The home renovation which had already slipped six weeks when I launched this blog is now running more than two months behind. Two days ago, I finally packed up my bicycle and rode to the bus station, leaving Daniel, my son and the resident homeowner, in charge of finishing the renovation. Those who are following my bicycle ride on Facebook already have access to the photo story of our renovation. The house is coming together nicely, but I wish I could have seen it completed before I left.
The last three days were a flurry of activity, because I was trying to accomplish the equivalent of a relocation in the middle of a crowded construction zone. By Wednesday afternoon, my entire life was packed into 33 boxes, all numbered, weighed, and inventoried on a spreadsheet. Daniel will store them out of the way and ship them to me as needed. I am using Click-N-Ship® from the US Postal Service, which allows me to prepare the shipping label, create a PDF and send it to Daniel. He can then print it and tape it to the appropriate box (https://cns.usps.com/go). This is an ideal solution to the problem that I do not need everything with me all the time, and that I often will not know where I will be until shortly before I get there. For example, five of the boxes are marked “ATA LIV”, and contain material and clothes that I will not need until the ATA Conference in November. When I have an address in San Antonio, I will prepare the Click-N-Ship® label online and have Daniel send it, probably a week or less before the Conference.
Meanwhile, Tracy Bright of Bright Business Solutions is supporting the business end in my absence. She empties the PO Box, and forwards the non-junk mail to me in a Priority Flat Rate envelope. She also mails the booklets that you order using our link to PayPal online (http://www.scriptorservices.com/buybook.htm).
Presumably, by the end of the year, it will be clear what admin support I still need from Charlottesville, and I will tailor my support accordingly.
Because I did not have the opportunity to plan my packing as calmly as I would have liked, I rolled out of the house with four panniers, a rack trunk and a handlebar bag. I also shipped two bounce boxes instead of one. I hope to spend some time in Keller, Texas, sorting, and combining the bounce boxes into a single box.
The weight on the bicycle is not an issue, but I had more weight up front than back aft. While the bicycle is stable and rolls sweetly, I can see and feel the strain on the front rack and the handlebar system. There are two ways to pack the bicycle:
1) For comfortable riding. This means lighter weight (clothes) up front, heavy items (office, bicycle bag) back aft.
2) For intermodal transfer. This means having all the carryon items in one forward pannier (overhead storage), and the bicycle bag, jacket, leg warmers/pants and neck pillow in the other forward pannier. Everything I don’t need on the bus/train goes aft and becomes checked luggage.
If I do not have far to go to the station (e.g., 5 km in Charlottesville), I can ride as I did last Wednesday. If I have to ride farther (say days away or 33 km into Atlanta), it would be worth it to pack for comfortable riding, then allow an extra hour at the station to repack the bags after stripping and packing the bicycle.
With all four panniers, it took me 30 minutes to field-strip and bag the bicycle in Charlottesville and unpack and reassemble it in Marietta, Georgia. The ride to the Double Tree Hotel in Roswell was pleasant. The hotel lacks only a refrigerator to make it the equal of the Courtyards that I favor. The countryside north of Atlanta is very hilly, so a freelancer toting everything and the office needs “granny gears” to keep the physical effort reasonable. The driveway to the hotel was a 15-degree monster, coming at the end of the ride, but yesterday was the last time I would have to climb it with a full load.
I was going to write about my personal life changes, but you have probably gleaned enough of that from the posts so far. I will describe how my personal life has changed as I recount the lessons learned from this trip and previous, shorter rides.