May 17, 2021
“Uuuhhhhh! My Wahoo is saying we missed our turn!”
I can hardly hear my wife and cycling partner yelling to me that her GPS was alerting us that we missed our turn.
“Kyle! We have to turn around!”
We’re three miles into a one hundred and twenty mile ride…..
This is not a rare occurrence. Something almost always goes wrong with the Wahoo. It’s mostly human error. Either a wrong button got pushed, I forgot to sync the GPS, or, while mapping out the route on my computer, I misplaced a waypoint.
So here we are, Bailee and I, on our first bikepacking trip. We are riding the Cross Vermont Trail from Wells River in the east to Burlington in the west (with a couple detours. The actual route is only 96 miles) and we’re already lost. We weren’t actually lost, we had just missed our turn. I had expected the turn to be more obvious or have a sign where the CVT turned off the main road. I had paper cue sheets to help navigate and chose to ignore the GPS thinking our turn was coming up. It never did and we ended up having to stay on the busy highway much longer than we anticipated. Not exactly the scenic route….
I had planned for this trip for a while. I’ve always been a planner when it comes to my outdoor adventures no matter how many miles I’m covering or nights I’m sleeping outside. Even after all of this planning I’ve already managed to get off course. How does this always happen? Even after hours of staring at maps and going over checklists again and again something always goes wrong. I just want things to go smoothly and maximize our precious days of freedom from work and life.
This is just like our first trip to Yosemite National Park. I had planned that trip months in advance but never anticipated that snow would close the pass over the Sierras and we would be forced to drive 12 hours from our house in Nevada rather than the 5 hours I had expected. Nevertheless, we still made the trip and had a blast. This was also the case on the Cross Vermont Trail.
After many other adventures, big and small, I’ve come to learn one thing; No matter how much I plan the route, analyze the weather, or reorganize my gear, something will always go wrong. Even after coming to this realization, I’ll never stop being a planner. Many of my adventures would have fallen flat without some sort of planning. It’s always a good idea to have a somewhat of a schedule in place to maximize your time and maybe some forethought on other essential travel needs to maximize comfort. What I have figured out is that it’s okay for things to not work out. Working through problems is what makes an adventure and adventure. If I wanted everything to be easy I could ride the downtown bike paths and come home to sleep in my bed. But I don’t want to ride the bike path, I want to experience the roads-less-traveled. Sometimes you just have to be prepared to be unprepared.