When else am I going to get to wear a suit?
This is a video post, but I will also put the approximate text below.
How is the Blog doing?
So far on this trip I have written 49,405 words. This equates to 686 words/day or 3.6 words/mile traveled. I hope some of those words were good ones.
I had very little knowledge of what to expect from the blog, so it is difficult for me to evaluate how it is going compared to how I thought it would go. In terms of numbers, I average around 1,000 page views per week. Again, I can’t really say if that is good or bad. There is no real trend to the numbers, which is a little surprising to me. I would expect gradual, consistent growth, but the number of readers has stayed fairly flat.
There have been a couple of days where I’ve had a tremendous amount of views. The first time was when I posted my how-to for building Sonic on the website, reddit. I don’t think I can say it went viral, but it at least caught a nasty cold, being viewed 270k times in a few days. The origin of the second big bump is unknown. It was from a facebook link, but I was unable to track down the exact origin. After both of these bumps, the number of view regressed day by day until returning to the average. Very few if any readers stuck around.
What this tells me is that it is unlikely that my blog will ever reach a broad appeal. Early on, I thought this might be a possibility, maybe even an eventuality. It appears that it is necessary for their to be some sort of personal connection to my story for a reader to stick around.
Please note that I do not say this morosefully. I would hope my effort in telling this story would be consistent whether I had one reader or one thousand readers. The biggest reason I am so thorough in my documentation of this journey, is mostly selfish. I have had to sacrifice in order to gain these experiences so I fear them fading from my memory.
That said, I have considered being a bit more forward in the marketing of this story. Posting on my personal facebook page is pretty much all I have done so far. I have to always be mindful of my motivations, of course, but I do think that that the telling of this adventure has the power to impact others in a positive way. More thought and prayer is needed on this subject before moving forward, but I feel that I am nearing a decision.
As I talk about progress made, I will usually include the percentage completed. My hope is that this will provide some better context than just the raw numbers.
The first leg of this trip lasted 72 days. I’ve estimated a total of 270 days to complete it, meaning I sit at 27% completion time-wise. My list currently sits at 21 of 92 places checked off, 23% done. Western North America is a bit sparse in terms of places, so this is pretty good progress. In terms of mileage, I have logged 13,634 miles so far. I did not end up taking the route I initially planned, so I just did a new estimation of the total miles for this trip. My new “best guess” is 52k miles. That would include riding all the way down into and around South America and all the way back. This means that, mileage wise, we are approximately 26% completed.
How am I doing?
You know how you feel when you slip and fall? You lie there on the ground for a few seconds just kind of taking stock of everything, “OK, I’m not dead. That’s good. Do my toes work. OK. Good. I think I’m OK. OK I’m going to get up now.” That’s kind of how I’ve felt this week. I’ve tried to assess my well-being as honestly as possible.
I think I’m doing pretty well. I don’t have any major physical issues going on right now. Weight wise, I left at 177 lbs, my low point was 171 and I’m already back up to 175. The trip has been a strange mix of literal feast and famine, but they seem to have more or less cancelled each other out. I had a really sore back on Ombabika day, but that went away when I left those roads.
Mentally, I think I’m doing OK. I’m a little tired, but I will hopefully get some good rest this week. I’ve had some moments during this trip when I was not having much fun, but I think I knew that would be part of the journey. I’m trying to remain thankful for those moments as well.
How is Annie doing?
She remains blissfully ambivalent. I have quite a few maintenance items to take care of while I’m home. Please note: Maintenance is different than fixing. These are just regular items that need to be attended to periodically. On my list for the next few days I have: Brake pad replacement, changing brake fluid, changing coolant, valve adjustment. I’ll also replace some components from my luggage system. If I have time, I may do a replacement of the front wheel bearings. I’ll definitely remove the wheel and inspect them.
Some numbers on Annie so far: She is averaging 58.01 miles per gallon so far. That number has been trending up lately, but I’m already pleased with it as is. That number is amazing considering the way I have her loaded down. Another way to think of this number is in terms of miles/$. So far on the trip, I’m averaging just under 21 miles for each dollar spent on gas. This hopefully explains why I have a hard time spending $30 on a campsite. That same amount spent on gas would propel me well over 600 miles.
How is The Budget doing?
My spreadsheet shows I have spent $1,767 on the trip so far. I missed logging two tanks of gas and possibly some other small items, so $1,820 is my best estimation. I recently had my two of my greatest expenses of the trip $145 for a new jacket and $70 for brake pads. Even with this, my average amount spent per day sits at $25.28.
I am wanting to keep the total budget under $15,000, which averages out to $56/day. Again, my current number is $25/day, so I am well below what I need to average. This is not a sign that I can spend more lavishly, however, because most of my budget will be spent in Central and South America. It will probably cost more than $1,000 just to get Annie into Colombia. Also, I will pay for lodging most nights, especially in Central America, in order to maximise my safety. The US and Canada must be completed as cheaply as possible to preserve an ample budget to do the rest of the countries safely.
Fuel – $650
Bike/Riding – $635 (includes mechanical items as well as riding apparel)
Food – $201 ($2.80/day)
Lodging – $83 ($1.15/day, only 5 lodging expenses so far)
Leisure – $46
Personal Care – $25
Misc. Travel – $15
Other – $131
So yes, I am cheap, but a lot of these numbers are due to the hospitality of others. Eating on $2.80/day is possible, but probably not long term sustainable.
How is Sonic doing?
Sonic will get reprinted and resealed while I am home. I am going to try a new method, using this stuff called “Mod Podge.” My sister’s friend, Shayna, recommended this to me when we were in Vancouver. The roller blade wheel bearings are still showing no appreciable drag.
So….We’re off. This has been a pretty successful start to the journey, all things considered. I would like to close by saying thank you to all of you that are with me on this journey. Without your prayers and support, I don’t think I would have even made it to the end of my driveway. I would also ask that you would share any feedback that you might have. I’d love to know what your assessment of the state of the trip is. I would welcome any comments below. If your feedback is more of the critical sort and you’d rather not leave it in the comments, you can use the Contact form at the top of the blog page.
So…good night, good luck, may God bless you and may God bless Ombabika.