Twenty days till I drive out of Cody, Wyoming.
I skipped the “cancer check”. The reason, besides being uncomfortable, if “something” was found, what can be done in 20 days? (and remember to leave off weekends). NOTHING. And again, if something was found, and I DON’T do anything, because of time, what a damper on my trip. So I’ll check it when I get back. All my other tests were fine, the PAP test and all. So I’m back-burnering it and proceeding.
The house I’m sort of illegally subletting had to have another DFS inspection for the actual leaser, so I had to take all my stuff out, AGAIN. Awkward moment yesterday, the DFS man showed up unannounced, I was here alone, half asleep, boiling eggs. I quickly gathered my keys and purse and exited, explaining that I was a friend of Anthony’s who just dropped by. Yikes.
It’s damn cold today, I was going to go snowshoeing at Pahaska TeePee by Yellowstone, but think indoor stuff might be better. It was -10º there this morning.
My son called, he is bound and determined to move out of that apartment he’s in in Hollywood. Someone smashed his door in last night. I don’t blame him, bad enough he contends with roaches (the insect variety) in his place, now he’s dealing AGAIN with the human variety of roach. He’s had his lock rekeyed twice already, and added extra locks, and STILL his door was kicked in. The perpetrator (we think we know who it is) didn’t get in, but did damage to the door. I was supposed to be staying with him. Since I’ll have all my stuff with me, I can just camp on the beach I guess, if it comes down to it.
Pandemonium is in my store room, I have to pull it out as I am still tweaking the contents to make room. So back to the storage unit and put it all back in my truck, unload some stuff I don’t need anymore, after all I’m only here 20 days, I can live out of a suitcase at this point. Might start UPS-ing stuff soon to my sister, the empty stuff like the water jug, cooler, perhaps the mandolin (it’s not EMPTY but it’s light.). Hard to travel with all that. I doubt the airlines, with a change of planes in Saint Louie, will keep all that stuff together.
I mainly have to load songs into my iPod, and do a few drawings I owe, and repack yet again, to make space for food. Everything fits so far, except I didn’t save troom for a few days worth of food. Oops.
With heavy heart (the man I love and had spent the night with, left a local saloon with a lady with lighter-colored hair. He digs blondes and redheads. Thanks for that, love) I shall proceed with my plans. Might do me some good to get away from Cody after all….. :(
Well I had the ultrasound and it doesn’t look like I have too much to worry about. Still have another “uncomfortable” test to take Friday, another cancer check. I believe this doctor is an alarmist, he’s new to me so I don’t know him well.
Anyway, should be receiving the package from Amazon in the next day or so. Item tracking has it arriving in Cody yesterday, shouldn’t take them long to deliver it to my UPS box in town. It has my vegetarian jerky, laptop cover and 2 Moleskine sketchbooks in it.
