As we ramp up, hopefully to our full plan, flexibility is going to be the key to making all the logistics work. I have several plans for each level covering all of the situations that have occurred to me and feel like we can adapt to the ones that haven’t. The goal that we are hoping for is, of course, to do the full trail in both directions every week for 60 weeks. But, we’ll be happy just to know the idea has any support. So, let’s start with Baby Steps.
Logistics isn’t complicated at the lowest level. We buy the additional photography equipment needed and use cycling equipment we already own. We check Maps and weather for current conditions and look at our checklists so we bring everything we need. We plan repair and maintenance and additional work to interfere as little as possible with spreading our 60 rides as evenly across 60 or more weeks as possible. We upload and work on rewards.
Stretch level remains fairly uncomplicated. We do the same, except for producing and uploading twice as much video. So, we record for twice as long, or make it out twice a week. These two plans just add a photography commitment and increased attention to timing to what we would hope to be doing regardless. I say “just”, but I’m not implying that getting good video will be simple or easy. At this level, we might even vary locations if we get the chance.
Super Stretch Goal
Super Stretch Goal is a big jump up from Stretch in budgeting, planning and commitment. That’s because it moves to hundred plus mile videos, overnight stays, storage and planning, and we’ll need to shift into new recumbent bikes for at least half of our ride time. At this level we’ll be recording the entire length of the Silver Comet and Chief Ladiga Trails once a month. We’ll be working with one of the two the weekends that we have available per month, so there’s no loss of work/income required to complete the project at this level.
The primary scenario would for one of us to drive support for the other in one direction, and switch places the next day on the way back. We will spread the rides as evenly across the 12 months as weather and hiccups allow. The drawback is that this is higher impact (carbon emissions) than we want. The positive is that it will definitely get 12 long videos for upload (possibly more) and they will span changing seasons. It’s a fraction of what we want, and the opportunity to catch extraordinary wildlife is much smaller, but it’s a decent accomplishment.
If we can put some of these rides on 3-day weekends, then we could do two overnights. The day of down time would allow both of us to ride both ways on those weekends, and if we have two sets of photography equipment, for those 3-day weekends, we would be briefly operating at our peak goal. We won’t have any control over which weekends are free ones though. Every other weekend is tied up with firm child care commitments. Sometimes that falls on 3-day weekends.
This is it, the dream, the mixed blessing of getting what you want. We go there and back, riding both ways every week for 60 weeks. The commitment is 3 full days of time away from home plus somewhere between an additional 10 and 20 other hours per week working on the rewards, the website and posts, along with various other tasks and maintenance. We will pretty much have all of our waking hours committed and our lives will be busy from now while the country is still ravaged by Covid-19 through the decline of the outbreak and past when the hordes come out to enjoy all that they’ve been missing. Through all of that, we’ll still be out there riding. At least I hope the pandemic will end well before the project. I may sound like I’m emphasizing the negatives, but I don’t want to give the impression that I don’t know what a challenge this project will be. For some true athletes, it may seem a small thing, but for me, I’m not an athlete. I’ll come out on the other side a different person in a different place, and hopefully the project will allow other to have a piece of that.
We’ll start on the end of the trail closest to us, the east end, ride out one day, and spend a day in Anniston recovering. This rest day will often be a still photography day for the reward projects, and then ride back on the third day. We will ride our road bikes in one direction, store them and ride the recumbents in the other, or if necessary, convert to the recumbents full time. We’ll need safe parking and storage on the east end, and storage and lodging on the west end. If the hotels closer to the trail are filled, we’ll need transportation on the other end. I’ll be checking the cost of a hotel plus storage against the cost of an efficiency apartment or a house sitting arrangement. A dedicated place would reduce risk of sickness, give a place to store food and a few things that would be good to have on recovery day, and save time with reservation changes when the weather changes. The easier we can make the million small things, the better the project will go.
The level of production for “multipass” could be as high as 4 videos (2 directions X 2 riders with cameras) every week for 60 weeks, or 420 videos, , possibly more if we do 360 degree cameras too. And, that’s what we will plan for, but, we’re committing to 1 video per week to be uploaded as our definition of success. There will be weeks when the weather is bad. There may be injuries or emergencies. Some weeks we may need to revert to one of the simpler scenarios. We’ll be doing 60 weeks. That is in part to get some overlap to make sure we get a year’s worth of video, but we could pick any number above 52 and adjust according to actual conditions. When this project is “complete” we’re not going to be able to quit distance rides cold turkey. We picked 60 because today is my 60th birthday, so it seemed appropriate.
The nice thing about budgeting all of this is that for many of the scenarios, the cost is similar no matter how we do it. That makes the uncertainty very manageable.
For this section, Fantasy Island is that someone has a Spartan Carousel on Cheha Mountain. It has a little detached garage or storage building and a truck. They are looking for someone to house sit a day or three a week for a year and a half or so and they don’t mind it we leave some things there while we’re not house sitting. They also know where we can park the truck in a safe spot near the Anniston trailhead so it will be ready to take us there.