Howdy Traipsers,

Spring fever continues! My shoulders are sore from shoveling eight yards of soil into our planter beds last weekend, but the big smile on Chelsea’s face as she planted seeds today makes the effort worth it.
Otherwise, the usual: dialing gear for bikepacking, stumbling along in my pursuit of Italian, and plinking away on the piano.

This week’s newsletter:

Van battery upgrades, knot refresher, circle of 5ths for guitar, why is this a meeting, and revisiting the City of Rocks.


A trail ride in Bend this week. Can you spot someone's van tucked away in the trees?

Out with the old, in with the new

Just when you thought spring wasn’t exciting enough, my van battery upgrade to lithium is complete. I know, I know, you’ve held your breath for months!
Skip ahead immediately if you're not into batteries or vans. However, if you’ve ever considered upgrading from AGM to lithium batteries, definitely
give my full blog post a read.


TLDR: our new Ohmmu lithium batteries crank out 2x more available capacity in the same space, charge faster than our Fullriver AGM batteries, and maintain voltage better. Loving it!
Ok, enough engineering dork stuff. Back to knots and guitar and bike portraits. You know, regular dork stuff…

Ready or knot?

Summer outdoor adventure season approaches! Are your knot-tying skills up to par?
Due to more piano than bikepacking last year, my skills are knot. My bowline knot threatens to collapse on itself and my tensioning knots are more slack than tension.

Worry knot! (Ok, ok, I'll stop.) Check out these animated knots for easy learning (or refreshing) of your skills. May your rain fly stake out nicely and your food bag hang high above questing bear paws.
Three must-know knots:

1. Round turn and two half hitches: secure a rope in many situations, like tying a line to a tree branch or a load to your car roof. God forbid your inflatable pool floatie blows off enroute to the lake and wrecks your Instagram prospects!

2. Bowline: tie a secure loop around something, perhaps the bear bag you’re hanging in a tree?

3. Taut line (aka Farrimond Friction) hitch: an adjustable knot perfect for tensioning a guy line for a tarp or tent.

This could have been (via Semi-Rad). Explanation below!

This could have been...

Brendan, the ever-creative force behind Semi-Rad, made a funny “this could have been” theme. I especially liked “this expedition could have been a nice afternoon jog for [ultrarunning champ] Kilian Jornet.”

Speaking of running, if you need a gift for the runner in your life, Brendan’s new book, I Hate Running and You Can Too is a funny, all-too-accurate take on distance running.

Speaking of meetings, I’ve basically disavowed them for my company. However, if your industry requires more coordination than mine, Cal Newport’s concept of reverse meetings sounds marvelous.

A video for all you guitar players

For years, I had no idea how songwriters chose chords for a composition. Maybe by picking random letters out of a hat and arranging them in the Fibonacci Sequence?

If only this new Active Melody video had crossed my path! In it, Brian – my favorite guitar guru – lays out the clearest explanation of the Circle of 5ths for guitar-style instruments that I’ve seen.

I’ll wager even long-time guitarists will have a takeaway or two. (Secondary dominant chord transitions? Borrowed chords? Yeah!)

By the way, if you haven't checked out Active Melody, I highly recommend it for learning to play guitar, not just memorize tabs. Here's a lesson for a sweet little composition in E.

Traipsing About Archives: The City of Rocks

Tucked away in the rolling hills of southern Idaho is the gorgeous City of Rocks, the first place I ever climbed. Here’s my photo montage from a trip there in 2018.

My friend Sean in Castle Rock, just up the road from The City.

Thanks for stopping by Traipsing About! Learn the bowline knot, write a song, cancel that meeting, and enjoy the springy week.

P.S. I’m loving the shortcut for quickly inserting a link: Ctrl+K on a PC and Cmd+K on Mac. It’s the small things, people.

P.P.S. I’m smitten with these bike self-portraits from an English photographer pedaling his local roads during 2020’s lockdown. Yet another project from last year reminding us that beauty awaits us just around the bend from our home. Or in his case, a long pedal starting at 3 am in time for sunrise… (Discovered via Rowdy Kittens.)

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