Catching Up: I am fully integrated back into the real world. I am looking forward to whatever my next bicycling adventure will be. I have been riding a little and rowing a fair amount. Joy and I will be heading to a cottage for a week soon and the fall mornings are starting to settle in already. I wanted to close out this portion of my journey with a couple more posts. Ones I have been thinking about for quite a while now. First is one of thanks for all of the people and places that helped me and aided me along the way. What you will see with this list is that no journey in our life is without input even if you are a loner for the most part like me.
I know there will be some forgotten with this list, to those I am sorry. I am looking back and even as I write this my heart swells with memories of the journey. What a gift I have been given.
First and foremost I have to say thanks to Joy. Her willingness to allow me to pursue stuff like this is a blessing. I could never have done this had she not been willing to allow me her chauffeur to take off on a bicycle for such a long go. These things also come with negotiations so we worked it through and she still said yes! Thanks dear…
To my family and all who helped Joy while I was gone with rides and walks and meals and well just about anything I couldn’t do (Kathleen this is you also). Thanks for the community of support.
Thanks to Zion UC for the ability to leave on my journey and your blessing of me to go. It has been a good ten year run. For all of the gifts large and small, thanks!
These are not necessarily in order but in some ways they are:
Paul, Ben, Jeff, Manny, Rod, Ray, Charlie and the crew for allowing me to tag along with them and discuss and dream of bike tours. Ben your ideas for locks etc. were some of the best. Paul, go for that Tour Divide but dude it looks punishing; even for those of us that like to camp in the middle of nowhere. To Ross and Ross’ Bike Works. You help me keep my bikes going and have a unique place in this town. I am thankful for all of your help!
To Sombra and a wonderful ferry ride to the US of A. Cornerstone Highlands Church and Pastor Steve Kazer for graciously allowing me to crash in their back yard. Jaye and David and an unforgettable dinner and conversation (OK the cold beer was incredible). Chris and Jodi in Rensselaer IN; awesome hosts. Thanks for not making the night too serious, loved the fair! In Ashkum IL I met my niece Becky for a fun night and great dinner. I love every time I get to see her, she challenges me to see a bigger world.
Wenona IL and an incredible town to be hosted in. Jeff and the family in Des Moines IL, a great night and wonderful hosts. You gifted me! Panora Iowa, wild owls and a very cool $5 town campground. Twumi and Dave in Atlantic Iowa for the donuts and the welcome.
Gayle, your generousity and your drive into Council Bluffs are one of my greatest memories. I will never forget you and one day hope to see you again in Arizona. You taught me about never getting stagnant at any age and reaching for something continuously. At your age your willingness to move and pursue humbled me. I truly am blessed to have crossed your path.
To the City of Omaha, I will return. You surprised me with your beauty and your depth of museums and art. I am in love with another city…
To my Lincoln NE Reddit host my daughter found for me. I am humbled by people like you that would open your home in trust on the words of people who you know through the internet. You represent what is truly great about people and this world. To the people at the Schwinn bicycle shop in Holdrege NE. Thanks for the time to use the shop and the gift of your time. Actually the town was a delight and you again represent the ones who give, even when it doesn’t necessarily boost your business; Thanks.
Michael and Sheila. I do not know how much I can thank you for the night at the campground and the simple gift of fruit on the hot road the next day. When I pulled into Macklin and saw the sign for no water I was broken in a small way inside. I started to make plans to cycle back to the restaurant for water and dinner but you saved me. Beers, hospitality and the gift of conversation over a campfire for the night. To Mr. and Mrs. Nebraska (Pat & wife) who taught me more about Nebraska over that fire than I had ever known in my life. There are times that etch themselves into your life as memories that will never fade and this is one of them.
To Wray Colorado and all of the friends I met there. Dan the Pay It Forward man, the man who loaned me a lighter when I desperately needed it. To John and Marion and your children who adopted me for the weekend. Well, that really says it all there. Thanks and thanks again. I enjoyed your last gift of sake the night before Leadville, I remembered your kindness. To the man with the ‘Lincoln Walker’ who needed oxygen to get around but could not kick the cigarettes between puffs on the oxygen. Your dreams about going again to the mountains and how beautiful they were. Your eyes betrayed your failure in yourself and your disappointment in what life can become if we sell our dreams short. You taught me much in our 20 minutes together. I am grateful.
To the plains of Colorado that showed me that boring and mundane actually exists in a physical form; and then to make it all harder you added wind. I found small diners in towns that are kept alive because communities believe if they stop supporting them they lose a little part of their own soul. It encouraged me to believe there is hope for some Canadian rural churches, if and only if they can shake themselves free from the bondage to dead hypocrisy and bureaucracy the United Church and others represent. Sometimes you do have to ‘kick at the darkness until it bleeds daylight.’ Sometimes that darkness is found masquerading as light and using high falutin words intended to obfuscate clarity…
To Jim Conzelman and the Faith RX’d crew at Back Country Crossfit in Denver. One more small gift added onto a wonderful night in the city. What more can be said than thanks.
To Shelly Rollison for the concert and for your incredible music and a firm belief you have to ‘start’ to get to any goal. I love your faith, your music and your belief in the beauty of this world that you uniquely possess and express. Your song ‘Carry or Cut’ is beautiful and oh so true. Thanks for all you have given to those around you.
Eric and Rene; what can I say more than thanks. You introduced me to your love of cycle touring and each other. Sometimes you meet friends that in a few short days can change your life. I know we will meet again. Hopefully next summer Eric I can join you on the road and hope I don’t slow you down. You opened your home for more than a couple days and taught me about community, and the sharing of our wealth to pay things back and forward to others. Oh, and you introduced me to Culver’s Concrete Mixer. Wow, only a true friend shows us the power of custard with caramel and great big chunks of candy bars. It was my pre-Leadville nutritional training.
To Leadville: I love you and what you and the mountain bike 100 race have taught me about myself. I can do anything I set my mind to. To quote Ken and Merilee; ‘You are stronger than you think you are, and you can do more than you think you can!’ To the couple at the all you can eat ice cream bar two nights before the race at the campgrounds. ‘How come you are the only person from the race in here eating ice cream a couple days before the race?’ Very good question I can only answer in a love for long enduring punishment (like riding across North America to do said race), and a love for ice cream and good food.
Finally here is to the road less travelled. By bike this is the truth. Someone said to me the other day; ‘a once in a lifetime’ journey and I knew they were wrong. I will do this again. Sometimes alone and sometimes with others; definitely with Joy. The road beckons and since I have come home and even as I write this the road beckons even harder. I fell in love with the hardness and yet the easiness of wandering and riding.
Thanks to all who have read and commented along the way. I have enjoyed the ability to allow some to see my view of this world from the back of a bicycle seat on this journey. Your encouragement and words are truly a gift back to me.
Finally and this will sound odd to some but thanks to CB for firing me. I could never have done this without that! Very large smiles here as I sent her a thank you with a gift saying thanks for the summer of 2017. I drew a simple picture of a bicycle. It is that simple in the end. Sometimes we have to be released from what we treasured to be set free to see the real gifts in life.