The last Friday of September, after weeks of preparation and packing, the Burb and the late-1960s vintage and timeworn Bell travel trailer known as the Road Abode were ready for a 2 1/2 week upland bird road trip north through Montana into Alberta, Canada, and back. The weather this time of year can always vary from sunny and toohot-to-run-the-dogs, to freeze-off-your-bum cold and snowy. In other words, temps can range from 80 down to 15 degrees. The weather turned out to be sunny, clear Indian summer/early fall days in the 60s dropping to the 40s at night, with the exception of a few cloudy days and some light rain. Regardless—you always have to be prepared.
For this type of trip, the looking-forward-and-planning stage is one-third of the three-part experiential equation comprised of anticipation, participation, and recollection. Planning and preparing (getting needed but also unneeded necessities like another shotgun, brush pants, boots, and the like) are events unto themselves. The packing is a significant part of any trip.
Aside from becoming sagacious, perceptive, patient, and considerably more stiff and achy, another trait of maturation is the accumulation of lots of wonderful gear. As a kid, I went out the door for a full day’s hunt with a vest, one box of 6s, my J. C. Higgins bolt-action 20-gauge, and Spot, our springer/beagle mix that was equally good on birds and rabbits. Nowadays, an afternoon hunt for two fills the Burb (my name for my Chevy Suburban). The Burb’s normal state is that of a rolling wingshooting, hardware, fly-fishing, and canine supply shop so it’s always pretty full. When packed for a 2-week roadie, the Burb is loaded for bear and every available nook and cranny is filled, including under all the seats and up to the sun visors.
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