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A few things - cellophane
the story of an invisible girl
renniekins
renniekins
A few things
I filled up my car's gas tank yesterday, and it cost me almost $30. That's a lot, for me! Sheesh gas has gotten expensive....I haven't had to buy it at this current high yet. As I put the cap back on, I thought to myself, "I haven't had to spend this much yet. I've been spoiled."

For some reason, that's a natural response for me, to think: oh lucky me, look how spoiled I am, that $30 seems like a lot! But then I realized: that's completely not true. I haven't paid this much because I intentionally bought a small car. I haven't paid this much because I intentionally moved to a home close to my work. I'm not spoiled, and I shouldn't feel embarrassed for not spending a lot on gas. If anything, I should feel proud. I've made fuel-efficient and environmentally sound choices.

**

Speaking of body odor, a group of us were standing in a cubicle aisle here at work. We were chit-chatting about various things. When our boss left the conversation, I decided that was our clue to break it up and get back to work, so I headed back to my desk.

One of the guys was taking up the whole aisle, leaning on the wall with his hand. I'm short, so I just ducked my head and walked underneath his arm. "Sorry, I was about to move," he told me.

"That's okay, no worries, I don't mind ducking."

He glanced at his arm/armpit with some concern. "It didn't stink or anything, did it?"

"I don't know, because I made certain to hold my breath just in case." Everybody got a good chuckle out of this, but it was true. I never breathe when I'm near somebody's armpit. Why risk it?

**

Speaking of risk, I have been mentally and physically going through my possessions, trying to figure out what I need to bring to Europe, what I'm missing, and so forth. I found a clearance set of panniers at REI that should do well for bicycle luggage, I hope, although I can return them if I find something better. And a light purple "cool wick" (or whatever it's called) sports bra. I want to make sure most of my cycling clothes are the kind that pulls moisture away from the skin and dries quickly. I think I have enough now; I don't need that much since I plan on occasionally washing things out in the hotel sinks (another good reason for quick-drying!).

I'm still unsure of what to wear when not cycling though. In the evenings I'll want to wear nice dinner clothes, but I also have to carry 3-4 days of supplies in my panniers. I think skirts and sundresses maybe -- easy to pack, and acceptable in a wide range of dress codes. Now I just have to see if I like anything I own, and if it still fits or not. (And how wrinkle-proof it is!)

I'm terribly distracted these days, because whenever my mind wanders I start mentally packing, organizing, and rearranging. Hopefully I'll have it all figured out before I go though! And if not? Well, that's what my credit card is for I guess....
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Comments
elizilla From: elizilla Date: April 12th, 2005 09:00 pm (UTC) (Link)
If you want to save money I have some very nice panniers I could loan you for your trip.
renniekins From: renniekins Date: April 12th, 2005 11:09 pm (UTC) (Link)
ooh, that's an idea! I don't know though, I wonder if having panniers of my own wouldn't be useful in general, for shopping trips and such? Do you use yours much?

Speaking of loans, I still owe you a pair of ski goggles. Thanks so much for the loan, they helped me form my new skiing addiction!

Will you be at Penguicon?
elizilla From: elizilla Date: April 13th, 2005 02:17 pm (UTC) (Link)
I will not be at Penguicon. I have a schedule conflict.
renniekins From: renniekins Date: April 14th, 2005 01:52 pm (UTC) (Link)
Alas!
jeffreyab From: jeffreyab Date: April 12th, 2005 09:58 pm (UTC) (Link)
dagibbs and his friend David Weil went on a three week bicycle tour of Europe with no back up.

I would talk to them about what to take.
jeffreyab From: jeffreyab Date: April 12th, 2005 10:03 pm (UTC) (Link)
David Wiel the super cyclist now has an LJ he is theobviousname
theobviousname From: theobviousname Date: April 13th, 2005 12:47 pm (UTC) (Link)
Hi! I'm not sure I can live up to the intro, but if there are any questions I can answer I'd be glad to help.

Hah, I'm envious of you - I had so much fun cycling in Europe...
jeffreyab From: jeffreyab Date: April 13th, 2005 01:29 pm (UTC) (Link)
Well lets just say your are the superest cyclist I know.
renniekins From: renniekins Date: April 14th, 2005 01:58 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oh, I'm really excited about it! I'm going with Blue Marble, so they're organizing all the details for me. I'm going on 2 separate 1-week trips, and they're bringing me my bag once in the middle of each trip. Which means I need to carry 3-4 days worth of stuff in my panniers.

They provide the bikes, but I'm bringing my own saddle. I'm planning on just wearing tennis shoes and biking-type clothes during the day. Plus gloves and helmet.

