Logistics has become a popular and often used word with UPS commercials of late. While it hasn’t been a commonly used word among the populace, it’s of critical importance in the trucking industry, airline operations, the military, supplying dealership networks, and any operation where a large number of components and considerations have to be organized and brought together. When an expedition of several or many months duration takes one away from home, the logistics of how you manage all the aspects of life left behind are critical.
Bills have to be paid. Some payments can be put on auto-pay with a credit card, but some refuse to offer this option. Our local natural gas company will allow credit card payment, but only with a large service charge. The local utilities won’t provide for any alternative way of payment. So, with just these three bills, someone dependable needs to make the payments or that’s three times a month you will need to get ashore and find a post office to mail payments. All other bills can be managed with credit card payment by phone, if not by auto-pay. We carry only two VISA credit cards. Travelers have usually found VISA to be the most versatile. The Cabela’s card provides a two-percent return on all purchases from Cenex gas and Cabela’s, and one-percent on all other expenditures. This not only gives a way of managing bill payments by phone, but actual monetary credit for camping or boating gear, or freeze-dried food. The other is a credit union card with an established line of credit that gives us immediate access to either emergency or operational funds with a phone call. A big responsibility is to determine what services can be curtailed during your absence so you don’t continue paying for services that aren’t being utilized. Dish Network, for example, has a plan where disconnect and re-connect fees can be eliminated with their Dish-Pause program. Instead of paying the normal monthly charge, there is only a roughly $5/month account maintenance fee. For services that don’t provide for this, one needs to consider the time that you will be away and how the monthly charges compare with service termination charges.
Grass mowing and yard care was minimal here last year with the drought we have been experiencing. I think I only mowed the grass three times all summer. Our son lives only two blocks away, so has offered to keep an eye on the place, mow grass, and collect and monitor mail. The local police and trustworthy neighbors can also be asked to keep an eye on things. They should know who and what vehicles can be expected at your home, and that they should notify police immediately if any other activity is observed.
Then you need to put the house to sleep. This not only reduces charges for services not being used, but reduces risk. For example, the water and gas are turned off at their main supply line not only to reduce cost, but to prevent accidental flooding or fire from a failed line or joint in the house. All major energy consumers can be turned off, such as heater, air conditioner, water heater, power strips to appliances, even those power-robbing monitor lights that stay on all the time.
The last issue is the pets. Your choices and decisions about what pets are made part of your life is a critical element here. Obviously, trying to go paddling long-term when you have a horse at home isn’t going to work unless there’s someone staying home to care for it. While it’s tempting, taking a pet along may not be a wise choice either, depending on where you are going. Paddling alone is a lonely existence, so the company of a dog is welcome and enjoyable on trips in the North or on placid waters. Is it fair to the animal, however, when you encounter rapids or alligators? In a spill in strong rapids, when your attention is 100% dedicated to saving yourself, your canoe and gear, does your pet have his own PFD, and are you comfortable leaving your friend to his own resources? In alligator waters, while the reptiles are leery of humans, they’ve been known to come right into a boat after animals that represent nothing more than a tasty morsel. With winds, current, tides, health and fitness, and harmful insects and wildlife, there’s enough goal-related things to be concerned about without having to worry about what’s going on back home. The more you can stabilize or neutralize issues at home, the more enjoyable the trip will be.