; sudden bursts of sunlight that made the landscape glisten and sparkle jewel-like…it’s all there. You can have it. I have learned there is no need for me to return. Rain is one thing, but every day, twice, thrice a day…no thank you. Such was the learning curve. You’ll have to pay me to go back. And that old saying about “the soft Irish rain…” Bullshit. It’s rain.

I missed Greece every day. I missed the food, the people, the climate. The food in Ireland is alright. Not great, really, yet ideal for the weather that one is forced to endure. Heavy, thick stuff, devoid of fresh produce (except potatoes). Mussels cooked in milk (yuck!), a severe lack of garlic and tomatoes that would be best used to repair dry-wall. I missed the heat of summer, the boiled-honey sun glazing the earth in late July through August, the din of the cicadas. By the 2/3 mark, the rain was not so much an obstacle but rather a tedious bore, a meteorological raconteur drawing out the same dull tale. I doubt the temperature ever rose above 22C while I was there. I missed the 35-40C days here on Paros. I missed the people I know, I missed my friends, my parea. This was the learning curve I traveled.

I enjoyed the long-distance bike tour. I enjoyed the hills, the distances. But I knew that going in. I had researched enough before hand and was prepared regarding gear. Everything I brought with me, I used. My kit was sound: waterproof, windproof, serviceable, warm and dry. My Dawes Karakum was the right bike for the job and I enjoyed riding it. I brought it home with me to Paros where I use it throughout the week. I am already looking at next year’s ride. I will stay in Greece, a country I love and in actuality have seen very little. I will ride in May so I don’t miss my summer heat and early morning swims. I will ride for a month because I can ride 2000km in that time. I will ride into the mountains northwest of Athens, to Corfu. Then east through the Pindus to Ioannina and Meteora. South to Trikala…these will be the places I visit. It will rain some but that’s ok. I won’t melt. But I will never leave home.


Counting down the days…

In just over a month (32 days) I will be heading off to Ireland, land of my birth, for a 2-month bicycle tour of the west coast and the north. I have written about it before, so I won’t bore you with those details again. I am very excited and, although I have been consulting maps, arranging for camping, BnB and hotels, marking my routes like a good Aquarian (we are highly organized and thrive within structure), I am quite sure many things will be different once I am on the ground and riding. So I’ll keep an open mind.

The weather will be interesting, and I am prepared for rain with enough Gore-Tex to cover myself, and the bike if need be. I am expecting daily rain, not necessarily torrential downpours, but sometimes maybe that too. As one very experienced touring-bicyclist mentioned in his blog, when it rains, you ride anyway.

I recently took a long weekend to another island and did a little bike-packing just to see how it was traveling for long distances with all the gear, making camp, etc…Although the geography was different and the weather more so, I learned some important lessons. The most relevant is that I am not longer in my 20s and the romance of wild camping really has lost its charm. Sleeping on the ground is a pain. Literally. As someone in their mid-50s, I will do a little wild camping, but the majority of my camping in Ireland will be in organized or semi-organized sites that provide showers, laundry, electrical hook-ups, sanitary facilities, etc…a couple even have cafes. I like my creature comforts. I have booked a few BnB stays and also a few actual hotels (Dingle, Donegal Town, Kinvara, etc…) for more than one night. Yes, there are a couple of places where I am kind of forced to find a spot off the road for the night, but even then I am waiting to see what happens. You never know. The kindness of strangers.

The 1st stage, from Cork to Limerick. Counties Cork, Kerry, Clare.
Stage 2, the road to Galway City (Barna Road) Counties Clare and Galway.
Counties Galway, Mayo and Sligo–stage 3
Counties Sligo, Leitrim, Donegal. Stage 4.

