Trading stories around the campfire


Two years of travel without electronics, save for some old-fashioned cell phones, is now a jealous memory.  Our first two years by bike are entirely undocumented, except for the stories we tell and a few photos that may exist, taken by others.  That is the way lives and experiences were memorialized for many decades, compiled in a meager photo album, or told as a story around the campfire.

On our first night south of the Grand Canyon on the AZT, a two liter bladder of water burst inside my saddlebag, dousing a small bag of clothing, my cookpot, and my computer.  The saturated laptop quietly whined all night, like the sound of a slowly deflating sleeping pad, but which is actually the sound of a dying battery.  I kept the computer in my sleeping bag to keep it from freezing, and I sunned it in dry Arizonan afternoons over the next few days.  It has yet to be seen by a professional, but the prognosis is not good.  I remind myself that we are happy, healthy, and much too lucky in all other respects.  Although inaudible, my sleeping pad is also losing air, again.

Until I can repair or replace it, I will enjoy more room for avocados, a half-dozen pounds less in my pack; more time for sitting in the shade, thinking; and a little bit more fun exploring Arizona, without a computer on my bike.  I am already wondering if I can squeeze into a smaller seatpack like Lael– she just seems to be having so much fun.  For the next few weeks, I’ll be on vacation from the internet, mostly.  If you want to know what’s happening, you’ll have saddle up and join us around the campfire.  The ride leaves tomorrow morning from Flagstaff.

I will make an effort to share words and images as it is convenient, mostly as a way to test the possibility of staying connected with a lightweight packable tablet, and a camera. 





This post was written entirely on a Google Nexus 7 tablet.  All photos by Lael Wilcox, from her miniature Olympus E-PM1 camera with Panasonic 20mm F1.7 lens.  The import process requires an OTG cable, USB SD card reader, and the Nexus Media Importer program.  Any suggestions for simple Android-based photo editing programs?

27 thoughts on “Trading stories around the campfire

  1. Wow, bummer about the laptop! Patti likes the Aviary photo editor. Since I’m color blind I don’t usually bother editing. We have a love /hate thing with the Nexus, I’m sure you’ll see what I mean when you use it as your sole computer… Oh, we like SwiftKey too, better than a separate keyboard. Feel free to ask if we can help. We just hit ABQ last night.

  2. If it’s a mac, the NAU bookstore is an authorized Apple repair center. They have always taken care of me. Good luck on your adventures!

  3. Snapspeed is the bomb. Amazing results, both from a ‘standard’ adjustments viewpoint and from a creative perspective. I used it exclusively on my trip through AK with the Ipad Mini. Highly recommend.

    • Snapseed seems to be the clear favorite. I have used it a few times, although the Nexus 7 has spent most of its life as Lael’s internet browser, e-reader, and e-mail machine. We’ll share the device for a time, further exploring the capacity of this machine. I look forward to a significantly lighter load for a few weeks.

      Any other recommended apps I may not have found?

  4. Not a good time for gear recently… sorry to read about your tent and now your computer. Hopefully it’s not totally gone!
    Enjoy your time stargazing at the campfire and… waking up smelly in the morning for all the smoke 😉
    Weather down here is slowly turning wet and gray, but I’ve been able to squeeze some nice riding out of it – lots of forest trails to get lost… sort of rediscovering my backyard.
    Don’t let me miss your writing and pictures for too long.

    P.S. Tony says “Hi!”

  5. That is a bummer man. Computers can be replaced, but not always whats on them, man that sucks. Glad to hear you are doing well otherwise.

    • Rusty, After a stolen computer last fall, I have learned to store my data more safely. Most of the important stuff, including photos, is on two external hard drives. Otherwise, it is an expensive inconvenience.

  6. Logan, Two days of AZT riding from the Canyon to Flagstaff helped me straighten out my mood. I have most essential files on a series of external drives, so it is mostly just an expensive accident.

  7. This is a shame for me… This is my favorite blog. But maybe not a shame for you… Technological downsizing can be liberating.

    • Ben, While liberating to spend the last few days without a computer and the associated tangle of chargers, I am prepared to drop some money on a new machine. Aside from the blog, which brings me the most joy, I have lots of plans and projects that necessitate a new computer. Standby, a steady stream of words and images is coming your way.

  8. You need a Toughbook. Or Toughpad. I’m having the former coming in for test, too I feel you’d be the right person to try such a device. I could pass on your details to my contact, if you’re not settled on an Apple device.

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