I don't have any questions right now, but if you have any "if only I'd known this on my trip" sort of advice, I'm all ears!

Thanks for the offer, and I'll definitely bug you if I think you can help.
theobviousname From: theobviousname Date: April 14th, 2005 05:43 pm (UTC) (Link)
Having all the route planning and accomodations managed for you really takes a lot of stress off. A couple of years ago I was cycling in Italy. Arriving in Firenze on a Friday, we could *not* find accomodation anywhere in the city for Saturday night. So we ended up cycling out of the city on Saturday and back on Sunday!

Instead of tennis shoes, you might consider spending a few extra dollars (though with a trip planned, they're probably pretty scarce) on mountain biking shoes. Not so you can have a cleat attached, but just to get the stiffer sole. (It may depend what you're used to; I've been riding with at-least-decent cycling shoes for many years now, and at this point cycling in runners for more than a few km is painful.)

Blue Marble looks like a decent company (from their website). Hmmm... Back-to-back one-week trips, eh? I'm guessing Umbria and Tuscany? Nice.
renniekins From: renniekins Date: April 14th, 2005 09:49 pm (UTC) (Link)
Close...Provence and Tuscany.
http://www.bluemarble.org/mtV1LavOl.html
I've heard good things about these guys from 2 sources, so that's encouraging. It's definitely nice not to have to worry about coordinating that sort of stuff -- I can focus on having fun! Or at least that's my theory.

Hmmm....I'll keep my eye open for stiffer shoes, but since I've never riden in them it probably won't be a big deal (I haven't grown used to them).
theobviousname From: theobviousname Date: April 15th, 2005 03:40 pm (UTC) (Link)
I couldn't help myself - once I looked at your itinerary, I got going. So rather than spam your journal with my ramblings, I posted them on my own, if you want to go take a look.

It definitely sounds like a marvelous trip.

Oh, and the point of a sweater for churches isn't because of the temperature inside, it's because a lot of them have a "no bare shoulders" dress code.
encorecrazay From: encorecrazay Date: April 12th, 2005 10:07 pm (UTC) (Link)
Don't forget some soap for your clothes and a clothesline to hang them in your bathroom after washing. I recommend Campsuds, works well in hot & cold water, and it's for clothes, dishes, your body, .. and biodegradable. Most outdoor and travel stores will have these things. A few gallon ziplock bags are real handy for packing things, squeeze the air out to save space and they'll keep things dry if you get hit by rain.
renniekins From: renniekins Date: April 12th, 2005 11:10 pm (UTC) (Link)
Already picked up some Woolite, which was recommended to me by the bike people. Perhaps a clothesline would be in order, and you're right I definitely need to get some ziplock bags!
magentablue From: magentablue Date: April 12th, 2005 11:33 pm (UTC) (Link)
for sure bring a clothes line and also a little rubber ball or something else that you can use to stop up a sink. some of the places you stay at may not have plugs for the sink drain. ziplock bags are invaluable packing tools! bring extra ones with you too.
encorecrazay From: encorecrazay Date: April 13th, 2005 01:03 am (UTC) (Link)
Another hint, wash some of the things your want to take, wring them out, squeeze them in a towel to get as much water out as possible, then hand them up to dry to see how long they take to dry - I've had some coolmax shirts take over a day to dry.
From: lindaatzarquon Date: April 13th, 2005 03:01 pm (UTC) (Link)
"I definitely need to get some ziplock bags!"

I like Easy-zip, freezer bags. And like others said, bring plenty of extras, they're useful for so many things. If they get holes, and for stuff you buy.

Europeans often hang their clothes outside to dry. Be care doing this if you go to Venice, though. You DON'T want anything to escape the line and end up in the water.

I've heard that folding clothes around tissue paper helps keep them from wrinkling. I've never tried it, so if you do let me know how it works. :-)

Are you bringing your own bikes, or renting them there?
renniekins From: renniekins Date: April 14th, 2005 02:48 pm (UTC) (Link)
The tour group is providing the bikes, but I'm bringing my own seat (because it's comfortable) and my panniers (because it costs less).

I have a feeling that folding clothes around tissue paper would just leave me with wrinkled clothes AND wrinkled tissue paper! But I'm clumsey like that. (: One way or another, I'll figure it out -- or I'll just be a bit wrinkled. It won't kill me....
From: lindaatzarquon Date: April 14th, 2005 03:52 pm (UTC) (Link)
But I'm clumsey like that.

I'm the same way. We know to just buy clothes to begin with that don't wrinkle easy, or that look okay wrinkled. :-) Another suggestion I've heard of is to hang clothes in the bathroom and run a hot bath/shower. That only sorta works. Many hotels have irons, either in the room, or from the front desk, but who wants to bother with that?

