Revisiting old discomforts

by Matt Schiff

We began this 14 month trip riding north up the northwest coast and got rained on almost every day. Being at the beginning of a massive trip there was tons of excitement to get this thing started and our spirits weren’t going to be dampened by some rain showers. A few puddles in one of our tents, (not mine) which could make one disgruntled, were old news by the middle of the day. That was almost four months ago and since that time there’s been relatively few rainy days.

wet roads again

wet roads again

Just recently we’ve ridden through some damp weather again. It’s the cool and rainy weather that is especially hard to dry out from and makes for a more miserable time. Compared to summer thunderstorms, which were no problem to dry out from when the sun resumed, the current weather leaves tents, shoes, sleeping bags and clothes perpetually damp. (And this sounds like fun?)

Just the other day the forecast was for 2-4 inches of rain, and luckily, we avoided riding through most of that. It’s just been a couple of back to back days of putting on the rain gear and getting soaked feet that makes me wonder if we’ll be as resilient as before. While we hopefully don’t get another 20 day stretch of bad weather, I think a little bit of discomfort goes a long way. Yes, I think a bit of cold and rainy weather makes the trip better. For some of our readers at home, thinking how they’d never want to be out in weather like this, I’m saying there are benefits of these small discomforts. Let’s take the rest stop hand dryers we just utilized for an example. After riding through 46 degree rainy weather there are many things that sound good, such as: warm food, drink, and clothes. Now, one who is already warm, dry, and fed cannot experience the enjoyment of having these basic needs met. It’s that simple. It takes a small amount of suffering to tip the balance, put us in a dreaded place, and then make the simplest comforts richer than ever.

the air goes up one sleeve, to your back, and then down the other

the air goes up one sleeve, to your back, and then down the other

When we review our trip so far there were always small discomforts (and always will be.) If it wasn’t the rain in the northwest, it was the bugs through Canada and Alaska, or the heat in Wyoming and Montana. There is always something. Soon it will be the cold weather of a nearing winter but on this trip we never reach a point where survival is an issue; this is not an extreme adventure. We live through it. These are all small discomforts.

winter like weather in fall

winter like weather in fall

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