As I was scrambling to start getting everything ready today, I realized that even though the trip hadn’t officially started yet this was definitely a big part of it. Even though my work was done in China (for the time being) I was still busy as ever. Not to mention, the preparation for a trip certainly has a lot of bearing on the trip itself. So here’s what’s been keeping me busy:
Step One: Since I was going to be arriving in New York from China less than a week before departure day, I was slightly concerned about jet lag, especially since there was so much to get ready once I got back. It all worked out quite well since I had going away festivities friday night, then was packing until 4am the night before take off. So with less than 8 hours of sleep over two days, it was a easy to fall asleep on the plane, afternoon in Beijing and night in New York.
Step Two: I got a somewhat intimidating e-mail from the friends of mine that I would be hiking with when I reach Oregon a couple of days before leaving Beijing. It was reinforced that they would be hiking 25-30 miles by the time we met up, so I had better be in shape. That was probably going to be hard given that the two weeks preceding I’d be on a motorcycle the whole time. The other thing is that being in shape for hiking is very different from normal fitness. What I like about hiking is that in the end it doesn’t really matter how fit you are success largely depends on your will power and determination. Hiking is a great equalizer. When I was hiking on the Appalachian Trail the range of people that finished was impressive, from 10 years old to 70, from hikers with years of experience to none at all, plus both sexes, all races, and all backgrounds. So if you’re willing to push yourself you can usually do it. The only problem is that the constant beating your body takes on takes some getting used to. At the end of your first 20 mile day (or even 10+) your knees hurt, your muscles tighten up, your feet swell up, and you’ve burned many more calories and protein than you can probably take in. None of this really changes, your body just gets used to it.
So, I decided that though doing exercises would help and I would start working out, I needed to walk as much as possible while in New York. As a result, at every opportunity while running my errands I’ve walked around the great city of New York, which is quite enjoyable in and of itself. So far I clocked about 5 miles from Queens to the upper west side on day one, and today i managed to put in around 13. Right now I’m exhuasted and all told that’s not even a full single day of what I need to be doing. Oh well, step by step.
Step Three: Found out on my first full day back that I had left my drivers license in China… could be important, so walk to the DMV it is!
Step Four: All the equipment necessary for blogging and other media. First was seeing if I could pick up an iPhone 4, and luckily enough I managed to get the last one in stock at the Best Buy on the upper west side. I also needed a camera charger.
Step Five: Camping equipment! I was still short on a few things here. After less than 5 miles my feet were starting to feel as if they were blistering from my relatively worn trail runners. So went to paragon for shoes and the other equipment that I would need. A thing to keep in mind that I’ve found is that hiking clothing can really come in handy for motorcycle riding, particularly winter riding. The thermals, strategy of layering, and all other warm clothing. Also you have to make sure that you can still stay warm and comfortable even if you end up getting wet. So this was some important gear.
Step Six: There’s still a lot left to do and the countdown is certainly on! Tomorrow night Brent and Pam will be arriving in New York, which technically starts the trip, with NY being the first stop. I still have to do all my packing, both for hiking and the bike and make sure I have everything. Work still needs to be done on the website for tracking the trip plus all arrangements for things that I won’t be able to do as easily on the road particularly my meeting point in Oregon with my friends.
It’s all coming together though, piece by piece. Either way it’s going to have to because it’s only a few days until we set out from New York, and for Brent and Pam, the trip has already started!