A dream begins as an itch. This is not the kind of itch that you scratch. It doesn’t appear as a spider bite, or dry skin in need of lotion. Rather it is an itch that bubbles inside of you. Just when you think the itch has disappeared, it comes back. And it keeps coming back.
Most of the time, you ignore it. There are no thoughts that even consider acting out on that itch. Years go by, and your only thought is how to get rid of the itch. To make it go away once and for all.
But it won’t go away. It keeps coming back stronger and stronger. Until you can no longer ignore it, step on it, or kick it under the rug.
It’s time to believe in your dream. It’s time to ride. For days on end. Welcome to touring the US on bicycle. Something that makes sense for many in their 20’s. Something to be savored in your 50’s and then some. There is no better time than now to ride.
I’ve always wanted to ride my bicycle cross country. I wanted to do this while in my 20’s, but there was always a long line of excuses. Job, family, tennis, running and other priorities managed to get in the way. By the time I reached my 30’s I could add an even longer list of excuses, but the dream never died. Enter into the 40’s and despite an amazing run of years of sailing, triathlons, caring for elderly parents – life transitioned before I knew it into my 50’s.
Staring down the barrel of “well – are you going to make this happen or not?”, I decided it is time. And yes, the complexities are enormous – especially if you allow it to be. There is still work, and the daily barrage of emails will never cease (at least I hope!).
Taking off a large swath of time (2 months for x-country bicycle touring) has been the biggest challenge. This has always held me back. But what if I changed the route? At least to get started? What if I could find some momentum – by shifting my focus from east coast to west coast, to north to south? What if I could get this tour started by breaking it into 3 sections. Section 1 could be Bar Harbor Maine to Washington DC. Section 2 could be Ocean City Maryland to Savannah Georgia. And, section 3 could be Savannah GA to Key West. What if I could have my cake and eat it too? And suddenly the dream of x-country bicycle touring from my 20’s seemed far more doable.
There is family – who has gone above and beyond in being a part of this journey. There is hubby Pat – while interested in shorter distance bicycle miles, is a huge force in the support team both on and off the bicycle (bike mechanic, master of bicycle gadgets, chef, entertainment – guitar, discovers coffee shops). There is sister-n-law Jill – who is just as crazy as I am, an EverReady battery of energy and laughs and will be training and logging in the touring miles day after day. There is brother Chuck – who also prefers the shorter distance bicycle miles, and provides an uncanny attention to detail – from weather forecasts to navigation.
It truly does take a village to make it all happen, and one unstoppable desire to keep the dream alive.