Congratulations to Eileen and Cono our friends who have just finished bicycling across the country on their own Reboot Break. Here is a guest blog from them on lessons learned. (BTW, Betsy is the name of their van.)
We are driving our way to Portland today, Wednesday, June 22, from where Eileen will fly back to NY to attend Barbara and Bard’s wedding celebration, and Cono will begin the week-long drive with Betsy back east.
Friends, family, and loyal readers, as always, we learn from our experiences, and this leg of the trip is no exception:
~ Springtime is a wonderful time to do this trip, even though the weather can be “iffy”, because of all the visible newborn wildlife and the glorious wildflowers blooming.
~ When nature calls, sometimes nature is the best smelling alternative. And speaking of stinky, the only establishment across the entire country that refused to let us use the facilities was the Geiser Grand in Baker City, which we promptly re-named the Old Geeser!
~ Piano, Piano, which literally means easy, easy, or little by little, (in Italian-go Cono!) and this can be a good, and sometimes the only way to go, especially on tough hills and in strong headwinds. An Eileen-ism: “It’s a ride, not a race”.
~ Ignorance sometimes is bliss; again, on climbs, it is usually better not to see the additional ascent around that blind curve ahead until you complete the current one.
~ We often think of miles in terms of how many Central Park loops (6 miles) that means, i.e., only two loops left to go!
~ People don’t always hold true to stereotypes; I am thinking of the fun we had, including Gumby, with the motorcyclists in Baker City (see Leather meets Lycra and Gumby (almost) Goes to the Wild Side).
~ People are generally kind and helpful, and “trail angels” come in all shapes, sizes, colors and ages.
~ Eileen really likes writing (she has enjoyed doing the blog entries and appreciates all of the positive feedback) and photographing nature, especially wildflowers.
~ If you have the right people, you can share important experiences with someone you have just met or your 80 year old Mom (priceless!).
~ Having said that, touring cycling, unless done on a tandem, is basically a loner sport because you spend so much time by yourself in the saddle. You have to be really comfortable with yourself and/or want to do a lot of thinking.
~ Although physical ailments can hinder you, the mind can set you back equally or more so. A Cono-ism: “The mind gives out before the legs”.
~ A good sense of adventure and humor is invaluable on trips like this (and in life). A spare pair of pillowcases, just in case, can also help in a pinch. Again, think ignorance is bliss…
~ This is not new, but worth repeating: we have a magnificent, vast country, so get out and see it! The National Park system is amazing and “seniors” can buy a lifetime pass for $10, good for the entire car load at all National Parks. At the risk of sounding like a politician, God bless you, and God bless the United States of America.