The most major thing I've learned is that I absolutely dislike traveling without an itinerary. Maybe it's a solo female thing, but I do not like not knowing where I'm going to spend the night. (And those who love me would like to know the ballpark where I'll be, for emergency purposes.) That said, an itinerary has never been a document made of stone. Many years ago now, on one of my Ireland trips, I'd spent five days on the Aran Islands, loved it, and then went on my way. Halfway through my itinerary (and this happened to be in Dublin, where all my synapses scream to get out of the city), I decided to scrap the rest of the itinerary and go back to Aran. I'm doing something similar today: I'm scrapping the Digby/Annapolis Royal portion of my plan and going to Wolfville/Windsor-ish until I leave for Saint John on the ferry on Thursday. The feeling I'm having of going back to the Bay of Fundy is largely the same feeling I had going back to Aran. This is good, very good, and I"m not sure why--but worth exploring later, when I get into the nitty gritty of writing this book. Which I still don't know what it's about, but that'll come later.
Anyway: yesterday, I did laundry, that most mundane of household tasks. And as I did, I thought I'd pass on what I've learned about clothes: I packed too many. And that's saying something, considering I have become a ridiculous minimalist about clothes packing in the last few years. Partly, this could not be helped, because I had no idea what kind of weather I'd run into (and I have my heavy North Face parka in the Jeep, just in case). I packed a few cardigan sweaters and I haven't worn any of them; I must have thought I'd look nice when I went to some museums, but I've only been to the museums in Halifax and I didn't wear anything special. I have needed three pairs of jeans, but not the nicer pairs that are still in the Jeep where I put them three weeks ago. I haven't worn any of the other shoes I've packed, not the sandals, not the ballet flats. I've got these Mary Jane style things from Lands End (another killer thrift store find) and those have been my everyday, go-to, awesome shoes. I am, however, very glad for my rain boots.
What I've learned is what I've suspected all along: the truth is in the layering. Two short sleeve shirts, two long sleeve shirts, and I think I have three casual jackets that are almost workout gear, but not. (Two of the three are Danskin brand, another thrift store find.) Last winter, when my friend E. and I were helping our new friend L. figure out how to handle a North Dakota winter (L. is from Turkmenistan, but from California more recently), we took her thrift store shopping to get her boots, a jacket, a shovel for her car, etc. And we told her that several layers were going to be warmer than one thick sweatshirt of a layer. And she didn't freeze this winter. :) Same is true on the road. Also on the layers, keeps the mosquitoes and black flies away.
I do have a sweatshirt hoodie that I use around the campfire (so I only get one thing stinky) and to wear going to and from the bathroom, comfy pants for lounging (and sleeping in when it's cold).
Because I'm alone--and I knew this intellectually, but not from practice--I can wear the same shirt for a few days and nobody notices or cares. I've only done laundry twice--and there, I've learned that all my clothes should be dark enough to go in the same load. Ain't nobody got time to sort the darks and lights and what are you doing wearing white while camping anyway? Ahem, she says, knowing that one of her favorite jacket layers is white... I like the laundry detergent pods and I found one (I forget what it is) that doesn't give me a headache with its perfume. Galway seems to like it too. When I've dumped the laundry on the bed to put it away, I have to push him off it--and his purr shakes the Scamp.
Well, the fog is burning off, and I'm waking up, so this is progress. It's about time to brush the teeth, run the leaves again, hook things up, and head out. At least it's not raining--and the sky over the campground office looks lighter over the trees, so even though I don't have much hope that we'll see the sun today, at least this is weather-related progress.
Into every camping trip a little rain must fall, right?