By 3:00 I was leaving Manch-Vegas in my dust and heading south for Grandma's house. Arriving at 6:30 made for an even 12 hour day, followed by an encouraging dinner with grandma and what I suspect to be the source of my wanderlust - my Aunt and Uncle who have ridden motorcycles across more countries than I have useable toes or fingers. They gave me a totem for my trip - a tiny Kodiak bear carving with an arrowhead on its back. It's wrapped in a cloth in the big mesh pocket of my pack and every time my feet hurt and I start doubting myself, I'll be reminded of them. Here he is about to engage in deadly combat with a pencil (for scale).
Sunday morning I was on the road again, visiting two friends in Maryland who have recently joined the suburban ranks of the house-owning, job-going "adults". By 2 pm my parents and their dog gave me a warm welcome and helped unload the overloaded civic (pretty sure I bottomed the shocks out a few times on I-95). My mom made some amazing ribs and chocolate cake to fatten me up in preparation for the wasting away I will likely experience when I can't realistically shovel enough calories into my face every day for five months.
Since then I have been making runs to REI, the grocery store, a different grocery store and packing an arranging. I also made a pair of shell mittens with mom with stuff from DIY gear supply. It sounds funny but they're windproof, water resistant and have no insulation so I can wear them if it's too buggy or for sun protection for my hands. If it's cold and windy they can go over my liner gloves and make a warm combo.
It's amazing how all the tiny things I left to the last minute added up. I knew I had a bounce box but where would I send it? If I send it full of food to one place that means it has to show up somewhere with a good grocery store to get a refill before I can send it to another location. I also got some last minute jitters making sure I could actually get food where I want it. The REI stop included buying an ice-axe leash but they didn't have grip tape so that meant a hardware store run. The running store had socks but no callus file (gross I know!) which meant a trip to a makeup store. Trader Jo's didn't have hand sanitizer, powdered milk and a few other things so that meant yet another store. The zipper on my ULA pack broke and Chris, the owner, sent me a free replacement hip belt which was amazing of him. I think I've got things wrapped up now though. I'm glad its over and I can have today and tomorrow morning to spend with my folks.
Stuff I might need mailed out, mostly just clothes but a tyvek groundsheet and my air mattress as well:
The bounce box/5 gallon deicing bucket!
Bear can, ice axe and other Sierra gear. You might not see but the bear can is stuffed with 6 days of food. I have no idea how people can fit 11 days in those things!