Older Gentleman in a Dollar General parking lot: “You realize, not a lot of people get a chance in life to do something like your trip that they really want to do.”
Us: “Yes sir, yes we do.”
We have officially crossed the 2,000 mile point! Each time we tick over another grand on the odometers, it feels like a good time to take a quiet moment (after the hollering and the fist bumps) to simply be appreciative of the chance to do this trip and have a capable mind and body to complete it. Nothing is taken for granted. Not by us. Life can change in a heartbeat, we both know that all too well, but one thing won’t ever change…the fact that this little 12-legged family has done 2,000 miles! On BICYCLES! The experiences, memories, sights, scars and tan lines are our proof. And our gear! Wow, we’ve aged our gear more in three months than most people do in three years. The result is a beautiful and well-earned, hard used patina on everything we carry with us. The scorch marks on the cook stove, the rust and rub marks on our bike racks, the dirt and insect gut stains on the tent. All of it is part of the shared experience that is this adventure. If you see us out on the road now, all of us, gear, canine and humans, look the part. With smiles and waggy tails too. And the odometers keep ticking away…bring on the next 1,000!
Now for some very important news…the weather has finally turned! During this entire trip, we only saw two evenings that dipped below 70 degrees. Then last week we woke up to 48! Junebug was the happiest about this situation, running around like a crazy dog that got ahold of some espresso. Poor Biscuit hasn’t yet put on his full winter coat, so he needs to be snuggled a little more than usual (if that’s even possible). As for the people, we haven’t yet fully swapped out our summer gear for winter gear, so those kind of mornings involve a little dancing and shivering. We welcome the change. Living outside, we get to see all the cycles in a very intimate way. The daily cycle of the sun, monthly cycle of the moon, and the changing of seasons. It’s a very connected way of living, and we feel not only more in tune with our surroundings, but we feel richer for being outside rather than in. Still, brrr. Does the campground have a hand warmer, I mean dryer in the bathroom?!
Daylight savings and the shorter days are turning us into some odd ducks too. We start getting the circus shut down for the night at 5:30 because that is when the sunsets! Yawns start at 5:45. Dogs stare longingly at the tent by 6:00. Part of this is that we are still riding early, though not as early as before. The time zone change as we head west will impact us too. The sun will set at 4:30! Eeek! We’ll be asleep by 6. That’s probably not much of a joke. Really.
Early in the trip, we rode a lot of miles per week, especially across SC and GA. In FL, we slowed down considerably to enjoy time with friends and family, and to see some of the sights. We are now gearing back up to start putting in bigger miles, and as of this post have at least five straight days of riding planned before pondering a break. All in all though, we aren’t in a hurry and are certainly not trying to set any records. It just feels good to be rolling. And that’s what we call freedom.
Mark, Georgia, Junebug and Biscuit
Hey Mark, you remember me mentioning some hikers I saw on 280 earlier this year and asking you if there was something going on, a hike or whatever. The people I saw looked liked travelers. That is what I envision with this post. The look of serious travelers. I am sure you guys have it. Good luck, let me know if can do anything.
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Dan! Yes, I recall that conversation and it probably is something similar. We have settled into a comfort level with living out on the road. Either one of us could tell you exactly where each item of gear is located. We setup and take down camp like a well-trained military unit. And in general, we are comfortable planning our future one or two days a time, never really knowing what is ahead. It’s really great.