It's snowing outside, and difficult to keep my thoughts from drifting to ride planning. It feels like there are so many moving parts to manage before embarking, but in truth I think I just can't resist tossing and turning ideas over in my head. Riding across country has been on the To Do list for a couple years, but I resisted mentioning it aloud (in case it scared it away, obviously). It's weird to finally break the silence. I just quietly busied myself collecting experience points with shorter journeys, acquiring relevant skills (like 'Camping' and 'Sneaky Parking', still working on the 'Weather Sorcery' skill though), and equipping appropriate gear.
The main obstacle for my proposed departure date of April 22 is the possibility that work on a picture book runs overtime. Read on for the breakdown.
Ideally, summer will look like:
Plan A for...yAy!:
Finish picture book (somewhat flex deadline) mid-April, allowing for some time for last minute fixes. Hit Craigslist with the bulk of my furniture. Depart April 22, springing off from CORSette and Whiskey Dick III scooter rally and continuing south. Ride around the country in a roughly clockwise fashion until August/September, when I return to deal with my things in storage and finish a separate book (hereafter referred to as Other Book) due in November.
I like this plan, because it gives me up to 4 months to ride and explore, and I already have thoughts of BBQ and bourbon dancing on my palate this summer.
Picture book runs slightly overtime. Enjoy the scooter rally anyway, and point the scoot southwards in May. This isn't ideal only because it'll put me in the southern states during the swampy months, but hopefully I'll clear it to California before the worst of it in July. This also cuts down on time to get back to the northeast, because I'll need to be settled somewhere for a couple months to finish Other Book.
Picture book isn't at a satisfactory state until June. This is bad. Reverse my route; that is to say, cut west first instead of south and make it to my cousin's place in California around July/August. Decide then whether I'll hightail it back east quick like. I'm apprehensive riding back if it's later in the year, because it will be too close to Other Book's deadline, not to mention cold back in New England. Besides, the whole point was to take my time and wander. If I don't return east right away, there's...
Better late than not at all, right? In this scenario, picture book for some horrific reason runs into June/July. Route gets reversed (counter-clockwise around the country). My dear cousin in California has kindly offered to let me winter with him, but I may seek a monthly-rate AirBnb somewhere warmish and cheapish to take the pressure off. A prepackaged box of art supplies left with a trusted friend will need to be mailed to the west coast for October (this box will be there anyway and picked up by me, if I'm back in NE in September). I could potentially take advantage of year-round riding weather in some parts of California, and zoom around on some mini-trips after finishing Other Book in November. Depart back east early spring 2015, passing through the south before it's hot hot hot.
This last option is difficult to wrap my head around, because it means I'll be on the road for an entire year. Although I'm planning to do the sketching and preliminary work for Other Book in between riding this summer, doing finished work was 'reserved' in my mind for a settled location, not to mention Future Books nagging to be formulated. I suppose it's entirely possible that it could come to wintering in California anyway, if I move slowly enough. It's also possible that some malfunction/accident (knock on wood) waylays my progress too. Or that I simply get tired of scooting (!). It's a good reminder to myself to stay flexible, since staying on the west coast for winter really isn't that bad at all, especially since I don't have a landing plan back east (more AirBnb likely). The only thing I can't imagine is not setting off. I can still hit the necessary deadlines. I have the same budget, on the road or paused. It'll still be an adventure. At worst, I think I'll miss wearing my other clothes.