<Raise eyebrows, hold hands to mouth in surprise, and insert gasp here.>
Well, my friends, I owe you the story.
The story begins with an advertisement I recently placed in the "Companions Wanted" section of three online touring websites, including Adventure Cycling, Warm Showers, and Crazy Guy on A Bike.
The ad looked like this:
Argentina & Chile: Fall 2015 - Spring 2016
I would like to explore Argentina and Chile by bicycle, and I'm interested in seeing if there are any compatible companions who are interested in joining me.
~ABOUT THE TRIP~
Start Date: I'll likely begin the trip in mid-November 2015. If this timeframe doesn't jive with your timeframe, you're welcome to meet up with me later.
End Date: I'll likely head back home sometime in April or May 2016. I have no qualms, however, extending the trip indefinitely if there is a strong desire to keep riding.
Route: The general plan is to fly into Montevideo to visit a nearby friend's family farm in Uruguay. After the farm visit, I'll ride west to Buenos Aires, head south along the Atlantic to Ushuaia, ride north along the Carretera Austral, and ride through the Lakes District. The ending location is TBD. This is all negotiable and all subject to change. I'm super-duper pumped to ride through Patagonia. Although I recognize that the winds can be a challenge, I anticipate that the GORGEOUS scenery will pay off ridiculously huge dividends. :)
Lodging: I'd like to do this trip as inexpensively as possible. As such, I anticipate lots of guerrilla camping, non-guerilla camping, and warm showers/couchsurfing.
Meals: Again, I'd like to do this trip as inexpensively as possible. I anticipate most meals will be self-prepared, though, of course, in some places, eating at restaurants can be just as inexpensive. I'm a vegetarian.
Pace: While I'm capable of pounding out the miles, I'd like to do this trip at an enjoyable pace -- one that enables for the enjoyment of the scenery and the people.
Other Activities: I'm interested in doing some hiking along the way (and perhaps some other outdoorsy activities), in order to explore beyond the bike path. I also enjoy blogging about my travels, and so I'll dedicate a bit of each day to writing. At the end of the trip, there's a possibility I may decide to rent an apartment in one of the cities and experience being a resident (rather than a tourist) in South America.
Social Expectations: I'm an INFJ, and so while I can be social, I need a fair share of "alone time." I'm not interested in being "attached at the hip" with a riding partner. It's also important that we both recognize that it's okay to go our own ways if we're not enjoying each other's company.
I'm a 37 year-old "semi-retired" female living in Seattle. I have more than 10k miles of touring experience, primarily in the US.
Bicycle touring is my first love, but I also love sailing, yoga, running, backpacking, reading, and finding shapes in the clouds. Other personal interests include voluntary simplicity, tiny houses, and financial independence.
I speak some Spanish, and I have some bike mechanic skills.
If you're interested in learning more about me, visit my blog: http://honoringmycompass.blogspot.com
* You have some touring experience.
* You have a great sense of adventure.
* You're chill.
* You're comfortable going with the flow.
* You're responsible and reliable.
* Bonus points if you are a MacGuyver.
* Bonus points if you are limited by neither time nor finances, and if you are open to extending the bike trip to other places around the globe.
I was inundated with responses. Some replies suggested decent compatible companions, while others sent the fear of god cycling through my veins. It became a cumbersome, part-time job replying to everyone who had taken the time to write me; the excitement of posting the ad faded quickly.
Alas, one of those email correspondences proved to be fruitful! Craig, a happily married man from Florida, responded to my ad. After numerous correspondences of the email, Skype, and phone call variety, we decided to do a test ride together around the Olympic Peninsula. And with that, a beautiful, compatible cycling companionship blossomed.
My Companions Wanted ad above implies that I blog religiously while on tour. While this has been the case for previous tours, the truth of the matter is that I've fallen quite behind in my writing. Although I had every intention of blogging daily on our test ride together around the Olympic Peninsula, Happily Married Craig proved to be such an entertaining and compatible companion that I was more interested in socializing than with writing my daily blog entries.
Although our test ride ended nearly two weeks ago, various other obligations and adventures have created further obstacles to my blog writing. Meanwhile, Happily Married Craig went ahead and wrote up a whole slew of journal entries about our test ride. This amazing feat comes from the same Happily Married Craig who shared the following with me in response to my desire to blog: "I'm not much of a journal writer and pretty much gave up writing them. I thought I'd be good at it, but find I get bored with it."
And so it is that I am having my first guest blogger on my website!
The next series of posts are written by Happily Married Craig. I will interject here-and-there with my own commentary, which will primarily be corrections to Craig's crazy misperceptions. (You have to keep in mind that Happily Married Craig is an older guy and thus a little on the senile side).
Craig's original posts can be found on his Crazy Guy journal, "The Happily Married Man Rides the Olympic Peninsula." Right out of the gate, I have an edit to make to the subtitle of Craig's journal:
Thanks, Craig, for letting me leverage your hard work to appease my blog writing guilt. As is, you're one heckuva compatible companion. And, hell, if I can twist your arm to write all of the blog posts for the trip to South America, then I will have found even more than I had hoped to find in a compatible companion. You rock, dude!