Howdy Traipsers,

I launched into fall by van tripping through eastern Oregon and visiting my family in Idaho.

Highlights included a mountain goat sighting, chasing my niece and nephews around the playground, and getting owned at Mario Kart by a 7 YO. Humbling, but I'm glad I suck at video games these days!

With cooler days ahead, I’m shifting back to weekly Traipsing newsletters. However, I’m aiming for shorter issues versus burying you with a magnum opus every two weeks. (Unless I get fired up.)

Traipsing About edition #78 includes:

Gray water systems (exciting!), email tips, and doing it again.


In case you missed any, here's the round up of my 2021 bikepacking posts as the season winds down: the Oregon Outback, Three Sisters Three Rivers, and Colorado Trail.

As good as it gets. Dutch Flat trail in the Elkhorn Mountains.

More Van Upgrade Fun: New Gray Water Tank

After hours of scheming, I finally ordered equipment, drilled holes, wired up switches, and mounted a spiffy new gray water tank underneath our van.

I’m quite pleased with the system, which provides far more gray water capacity (15 gallons) while allowing me to drain it remotely on back fire roads by flipping a switch while driving.

Even better, instead of $700 for a water tank kit, my DIY setup cost a fraction of that. Read the full write up here.

Roadtrip whimsy! Sketched in the van somewhere in E. Oregon.

If I did it again...

Nadine Stair, an 85-year-old woman from Louisville, Kentucky, shares her answer when asked, "How would you have lived your life differently if you had a chance?"

"If I had my life to live over again, I’d dare to make more mistakes next time. I’d relax. I’d limber up. I’d be sillier than I’ve been this trip. I would take fewer things seriously. I would take more chances, I would eat more ice cream and less beans.

I would, perhaps, have more actual troubles but fewer imaginary ones. You see, I’m one of those people who was sensible and sane, hour after hour, day after day.

Oh, I’ve had my moments. If I had to do it over again, I’d have more of them. In fact, I’d try to have nothing else—just moments, one after another, instead of living so many years ahead of each day.

I’ve been one of those persons who never goes anywhere without a thermometer, a hot-water bottle, a raincoat, and a parachute. If I could do it again, I would travel lighter than I have.

If I had to live my life over, I would start barefoot earlier in the spring and stay that way later in the fall. I would go to more dances, I would ride more merry-go-rounds, I would pick more daisies."

Via James Clear, source: Chicken Soup for the Soul, 20th Anniversary

Making friends in the Elkhorn Mountains. First time seeing mountain goats in Oregon!

One-sentence email tips

Email: necessary email or awesome tool?

It all depends how we use it. (Sorry, you punk youngsters, it’s not going away.)

These 40 tips from Josh Spector are insightful and useful. Worth scanning the entire list, but these resonated with me:

-The most important sentence in any email is the first one.
-CC’ing someone who doesn’t need to be cc’d isn’t respectful— it’s disrespectful.
-The more time you spend writing an email, the more time you waste writing an email.
-If a message was truly urgent, it wouldn’t have been sent to you in an email.

Thanks for dropping by Traipsing About. This week's unsolicited advice: live for moments, wear safety glasses while under vehicles, and send fewer emails.

P.S. Sometimes I want to chuck rocks at annoying drones buzzing overhead, but these mind-blowing photo awards changed my mind. For now.

My drawing journey continues! I'm amazed how it forces (allows?) me to notice details I've never taken in weird eyelids on bluebirds.
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