This past Saturday we hopped on the bikes and departed from our cousin Chris’s home only a few blocks off our coastal route and pedaled down to the Mexican border. There was a little emotion but generally, it was more a matter-of-fact activity than the culmination of a monumental journey. The feeling of perseverance, grit, and determination experienced in past challenges that leads to an emotional climax at the completion of some adventures simply wasn’t part of this trip. However, because it wasn’t emotional doesn’t mean it wasn’t worthwhile. It was a wonderful experience, one I’d do again, and in some ways was potentially one of the most important trips we may have ever taken.
The riding part of the day was fairly simple. We didn’t have to bring much because we were staying at Chris’s place again upon the completion of our journey so we did not have to bring the trailer along for the last day. We brought only a few maintenance tools for the bike, our lock, the map, and the standard phone and wallet. It was an overall easy ride with the only difficulties being some navigating challenges through San Diego.
San Diego has to be one of the most beautiful cities we’ve seen, and anyone reading our website over the past year knows we’ve seen a good amount of US cities. We had great weather and our route even had us taking a ferry boat over to Coronado Island as part of our ride. We left downtown with some bagel sandwiches and rode the ferry out to a gorgeous island in the bay and then rode “The Strand”, a thin strip of land connecting Coronado Island (I guess it’s not really an island after all) to the mainland to the South. Then, to our surprise, we hit desert-like, dry country roads that took us down to the border. We rode along the fence for awhile and then into a state park where we found Chris waiting for us. We did a quick ride down towards the water but the road was actually flooded out so we didn’t get to finish right where the ocean and the border meet but we were satisfied with our journey end.
Regarding the feeling of it all, when we got to the finish, it was a hug and a kiss and a “well, let’s get on back to meet up with Chris so we can get something to drink and get cleaned up”. We took some pictures and were finished. Riding the bikes was fun but there was a sense of relief knowing that we were finished. We made it through with only two flats (both on Julie’s rear tire) and the chain breaking incidence early on with my bike. Otherwise, it was smooth sailing. However, we were always listening for little noises on the bike and wondering if a squeak or a creak was the beginning of something bigger or something we should address right away. We were glad to be finished and to not have to worry about the machines failing us anymore.
So we took the bikes back up to Chris’s place, cleaned them up, took them apart, and stored them in the corner of his garage. We then got to work on the next steps. We booked rental cars and hotels, we got our last minute final Mexico travel arrangements in order, and we tried to get as many other things on our list accomplished. We also watched lots of football (Notre Dame and the 49ers included) and we had lots of good food with our cousin.
I say this adventure was really worthwhile and repeatable for two reasons. First, cycling is a great mode of transportation and a wonderful way to see the country. We were going slow enough that we could really experience the world around us with our senses. We pretty well always had to be watching and paying attention to everything around us unlike in a car where the world outside is much more separated. But we also were going faster than walking which enabled us to enjoy more of the creature comforts of life. We could get from town to town throughout the day and always be part of civilization because we could move faster than hiking pace. The second reason the trip was so valuable was that we finally took the time to figure out what we want to do. We sat down and actually wrote down what projects we’re interested in and why we’re interested in them. We wrote down our values and what we think it means to be a good person. These things are important things to think about and they now serve as guides for us in future decision making. Without this trip, and specifically without our 9 day stay in SF at Jed’s to really sit down and figure these things out, we may still be out there floating through activities without the sense of purpose and meaning our choices now take on.
So in conclusion, the bike trip was awesome. We met some good people, met up with some good friends from our past, and had some good time alone together. We saw amazing scenery and were fortunate to have only one day of rain on the entire trip. It was a comfortable trip overall and it shows as Julie and I have both put on a few pounds and each feel the need to get back to work in that respect. We ate well though and enjoyed every bite of it. We figured out where we want to go with our lives now that we’re each over thirty years into it, and we continue to grow stronger as a team and as a couple. Life on a Bike: success.