With a blog focused on “Life and the Outdoors in the Northland,” it was a natural for me to chronicle our latest bike trip, the Grand Gaspé Cycling Tour. I don’t consider it a stretch at all to expand the geographical reach of the Northland concept. The interesting thing is that blogging became an integral part of the trip, and in fact had a significant influence on our daily routine. Since Rich was also narrating the trip on the Crazy Guy on a Bike website, my passion did not create conflicting interests.
While we were cycling, which was most of the daytime hours, my attention was focused on the physical activity, the sights, the meals and the logistics of travel – as it should be. But my blog post was never far from my mind. What might today’s theme be? How best to describe this view? How can I work in this situation? What would be a good title? I was often composing as I went.
Photography was equally impacted. Of course there were pictures of scenery, activities and landmarks that I wanted to take. But I also wove in photos that would illustrate the day’s post. If I fell behind Rich in an illogical spot, he would remark, “You must be blogging again. I didn’t see anything worthy of a photo.” He was usually right.
At the end of the day, our first priority was a shower. But second on the agenda was to download all our pictures. We each brought a nice Canon camera and a tablet, and once we transferred our pictures to the tablets, we’d weed out the bad ones and save the rest. Using each other’s pictures was entirely permissible, as it helped reduce duplication and we could choose from among the best shots. We weren’t fussy about attributing credit to each other as photographer. I just got a little testy when my photos showed up online before I’d even seen them yet.
My tablet happens to be an iPad, and Blogsy is my app of choice for blogging on it. It integrates perfectly with WordPress and has the advantage of displaying my post in rich format instead of HTML, and offers formatting tools that are easy to use. Adding photos from my iPad’s native photo app is a cinch – just drag and drop, resize and add captions. Although most motels and even campgrounds had wifi, if I had no connection I could still fully compose my blog post offline in Blogsy. Then it was simply a matter of publishing the next time I found a signal.
Blogging is not a trivial activity. At least not for me. Many a night I’d be up late, wordsmithing in the dark with only the glow of my iPad screen to illuminate my work. Rich was much quicker to compose his posts, and he would shake his head at my obsession for finding just the right tone or phrase. Fortunately, he can sleep through my keyboard tapping.
I fully intended to be more economical about my blogging on this trip. Since it would last two months or more, I reasoned that periodic updates would be adequate. But I should have known myself better than that. I love to capture all my experiences in writing. It’s how they become real to me, by documenting them. So it was no surprise when my posts became nearly daily occurrences. What may have been overkill for my readers was really for my own benefit.
There’s no doubt that blogging on our cycling trip was a big commitment. To say it bluntly, it took up a lot of time. We could have been out seeing the sights of the local towns instead. But to be honest, after a full day of cycling, it was a grand excuse to sit and rest our weary legs and bodies. And I seriously doubt we missed much in the small towns where we stayed. Or so I tell myself.