So far, with 25 days left to adjust it, this is what’s in the green duffel bag:
- Eureka® dome tent with poles, stakes and rain fly
- Nylon hammock
- Hammock straps
- Big Agnes® insulated air filled sleeping pad, mummy shaped 20 x 72 x 2.5 inches
- Marmot® 15º rated synthetic down mummy style sleeping bag
- Eagle Creek® traveler’s towel, XL
- Kelty® camping pillow
- Spare tube for stroller tires
- Frame tire pump
- Sketchbooks for drawing pictures, taking notes, journaling
- UV rated wire ties (how some gear is affixed to stroller)
- Small bottle Extra Virgin Olive Oil (for skin, etc)
- Camp Soap (biodegradable, for washing clothes and such)
- Pair of Yak Trax® for walking on snow or ice
- 10–gallon Ziplock® bag containing clothes:
- 2 pair nylon pants
- 2 skirts
- 1 thermal shirt
- 3-4 t-shirts, some wicking
- sports bras
- convertible pants (legs zip off to make shorts)
- 2 flannel shirts for layering
- several pairs wool blend hiking socks
- 1 pair sports sandals or Crocs® Sandals probably take up slightly less space)
- Silk bandana
- several pairs of underwear
- I will probably add a few more items, I like to walk in skirts
- probably adding a pair or 2 of tights to layer with for warmth under nylon pants
- Fleece jacket or shirt (if there’s room)
- Knit hat
- Gloves (maybe)
- Ear muffs
Instead of weight being my biggest issue, it’s actually space. That list, above, is what is going or already in the green duffel bag. Still need to add a PVC container for polite disposal of toilet-related wastes, like tissue and tampons and the like. It’s a 8-10″ 2″ diameter PVC pipe segment with 2 caps. One stuffs used tissue and other waste into it and caps it, when a proper disposal site is encountered, the contents can be pushed through the tube using a stick, smaller piece of PVC, whatever, into a toilet, dumpster, port-a-potty, etc. Not sure if I’ve got room, but I’ll try. Also need toilet paper in the bag as well. And “feminine products”. (*my doctor wouldn’t prescribe The Pill for me, to stop/lessen periods while I’m away. My age, blood pressure, etc, precludes me from being a Pill candidate. Damn.) Various small items, like a length or two of small diameter rope, for clothesline, securing, repairing, tourniquet, whatever. Leather/canvas repair, heavy waxed cord and needle. Inflatable item repair kit, meaning nylon patch. Duct Tape, clear. Never know. If there’s room, a fleece sleeping bag for warm nights.
The backpack that rides along the handles contains stuff I’ll need to access more quickly:
- First Aid Kit (blister kit, bandages, antibiotic ointment, tweezers, gauze, medical tape, small bottle Listerine® for disinfecting cuts, nail clippers, bottle of prescription antibiotics my doctor was kind enough to prescribe, for bladder infections (I am prone to them) bronchitis, or infected looking cuts, other drugs, bug repellents, etc.
- Tripod, small aluminum one that opens to stand as tall as I. In case I want a night shot or self portrait. If I run out of space, this will get traded for my GorillaPod® or a smaller-still one from REI.
- CamelBak® water bottle, about 16 ounces, for sterilized water, ice tea, Gatorade®, etc.
- Outdoor Products® 5′x7′ nylon water resistant tarp, for emergency shelter, gear covering, ground cloth
- “The MoFo”, my 14″ Bowie Knife and it’s leather sheath
- Bear Spray for defense against attacking animals OR humans
- Small folding stool so I can sit when I take a break or when drawing
- Several energy bars
- 3 Buff® stretchable “tube” bandanas. Can be used as sweat bands, pony tail holders, head covers, baklavas, earmuffs, “bandit” face covers for dust, etc.
- Regular cotton bandanas, for whatever bandanas are used for, and also as washcloths when shower not available.
- Coast® Head Lamp LED flashlight you wear.
- A few small trial size bottles of shampoo
- Hawaiian Tropic ® 45 SPF lip balm (when my lips burn, I get cold sores!)
- Emergency rain poncho
What else will go in there:
- Laptop computer (Apple iBook G4) in a neoprene sleeve, and then into a big Ziplock® bag to waterproof it
- 300 GB Hard Drive
- Small bag containing cables and chargers for electronics, camera, etc
- Small cosmetic bag (even walking all day, a girl likes to look her best!)
- Eyeglasses in case
- iPod Nano (loaded with a lot of Tom Petty!)
- Panasonic LUMIX® 16 mp digital camera, in it’s case.
- Art pens (black ink, like fine point Sharpies), for drawing/writing in sketchbooks.
- Pencils, pencil sharpener, eraser
- Lined journal for notes, writing when computer has no charge
- Postage stamps for sending cards and letters out
- Sporks (spoon/fork combination utensil, unbreakable plastic) for yogurt, cottage cheese, etc and plastic knives for spreading peanut butter and Laughing Cow® spreadable cheese, etc.
