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Old 11-07-12, 05:21 PM   #1
12bar
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Selfish or not

I am struggling with a dilemma I have the equipment, time and funds to do a long tour. My dream tour is the northern tier. My issue is leaving my wife, home and dog for three months without feeling like I am being terribly selfish. My wife says she is OK with me going but would be very jealous because she doesn't think she could do it and she doesn't want to leave the house and dog for that long. So how do you deal with something like this.
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Old 11-07-12, 05:32 PM   #2
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Very simple. You get a tandem with touring braze-ons. The dog is not the issue.
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Old 11-07-12, 05:46 PM   #3
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Or - -
The Northern Tier generally parallels Amtrak's Empire Builder and Lakeshore Limited routes.
She could ride short sections and then have extended periods by herself.
You know - terrible places such as the San Juan Islands, Glacier NP, Chicago, or the Adirondacks.
And you can always find someone to house sit with your dog.
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Old 11-07-12, 06:01 PM   #4
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Or - -
The Northern Tier generally parallels Amtrak's Empire Builder and Lakeshore Limited routes.
She could ride short sections and then have extended periods by herself.
You know - terrible places such as the San Juan Islands, Glacier NP, Chicago, or the Adirondacks.
And you can always find someone to house sit with your dog.
That is a fantastic idea. One that I may have to put to use for the Pacific Coast to get over my own wifely and kidly hurdles.
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Old 11-07-12, 06:24 PM   #5
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Or - -
The Northern Tier generally parallels Amtrak's Empire Builder and Lakeshore Limited routes.
She could ride short sections and then have extended periods by herself.
You know - terrible places such as the San Juan Islands, Glacier NP, Chicago, or the Adirondacks.
And you can always find someone to house sit with your dog.
That is a brilliant idea I am going to have to look into this.
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Old 11-07-12, 06:39 PM   #6
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Solo touring is inherently a selfish activity. I am rarely on tour for more than 3 weeks at a time, partially for that reason. Plus, I get homesick.

Consider breaking the x-country into 3 or 4 segments, interspersed with time at home. Anticipating, planning, staying in shape for the next segment is fun. When it's all done, it'll still be a cross country. You'll have 3/4 journals instead of just one.

The Amtrak idea should work too. Be win-win for you both.

Good luck.
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Old 11-07-12, 06:47 PM   #7
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I am struggling with a dilemma I have the equipment, time and funds to do a long tour. My dream tour is the northern tier. My issue is leaving my wife, home and dog for three months without feeling like I am being terribly selfish. My wife says she is OK with me going but would be very jealous because she doesn't think she could do it and she doesn't want to leave the house and dog for that long. So how do you deal with something like this.
Not knowing your whole story, I don't know, but... I know that I have repeatedly done longish tours leaving my wife and my dog home. I never felt bad about it. In my case my wife isn't interested in bike touring and doesn't get much vacation time any way. Fortunately my wife is very supportive of my crazy trips.
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Old 11-07-12, 07:17 PM   #8
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Very simple. You get a tandem with touring braze-ons. The dog is not the issue.
We had a tandem and in the interest of domestic tranquility it had to go actually we had some of the best and worst rides on that bike but in the end it just wasn't our cup o tea.
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Old 11-07-12, 07:36 PM   #9
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12bar
We had a tandem and in the interest of domestic tranquility it had to go actually we had some of the best and worst rides on that bike but in the end it just wasn't our cup o tea.
I understand. This is how my wife and I visualize life on a tandem.

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Old 11-08-12, 08:05 AM   #10
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I understand. This is how my wife and I visualize life on a tandem.
Wonderful picture.

I love the idea of tandem rides with the spouse, but suspect he's right to steer away from it.
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Old 11-08-12, 09:19 AM   #11
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That is a brilliant idea I am going to have to look into this.
A veteran of the entire Northern Tier and the western part to Glacier, N.P. a second. You could fly into Seattle, ride to Glacier, go up and back down the west side of Going to Sun, ride back to Whitefish and take the Empire Builder back to Seattle. If you have more time, you could continue east to Shelby, MT and catch the train back to Seattle. That would allow you to see Waterton Village in Canada. There is a dramatic towne campsite there. Just keep in mind that to take your bike on Amtrak, you need to board and detrain at stations that have checked baggage servivce.

