Friday, May 24, 2013

Spectacular Disruption

It's midnight. I have just turned out the light after my second attempt to read myself to sleep. Almost instantly my phone on the night table next to the bed chirps and starts flashing it's blue LED. "What the f...?!" I mutter under my breath, hoping that Kathy wasn't awakened. I realize that I forgot to re-start the Llama app that silences my phone during my normal sleep hours.

I grab the phone, expecting some stupid spam message, but instead I find the following, from my tour-buddy, Fred:
Life on the road is so special, so unique, so spectacular, so life-beyond-life, where life is so regular. Life on the road is so amazingly real, intense, here-and-now that things seem super-natural. Everything is so much more intense. Running out of words to explain. But u know what I mean -- that u and I have created something so amazing wonderfully actualizing while adding the physical element that... I can't wait to tell you about the roles of the precuneus and new functions of the cerebellum in modern abstractive thought and creativity!
A little background will clear your probable confusion regarding the last sentence. When he is not touring, Fred is a psychology professor at the University of Colorado in Colorado Springs. In the 40 years I have known him, one of his main specialty areas always has been neuropsychology. From time to time in our cycling journeys, various work-related thoughts occur to him and he tries them out on me. Once in a while I even believe I know what he is talking about.

Anyway, that's not the point. The point is that our bike tours have been exceptional and spectacularly disruptive experiences. The end of each one is very, very sad, and only a week or so goes by before I start day-dreaming about the next trip. Fred and I have talked about it several times, and he feels the same -- hence the midnight text message above as we get close to our next trip and our next spectacular disruption of body, mind, time and space.

We are finalizing plans for the last leg of our cross-country tour, set to start in 22 days. This time it will be West Yellowstone, MT to Seattle, WA, completing a roughly 4,500 mile diagonal track across the country from Key West, FL. The plan is to cover the last 1,100 miles in 16 days of riding, starting on June 15. This might well be the most challenging of the five rides in this series. Our route includes portions of four states (Montana, Idaho, Oregon, and Washington), almost 50,000 feet of vertical climbing, and two pairs of back-to-back 80+ mile days. We can't wait to start!