- Personal Care items like toothbrush, hair brush, deodorant, razors, toothpaste, etc. Maybe sunscreen or facial moisturizer WITH sunscreen in it.
- Peanut butter
- Bagel crisps
- Fruit like apples or oranges
- Vegetarian Jerky
- Energy Bars, Snickers® bars (dense calorie, protein and fat)
- Trail mix
- Cashews, nuts, dried fruits and veggies
- Tablets that you drop in water to make fruit punch or lemon-lime flavored Gatorade® type drinks, if water doesn’t taste good, to use in CamelBak® water bottle. They provide electrolytes as well.
On my back will be my CamelBak® hydration pack. The M.U.L.E. is the model I have. Stands for Multi Use Long Endeavor. (I’ll say) The MULE holds 100 ounces of water in it’s bladder. My most important emergency life-saving stuff goes in it. Should the stroller wander off, get whacked by a truck, stolen, whatever, what’s on my back should be able to save my life. So in it I’ll carry:
- Snake bite kit
- Bear Bell (makes noise in bear country, to let them know you’re coming… not good to surprise a grizzly)
- A few energy/protein Bars
- steriPEN® an ultraviolet light water purifier. My friend Dave bought be this. Runs on 2 CR123 batteries. You simply insert what looks like a tiny florescent bulb into the water, turn it on, a signal-light tells you when the water is safe. Kills everything alive, including giardia, amoebas, bacteria, viruses, etc. Not a particle filter, just a sterilizer. No bigger than 5-6″ long, 1.5″ wide. (a guess)
- My cell phone
- U-Dig-It® folding trowel, for “catholes”
- “Stub roll” of toilet paper
- ID / wallet / ATM card
- Some first aid items
- A few energy bars
- “Space Blanket” (those silver mylar blankets that help keep you warm)
- My Leatherman® JUICE, a multi-use pocket knife / pliers / scissors / screwdriver, etc
- 45 SPF Hawaiian Tropic® lip protection
- Windproof lighter
- small compass
- small thermometer
- Small personal pepper spray
- Pocket knife
- My Gut Pills (if I don’t take them, I can’t digest food)
- An extra layer, like a windbreaker, flannel shirt, something for sun/cold protection
- Couple packs of vegetarian beef jerky
- Bandana and/or Buff®
On Pandemonium himself, (or is it a SHE??) will ride a 2-gallon water jug underneath everything, in a little carry spot made for the stroller. If I need the space I can take out the little folding stool and simply sit on the water jug; it has a flat top. Also MIGHT take along a neat picnic blanket with “emergency” silver backing. Handy if I just wanna lie down a few, spread junk out to repack, etc.
The mandolin in it’s hard-side case, which I really want to go with me, will ride on top on the duffel bag. In it’s case are extra strings, a winder, capo, etc. On it will ride an Igloo® cooler/lunchbox. In it will be cooled foods such as:
- An occasional fruit juice / mango smoothie for a treat
- .. or a can of RedBull or Coke Zero for a treat as well
- Vegetables like baby carrots, celery, etc.
- Various spreads like jelly, honey, ranch dressing, to dip dry foods into
- Cottage cheese if it fits
It isn’t a very big cooler, and I need to have room for ice. The practicality of it remains to be tried. It may not stay cool long enough to be useful. I’ll just have to stop and get ice in each town to keep the contents fresh.
Logically, the mandolin can and should stay but I’d hate to go 6 months without it. I will want an occasional hot meal, pizza, bowl of soup, etc. I hope the generosity of strangers will help me attain that, if not a meal out at a local diner will suffice. I opted against a stove as I don’t want to spend time cooking, then cleaning up after cooking, and carrying a pot, can opener, fuel, etc.
If the mandolin becomes cumbersome, it is fairly light so I can mail it to myself or to a friend or family member who’ll hold it for me. It does serve as a nice flat platform for the cooler to ride on, however.
