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Posts Tagged ‘Do-It-Yourself’

The second half of our return to Mexico involved adding two more teenagers to our travel group, and heading for the ocean. We were so happy that our kids’ Mexican friends were willing and able to join us. The first adventure was driving from Leon (we rented a van at the airport) to Barra de Navidad via Guadalajara. Many board games were played in the back seats.

Once we settled into our budget hotel, we played in the ocean everyday (big waves at Barra, gentler at La Manzanilla), swam in the lagoon and the hotel pool, and wandered the area.

In fact, the teens had the pool to themselves. Many handstands and water-logged hours later, we headed back to Guanjuato – just in time to see the last Harry Potter movie on opening night.

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We’ll be presenting our Go Local Bike Tour at the Bellingham REI on Thursday, February 25 at 6:30pm. Also being presented that evening is a bike tour from Bellingham to San Francisco.

Last summer we pedaled away from our house, and focusing on using bike trails and ferry links, two parents and two pre-teens pedaled 400 miles in a circle tour from Bellingham, Washington to the Olympic Peninsula to Vancouver Island and back home.

While we have a few tips for thinking local, and a couple funny stories to relate, mostly we want to encourage other families to cycle tour. It is an amazing way to travel an area, meet interesting people, and spend time together as a family. We find bicycle touring to be incredible do-it-yourself family adventuring. Hope you’ll try it!

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P8030564The new bicycle configuration, with Noah on his own bike, means that he’s quick on the uphills but the loaded bikes get far ahead of him – or need to brake a lot – on the downhills. This makes for interesting riding if it is very hilly, as it is hard to keep the group together.

We rode about 120 miles in the first 3 days. And then Noah was really tired. Even with Dana occasionally trading places with him, that was too much too fast.

So we’re feeding him much more (above he even has a lollipop in his mouth), scaling back the mileage, and planning some rest days.P8020553 There have also been a few unplanned rest stops. We’ve had a flat tire every day, with two for me in one hour, until we figured out I actually needed a new tire. The tube was bulging out through a thin spot in the tire sidewall, and when I applied my brakes it was just enough additional pressure. Next came the unpleasant pop that signals another flat.

Tom patched the tire with the largest patch we had, even left the backing on for more strength, and we bought a new tire at a nice shop in Sequim, Washington. We’re now hoping for more planned, rather than unplanned stops, although the one in the photo was a good spot – even had a little bench to sit on.

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Family adventuring is more fun when the parents take a lesson from their kids and play a little.p1010493 One way we do that is by taking goofy photos. A pose might be inspired by the landscape or architecture – have you seen those folks who pretend they are holding up the leaning tower of Pisa? Or we might add drama to a scene by pretending to be falling into a crack in the earth, chased by monsters, or exhibiting oh-my-gosh there-is-something-behind-you faces.

We have a whole series of imitation photos as well. Noah pretending to strut like a turkey next to a turkey crossing sign, for example.

The poses, pretending and imitation are fun in the moment, and sometimes the digital copy of that time is pretty humorous to behold when we’re back home remembering the trip as well.

The kids wouldn’t want to keep adventuring with us if the adventures weren’t fun. Crazy photos are one way to make anywhere fun, help us notice the details of a place, and get us using our imaginations and creativity. Together.

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The national economic situation is scary. I know people who have lost their jobs, and others who are worried. I understand cutting back on vacation travel and focusing those funds on necessities, but I think getting outside is still essential. Families need positive time together, fitness, connections to nature, and the personal qualities family adventuring helps grow, like creativity, ingenuity, and self-reliance. So make it doable financially by going do-it-yourself.

We bicycle tour inexpensively by tent camping and making cookstove meals. We backpack and kayak close to home, and rather than buy expensive freeze dried food, we pack our own, with Simple Foods for the Pack and Lip Smackin’ Backpackin’: Lightweight Trail Tested Recipes for Backcountry Trips as useful guides. We also borrow and share gear. Last summer our kayak took another family on a five-day trip, and this fall other friends tried out our tandem bicycles. Plus the tandems and the kayak were originally bought used.

Let’s help each other and keep families connected to outdoor adventure. How will you still get outside together? And what gear can you borrow or lend?

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My old Kelty backpack has been carried many miles and is showing a little age. When I pulled out my old friend this time, along with the familiar marmot-gnawed waist belt, I found one shoulder strap separating from the pack. Oh yeah. I remember noticing that on a North Cascades trip last summer, but of course when I got home I just emptied the pack and put it back on the gear shelf.

Now the backpack needs a fix, and that will require a little ingenuity, as my industrial needle and extra strong braided thread are at home and we’re far from there. While I believe duct tape takes care of almost anything, this calls for sewing. So I borrow a needle from my daughter’s felt crafting, nylon thread from a friend, and use a rock to help push the needle through the tough fabric. Score another point for do-it-yourself solutions.

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