I have now been on tour for 5 weeks. We have moved from Canada to midway thru New Mexico and are now 1 week from finishing.
The experience has been a very interesting from many aspects.
In particular, the constant travel requires a lot of moving parts and pieces. I have been observing what keeps it in motion and recognize the underlying systems and routines that we have all come to rely on.
I thought you may want to know what they are.
Step 1) Breakfast
Breakfast at the back of the Penske truck starts each day. Breakfast time is announced at the prior nights dinner and is dependent upon the next day schedule, weather, etc.
Morning breakfast prep in the Penske. This was a particularly early morning with a 5:30 a.m. start.
Breakfast times vary from 5:30 to 8:00 am. Departure ride time is exactly one hour after breakfast. This means if we are camping you are up and have tent gear packed up before breakfast.
Typical early morning breakfast.
Breakfast is always yogurt, fruit, nuts /raisins and museli. Additional elements of bread and cheese are also available. On special occasions we get eggs or pancakes.
After breakfast we wash all dishes and pack up tables, etc.
Step 2) Luggage
Loading the luggage back in the Penske is next and this is why you need to be “buttoned up” by the time breakfast is finishing
Luggage is tagged (yellow ribbon for camping gear, red ribbon for daily luggage) and is loaded accordingly. Yellow ribbons first so we are ready for motel nights where camping gear stays in the truck.
Red tag luggage (about 1/3 of total luggage….balance is personal camping gear, spare equip, parts, etc)
Step 3) Final ride prep
Once those tasks are complete you make final preparations to ride. Check tire pressures, fill water bottles, load up on your mid ride nutrition choices and make sure you have the right apparel (i.e. rain gear) loaded aboard.
Most Importantly! You double check your Garmin to make sure you are on the correct route and it is operating correctly. We are in very remote areas, and often alone, so it is absolutely critical this device is working.
The last piece of information we receive is where to expect to meet the van for lunch.
Important! You always pack enough nutrition to get thru the whole day no matter what.
Step 4) Lunch
Lunch is virtually the same every day. The van is situated next to the trail in a, hopefully, scenic spot with folding chairs out. Low folding tables are set up with our lunch fare. Bread or Wraps to make sandwiches with the usual fixings. Chips and fruit are staples with some cookies for dessert.
Stage is set for lunch guests!
Step 5) Soup
Upon arrival at the day’s destination everybody is looking for the bright yellow Penske.
It signals a successful arrival and is also the location of a fresh pot of homemade soup. Always something very hearty! Soup is ready by 3:30 pm and kept available until dinner.
A white board is displayed at the back of the truck. It tells you what time dinner will be served, who is on that night’s “committee” (riders who set up the dinner table, serve dinner and clean up after) and information like WiFi passwords if it is available.
Step 6) Pitch Camp
If you arrive soon enough you can get your tent pitched prior to dinner.
If it is a hotel night you receive your room assignment upon arrival.
Also, the appropriate luggage for either camp or hotel will be available beside the Penske at this time.
Step 7) Dinner
Committee members arrive 30 minutes prior to dinner to set up for the event.
The dinner bell is rung by Gertie (our camp cook) at the prescribed time and the other riders all come to be seated.
Dinner is plated and served by the committee. Subsequent clearing of dinner table ware and serving of dessert is the same protocol.
Dinner setting(s) ready.
Step 8) Post dinner briefing
Wilbert, our group leader, passes out the ride sheet (a one page sheet) detailing the next days ride destination, ride distance, map references, instructions, roadside support information and special notes (i.e. single track areas)
He also announces breakfast time and completes the “loop” 👍😄
A typical daily ride sheet.
Step 9) Cleanup
The committee completes their duties by washing all the day’s dishes (lunch and dinner) and making sure the stage is set for the next day.
Some other important details:
* Hand sanitation is mandatory at all group eating events. Hand sanitizer is available prominently at all work areas and on the dining tables. There is great group acceptance, encouragement and adherence to this practice.
* Glitches in routines develop as expected. We don’t have a good group platform communication system so word of mouth is what we rely on.
* It is amazing how responsive and timely people are when they are aware of the schedule and also the fact that it will be executed on time.
FOMO is real.😳…..especially in a circus that moves so frequently. You don’t want to be left behind or miss a meal! 😂