The cooler and the mandolin need to be bungeed down, but everything else rides along pretty well. Cal’s soft-sided packing idea was a good one.
I like having a little bit from a lot of people. Makes me feel like they’re part of my trip (well they ARE!) and with me to a certain extent. The name of the stroller, the bear spray and steriPEN, the CamelBak pack, all from other people, as are a lot of items. Some of the music in my iPod will be friend’s recordings; two of them are singers. The iPod was a gift from my daughter, as was the camera, and stuff I bought at Amazon, since she got me a gift card to there. The sleeping bag and stuff from Sierra trading post is from my best friend Wendy and my son Hudson, via a gift card to THAT store.
All I really need now is more underwear, sunglasses and food. And the “banner” announcing what I am doing.
When it’s all in here and packed, I’ll post if I made any changes. And right before I leave I’ll weigh myself.. see if that changes as I walk west.
My phone has GPS in it, and my computer (I have an “internet-anywhere USB stick) will provide maps, weather, local information, and I can post photos, write in blog, pay bills, etc. Just makes more sense to have it with me. Originally I wasn’t bringing it.
I’m sure I’ve left some stuff out, as I have not yet done a FINAL packing, but that’s how it looks so far. I’ll update it and/or revise it as I add and subtract items.
Hard to believe it fits… or does it?
The last week or so I have been running myself ragged.
My good friend Ernie fell off a ladder a few weeks ago and broke his hip. Broke the “ball” on the top of his femur clean off; it is no secured with 4 screws. (odd to have a body repaired with the same piece of hardware a house is built and repaired with…)
Another friend, Ed, got into a bar brawl and was slammed down onto asphalt; he is suffering from a broken collarbone (in 3 places yet), a concussion, and sore, swollen, cut knuckles.
Ernie is in the process of moving into a new house, and is on crutches, so I’ve been assisting him. Eddie’s just trying to recover, his injuries are only a week old or so, so I’ve been checking on him, helping him out with tasks that are difficult for him right now.
Yet another friend is nursing a broken heart, he broke up with his girlfriend, so I had dinner with him and his aunt and uncle a couple nights, hung out at his house in the evening, just to give him company.
My friend Cal, the one who gave me the soft-side idea for Pandemonium, needed a ride to his place as he rented his van out for Valentine’s Day to a flower shop for deliveries. He lives close to 30 miles away. He’s the man I’m quite in love with, we “see” eachother casually, and that night, like many others, I stayed over and stuck around to help him with housework or some other task he didn’t have time for.
I’m also rather broken hearted about Cal; I love him dearly, I’d marry him if he asked, but there’s no chance that will happen. He’s not in love with me. I will miss him immensely when I’m on my walk. So I mope about a lot, he’s the most difficult person to leave, and leaving him is the most difficult part of this upcoming venture so far.
Now, with all this going on, I’ve been taking care of details and medical matters. One logistical issue I’m trying to work out, if I can, is the “monthlies”. It would be a lot easier if I didn’t have to deal with a period every month. There are birth control pills that can eliminate it altogether. My regular doctor, who works at a Catholic-run clinic, is not allowed to prescribe such drugs. So he sent me to an OB/GYN.
My doctor *did* give me a prescription for antibiotics, one he said would be a cure for a bladder infection, bronchitis or even an infected cut. So that’s good, I won’t get in the middle of North Dakota and need a doctor for an infection, he told me the doses to take if any of the above mentioned issues arise.
I went to the OB/GYN yesterday and had a check up; it’s been several years since I have been so I was overdue anyway. I went there specifically to discuss the aforementioned issue, but during the physical exam he found a “mass” or lump or tumor or something, so I’m currently quite distraught. I’m scheduled for an ultrasound for 2:00 today to see what exactly is going on.
