My ever-patient friend and traveling companion, Jill
Jill with our bikes at the KOA Niagara Falls

Jill with our bikes at the KOA Niagara Falls


If you aren’t listening to the podcast version of this story you are missing out on a treat. Sound effects and mood music plus lots more detail. TRY IT!

One of my many failings is impatience. Yesterday I talked about repairing my gas tank cap with duct tape, and I promised to tell the back story. Here it is, and it has a lot to do with impatience.

Off on the wrong foot

To launch my 2012 road trip I planned a leisurely ride full of stops en route to meet my friend Jill in Niagara Falls. I’m a self-employed business ghostwriter and two days before I planned to put the kickstand up, one of my clients needed some help, so decided to just back off the start date.

My rational mind said “What’s a couple of days in the scheme of things?” but my irrational mind must’ve been irked.

I accidentally smashed my phone near the end of the second day and had to start looking for a replacement, which only compounded my agitation.

Throughout those days I was fiddling with saddlebags that weren’t made for my bike. I bought them for my first road trip in 2010 because they were affordable, but there was always a “fit issue” with them. Getting to the gas cap was a bit of an ordeal.

I’d been futzing with that gas cap and saddlebag issue for three years, but it was worse this time. I couldn’t remember how I had installed them the prior two years. Instead of taking the time to figure it out, I just kept pressing on. Hold tight to that “pressing on” sentiment, Reader, we’ll come back to it.


Pulling in to fuel up in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, SNAP, the hinge broke. Jill will vouch for me when I say that I, too, became unhinged. I’d had it. Bad language was used. It was a last-straw situation.

The way the lock apparatus and hinge was put together, Jill could tell (because she has mechanical savvy that I lack) that it was going to call for replacement, not a fix. BMW parts are not cheap, and often come as assemblies, so I knew I was in trouble. I doubled down on my frustration.

Oh, man, for the price it’s going to cost me to replace this gas cap, I could’ve bought saddlebags that fit!

And the cycle of self-beratement continued.

Mothering myself

I decided to put myself in a time out. I was in no frame of mind to be on the road. Little things like delays and a broken phone and gas cap were not what was really on my mind. I had deeper things to address. The gas cap and the phone and the delay were really just ways of getting my attention.

Jill left the next day.  I stayed for two days in time out there in Sault Ste. Marie and get my head out of my you-know-what. When I was ready, I headed for Michigan’s Upper Penninsula and onward with a much clearer head.

Sometimes we think we don’t have time that it takes to get into ourselves and wrestle our demons and face our challenges. We press on. But I’m going to encourage you the next time a period of funk comes over you, to consider a time out instead. Sometimes that’s the most efficient way to spend your time after all.