Howdy Traipsers,

I recently spent a few days over the mountains in western Oregon. The trip's purpose was three-fold: getting the scammy emissions system on the van fixed, riding one of my favorite Oregon trails, and battling my Eugene friend at ping pong.
Elsewhere, Chelsea the Horticulturist is in full-tilt planting mode and hasn't taken off her overalls for days. Trees, bulbs, vegetables and fruit… Our backyard botanical garden project continues.
Lastly, during a ride this week, my sagacious friend Brandon mentioned he was pondering the question, “Am I running a race I want to win?”

So good. One to ask ourselves frequently, a gut check on activities and why we’re doing them.

This week’s newsletter:

Doctors, trash, nuns, techhack (one word!), and veganbiketouring.


My friend Paul joined me for a ride deep in the old-growth on a favorite trail. Here's his best impression of "uptight cornering posture."

Going to the Doctor

My favorite customer service experience involves going to the doctor…
Said no one, ever.
Folks in the U.S. know our health care system sucks. We spend tons of money for terrible outcomes, we fill the same forms out 17 times, and the whole process just…well, sucks.

This latest post on the popular site Wait But Why breaks things down using stick figures and handy metaphors. He’s biased since his wife just started a new business (The Lanby) that offers a different take on doctor visits, but we can all agree that some innovation in the space is needed.
The obvious downside to The Lanby is that it’s likely only going to attract people who can already pay for private doctors. Hopefully there are take-aways that can spill into other areas of healthcare.
We need it.

Trash art

“I kinda like us, as much as we're weird, fuckin' losers. We're kind of beautiful in our own way too.”

So says Thomas Deininger, creator of sculptures made of trash. Seeing his work is yet another reminder to stick to my and Chelsea’s efforts to keep single-use plastic out of our lives whenever possible.

My T-Rex theme is SO last week, but here's one more evening drawing.

(Way More Than) A Honky-Tonk Nun

I wrote this newsletter while listening to a magnificent album. Norah Jones called it “one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever heard: part Duke Ellington, part modal scales, part blues, part church music.” The artist, Emahoy Tsegué-Maryam Guèbrou, is now 97 and has lived as a nun in Ethiopia for 70 years.

Her back story is a biiiit different: raised by a prominent Ethiopian family, sent to study music in Switzerland, imprisoned during WWII by the Italians, followed by joining a convent “because it was His will.” Once there, she practiced the piano up to nine hours a day, shaping her unique sound.

The entire album on Spotify (Ethiopiques, Vol. 21) is divine. (See what I did there?)
Or check out
The Homeless Wanderer for a single song. (YouTube, Spotify.) Side note: apparently her music is popular in coffee shops these days. (When people hung out in them, I suppose.)

Read more about Guèbrou in this insightful article about her life and music.

Two Random Tech Hacks (Dork Alert!)

#1. Need two camera outputs for video conferencing or live streaming on social media? I’ve got your (free) solution.

I recently started taking online piano lessons and needed a camera pointed at the keyboard and another at my face. Rather than buy another webcam, I set up the open-source program OBS Studio to use my iPhone as the other camera, which allows me to export the video feed to Skype, Zoom, etc. Here’s the tutorial.

 #2. Musicians: want to advance digital music while you’re playing your instrument?

 I did some research and found the free program Bomes MIDI Translator. Using Bomes, I mapped my digital piano's una corda pedal to my computer so that when I press it, the output signal simulates hitting the down arrow on my keyboard. Voila!

 Now I can scroll through PDF music with my foot without pausing my playing. You can do the same thing with any kind of pedal or switch that sends a signal, so this would work for any instrument. Here’s the tutorial.

Traipsing About Archives: What I Learned Bike Touring 7,000 Miles On a Vegan Diet

I wrote about bike touring as a vegan for MindBodyGreen a few years after shifting to a vegan lifestyle. I'm 8+ years in now and have pedaled thousands of miles more and still love the way I feel eating a plant-based diet.

If you're kicking around trying out eating more plants, check out the article about what I learned from all those miles pedaling.

One of those bike touring days where the hard work was oh-so worth it! (Adirondacks, New York)

Thanks for stopping by Traipsing About! Just one thing this week: stay away from T-Rex comics.

P.S. The roundabouts of Bend constantly confuse people, so I chortled at the ridiculousness of this new roundabout in Kentucky. However, I suspect most people laughing at the results might make similar mistakes in a 7-lane version in the UK (myself included).

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