My biggest concern is not my health, but my schedule. If this “thing” is something that needs to be dealt with now, like surgery, I don’t know if I’ll make my schedule. It could be absolutely nothing at all, to be honest, it could even be “what’s in my intestines” as my uterus sits in a strange position anyway, and he might not know what he’s feeling, or it could be something to deal with. The unknown is a lot harder to deal with than black-and-white facts. If whatever it is can wait till I get back to handle, then I shall. The doctor used the phrase “bleed to death” which was naturally a bit alarming, in reference to what a fibroid tumor in the wrong place could do. So I need not ignore it, and I’m not, but the timing is just bad. I’m just troubled at the possibility that the doctor will want to act on this, and I leave in 31 days. He was going to do the ultrasound in his office, and schedule it for next week, but I argued about the time, and how awful it was to not know what’s going on, and to have to wait a week just for the test, so I’m having it done at the hospital today.
So, needless to say, I’ve been busy, I’ve been distraught, I’ve not made any progress other than a few lists and mental organizing, as far as getting ready for my trip.
I will update as I know more.
35 days left, 5 weeks, however you say it, it doesn’t sound like, and isn’t, very long. That’s till I leave Cody March 18th.
49 days, 7 weeks till I start walking. Today’s Sunday, I leave Cody on a Sunday, I start walking on a Sunday.
Bought the plane ticket to Newark International this week. THAT was a rush. Actually solidified my plans, made it real. I contacted the Ocean City chamber of commerce (NJ) and told them of my intentions, not that they’re gonna care, but anyway. In the email I gave them the link to the Powell Tribune article about me.
So now my sister Doona has the dates and times and is making plans accordingly, since I have included her in my plans, because she lives on the NJ/PA border basically. I plan to visit with her a few days, as I haven’t seen her in forever, and perhaps see New York City again, her kids, etc. Then she’s taking me to Ocean City to commence.
Also this week I ordered and received my sleeping bag. I bought a Marmot 15º rated synthetic down bag which rolls up small and weighs about 3.5 pounds. It does take up a good bit of space in my duffel bag, it’s IN there, but I need to repack again. My clothes are the issue right now.. to think that for 6 months I’ll have 2 pairs of pants, 2 skirts, 6 shirts and underwear, and that’s IT. Have to rely on layering quite a bit, and, as it warms up, UN-layering. I need to do a repacking of the clothes. I’m packing them into a 10-gallon Ziplock® bag so if I hit rain, (when, rather) they won’t get wet through the duffel bag. The Duffel bag has about 3-4 coats of Camp-Dry® sprayed on it, as does the vertically loaded backpack Cal gave me.
Everything will fit, it’ll be tight maybe, but I keep pulling and repacking and re-arranging the stuff. What’s missing now is a final packing of clothes, my personal hygiene and first aid stuff, and food. I even have a tripod packed.
And I have decided to bring along my laptop. It solves so many issues. First, I can continue keeping this blog, and writing what I want for the book (if I make it, if there is one).. I can keep up with email, post Facebook updates as I change locations, follow along Google’s walking directions, have storage for photos, which “unlimits” me on how many I can take, … I can pay bills, check my account balances, check weather, road conditions, look for public lands and parks to camp in, etc. Another benefit is if, in a dire emergency, I need my phone and it’s dead, the laptop should have enough juice in the battery to get the phone, hooked to USB charger, to come on long enough to make a phone call. Anyway, it just is too practical to leave behind. The weight of maps and printed out turn-by-turn directions would probably outweigh the computer anyway.
Still so much to do, but it’s coming together and I’m excited as hell. For now I must end this posting. Should have the photo of the stroller pretty soon. We’ve got like 4″ of snow on the ground so I don’t wanna take it outside till it melts off or till the roads are decent anyway.
I’ll eventually post a list of what all is in the stroller and duffel bags and back packs. I based my supply list on another fellow who posted his, and he walked coast to coast. Of course I altered it to fit my needs and what I’m taking.
