April 17, 2012

Best Laid Plans...

So we're back from our camping trip... and pretty much nothing that happened the entire 5 days bore any resemblance to what we'd carefully planned.

And isn't this so often the case in life?

In a health/fitness context, it happens all the time: the yoga class you planned your day around is cancelled because the instructor has leprosy or couldn't find a babysitter for her pet iguana; the healthy restaurant you suggested for lunch has a line of hungry vegans packed birkenstock-to-birkenstock for half a block and your coworkers all vote for Hooters instead; or all the ellipticals at your gym are being monopolized by skeletal exercise addicts who will never, ever leave voluntarily and must instead be forcibly peeled off their Precors and wrestled into a secured facility, and you're not feeling up to the task.

Or to use another completely arbitrary example... let's say the beautiful national park you were looking forward to camping in, the one with all those awesome hikes that was forecast to have pleasant sunny weather during your trip?  Suppose the forecast changes just as you are packing up and now features a decidedly less welcoming array of possibilities, from ice-cold winds to downpours to snow and/or thunderstorms.

Sigh. Hypothetically.

So then what happens?

As regular readers are probably tired of hearing, Crabby has been trying to rewire her brain over these last months to become less of a whiny worrywart, and more of a go-with-the-flow sunshine girl. And what is one of the hardest challenges to this new frame of mind? It's trying to find the positive and discovering new opportunities when things do not go as expected.

Let's Pretend This Post is About Exercise Since this is a Fitness Blog!

I actually have a fairly good track record of taking workout "tragedies" and turning them into opportunities to mix things up a bit. Many of my now-favorite exercise activities only came about because my customary cardio or weight routines were suddenly not available due to injury, closures or cancellations, equipment failures, or competition from other annoying butthead gym-goers who got there first and took the Thing I Wanted.

But I'd come to realize I had two alternatives: give up and not exercise, or get the f--k over myself and go try something different.

And then, lo and behold... I'd find the new thing was not nearly as icky as I'd thought, and it became either a new mainstay, or at least a comfortable back-up plan the next time something my preferred workout routine would gang aft agley.*  Now I have many back-up plans, and consequently, have far fewer temper tantrums.

Exercise tip for the day: Use unexpected Fitness Detours as a forced opportunity to mix up your routine.


Okay, Let's Stop Pretending this is a Fitness Post Now.

So yep, the trip required navigating some logistical challenges, which we handled by swearing, griping, moaning, and panicking re-assessing, brainstorming, scrambling, and shifting gears.  Over and f--king over.  There were a series of misadventures too boring to relate, but plans were made and re-made and re-remade many times as circumstances changed.  But in the end we had an awesome time! I do think the brain re-wiring project is helping, because I was not even moderately pissy throughout the chaos that was our camping trip, and I suspect before I would have had quite a few meltdowns.

Anyway, here's where we thought we were going:

And here's the main place we ended up going instead:

Did I mention that the Lobster and I are not big fans of the desert? But one thing it did have going for it: relative proximity. That plus the fact that it contained the only campsite within 2000 miles that was not either booked or under 10 feet of water.

The campground we thought we were staying in:

Where we ended up:

Not pictured but within inches: Boombox blasting Lynyrd
 Skynyrd; barking dogs; and 14,372 screaming children.

Actually, we also stayed on the coast, enjoying lovely beach walks, and went to the nearby mountains for a hike with friends. And the ugly desert campground had several hot springs you could soak in. Some of the trails seemed frankly a bit dreary, but I had one lovely morning hike that was downright magical. Perhaps it was because of the rabbits and birds and whimsical cactus and ocotillo and other exotic desert flora and fauna? Though I suspect the huge quantity of caffeine coursing through my veins and a steady diet of self-improvement brain-washing tapes had something to do with it.

Of course there are no pictures of the pretty morning hike, so just imagine something pretty and desert-y.  K' thanks!

