Howdy Traipsers,

I’m back! Where does a month go anyway? Is it Thursday, Friday? Whatever, it’s summer. Nobody is keeping track of what day I send this newsletter.

June flew by with a van trip to the Redwoods and a week-long bikepacking trip on the Three Sisters, Three Rivers route.

Now we’re in full Normal Life swing: dinners with friends, impromptu neighborhood hangs, and I even learned how to play pickleball! My piano is going to file an alienation of affection lawsuit if I’m not careful.

Oh, yeah, it was rather hot for awhile. Twice-a-day river dips mitigated it, but wow, global warming might be real, huh?

In other news, Chelsea’s efforts in the garden have yielded a cornucopia of produce. Towering peas, delectable lettuce, radishes by the dozen, strawberries, and more. It’s awesome.

I hope your summer is off and running!

This week’s newsletter:

Bikepacking the Oregon Outback, life paths, the Alt-Tour, and shipping comparisons.


Me painted white with sunscreen on day three of the Outback.

Bikepacking Hijinks on the Oregon Outback

In May, I bikepacked the Oregon Outback, a 360-mile gravel route across the state of Oregon. A few fun obstacles for my riding companion measurably improved the entertainment factor during the trip...

The buzzing on Jono’s bike started shortly after we rolled onto a tooth-rattling section of the OC&E rail trail. The culprit: his Crocs were dragging on the rear tire. “PHEW, glad I didn’t lose those,” he said.

“Hey, wait. Where’s my sleeping pad?”

Losing a sleeping pad a mere 13 miles into one’s first bikepacking trip might sound terrible. However, rarely do the Adventure Gods present such a prime opportunity for an entertaining story.

Me? I sat down to eat a taqueria burrito and watched my friend pedal toward the start in search of his wayward sleeping pad.
Day one of our bikepacking trip on the Oregon Outback was underway!

How did Jono sleep during our trip? Did he have all his gears for shifting during the entire trip? Read the full blog post and see all the pics on Traipsing About, and/or scope out the five-minute YouTube video.

Easy shipping price comparison

I ship a fair amount of things, but rarely price compare. Too much work!

Ah, of course there’s a solution. Check out this online shipping calculator for a quick comparison next time you’re dropping a gift in the mail or selling something online. I’m surprised how much rates can vary depending on what I’m sending!

(Discovered via the excellent newsletter Recomendo.)

The convoluted path of our lives

If someone had told me two years ago how I’d be spending a majority of my time these days, I’d have laughed at them. Piano, language study, drawing, GARDENING? Pfffft. (Ok, fine, Chelsea does most of the gardening.)

If I look back 8 years, it’s an even more dramatic shift. Fifteen years and I was still an engineer working in a cubicle.

The below image from Wait But Why sums it up so nicely: our lives seem so set in the moment, but there are endless options and choices ahead of us. Who knows which one shunts us off onto a completely different track?

I find this comforting and tremendously exciting at the same time. If we stay open to opportunities and serendipity while challenging ourselves to grow, our lives are a magical genie’s box full of potential adventures. For me, that still includes some bikepacking, don't you worry!

Life paths (via Wait But Why)

The Alt-Tour

Speaking of bikepacking, pro cyclist Lachlan Morton is doing a self-supported trip ahead of the Tour de France. Called the Alt-Tour, he’s emulating the inaugural 1903 tour and riding every mile – including transfers – with just his wits and incredibly strong legs. 213,200' of elevation in 23 days!

The short daily summaries and excellent photography are still going right now as he races the peloton to Paris. Along the way, he's raising money to donate bicycles to people who can't afford them.

Check out the daily write ups or watch the trailer here. Did I mention Lachlan rode 500 miles in Birkenstocks thanks to intense foot pain forcing him to ditch his cycling shoes? What a total badass.

Don't be a jellyfish

I love this quote from the book The Women's Hour about suffrage in the United States and the long, hard-fought battle for women to have the right to vote.

It's a good one to keep in mind next time you're wondering why someone can't just face the facts. Sometimes, it's not at all about those.

Shaw used to snidely say that the Antis and their arguments, particularly Rowe’s, were like jellyfish: no head, no heart, just a quivering mass of emotion, fears, and prejudices. Squishy, hard to handle, and venomous.

One of my recently nightly sketches from a 107 degree day.

Thanks for stopping by Traipsing About. Hope you're jumping in cold water, riding bikes (not in Birkenstocks) and enjoying the summer weather.

Catch you in a couple weeks! On a Thursday.

P.S. We're digging the energy in this Summer Party Spotify playlist. Though the songs about clubbing and the vagaries of young love seem far removed from my reality!

Parting shot: A misty, magical day in the California redwoods.
(Prairie Creek State Park)
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