More soon. :)
Well it’s February first.. 43 days till I leave Cody.. 60 days till I start hoofing it. If everything goes right.
Took Pandemonium (the stroller) out for it’s maiden voyage (as a cargo stroller). Loaded ‘er up with the duffel bag, which I packed with the tent, gear, clothes, etc.. the backpack which, just for weight, I threw in canned food, etc, the mandolin, and put my Camelbak on, loaded IT up as well, and walked to my friend Dave’s house. There, he put the stroller on a jack (which was funny) and took the tires off one by one, deflated them, moved the valve stems and tubes to the right places, aired ‘em up and re-installed them. The stroller rolls like a dream, really, even with weight in it, and even up hill. (he lives up a good hill in Cody). So weight is NOT as much an issue as I thought.. more about space at this point… small is good. I *really* want the computer with me, because it’ll allow me to keep this blog, upload tons more pictures to my portable hard drive, stay in touch, keep up with news, weather, use Google maps, etc. Also, it should hold a charge awhile, and if my phone dies, I can USB-charge it from the computer in case it dies and I really need it. I was going to get a solar charger to use, but the computer, charged daily or whenever I can, should have enough juice left to give me one phone call in a dire emergency.. if in fact I find myself in some desperate 911 situation.. which I strongly doubt. Still under review if this laptop will come or not. Sure would be handy to have along. Will decide this week I presume. I had GPS installed in my DumbPhone, so I can get turn-by-turn directions from that, but better, it tells me where I AM… so if I get totally lost, I can figure it out and not end up going East or something.
Slowly gathering my gear… picked up the water jug today from storage, bought some 10-gallon Ziplock bags today for clothes and computer bag, waterproofed (coat #1 anyway) the duffel bag. I pack, unpack, add, subtract, replace, revise… gotta get it all in there, gotta get it RIGHT.
I decided against a stove, at least for now. Another fellow’s list of what he brought didn’t include it.. to bring one means expense, fuel needs, added weight and space. I can subsist fine on room-temperature or cooled foods. This fellow walker brought along a cooler, the same one I already have, and carried small items like cheese, hummus, fruit, juice, jelly, etc. in it. Dry foods like peanut butter, crackers, trail mix, apples, whole wheat bagels, etc. will go in the pack.
Had a setback a couple weeks ago. My legs had been really good until a couple weeks ago when I was just walking from the Silver Dollar Saloon to my car… about 20 feet. I suddenly got a terrible cramp in my right calf, and a mild one in my left. I’m not talking a Charlie Horse.. this hurt as bad as when I sprained my ankle years ago.. so painful it was nauseating. After a couple days of no relief AT ALL, it was swollen, hard, warm to the touch,.. I went to Urgent Care because a couple people suggested it might be a blood clot. I was ultrasound-ed at the hospital, and they said, no, it was simply a knotted muscle. I used heat, muscle relaxers, stretching, etc. and after a week or so, it finally subsided. When I walk, I can feel it mildly pulling, there, my left thigh, and a little in my left calf.. but I did an 8 mile loop the day before yesterday, and I did just fine… this is no time for my disorder to rear it’s head again…
Right now everything is UNpacked, so I can waterproof-treat the bags, but when I get it all reloaded again I shall upload a photo of it as it shall look when ready to roll.
It’s coming together slowly.. I’m not the most organized person in the world, .. I think Nick picked a good name for my stroller.. suits me, suits it. Pandemonium. But it is coming together. I should be walking more but I’ve not been sleeping well, and always seem to get a slow start.. by the time I get around to getting things done it’s too late to start a 10-miler to be home before dark.
Should be purchasing my ticket from Los Angeles to Newark this week. Hope to make it for March 28th, so I can spend a couple days visiting my sister in Pennsylvania, who’s house I’ll stop at again on my way West. I’d like to visit Ground Zero while I’m in the area, if she can swing a trip to the city with me. And then on to Ocean City…
…where the adventure begins.