Following ACA's Pacific Coast route to the Northern Tier, you could do Seattle to Glacier and back to Whitefish in about 17 days, not including any rest days, without killing yourself. Both times I took two rest days in that stretch. Winthrop, WA after the tough day over the North Cascades Highway and Sandpoint, ID. I probably could have done without Sandpoint. Seattle to Shelby could be done in about 22 days including a day off in Waterton Village. (There is a boat ride/hike combo you can do from town that I hear is really nice.)
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Old 11-08-12, 09:36 AM   #12
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Solo touring is inherently a selfish activity. I am rarely on tour for more than 3 weeks at a time, partially for that reason. Plus, I get homesick.

Consider breaking the x-country into 3 or 4 segments, interspersed with time at home. Anticipating, planning, staying in shape for the next segment is fun. When it's all done, it'll still be a cross country. You'll have 3/4 journals instead of just one.

The Amtrak idea should work too. Be win-win for you both.

Good luck.
This is my situation as well...seems that 3 weeks is the limit before my wife starts to worry.
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Old 11-08-12, 10:01 AM   #13
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It's tough not to feel guilty when doing a long, fun tour, but I find it helps to switch perspectives. How would you feel if your wife wanted to go on a dream three-month trip (touring, hiking, whatever)? I don't want to answer your question for you, but I suspect you'd be very supportive and happy that she was embarking on a trip she always wanted to do.
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Old 11-08-12, 10:04 AM   #14
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This is my situation as well...seems that 3 weeks is the limit before my wife starts to worry.
Three weeks is kind of short for me, but I do also have a limit that way only time limit is a bit longer. I really don't think I want to be on the road from much more than a Trans America length trip which was 73 days for me. Riding around the world or even being on the road for a year don't really appeal to me. Trips in the 1-3 month range seem pretty nice.

At the short end of the scale, I am not opposed to doing a 10 or so day tour here and there. Weekenders and over night trips don't appeal to me very much though.
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Old 11-08-12, 10:06 AM   #15
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How would you feel if your wife wanted to go on a dream three-month trip (touring, hiking, whatever)? I don't want to answer your question for you, but I suspect you'd be very supportive and happy that she was embarking on a trip she always wanted to do.
To the OP, if that isn't the case then you should feel guilty, otherwise no.
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Old 11-08-12, 11:02 AM   #16
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I face the same dilemma. I would love to ride cross country but my wife would probably feel left out. The expense would be another issue as it would probably cost more than we usually spend on joint vacations. I may have to wait until my wife retires, which will probably precede me by several years. That way my wife would have the choice of riding along in a car or railroad, if she desires. The main problem with that is the slow pace of riding vs driving, and I think she would get bored with the pace.
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Old 11-08-12, 11:17 AM   #17
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I've learned to stop asking questions when my wife tells me she's OK with something.
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Old 11-08-12, 12:08 PM   #18
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I face the same dilemma. I would love to ride cross country but my wife would probably feel left out. The expense would be another issue as it would probably cost more than we usually spend on joint vacations. I may have to wait until my wife retires, which will probably precede me by several years. That way my wife would have the choice of riding along in a car or railroad, if she desires. The main problem with that is the slow pace of riding vs driving, and I think she would get bored with the pace.
On the cost issue you may not find it will "cost more than we usually spend on joint vacations". I actually have sometimes found that my bike tours actually wind up costing less than staying home as long as I do not have to factor in any lost wages. Without exception they cost less per day than any joint vacation I have ever been on. The savings in gasoline alone amount to quite a bit. Granted that will depend on your touring style.

On the idea of having a wife tag along in a car...

First, I suspect that you will find that having a car in the mix negatively impacts the whole touring experience in a very fundamental way. You will lose the independent feeling of traveling without a car, you will have the temptation to skip riding the more boring parts, won't be able to stay in hiker biker sites, you won't mix with the locals or other tourists as much, and you will miss out on the offers of hospitality and other kindnesses. The cost will go way up. Gasoline isn't cheap. Then there are logistics, how to you get the car to the beginning and from the end of the tour? You could rent a car but again that adds to the cost.

Second, it is likely that your wife will be bored and feel put upon as a result of day after day in towns with a population of 50 where all she has to do is shop for you and do your laundry. It might be bad enough that at times those chores may be the highlight of her day. I met quite a few wives driving sag and almost all seemed to resent it after a while.

IMO it would be much kinder to leave her home.

Edit: The Amtrak option seems like it would be hard to make work if you are riding the whole route. You will not see each other very often, decent Amtrak stops will not coincide with the NT all that frequently and it will coast a bundle for your wife to stay alone in the places she will wind up. It is likely she will want a room and the rates will be high in many of the places mentioned, she is also likely to want a rental car many places along the way. It will cost a bundle over a 9-12 week tour and she will not see you for the large majority of the time. BTW Amtrak does not allow dogs so she wouldn't be able to bring the dog along, if you were considering that.