The first stage (Map 1) will be, by necessity, the fastest part of the trip. Although I am sure West Cork, Kerry, etc…are beautiful, it will also be the most touristic section. I will have to be extra careful of traffic on little roads. I am also riding 100km days (6-7 hours of riding) for the first week. I want to be off of the Ring of Kerry by August 1st. The second stage (Map 2) will be slightly less difficult, with some chill 60-70km days with a couple of 100km days mixed in. I am meeting a friend in Galway for a long weekend (August 9), so that is a date I have to make. The third stage, through Northern Galway and most of Mayo will be more relaxed still. The tourists will mostly be left behind, the tourist season will be slowing down and the roads will be a little more wild, a little more quiet.

By the time I get to Donegal Town, it will be the end of August, the end of the tourist season and I won’t need to make a lot of reservations before hand. I have learned this from different people I have already spoken to on the telephone in Donegal. In fact, by the time I get to Donegal I will have 25 days left to cycle about 600km. Do the math. I can dawdle.

This is all the Big Plan. What it is actually going to be like on the ground will be something else. I know I can do the distances. I know I can make the waypoints. It’s just a matter of doing it. I will be using Instagram as a platform for ‘blogging’, so to speak, with more pictures than text. So keep up with me through Instagram.

For now…I think that’s it.


Treading water…

I have been having issues with my blog space lately. Ever since I upgraded the software on my MacBook Pro, I have had the hardest time logging into WordPress and opening up the admin section. I have to go around and through the backdoor at Bluehost, which is the site that hosts the blog you are now reading. In any case, it has made me wonder if perhaps it is time to either a) migrate to a new host b) not blog for a while or c) shut it down. Plus, I am about to go on this big bike ride (one of many, I hope) and I’m not going to be able to blog for a while anyway…Instagram seems to be taking my blog energy and I like that platform.

I am getting ready for my bike trip in a big way. I have been packing, unpacking, trying to sort out what I really need from what I think I might want or what I could probably getting Ireland. Since I will be riding a fully self-supported ride of 2700+ km then I will need a fair amount of stuff–mostly camping gear. I hope to not be staying at any B&B, hotels, etc…unless I really feel I need a break (or a shower). I have been practicing with a fully loaded bike (42 kilos, including the bike) and can easily ride 60km in 4 hours, including the occasional stop for a snack, a coffee, buy a t-shirt, whatever…so I am hoping to make at least 70-80km per day. People have said, “oh but you will also be sight-seeing…” True, but a large part of riding a bicycle on long trips is trying to make good time, riding the bike. It’s not about lolly-gagging about or dilly-dallying along with my head in the clouds. It really is very much a ‘point-A-to-point-B’ event.

I will be buying Dawes Karakum touring bike in Cork. Not much else to say about that. Here’s a picture…look it up if you want the specs. I’ll be bringing it back to Greece with me.

I finally found a good tent in Athens last week. A North Face Storm Break 2, 2 person tent. It weighs 2.4 kilos and is my heaviest item. My new sleeping bag weighs 790 grams. You laugh. Trust me, 500 grams is a lot of weight when you’re cycling or hiking. (2.2 pounds in a kilo, right?) Here’s the tent, set up on my terrace. It took about 5 minutes to set it up. I bet it will take less when it is raining.

And here are some pictures that give you an idea of the gear and weight I am taking. It may not seem like much, but it adds up. Remember, the bike weights about 18 kilos, so an additional 24-25 kilos is a lot.

These are the front panniers that will hang low off the front wheel. Food will be added to each of these bags, as well as the rear panniers.

And this will be the contents of one of the rear panniers…clothes. Note that my rain gear is in one of the front panniers. It is easier to get to it that way.

The other rear pannier will have my house–sleeping bag, tent, ground cover…and food. And water. I’ll stash water in equal amounts around the bike the best I can. The handlebar bag will contain stuff like my phone, wallet, ID, snacks, glasses, a map…It should even out all around the bike with 60% of the weight in the front.

This is something I feel very strongly about, this long distance bike thing. It’s one of the few things in my life that really felt right, does that make sense? As if it is a path I should be on for reasons perhaps I will never know. As if it is something that must be done, and done often. There are established bike routes all over Europe and even beyond, I’ll start with this one first. July 22 cannot come too soon!