A few days into our trip my buddy Bruce asked what had been the best part of the trip so far.
I didn’t respond right away.
Truth be told, I couldn’t think of anything at the moment. I was sunburned, wind-burned and burned out. Several days of head winds, heat, and biking 65+ miles a day left me with the realization that I was in over my head. Not like sucking for air in the deep end of the pool over my head; more like exploring the Mariana Trench with a snorkel over my head.
This trip had been my idea and like most of my ideas, had grown to rather bold proportions. A 3-day bike trip to St. Louis had transformed into a 38-day trip across half the country. And fortunately, two years ago today I married a girl loving enough to let me pursue my dream of a bike trip and dauntless enough to join me on it.
And at that moment in the windswept fields of Indiana, I looked behind me and saw that girl, pedaling on and plodding forward. This trip hadn’t been her idea but she was with me on it. She had to fight the same wind. She had pedal up the same hills. She had to pee in the same cornfields, (something I can only imagine to be more difficult for her than me). And if she was with me, then I could keep going.
At the next stop I sent Bruce a message and it’s the same thing I’m going to tell you now. This trip hasn’t been easy. But the absolute best part of it is knowing when we’re done, whether we make it all the way to Maine or not, this is going to be a major accomplishment that we fought for and accomplished together.
And that describes our marriage. We’re fighters. We believe that marriage is a battle and your spouse is your ally and comrade. Disney princes may marry the delicate maiden; I’d rather be William Wallace marrying Joan of Arc. The last two years have had their battles. We’ve changed jobs, moved, held funerals for some dreams and given new life to others. It’s not all sunsets and Journey songs. I mean, this trip has brought us windy days and grinding hills. And looking at the topographical map for next week, those hills are only going to get larger.
At the end of it all, I won’t be able to say I biked halfway across the country. I will, however, be able to say my wife and I did. And I quite like the sound of that.
To all of life’s roads yet to traveled, I love you, Joelle.
Left: Rochester, NY, 8:00 am
Sleeping in: a bed and breakfast in Wolcott, NY arrived at 6:30 pm
Total mileage: 55 miles
High Speed: 36.5 mph
Avg. Speed: 11.1 mph
Overall weather conditions: cloudy with the sky the color of Wesley’s Eyes (if you get this one, comment and I’ll give you a high five when we get home)
Elevation Gain: 879 ft
Total Trip mileage: 864 miles