It’s About the Pens

Posted: August 2, 2019 in Uncategorized

It was the pens that I noticed first.

Cathy and I are cleaning out the house because we’re going to rent it again (yup, another bike trip and it could be a long one) and as I went through our drawers and all the nooks and crannies, I was amazed at the number of pens we’d accumulated.  I mean, we just went through this a few years ago – the purging of our belongings, and we got our possessions down to what would fit in one 10×10 room – no extra pens.  So, where did all these pens come from?  I don’t even write much on paper any more.  I found a pen in my underwear drawer, some mixed in with the chop sticks, some were actually mechanical pencils but I classified them as pens – some were Sharpies – same thing – probably fifty to a hundred by the time I’d piled them all up on the kitchen counter.  Funny thing is, I can remember having to look for one last time I was writing a grocery list.

Next it was clips – the metal kind that you use to bind a bunch of loose sheets of paper – only my general use was clipping bags of chips or nuts shut – and I could never find one when I needed one – but I learned they were like pens, quietly breeding in my underwear drawer and other obscure places.

Every time we pack up our house for an extended bike tour, or just to move (last time we sat down to count we’ve received mail at over 40 different address in 6 different countries and on four different continents) I’m simply amazed how much stuff we manage to collect, so as I’m filling bags and boxes with stuff to take to Goodwill and give to friends, I always find myself asking, “What about people who never move?  How many pens might they have lying around?  Do they reach a critical mass and then stop reproducing?”  I suspect the latter is the case.

At the time of writing this, we have 32 days before we board an airplane for France, we’ve paired our belongings down to even less than last time (5×10 room), we have the house rented with the promise to the renters that they can have it for at least two years.

Once in France we’ll be biking the La Loire a Velo with our old friend Topher, and Alan, our sidekick for 10 or so days.

Over the spring months I put together an E-Assist hand bike for Topher and made a hitch for it so he can pull his wheelchair behind it – see attached pics.  We plan to camp most of the way as campgrounds are abundant on this route and we want to see if we can do it on less than $75 a day.  Once we get Topher, hopefully alive and unbroken, back to Paris and on a plane to the USA, Cathy and I plan to run out our EU visa in Spain and Portugal before we head to Malaysia and the rest of SE Asia for the winter.  We’re bringing 2 pens each.

All the best,


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