Howdy Traipsers,

We spent most of the last two weeks mired in a thick haze of 300+ aqi forest fire smoke. I moped and whined for a day, then decided that NO, I would not succumb to the malaise. Instead, I decided to make lemonade with the sour forced indoor time and do ALL the things I’d been putting off.

My efforts ranged from selling stuff on Craigslist to building raspberry trellises to van projects to revamping my office, plus knocking out overdue work items. By channeling the initial angst, I’m feeling on top of things and ready for fall outdoor fun. Reframing works!

Traipsing About Issue #77 features:

Bikepacking the Colorado Trail, AI tries New Yorker cartoons, how to tell a story Southpark-style, maybe our 20's aren't the best time of our lives, and my favorite recent life upgrades.


By the way, if you missed my post from two weeks ago on sharing the mental load, check it out. It generated some insightful discussions with Traipsing readers, though all privately via email instead of comments. A delicate subject, it seems.

Deep in the Colorado Rockies at one of the better campsites of my life.

Bikepacking the Colorado Trail

A month has passed since the Colorado Trail, which means my legs are recovered (mostly). Before time erases the REAL experience in my memory, I figured I'd get this write up done. Or look at the pretty pics in the photo gallery; the landscapes on the trail were simply incredible.

The Colorado Trail is the big leagues of bikepacking. Get ready for leg-thumping elevation gain, lung-emptying altitude, afternoon thunderstorms tossing lightning and rain at the passes, and remote, rocky terrain with significant consequences. 

Oh, AND prepare yourself for a fabulous adventure you'll never forget.

We experienced no days I can label easy, but for determined bikepackers, it's not unreasonably difficult. (Well, maybe a couple hours of it...) At our pace of 12 days for the trip, the town resupplies slotted nicely into the program, downed trees weren’t a thing, and perfect trail conditions from rain kept the dust down. 

Sure, obstacles appeared. Forest fires from the west tainted the air for the first week. The elevation gain and hike-a-bike are no joke. We fled thunderstoms. My bicycle showed up 2.5 days late with a bonus of a broken dropper post...

But hey— no mosquitoes swarmed us, beautiful vistas assailed our eyeballs, fantastic descents delighted us, dozens of CT backpackers chatted it up, and we had the opportunity to ride through the Colorado mountains on a famous trail. What more can a bikepacker ask for?

Read the rest of the post or just scope the photo gallery.

AI New Yorker "cartoons" (kinda)

This one is for all of you living in fear of computers taking over after THE SINGULARITY. Don’t worry, AI can’t even create a New Yorker cartoon that isn’t wonky.

Still, the cartoons are rather entertaining, if only because they’re so odd…both the captions and the images the AI creates from online images. Example below.

"Gosh, Helen, I've got something to cover up but then we'll have to talk about it." Hmmm.

The time of our lives?

Ever heard that old expression about our 20s being the time of our lives? Not for this guy. Long work hours, digging out of student debt, angst about leaving engineering to start a business…and that was just Tuesdays!

I know I'm not alone. This Atlantic article dives deeper into why that whole “YAY, your 20s! concept doesn’t hold much water.

Two powerful paragraphs:

Framing young adulthood as the best time of life is a little grim, as it puts a limit on growth. This glorification of youth also seems to assume that everyone has the same resources; moves on the same timeline, in the same way; and has the same kind of life, one filled with adventure and experimentation.

This decade is supposed to simultaneously be a golden age of rootless freedom and fearless exploration and, somewhat contradictorily, the time when you’re meant to figure out your career, your relationships, and your life goals. That’s a lot of pressure.


A good reminder to take it easy on ourselves, I'd say!

Another day on the Colorado Trail!

Southpark story telling

Storytelling is hard. We all know bad examples in movies, books, or the lonnnnng run-on tales from that certain friend. (HEY, stop looking at me.)

This two-minute YouTube video from the creators of Southpark cuts to the chase on how to improve your tales. Here's my handy-dandy paraphrased summary:


“If the words “and then” belong between your scenes or paragraphs, you’re fucked. Or at least seriously boring. What should happen between everything you’ve written down is the word ‘but’ or ‘therefore’.”

(Via For the Interested. His daily two-sentence newsletter consistently delivers.)

A recent evening drawing. Just say no to being an internet troll.

Four small recent life upgrades:

These stylin’ plywood guitar wall hangers for my office.

A ratcheting screwdriver. How in the world did I not own one before?! Best $10 upgrade I’ve spent in a long time. (Thanks for showing me the light, Martin.)

Wyze smart plugs! I use a Wyze wifi smart plug to control our Sonos amp for our outdoor speakers so the power supply doesn't fry again from being on all the time. Instead, I just open the Wyze app on my phone, flip the outlet on, and then switch over to Sonos to turn on music.

Hiring talented folks on Upwork. Just last week I had one tech whiz solidify my web security and email deliverability, another upgrade my business website to work better for visually-impaired people, plus starting chats about a redesign for Traipsing About.

Thanks for swinging by Traipsing About. Work on your New Yorker captions, remember the bad moments from your 20s (or not!), and just say no to stories with "and then..."

P.S. I can’t play Chopin's Nocturnes yet (someday!), but I enjoyed the heck out of the Spotify playlist while writing this newsletter.

I mean, who didn't hate the sit and reach tests? (Admit it, you missed my T. Rex drawings.)
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