Glad to hear you won't be trying to ship your bike. Be sure to check the tsa site and your airline for their rules on number of bags allowed, weight of luggage, and allowable contents. They just changed again.

theobviousname From: theobviousname Date: April 14th, 2005 06:04 pm (UTC) (Link)
Actually, I'd recommend taking a bunch of plastic shopping bags (no holes). It'd take a lot of freezer bags to put all your clothes in, but only 2 shopping bags. And unless you're *positive* you're not going to get rained on, that's not a bad idea. In my experience, even plasticised-cordura, bottom-reinforced, "leak-proof"-zipper panniers with covers still get damp inside. And if you *need* to be in Avignon on Sunday to meet someone, you can't just sit out a day's rain.
(Deleted comment)
renniekins From: renniekins Date: April 12th, 2005 11:05 pm (UTC) (Link)
Hm, I've heard that Canadians always wear maple leaf patches on their backpacks and such. I haven't been clear on why: is that so they won't be mistaken for Americans? Or just so they'll recognize one another?

Wait, are you recommending that I upgrade to Icelandic tchotchkes, or go biking in Iceland? I don't think the second is possible, since I've already reserved this trip. I suppose I could research what the Iceland flag looks like though! That'll confuse everyone for sure.
anarmyofjuan From: anarmyofjuan Date: April 13th, 2005 12:59 am (UTC) (Link)
as a kid in Germany in the eighties, the Military advised us to tell people we were Canadian, if any strange people asked where we were from. no-one has a problem with Canadians. cuts down on bad things happening.
hannunvaakuna From: hannunvaakuna Date: April 13th, 2005 01:14 am (UTC) (Link)
or you could just not be an obnoxious american, and you should have no problem. worked for me when i was in europe (:
renniekins From: renniekins Date: April 14th, 2005 02:49 pm (UTC) (Link)
Yep, I'm not very worried. I found in Switzerland that a smile and friendliness got me far, and I never had a problem with anyone.
jeffreyab From: jeffreyab Date: April 12th, 2005 11:09 pm (UTC) (Link)
No its Americans that wear the Canadian flag so people won't know they are Americans and disparage them.
renniekins From: renniekins Date: April 12th, 2005 11:16 pm (UTC) (Link)
I've been learning "O Canada" en Francais, and I'm pretty good at it but I don't remember all the words yet without the lyrics in front of me.
magentablue From: magentablue Date: April 12th, 2005 11:44 pm (UTC) (Link)
ahhhh, yes, beware of the italian boys! they are forward! i found that saying i was canadian really threw them for a loop, they backed off a bit in confusion. when i was in school there it was suggested to me that i wear something that looked like a wedding band to help ward of the guys. i didn't but some of the other girls did. apparently the italians think american girls are super easy and we all want them.
also, bring a money belt! washclothes are also hard to find, if you use one you might want to bring one. i'll try to find my journal from when i was traveling there, i remember making a list of things that i should take and not take for the next time.
jeffreyab From: jeffreyab Date: April 13th, 2005 12:27 am (UTC) (Link)
You don't have to know it in French to be a Canadian!
cannibal From: cannibal Date: April 13th, 2005 12:02 am (UTC) (Link)
What, you don't need panniers? You can look at mine anyway....

I noticed that gas is going down again, http://detroitgasprices.com has the one at Warren & Greenfield as 2.09 a gallon. Are you going to start riding your bike to work?
renniekins From: renniekins Date: April 14th, 2005 02:54 pm (UTC) (Link)
Well I grabbed them because they were on clearance and the only ones left. L might keep them, even if I don't. I'd still like to take a look at your panniers if I may.

I've thought about riding to work, it would be a cool idea, but.... I dunno. Crazy rush-hour drivers, lack or shower facilities, and distance combined with difficulty getting up in the morning have stopped me from trying it so far.
kevinnickerson From: kevinnickerson Date: April 13th, 2005 01:05 am (UTC) (Link)
"Hopefully I'll have it all figured out before I go though!"

Ah, and when is this?
renniekins From: renniekins Date: April 14th, 2005 02:55 pm (UTC) (Link)
May 5 -- which means that, alas, I'll have to miss smegs.
bjorng From: bjorng Date: April 13th, 2005 05:22 pm (UTC) (Link)
Two bucks a gallon is pretty cheap, really, on the global market. Twenty years ago gas was already over a dollar a liter in Sweden. Now it's about $1.50 a liter. (Two-thirds of that is tax.)

