January 8, 2017
Well, there are three and a half weeks before my scheduled departure from home (Burlington, Ontario), and there is still a lot of work to be done. Probably about 10 percent of the several thousand details remain to be completed. The good thing about deadlines is that they are certain; it will all get done because it has to.
This is a very different trip than the much longer (both time and distance) bicycle odyssey I made in Europe in 1985-86. Bicycling itself hasn’t changed that much, but the technology of our daily lives is considerably more complex today. On that trip, I marveled at the little digital computer attached to my bike that measured speed, distance and time, and computed the averages. I suppose I also could have carried a mobile radio/cassette player for entertainment, but I was into traveling simple and light. My whereabouts were hardly the subject of scrutiny or consequence.
Today the array of devices I will be carrying ranges from my smartphone, with dozens of features and apps to keep track of where I am, where I’m going and what I ‘m doing, as well as a hybrid laptop/tablet computer that will allow me to write and post my ramblings, along with the associated paraphernalia to keep them all charged and connected. I’ll be basically plugged in 24/7, with only somewhat more than 1 per cent of the trip (about 30 miles in Arkansas, as best I can tell) “off the grid” in terms of mobile connectivity. What I will *not* do is broadcast a beacon that locates my presence within a few yards. Yes, such technology is available today, but I’ve chosen to give myself a little more ambiguity and anonymity than that. If you want to make the effort to find me, you’ll have to call.
At this juncture, spring seems more than distant. The temperature is 14 degrees F outside my window, the ground is mostly white and a blast of arctic air has just barely retreated from South Texas (wind chill warnings were for the upper teens). But there is hope; the temperature will climb above freezing here at home in a couple of days, and back into the low 70s in the lower Rio Grande Valley.
May the progress of spring occur on time and may it not be too halting.