I guess this started back in July in Sturgis before the ADV Rally when I met Bryan and John at breakfast. At that time I was still holding out hope that the Canadian border would be opening soon and I could go north to the Arctic as I’ve wanted to for so long. We all agreed that it was unlikely that the border would open. I think it was John who said, “You know, it’s not too hard to find a job nowadays.” And he brought up the idea of stopping somewhere to work over the winter and starting out again next year. Bryan agreed. I listened, but brushed off the idea of going back to work mid-trip. I’m fairly goal oriented, and I left home with the goal to ride around the world. But my goal also included Alaska and the Arctic. It’s a part of the world I’ve never seen, though I’ve wanted to for decades. Over the next few weeks I spent countless miles thinking it over in my head, sometimes talking aloud to myself in my helmet. It makes sense. Borders in South America are still restricted. I don’t know the situation in Central America very well. We’ve been seeing rising case numbers for covid, and most of the world is still struggling to get access to vaccines. I misunderestimated how long the pandemic would last when I got on the road in December. Continuing my trip right now makes seeing Alaska next year logistically problematic. Who knows where I’d be in the summer? If I stop for the winter, I can restart in the spring the way I intended. I hope to take a paddling trip with a friend in Ontario. I want to go to the Arctic Ocean. I want to see the Northern Lights. I’m going to paddle out to see glaciers and experience the midnight sun. I’ll be able to refill my savings account, at least partially and I’ll get a chance to reevaluate my gear, replacing items that didn’t work out like I expected, or going through my gear list to remove things I didn’t really need or add items which I could have used. And most importantly, maybe this pandemic will have subsided by next year, at least enough to make it fun to travel again. So right now my plan is to stop for about six months, find a place to stay, get a job. I still have a few things in Denver, and hopefully I can get my old job back. I’ll have to search for a short-term furnished apartment, with access to a garage. I’m not locked into Denver, so if you know of a good opportunity somewhere, let me know through a private message. In the meantime I’d like to do a series of mid-trip gear reviews in this thread, mods willing. And when the time comes I’ll continue with my trip, this report, and life on the road.