Thursday, September 11, 2008

Mental Maps

Day 348
Pula to Porec
Time: 5:19:00
Distance: 76.0 kilometers
Avg Speed: 14.3 kph
Terrain: Rolling
Location: N 45˚ 11’ 41.8”, E 13˚ 35’ 24.2”

My mental map for the day was about 50 km with an early afternoon arrival at a nice guesthouse. Reality took us over 75 km to Porec and a campground. So much for mental maps…

What is a mental map exactly? I picked up the term after reading a book about survival by Lawrence Gonzales. It’s the idea that when we approach a task or event, we have certain preconceived ideas about what will be the outcome. Mr. Gonzales presented different case studies and tied in the survivor or victim’s mental map. They expected to do a,b, and c while d, e, and f happened.
I’ve been trying to not pay attention to my mental map, but I think that it is human nature to formulate one. I’m getting better at not having any expectations and just being open to whatever the day brings. I think it’s a process that will last my entire life.
I picked the destination today based on the symbols on the map and the proximity to a certain town I want to visit. In addition to lovely beaches, the Istria Pennisula is said to have beautiful medieval looking towns. When we arrived at the town, there wasn’t much action and basically no guesthouses. I hadn’t really planned on anything else since guesthouses seem to be readily available. We stopped for a food and water break and made a new plan – actually a couple of them. In the back of my mind I suspected that we would end up at a campground for the night. It definitely wasn’t the first choice but a reliable one.
As we traveled down the road to Porec we found not much in the way of available or affordable rooms. We pedaled the way of the campground and stopped one last time to check out two possibilities. When we found no one at the guesthouse we rolled down the driveway to the pension (B & B). It was very nice – a quaint stone house surrounded by a vineyard and a pool. Chris found the host and quickly went to work discussing options. The man spoke a lot of Croatian, a little Spanish, and a little English. As the conversation went on we figured out that a large group had just called and was on their way to fill up the remaining rooms. We could tell that he was a little disappointed because we were ready to stay for the rest of the week, especially after we found out that the room rate included breakfast and dinner. He poured us each a glass of wine while we waited to see if his phone call panned out. As he examined his schedule book to see about any open rooms, he asked us about the distance we rode today. When we told him 70 kilometers his arms flew up in the air and he rushed to pour us another glass of wine. I think he might have even said a hail mary too.
So tonight we are in the campground after all. However, we won’t be here all week. Our new friend has an opening on Tuesday so we’ll pack our panniers and head over for four nights of home cooked meals before sailing over to Italy.

Here’s to a few glasses of wine after a long hot day on the road,

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