Oh, and meals!  We'd pictured dinging around the campfire, or perhaps picnicking on the trail:

But due to our many changing venues and our desire not to burn our neighbors tent to the ground (since it was millimeters from our fire pit), we had to improvise.  So while in the coastal area, we were forced to make do with the most amazingly delicious whole grain pancakes ever at the Naked Cafe in Carlsbad.

(Actually, these were the Lobster's but she let me steal some bites.  I had the pesto eggwhite scramble with greens and it was also quite delicious.  But the meal was so healthy it caused nearby light to bend in amazement and so the photo of it is all blurry. Weird how physics works, isn't it?)

Oh, and there were other culinary adventures too:

Wait... what's that weirdly familiar blue hue?

 Is it? ... No, couldn't be... Nah...

Eeek!  Who would roast innocent Peeps on a campervan stove to make S'mores?

(Personal aside: hey, thanks JanV for the sacrificial offering! The Camping Gods were apparently appeased as we survived the trip). 

And there was hiking too!

And don't be fooled by these two fresh-faced innocent-looking hiking companions who led me and the Lobster on a hike.  Turns out, they have wicked snow-ball slinging skills, and are fearlessly undeterred by fresh (and gigantic) mountain lion tracks, Border Patrol agents with large firearms taking suspects into custody, and shoe-soaking snow drifts that left us all drenched and in desperate need of cocktails to warm us up.  (However, it turns out these hardy hikers are afraid of seaweed snacks!  I'm hoping mountain lions have a similar aversion, should we ever come face to fang with one).

Was that a rambling mess of a blog post or what!  But going back to the pretense that this is a fitness blog...

Do you ever find new cool things when you run into Fitness Detours (or any detours for that matter)?
**If Wikipedia is to be believed, the whole "best laid plans of Mice and Men" quote comes from a line in a Robert Burns poem: "The best laid schemes o' mice an' men / Gang aft agley." See? Wasn't that highbrow?  And aren't you feeling smug you read all the way down to the bottom of the post?

Photo Credit for Detour sign: Stumax 


  1. OMG, been there done that. Go with the flow is sometimes easier said than done.

  2. I know how you feel...14,371 kids screaming would have been okay but 14,372 that really set it over the limit. LOL

  3. Mary, know you're doing the RV thing so understand the joys & challenges that come with parking yourself in various campgrounds and hoping for the best. Sometimes it's delicious solitude and lovely weather and other times... not so much!

    And starving bitch... yep, it was that last 14,372nd kid that sent us over the edge!

  4. Hoo boy, I'm glad you were able to salvage.

    I recently purchased one of the few exercise DVDs I've ever bought, because friends (whose fitness levels I trust) raved about it. I'm not keen on exercising in my tiny living room, but the moves on this DVD are such that I'm not hopping around (much to my downstairs neighbors' relief) and it doesn't require much real estate. With some of the rainy days we've had, it's become a great plan B - one I'd never have considered on my own!

    Sometimes the detours end up being really scenic. And I've been to that Naked Cafe - haven't had their pancakes, but their food is yummy!

  5. I swear it is stuff like this that I use to support my somewhat lack-luster plan making abilities. :)

    Weather has to be one of the worst when it is the culprit though isn't it? It doesn't care and it isn't changing no matter what you do or how much sunshine you try to bring to the situation.

  6. Cool. Good for you for going with it. It sounds like you had fun, and fun is what matters.

  7. Outsmart: hey, you have a great post on exactly the same idea!

    QD: I'm discovering "planning" is sometimes over-rated where weather is a factor.

    And Leah... where there's chocolate, there's fun, so we did great.

  8. I hear ya. Mu husband and I are trying to plan but not plan a hike in May in Scotland. Crossing my fingers for no rain, but we'll see...trying not to obsess about details :)

  9. Oh my god. Thank you for the laugh. Timely. Getting ready to go on a month long camp with my own Lobster and a non barking dog... and no Lynard... or kids. But I am SURE our campy neighbors shall pull thru where we lack! They always do.

    Planning is so overrated. Plus it leads to more distress than happiness with your planning skills. I see there is fresh snow where we are heading... but no border agents. I think. Oh well, that is why O waterproofed the hiking boots last week!

