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Lost and destroyed

December 11th, 2011

With less than a week remaining in the trip (incredible!), I thought it would be interesting to take a look at some of the things lost, damaged, and destroyed over the past six months.


  • Washcloth, somewhere in Canada.  Found about a day after I bought a new one.  In other news, they still manufacture washcloths in Canada.
  • Hockey cup (as in, one for protecting “the boys”), most likely at the motel in Oklahoma City where I dried out my gear.  There was a moment of panic at my next game in Fayetteville, Arkansas when I tore through my hockey bag trying to find it and realized it was gone.  Without going into too much detail, I was forced to switch from a double-cup system (which is common in hockey goaltending) to a single-cup solution.  There was still protection down there, just not as much as I would have liked.


  • Merino wool shirt, at Denali NP in Alaska.  While sliding down the rocks by the waterfall, my shirt got torn in several places.  I sewed the holes closed, but it just isn’t the same.
  • Convertible pants, at Denali NP in Alaska.  Also a victim of the rocky ride that tore my shirt.  I sewed the holes in my pants closed, too, but vanity forced me to acquire a replacement pair, the excellent prAna Zion pants.
  • Westcomb rain jacket, throughout my backpacking excursions.  This extremely expensive rain jacket was also extremely light in weight.  Unfortunately, it did not stand up well to abrasion, and now there’s a large mark on the back of the jacket where my pack was rubbing.
  • Driver-side rear tire, along the Alaska Highway near Fort Nelson, BC. I hit a pothole and was forced to find a replacement tire in Whitehorse.  Then, a bit later…
  • Passenger-side rear tire, in Ohio. This tire picked up a nail and developed a slow leak.  The nail was too close to the sidewall to patch, so I simply added more air every couple of days.  That worked for about 10,000 miles until I got to Denver for the second time, but then the slow leak changed to a fast leak, and I was forced to give Sam an entirely new set of shoes.
  • Windshield washer fluid, due to actions in Greenville, SC.  I got Sam’s oil changed in Greenville, and the place “helpfully” topped off the windshield washer fluid.  Unfortunately, they seem to have used fluid with a low methanol content, which caused it to freeze once I hit cold weather in northern Texas.  It took me the better part of a day of dumping fluid and cutting what remained with high-concentration methanol to get everything unfrozen and spraying again.
  • Sam. The trip has been hard on Sam, in the sense that he now has a number of scratches, chips, and abrasions that were not present at the start.  Most of those things are cosmetic, but I am a bit concerned about corrosion  along the bottom edge of the rear hatch where the cord for the lights on the cargo box runs.  I didn’t notice the paint damage until it was down to bare metal.


  • Dangler, at the rink in Houston, TX.  That might sound dirty, but a dangler is actually a piece of polycarbonate tied to a goalie’s mask that exists to protect the goalie’s neck.  Polycarb is extremely strong, much more so than acrylic (aka Plexiglas), but it will still break if scratched and loaded in a certain way.  When I took a puck to the dangler in Houston, my dangler shattered.

A photo from the game showing my shattered dangler at my neck, before play stopped. (Photo: Karen)

  • Goalie skates. Well, not technically destroyed, fortunately, but they will need to be replaced after the trip.  I’ve had them since 2004, so they’ve had a good run, but the steel is nearly gone from all of the sharpenings over the years.  Newer skates have replaceable steel blades, but my skates are old enough that the only option would be to replace the cowling/blade assemblies.  That would be nearly as expensive as buying new skates, so I’m just going to go with the all-new option.

I’ve also lugged around a few things that I never used.


  • Cooler.  Okay, I used this a few times, and I even replaced it with a smaller one in Fairbanks, but since about Phoenix I haven’t used it to keep things cold.  Probably could have gotten by without a cooler at all.
  • Light stand.  I used my tripod for the first time in North Carolina, but I have never used my light stand and associated gear.
  • Maple extract.  Why in the world did I bring maple flavor on this trip?!
  • Bear spray.  Even when Tyler and I actually encountered grizzly bears at close range in the Denali wilderness — the exact situation where one would want to have bear spray — I failed to remember I had it and left it holstered.
  • A box of mashed potato flakes.  Yes, I ate instant mashed potatoes throughout the summer, but since I started experimenting with some of the ideas in The 4-Hour Body back in mid-November, I’ve been avoiding such things.  Hence, the unopened box that’s been riding around since then.  I should get rid of it.
  • Recovery strap.  Haven’t gotten Sam stuck yet!  Haven’t found anybody else to get unstuck, either.

Overall, though, I’ve found uses for most of the things I’ve carried with me.  What’s more, most of those items have survived the trip intact.  Who knows what the final week will hold, but I’m hopeful that nothing else will be destroyed or damaged between now and next Sunday.

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