Labor Day is done, and with that, the end of “official” summer in the United States. And man, the weather this weekend felt downright fall like, with a high struggling to hit 70F/21C, and the first real rain we’ve seen in awhile. Compare that to the week previous when it topped out at 100F/38C! If this wasn’t a reminder enough of the seasonal change, the days are indeed getting shorter.
The chill in the air and the waning daylight has made me reflect on this past summer. And once again, I feel it’s been lacking. I haven’t done nearly as much as I would have liked to in the bike riding and camping department. I camped a couple times in June, not at all in July, and had the four day tour in August. Besides leaving town twice in July to visit Seattle, this sums up my travel activities for the season. For some, that’s quite a bit. For me, not nearly enough.
But then again, will I ever be satisfied? Will I ever think that I have had a fulfilling summer? I guess yes, because I have had them in the past. 2011 was one big bike tour, where I spent all of summer and a bit of spring and fall on the road. I guess 2012 was pretty good with the amount of touring I did in the middle of the season, though at the time I was just glad that I wasn’t on the road the whole summer again. It helped that I wasn’t fully employed that summer, either.
And therein lies the problem: I would do more, if I could. I do get a good chunk of vacation time off each year, but it’s hard to do anything substantial in the middle of summer because I work in the hospitality industry, and summer is “high season”. At best I can cleave out a few extra days here and there, and plan something bigger for the shoulder season.
But what about weekends? Well, that’s the problem, since I work Saturdays and Sundays. While getting time off in the middle of the week has its benefits, like less crowded destinations, the big problem is that everyone else has Saturday and Sunday off, and that’s when all these cool trips and things happen. (For example, on Friday I was told about two cool trips I could go on for the Labor Day weekend, if I didn’t have to work.) It’s a lot easier to go bike camping when you have other people to go with. When you’re going solo, you have to be a lot more self-motivated. And if you’ve been feeling lonely lately, going out into the woods by yourself isn’t exactly the best elixir.
Still, I did do a few cool things this summer, so there’s that. And September and much of October is really nice in this part of the world. The rain generally holds off, leaving us with nice mild-not-hot days to go riding and camping. I tend to do a good bit of camping about now, before the days grow really short and the default is damp and cool. And I have my week-plus tour planned for the end of the month up in the islands, so there’s that!
I guess in the end, the promise of summer is always bigger than what actually happens. I just need to realize that, and not beat myself up. I say that now…