    See how blase I am being here? That never lasts. I need your tapes.

    Glad you are back in one snarky piece. Not many fanged up ones.

  10. My friends and I tend not to plan to rigidly when it comes to camping. Or any kind of trip actually. It can wind up a lot more fun that way.

  11. Hmmm...the Naked Cafe. Thinking how I can incorporate that into our next road trip.

  12. It's the danger of getting a degree in English lit that you recognize the Bobby Burns, and i thank you for using it in the original.

    As for plans B-Z, yes, keep a smile, and keep re-planing. it's the only way to get through.

  13. LOVE ALL THE PICS!!!!!!! You are way too funny & the peeps being cooked - got to love it although I would take those pancakes! :-)

    Honestly, we never do this crazy type of stuff so more often than not, we don't have issues like this. Me, a baby - NO CAMPING for me. Bad experiences from when I was a kid.

    I like my room & shower & toilet - all in the privacy of my own room! ;-)

    I know, I should have been born rich! ;-)

    An adventure for you but that is life - right! LOVE IT!

  14. and we ADORE your rambles...and are glad your home, err, back, eeer, blogging again :)

  15. Glad you had fun and saw snow!
    We had roughly 9 inches of snow fall on us on Saturday.... and, naturally, a cow calving. We planned to calve in April because we hoped the snow would be gone. And it was! Until Saturday. But that's the way the mud flops.

  16. I am not a mountain lion...but I have trouble believing any conscious mammal could fail to want to eat nori. I just wouldn't use it as a shield.

    Mary Anne in Kentucky

  17. I think the key to success - in life, in dieting, in fitness - is being able to go with the flow. Very, very difficult for a planner like me. Fortunately I married a fly by the seat of his pants guy so often he is able to bring things into perspective for me. But sometimes I just remain frustrated. When I get there, I seem to get stuck. Never a good thing.

    On another note, I am sooooooooo not a camper that even your "prettier" campsite looks challenging to me!

  18. It' funny, I love camping because of the chance to be outside and go hiking, but I am so not a "rough it" type person and can totally relate to those of you who go "ick!"

    For me the secret is Fran the Van, who contains a restroom, stove, convection oven, kitchen, heat & a/c, and a bed. And who doesn't containt any kids or husband to clean up after, just a wife who does more than her fair share of the chores.

    If I were one of those women scurrying around to fix meals and find lost shoes and chase down wandering tykes it would NOT have seemed like a vacation!

  19. Reading this was a great way to start my day! Hilarious. Especially the pics.

    Your attitude is to be applauded. *spastically clapping* and with a couple of trips of my own coming up, this post will be twirling in my head.

    Thought: Maybe as we get older we realize it's the people not the places that matter?

  20. Crabby, those innocent little peeps were sacrificed for a good cause1 Unexpected detours can teach you a lot about yourself, adaptability and even co-existing with the lynyrd skynyrd crowd. To answer your question, fitness detours lead to me discovering Pilates and the joys of strength training when cardio, historically my favorite "shiny toy" of fitness, has be unavailable. Glad to hear you made the best of the trip! :)

  21. We were in Santa Fe, one November, just in from Albuquerque with plans to go to Taos in a couple of days when a 20 inch snowstorm hit!

    Like scared rabbits we hit the highway with south on the compass. Did I ever tell you how nice southern New Mexico can be, lol!

  22. That third paragraph was hilarious, thanks. Glad you were actually able to enjoy your trip and get a few tales out of it in the process. I happen to be one who loves the desert and would love to be in that SoCal desert right now (poppies? birds?). OTOH I do get very frustrated with those fitness detours, though.

  23. I love camping. I have gone through many visits and just love the adventure of discovering new places but the camping is only possible in a better way if all the things are managed gracefully

  24. Yea for camping! Looking forward to some more of that this summer. (Speaking of, when are you going to stop ignoring the middle of the country?) Also: Peep s'mores! I'm still trying to claim I invented that...

  25. Fitness detours are inevitable, figuring out what to do instead is not always the problem sometimes its finding the motivation to do it.


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