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Old 11-08-12, 12:18 PM   #19
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I am struggling with a dilemma I have the equipment, time and funds to do a long tour. My dream tour is the northern tier. My issue is leaving my wife, home and dog for three months without feeling like I am being terribly selfish. My wife says she is OK with me going but would be very jealous because she doesn't think she could do it and she doesn't want to leave the house and dog for that long. So how do you deal with something like this.

If you know she would be jealous, you also know that going on this trip by yourself without her will be the end of your marriage.

So, either you don't go, or you come up with a compromise which can include both of you. If she feels she can't leave the house and dog for 3 months, maybe she can fly/drive/train out to meet you for a couple weeks for part of the tour, then return home for a few weeks, then fly/drive/train out to meet you for another couple weeks, then return home for a few weeks, etc.

Or maybe ask her how she would feel about driving sag ... she drives from town to town while you ride. I know there are some here who don't think this would work, but it can, especially if she has other interests. For example, coming across Idaho yesterday, we stopped in at the Craters of the Moon park. In your case, you might ride right past that, while she could go do some of the hikes there, cycle around the park, like we did, explore, etc. ... then drive on to your night's destination to meet you. That way she could take in shopping, museums, historical and natural places of interest, etc., while you ride.

Or maybe she would like to fly to Europe for several weeks with her best friends, while you're cycling across the US.

But you'll have to talk to her and find out what she would like to do.
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Old 11-08-12, 12:34 PM   #20
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12bar, ask this question on a neutral forum or a forum about marriage, you will get the true answer. This forum is going to be completely biased in your favor of going.

My personal feeling just from what I read is that 3 months is too long to be having a personal vacation while your spouse has to carry the entire responsibility of running the house. I did a tour for a month without my spouse and probably will never do it again like that, it really was unfair on her.
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Old 11-08-12, 12:55 PM   #21
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I understand. This is how my wife and I visualize life on a tandem.
One of the most learned folk on the tandem forum noted to the effect that "a tandem will take your relationship with your spouse to whereever it is going to eventually go (to a good place or to a bad place) faster that anything else"...

In the interest of having some hope, I recommend couple which find that they are incompatable on a tandem to drop the issue for 10 years and give it another try at that time (if they are still together otherwise).
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Old 11-08-12, 01:04 PM   #22
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I like the idea of asking on a marriage-related forum.
Three months seems way too long to me, but everyone is different. I have a couple of happily married friends who have spent months at a time living in separate countries. I know someone, not even a cyclist most of the time, who thought he'd like to use the time between graduating and starting work to bike the Southern Tier. If I remember correctly, his wife flew out around halfway, and they spent a few days together.
For my part, my wife and I have taken separate vacations a couple of times, because of availability of time off and other factors, but I think they max out at a couple of weeks. Also for the last two years, we have taken a week off together at the beach, but I leave a few days early on my bike, and we meet up at the coast. So short trips, a camping weekend, or a trip to visit family are not a big deal, but I'd have reservations about doing a longer trip. But everyone is different.
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Old 11-08-12, 01:09 PM   #23
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I had my wife drive sag once when I toured up north to Inuvik and other northern sections. She was well aware of the potential boredom, and as an experienced outdoors traveler, knew what to expect and what was expected of her. It worked out very well, but I don't think it would be something I would ask her to do when touring through major cities and along busy unfamiliar hwys. Most of my solo trips are 2 or 3 weeks, a couple being a bit longer, but as "staephj1" says, I'm not interested in trips much less than 10 days.
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Old 11-08-12, 02:26 PM   #24
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I am struggling with a dilemma I have the equipment, time and funds to do a long tour. My dream tour is the northern tier. My issue is leaving my wife, home and dog for three months without feeling like I am being terribly selfish. My wife says she is OK with me going but would be very jealous because she doesn't think she could do it and she doesn't want to leave the house and dog for that long. So how do you deal with something like this.
you could take 1 1/2 months and loop through Alabama and Georgia, from your door step and back again. or take a train to dc and ride back home. just because your dream tour is the northern tier, doesn't mean you need to do it, especially at the risk of alienating your spouse.
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Old 11-08-12, 02:39 PM   #25
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People who want to hike the way of St James, Santiago de Compostela, ending in Spanish Galicia,

do what part time allows , then come back another year
and do the next portion.

You could do the same for your Northern Tier Quest.

the Amtrak connection makes that Practical.

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