Why – That’s the first question…
As I’ve been preparing for the trip I’ve pretty regularly been asked; Why are you going to spend so much of your day blogging? Aren’t you supposed to be on vacation, or something?
The truth is that there’s a little bit of me that want’s to become a writer. I don’t really know what I’ll do to address this yearning in the long term, but over the short term of the next 60 days, I’ll get a chance to work on my craft, and have a little fun along the way.
In the end, just having fun isn’t enough for the author of a ‘Blog. Since a blogger ultimately expects other people (human beings and such) to read the blog, it’s important to also make the posts entertaining for the readers. If a post, or worse still, if a number of posts are not entertaining, or enlightening to the readers, then the readers stop reading, which will have the effect of changing their title from “Reader” to something more appropriately like “non Reader”. In any case, judging the success of a blog is not too hard, and it will really rely on what you, the reader thinks.
So, you get up in the morning. Then what?
The formula for blogging is simple, but more importantly, the formula for the day (about which I’ll be blogging) is also pretty simple, and it looks something like this. I get up, eat breakfast, pack the bike, prepare the GPS, and start the day.
Each day is expected to be less than 400 miles in distance, with the mileage for most days being less than 300 miles.
Over the course of the day, I’ve got to get from the starting point to the end point without causing harm to myself, or to the bike, and I’ve got to have a few amazing experiences. Having an amazing experience is a whole lot easier to write down, than it is to actually do. These amazing experiences are usually a combination of careful planning, timing, being in the right place at the right time, and having an open mind, a mind that’s eager to experience the good ol’ USA.
So, imagine that a day’s ride is 250 miles. Let’s say that I can stop in as many as 3 different parks or points of interest, and I’ve got to also get gas, food, and cool off as necessary. Let’s also imagine that the route is not on a freeway, but instead is on some of America’s beautiful windy secondary or tertiary highways. Traveling on these roads limits the speed that you can travel at, reducing your average speed from about 75 mph to about 45 or 50 mph. These roads are a real joy to drive, they they take longer, and you’re definitely slowed down. So, if I’m averaging 45 mph, then I’ll need about 6 hours of riding time to simply get from the beginning to the end.
If I stop along the way at any of the 3 different points of interest, let’s say I spend 2 1/2 hours in each of two of the POIs, and 1 hour in the third point of interest. I’ve now spent 6 hours sightseeing, and 6 hours riding.
I”ve used up 12 hours, and now I need to check in the hotel, and bring all the luggage inside. Let’s say that that process takes 30 minutes. Now, I’ve spent 12 1/2 hours doing the day’s business. If I’m going to sleep 7 hours, then I’ve got roughly 4 1/2 hours to do all of the blogging, and prepare for the next day.
How much work is there to create a blog post
Let’s look at this blog post as an example. Writing the content for this blog post will take me about 30 minutes. That includes organizing the content and creating the headings, as well as setting the tags and categories, and then publishing the post.
This post doesn’t have any pictures, but lets’ assume that I want to embed 1 gallery of pictures, and 3 other pictures, inserted as discrete photos. Creating the gallery will take about 30 minutes, and uploading and inserting the other photos will take another 30 minutes.
If I have interesting video from the day’s trip I’ll then have to review all of the video, organize it on the storage backup systems, import all of the video that is interesting, and then edit the video by splicing clips together and fading from one clip to the next. It takes about 90 minutes to make a 4 minute video. Once the video is completed, I then need to add music and upload it to YouTube, where it is converted and I’m given the URL that I will embed.
Once I’ve got the URL from YouTube, I go back to the post, and insert the URL, and enable the YouTube player for the URL.
Now, I save the post and publish it for all of you to read.
So, depending on the type of post, number of pictures and whether there is a picture gallery and/or embedded video, it could easily take 4 hours to get everything completed.
OMG – That’s going to kill you – Isn’t there a better way
Well, sure there is. Whenever possible I’m busy creating the posts that I’ll be writing over the next 60 days. I’ll create the posts as much as 2 weeks in advance, and then as the day arrives, I’ll use the content that I’ve already created, and combine it with the new things that I’ve learned over the course of the day, and then I’ll go through the process just as described.
It’s also important to note that I type about 80 words per minute, so the biggest impediment to producing blog posts quickly is not my typing skills, it’s simply all of the various types of media that I have to work with, and the time it takes to transfer files, render video, and perform the mechanical steps of creating a gallery for pictures. So, I’ll likely create as many as 10 galleries in advance, so instead of creating the gallery, I’ll just load photos into the gallery, and embed it.
I hope that you now have a slightly better understanding of how I’ll be creating the posts, and why I do it. If you have any concerns, or if you want to tell me to stop blogging,and spend more time enjoying the vacation, I’m afraid that I’m simply going to ignore you.