"WOW...I biked across the United States..." That thought runs through my head everyday, several times a day. It still doesn't seem real. In my mind I picture and imagine the country being enormous. I would have never imagined it to be possible to bike across the entire country in such a seemingly short amount of time. As I reflect on the trip I have determined that the country is much smaller then I ever thought. The ability and opportunity to zigzag across the US by my own power has been the best experience of my life. It is one that I struggle to explain to people and have come to realization that I will never be able to.
This trip allowed me to realize what things are important in my life. Upon hitting the beach I didn't realize how much I learned, but now that I have returned to the hectic fast paced life of living in a big city I realize how much I learned.
Making things on time is not important. If I spend 5, 10 or even 20 minutes helping someone and make an impact on them, what loss have I experienced by giving up that time??? It is nothing on the grand scheme of my life, yet it has made a impact on someone that they may remember for all of their life.
Planning is worthless. Go ahead make plans. Try to figure out what will happen in the next weeks, months, and years, but realize that life often has different plans than the ones made. Accept that and welcome the changes as part of life's adventure. If everything happened as you planned life would be boring and there would be nothing to talk about and celebrate in later years.
Smile at everything. Life has many ups and downs. Many stressful and relaxed times. Take all of them with stride and smile at the unpredictable turns of this roller coaster. It keeps life real and exciting. Best of all when you smile it makes people wonder what you have been up to!
Live. These are some of the things I learned on this trip, but most importantly I learned to live. Take the opportunity to do things that you are uncertain of instead of living with "What ifs..." The what ifs of life will torment a person much more than the "If I wouldn't have..." Life is fun when you live it, boring if you sit by and let it pass.
So, I just finished biking across the country a few weeks ago and the question of the day seems to be "Would you do it again?" My response is that I have no inkling to do that trip again. Would I do a similar trip on a different route or perhaps in another country? - without hesitation.
Bicycle touring is the single best way to get in shape, enjoy nature, bond with friends and free oneself of the clutter of day to day living in our culture of bigger, better, faster, more expensive, newer than yours society. Through cycle touring I learned about myself on a different level - a deeper level. And the best part is that I did it laughing for hours upon hours about anything and everything.
Thanks for such an enjoyable experience Danno, Stevve, Speedster, Timone, Johno and Santa - who taught me "It hurts different."
Strange feelings ran through me as I unhooked “Robert”, (my trailer) and took my bike to the water. The festivities were grand as we all took a sigh of relief and put the tires in the salt water. I stood there for a bit just looking into the ocean and taking in the moment. A chill ran down my spine. A great night followed as we had a meal to eat, a bed to sleep in, a roof over our heads, and friends to act goofy with.
A trip of this magnitude begins with no end in sight and requires you to change your lifestyle. It teaches you many things...how to ride a bike, how to push yourself, how to live simply, how to be homeless, and how not to take simple things for granted. It truly is a journey in which you must enjoy the riding, the people, the scenery, and the friendships because the ultimate goal is so far off. For me, reaching the Atlantic became less and less to do with the trip as did the 58 days in between. It is now time to talk with others of what I learned and had fun doing in pursuit of a story they will share with me. Last journal entry: 8-12 , 8-13 Day 59,60 1000+ miles
You can go faaaaassssst in a car! Finally back to Cedarburg where I got a congrats from my roomies. Karl had the quote of the summer as I extended my hand to shake. He looked at me funny and said, “brothers don’t shake, brothers hug.”
Ride on M.O.B.