Monday, July 11, 2016

JOGLE=John O Groats to Lands End

Now July. Officially staring down 2 months before lift off. In September I will embark on a 1,000 mile journey from the top of England to Land’s End in Cornwall.

This past week I tested out camping equipment on a car road trip--of 2 thousand miles. Chicago to Portland, Maine. It was both stressful and pleasant. A lot like life. And a chance to test some of my armchair traveler theories. You see, it's easy enough to plan a trip in front of a computer, but reality has a way of throwing a wrench into the mix.

One: relying on phone and Google maps. One of my biggest worries is navigation. I'm not quite ready to sink $300 or more dollars into a Garmin. My Smartphone has changed my life. On my trip back from Grand Rapids self-navigation became a breeze rather than the laborious torture of other trips. The constant stopping, getting my eyes adjusted to tiny map print, then sometimes ultimately taking the wrong direction. Boom: Google pops me thru towns. BUT: now there are problems of keeping the device juiced. My reliance on it is paramount to getting home or getting anywhere.

I’m concerned about cellphone coverage and getting a signal in the far northern reaches and in between places of the Scottish highlands.

On my road trip to Maine we also stopped at the L.L. Bean flagship store in Freeport. Let me say right now that the outlet store is a rip off. It was busloads of tourists looking (like me) for a deal, but walking away merely with anything branded with Bean. All the rain pants I looked at were close to $200. No bargain. So I went across the street to the Bean mega-complex to their specific Bike, Ski, and Paddle store. Not department, but each activity has its own store. Bean has a pretty big retail footprint in Freeport. But there I found Showerspass rain pants in my size for a less than website price. Affordable. Still as I ran my fingers over them trying to decide because it was still a lot of money--aren't these just nylon? Yes, but waterproof and breathable I tried to tell myself. Also England rains a lot I heard in my other ear. So I bought them.

There and back we camped in New York state where on the 4th of July weekend in Owego, NY we caught a live community orchestra accompanying a fireworks show all in sync. A slice of hometown Americana.

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