There’s so much whirling around in my head today I don’t know where to start. It’s wonderful to be at home and I’m so happy to see Megan, Jonah and all the friends and family that came by last night to celebrate my homecoming. What a great way to wrap up the trip! I feel so supported by the folks who could make it and all of you that have offered comments along the way. You have all really helped keep me going over these last two months.
Overwhelmed doesn’t quite catch it, really. I guess I spoke to people last night and I hope I was coherent but I kind of doubt it. I found myself grasping for words to describe the expereience, the different aspects, and to recall the people and the stories. I think I’m better off writing about it than speaking. When I go to describe what’s happened there’s just too many thoughts and I get a log jam in my brain with them all trying to come forward. Not to mention that, while I kind of like the attention, I don’t feel comfortable with it. Part of me likes the spotlight, but I squirm in it if I don’t have a script to work from. Considering I was running on 5 hours sleep and did 84 miles, I might also have been tired. I’ve been reminded to give myself a break, occasionally, usually by my wise partner.
The one impression that was unmistakable today is that I am really tired. Exhausted is probably the better word but I don’t like it because it sounds like I did too much and I’m not willing to admit that. I’m stubborn that way. But it was pretty great today to not try to do too much – read the Sunday paper with a great cup of coffee, have lunch with Megan and catch up with her, visit the Berkeley Art Museum and be inspired, and write this post without rushing. I’m probably tired today because I can be tired. I’ve probably been “sucking it up” longer than I know, but now that I’m home, in my bed, I can finally, really, crash.
Another first impression that I’ve had getting home is that I could easily get rid of a lot of things. Just look at this ridiculous closet and tell me if yours is much different:
OK so this is just shirts! Half of them are probably indistinguishable anyway – if I wore one, walked out of the room, and back in wearing another one, would you notice? For the last 2 1/2 months I’ve carried 5 shirts with me and frankly that was probably two too many – mostly I just wore the 2 short sleeve ones (I also had 2 T’s, and 1 long sleeve).
My impulse then is to pare down my things significantly. I’ve existed with 40 lbs of stuff for the whole trip, surely I could get by with less, incur less hassle, have more space, at less expense.
The other impression is that this integration thing – working back into my normal life without giving up any “progress” that I think I’ve made in terms of growth, awareness, relaxation, whatever; is going to be a lot tougher than I thought. Already I feel like I’ve slipped – that I spent way too much of last nights party talking about me than catching up with others about them. “But enough about me. What do YOU think about me?” 😉
Meanwhile, here’s a few photos from yesterday’s ride that I hadn’t gotten a chance to post yet.
Day 75 Late Additions
OK so here are some questions that came up last night that, about the trip that, if you’re still reading, you might be curious about.
Q: Are you going to ride to the coast to make it official?
A: Have we met? Yes, of course I will. In fact I feel kind of obligated to take my loaded bike out there to dip my tires in the Pacific. Likely point will be Baker Beach in SF because it’s amazingly photogenic.
Q: Are you going to keep posting to your blog? We’re curious about how this all comes out.
A: Yep. I’ll keep the posts coming for awhile although not everyday. At least for my trip to the coast, a pre/post fitness analysis from Coach Matt, and some updates on whether I’m actually able to sleep in my bed for more than 2 nights in a row.
Q: How many breakdowns did you have?
A: Zip, nada, narrry a single flat tire. I was super lucky and ready to endorse my Surly bike and my Schwalbe Marathon tires.
Q: Did you ever have a point where you didn’t want to continue? Or thought you might through in the towel?
A: Not really. I enjoyed every day in some way, even the day when it rained all 60 miles and it never got over 60F. I was numb and ready to get where we were going, but a warm shower never felt so good. The low point for me was probably the the coffee at the Cuppa Joe Restaurant (ironically named to emphasize its weakness). Sort of like coffee made with Folgers that had already been used twice, with a little hint of dog sh*t thrown in for good measure.
Q: Did you have any close calls with cars?
A: A couple trucks passed a lot closer than I would of liked but I used a mirror and got off the road if things got dicey. There were a couple of times that I actually had to ride into a gravel shoulder to make sure I was OK, and a couple times the air blast itself pushed me farther off than I would have gone. I might have been fine but who wants to gamble when semi’s are involved?
Q: What place suprised you the most? What did you like that you didn’t expect?
A: Probably Nevada. I had zero expectations for Nevada but I really enjoyed the quirky little mining towns and the isolation of those big valleys. Also at some point I’d like to go back and do a loop around Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont. They were lovely and I spent way too little time there.
Let me know if there’s something I missed that you’re curious about. Tomorrow I head to Matt’s for my post-ride fitness test. I’m curious if I’m really much stronger or if all those biscuits and gravy on the road countered any real progress.