I’ve settled into the Philly airport for my four-hour layover before my flight to Venice.

I packed uneventfully. This time I had no problems removing the pedals. I still had the bicycle box that flew/back with me from Dublin last year, although I’d forgotten how small the box was. Last night required more disassembly than my usual “pull off the pedals and turn the handlebars sideways.” That in turn will mean more time tucked away in a corner of the airport in Venice reassembling everything. Assuming I can find the bicycle wherever they hide oversize luggage in the airport.

The last month has been crazy. I’ve travelled to Baltimore twice for a total of eleven days training with the Red Cross. To get in cycling time I was reduced to exercise bicycles in hotel gyms. Man I hate exercise bicycles! I had figured I’d just load up an audio book and while away the time. It’s still a monotonous exercise only nominally more interesting than watching paint dry.

My father spent the last week in the hospital, and I drove down to spend time with him. They released him only a few days ago with new meds and not enough testing. He’s doing much better, but I don’t know how that will play out.

My annual novice kayaking trip was only a couple of days ago, coordinating fifteen+ people across multiple social networks while evaluating alternatives due to wildly varying water levels and temperatures. Things didn’t settle out until the day before, but then worked out almost perfectly. While every novice swam once, none of them took any special pains to make their rescue eventful. 

Through all of that, I haven’t gotten to see much of Marnie the last few weeks. I suspect I’m going to feel more homesick than usual. At least she has a neurotic poodle to look after her.

I first conceived of the route for this trip a few years ago, cycling clockwise around the Adriatic. I selected the ticket destination based solely on cost (about $650 before the bicycle fee), flying into Venice. After purchasing the ticket I learned you can’t cycle in Venice. A friend pointed me to his blog of his trip to Slovenia, where in mid-May there was snow on the ground. I revisited my plan (for a very limited definition of plan) to ride counter-clockwise around the Adriatic, sad because I knew that would rush the end through the countries I was most interested in visiting.

A few days ago I checked the weather in Italy and Slovenia. I found that although there’s a lot of rain in the forecast, daily highs are in the mid-70s, so I’m back to cycling Venice > Slovenia > Croatia > Bosnia and Herzegovina > Albania > Italy > Venice. I know there are EuroVelo routes for a significant portion of the trip, and campgrounds all over the coast. That doesn’t mean I’m any less anxious about finding places to stay.

Last night I finished packing before midnight, which might be a first. A minor crisis the morning when a pannier zipper failed, but I just moved everything to the spare set of panniers Andrew used in Switzerland. The airline screwed up. For the first time they charged me less than the listed price for bringing the bicycle. They also failed in their usual role of making me repack the bicycle in front of them. I’d even brought spare tape!

I have the luxury of knowing that once I’m on the ground and moving, everything should work out. At least, it always has before, right?

I need a vacation.


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