Making sound environmental choices is both very considerate of you, and in this case very economical too!
mrdisco99 From: mrdisco99 Date: April 13th, 2005 06:23 pm (UTC) (Link)
I'm not spoiled, and I shouldn't feel embarrassed for not spending a lot on gas. If anything, I should feel proud. I've made fuel-efficient and environmentally sound choices.

If only more people would figure that out... we might have fewer big slow SUV deathtraps wasting gas and space, serving as gauche trophies of wealth and apathy, and constantly GETTING IN MY FUCKING WAY.

*sigh*

I feel very strongly about that.
hannunvaakuna From: hannunvaakuna Date: April 13th, 2005 08:12 pm (UTC) (Link)
folks that whine about SUV drivers and their choices are almost as annoying as the SUV drivers themselves.
renniekins From: renniekins Date: April 14th, 2005 03:55 pm (UTC) (Link)
I disagree, I'm on the side of the "whiners". SUVs -- large ones in particular -- don't just inconvenience me, they put me in danger. Any large vehicle on the road does, because even if they drive perfectly they are too large to see around/over/through. I cannot react to road and traffic conditions as quickly as I should.

I've often thought that we should have a "no-big-vehicle" lane, just like we have no-smoking areas in restaurants. Then they can make their choices, and it won't affect me. I'd still have a safer place to drive.
hannunvaakuna From: hannunvaakuna Date: April 14th, 2005 04:12 pm (UTC) (Link)
in many places, there are lanes that prohibit trucks. they don't prohibit SUVs though. i imagine there'd be arguments about definitions of "big vehicles," and whatnot.

cars & related choices is something we'll probably never agree on, but that's just it: choices. *shrug* i know that if i'd been in something like your Cavalier when i got into my accident last year, i'm sure i would NOT have walked away from it. that having been said, i can't imagine driving anything bigger than the Escape, and it's considered a *small* SUV. it's dwarfed amongst the big pickup trucks and full-sized SUVs, and i often have to hit the clicker to "find" it in parking lots!

renniekins From: renniekins Date: April 14th, 2005 06:24 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oh absolutely, and I'm sure it wouldn't get passed -- it's just a fantasy of mine. Semi-trucks, as a rule, drive rationally and stay to the right. But it seems like these days we've got suburbanites with trucks practically as big, zipping through traffic like they're in sports cars! There should be a penalty.

I'm okay with agreeing to disagree, and certainly yours is not as bad as the giants on the road that I truly hate. My feelings about yours are mixed, and I understand why you have it. My feelings about the monstrosities are much stronger. For every individual purchase, there are valid reasons for it. But as a whole, it is a problem that just gets worse and worse as more and more people decide they need bigger and bigger vehicles.

But speaking of accidents -- I was able to walk away from mine 2 years ago, even though my poor baby was wrecked. And it was an SUV that didn't see me (and didn't even stop after!) that ran me off the road (although I admit that's more an idiot driver in an SUV problem, than just an SUV problem, but it still angers me).

Had he hit me, the story would have been much different I'm sure.... This guy at work (who drives an enormous truck) said to me awhile back, "Come on you're in claims, you know that the bigger guy always wins." I didn't know what to say to that, but I was appalled. This amazes me. To be safer on the road, knowing it's at the expense of others' safety? Sure it's his choice, but it's one of the most selfish and calloused choices I've ever heard.
theobviousname From: theobviousname Date: April 14th, 2005 02:07 pm (UTC) (Link)

A couple of thoughts.

I don't want to sound like a know-it-all ('cuz I don't), so I won't ramble.

Two things I'd wish I'd taken more of with me to Europe: anti-histamines (or equivalent), and sunscreen. Ignore the first if you don't have allergies, but if you do, you're going to be outdoors, in the country, a lot, in a place where you probably don't know what you'll react to. I found that in early May half the trees in Provence were dropping fuzzy stuff all over the roads. Very pretty, but it made my eyes itch. As for sunscreen, my experience was that they have it, but putting on European (well, French and German) sunscreen is like applying eau-de-toilette over your entire body. (If you have scent allergies, beware. Take all your cleansers with you.)

Otherwise... Well, I don't know a lot about your plans for your trip, but the other thing that occurs to me is, if you're planning on doing tourist things, make sure you have a sweater or decent jacket to put over a sundress or sleeveless top if you're going to be visiting churches.
renniekins From: renniekins Date: April 14th, 2005 09:53 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: A couple of thoughts.

Anti-histimines! Not something I'd thought of, but a great idea. Sunscreen is on my virtual list (which I should turn into a real list, come to think of it), but it's an excellent reminder.

Oooh, good point, churches can be quite chilly!
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