The Double Down Home Stretch Challenge

The Double Down Home Stretch Challenge 
Inspired by our friends on Bainbridge Island, Thom and Karen, who sailed around the world for four years with their seven year old as the official ship navigator, I issued our family a challenge.

In the course of bike travelling together for more than ten months, we have become a well-oiled machine. We can arrive at a campground and have the tent set up, the thermarests inflated, the stove set up and dinner well on the way in less than half an hour. 

However, we’ve all got our favourite jobs – the ones we are best at. Jasper’s a pro at making a fire. Derek and the stove work super well together, even on unstable picnic tables and in high winds. Anna Sierra never leaves the tent in the morning until all the sleeping bags are stuffed and the thermarests are rolled up and packed away. And I, if I do say so myself, am an expert at tent set up on any terrain and even in the rain.

My challenge – which we’ve called The Double Down Home Stretch Challenge – was for each of us to become expert at all the jobs so that just like that seven year old open seas navigator, we would be capable of leading our own bike trip – should we wish to. When we were visiting the Smoke Jumper base is Twisp, we learned that they pack each other’s parachutes. That was an inspiring example of trust in each other’s work. (The picture below shows how our bikes double as laundry dryers.)

I ran the idea past Derek and he loved it. The next morning when I suggested it to the kids, they agreed immediately. 

So here’s Jasper making lunch. He also planned our route from Powell River to Vancouver including camping and grocery stops. Lately he’s been making breakfast – coffee and oatmeal.

And here’s Anna Sierra cooking dinner on the stove she set up and lit all by herself. She mastered grocery shopping awhile ago, but now she likes to go into the store with cash in hand and buy everything all by herself.
Derek’s been taking a turn at inflating thermarests – you can sometimes sneak a nap in on this job, which was why it was always one of my favourite jobs.

And I’ve promised to change the next flat all by myself with only a little help from Anna Sierra and Jasper who have become pros. I’ve also joined my family of storytellers and have taken a turn introducing a ninja-monk into the tale we save for uphills.
We’re all having fun trying something new and mixing things up. It might take us a little bit longer to get everything done but we certainly have time. 
I love that trying out each other’s favourite jobs is making us appreciate all that is involved in each of them. And now that we’re back in Canada, we don’t have to use any brain power to convert currency to Canadian dollars, or temperature into celcius or distances into kilometres, so we have energy to spare for learning new things.

Sending our warmest wishes,



5 thoughts on “The Double Down Home Stretch Challenge

  1. Kathleen, you and your family are such an inspiration! You do what many of us feel is too much work and effort only to show us it’s importance to take and the time with family. What amazing life lessons! Thank you for your posts and blogs! Juliette Patterson Porter


  2. Alex and Hayleigh light the Biolite stove but are still scared of my Whisperlite, frankly I don’t blame them, it scares me sometimes.


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