Tuesday Trippin’ April 19

We saw a hawk in Big Creek bathing. Russ held my bike while I went for video. I was so psyched. I thought I got it, but I didn’t tap my phone hard enough. I was busy looking at the hawk and all I got was 2 seconds of path in the middle of the “turn it off” double tap I did to turn the non-existent video off. We did get some other photos for the intro video though.

Big Creek is really showing its spring beauty right now. It makes me almost forget all those very good reasons why the project moved and got bigger. Still, I’ll do bits of seasonal video and test runs there regardless of which level funds.

I rode 105 miles last week. Until we fund, I’m going to shoot for 100+ miles per week and expect that the mileage will slowly drift upward. Russ will be playing catch up when we fund, but that’s going to have to be okay. Until this is his job, he has to prioritize the current one. It doesn’t stress me as much as it might. He builds mileage faster than I do. The equipment will take time to put together and test, and the first few rides will need car back up anyway. We’re still lined up to make things work.

While riding this week, Russ went down a long slow hill “Look Ma no hands” style with arms out like Karl Wallenda. It looked so free and fun. I don’t have his balance. I can only go there in my mind. My mind was also hoping he would be riding during the following 6 months, not just for the project. I’m kind of fond of the big guy. His toe still hasn’t healed from the bike wreck he had two Novembers ago.

When he rounded the corner at the intersection I thought he would grab the handle bars, but no. When I caught up to him, I told him I was seeing visions of every movie there ever was with a shot like that. He said “Meg Ryan, but I was FLYin’!”. He knew what I meant. Meg’s scene was the slowest most painful version. That clip I linked is only 18 seconds, but I couldn’t bear watching it full length in the theater. I was thinking “Would you please just go ahead and get it over with?”

Taken at Big Creek while riding with the S21 Ultra in low light conditions

I took some bird sound audio with my phone on the Silver Comet this week and it gave me and idea for an additional reward for the project. I’m going to offer meditation loops now. The Silver Comet is a transportation corridor. It’s a former railroad flanked by major roads. The accompanying road noise made me think about traffic, which seems to be back up to pre-pandemic levels. I had a little pang of regret that I hadn’t been able to get the project ready to roll when traffic was low. But if I had, my video wouldn’t represent “normal” conditions as well. Everything is a trade off.

Etsy this week:

The Etsy strike was last week. I’m as frustrated with the press it got as I am with the changed focus, culture and cost structure at Etsy. Many people talked about the increased fee for a sale, but there was little discussion of the other Etsy costs of bringing our wares to eyeballs. I agree that there is much to lament, but I did not participate. Still, the shop may as well have had the vintage flu. I don’t remember how long my first sale took when I opened. It might have been more than a month, but this is the first time since then that I have had no sales for so long. The first time I’ve had a 0 conversion rate. I’ve had questions about items, but no sales.

One person in an Etsy FB group said that she had 5 sales in a day and attributed it to listing a lot of items recently. She said she had listed 300 new items, but she didn’t say she had other sales on other days or how much the items sold for. I also note a small boost in sales of existing items when I list a lot and so I sometimes think of listing fees as advertising fees, but the slight uptick doesn’t last if I continue to list heavily and the trade off is never a win. 300 listings costs $60 in listing fees. If what she talked about was the extent of her boost, she would need to net $12 per item to break even with no compensation for her time.

Every new listing is another opportunity for a sale, so it’s not straight math, and I don’t know her full picture, but 300 other listings is also a hefty time commitment above the time commitment to bring the items that sold to the point of purchase and listings only last four months. Overly optimistic sellers tend to leave out entire categories of the full picture when thinking about what it took to earn their sales, but I’ve taken more recently to adding up all the ways I can spend 20 hours and only generate Etsy fees. Listing new items takes bigger and bigger leaps of faith every time and I don’t know what to do about my Fibber McGhee’s Closet full of treasures.

I hate to end this on a depressing note, so I’ll list some gratitudes. I’m grateful for the ability to ride and for a partner willing to support me in this project. I’m grateful for all my beautiful grandchildren, from the teenager to the newborn. I’m grateful that, while there’s not enough time in any given day, I am able to do small tasks that I don’t think much about but are impossible for some people, like turning pages in a book. And, I’m grateful for my warm safe house overfilled with family and their stuff.

The weather is glorious out there right now. I’m going to go take some photographs with the fancy camera. Until next time, see you on the trail.

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