Postscript / Update

Oh dear there’s no way that was 2 months just now. It’s been almost that since I got home and my journey came to an end. I’d really meant to do an update sooner than this but one thing, then another and you blink and 2 months have gone by.

So how’s it going? For me it’s complicated. It’s been great to be home again, catch up with Megan and Jonah and prepare for re-entry to “real” life. It’s also been great to have some unstructured time, get caught up on things. But unstructured time is overrated I think and I miss the routine of riding, blogging and eating like a horse.

Erma Lou (aka “Butch”)

Part of what’s made it hard to write is that, shortly after I got home, my mom’s health got much worse and she passed away. Even though I was trying to prepare myself, there’s really no way to do that. Her actual passing seemed to through the universe a bit off kilter. It helped to go back to Missouri, spend some time with my family, and my sister especially. We spent days going through her things, photos, and preparing for her memorial. It was a lovely way to mark her passing. We told stories from her life, shared pictures, poems, a little scripture, and her music. I think she would have been happy with it. So I suppose I’m still on a journey of sorts, though the outward motion has paused.

I’ve not taken too many photos since getting home so maybe you’ll indulge me in a little reminiscing about my mom and family.

Photos, flowers, memories. Simple.
Mom was a babe. This is High School graduation, 1942.
Butch
Me and mom running in a fundraiser in about 1980(?). We got people to pledge donations per lap and so I’m counting laps on my fingers in some modified base-5 algorithm. Glasses confirm total geekdom. My mom loved to run and kept up running and daily walks for many years.
A clipping we found in my mom’s things. She was very much a cat person and all the local shelters knew her by name because of her frequent donations.
All the family together in the park. Megan’s missing ’cause she’s taking the pic.
An old picture of my mom’s. We found lots of jewels like this. That’s my Grandma Grace 2nd from the left in the front. My great grandmother’s gaze dominates the photo which, from what I hear, is a fair portrait of real life.
Lynda and I in the park at El Dorado Springs, MO. My mom’s fondest memories as a child were of the summer band concerts and the annual “picnic” they held here. The actual spring is behind us.
The bandstand where my grandfather used to play. Kind of hard to imagine putting together a city band these days, where volunteers play every Saturday night and the locals all come down to listen. When they built the bandstand everyone in town brought a rock or two to contribute. Some locals can still tell you which ones are theirs. Many are geodes, and pretty river rocks. One is supposedly brought back from Jerusalem.

Inverness

I”ve been spending a lot of time working on our new “fixer upper” in Inverness. We closed on the house while I was on my trip and I’ve been going up for a couple of days at a time to work on it. It goes slowly but it’s really satisfying to do something with my hands and have results that you can see at the end of the day.

I put in a new patio door and repaired the hardwood floors. Yay for nailguns!

Returning to kW

So tomorrow is my first day back at kW full time. I’m looking forward to seeing folks and to re-entering work life with a kind of a fresh start. I’ll have to let you know how the re-entry goes and whether I can successfully integrate the peace of mind I found on the sabbatical into work life. I’m hopeful and optimistic.

Cycling

You know it’s funny but it’s been hard to ride much lately. At first I felt like I needed some rest but not so much. But I found it really tough to ride just around the bay area like I used to. What’s the point? Seems just like riding in circles compared to having a Big Goal. Then my mom passed and I traveled back to MO, then came back focused on the house, and then the fires hit last week. There have actually been air quality advisories against outdoor exercise for the last week. Today was the first day I’ve tried cycling much since the fires. The air was improved some but I still came back with a sore throat and burning eyes.

The fires have been horrifying for so many and really upsetting to all of us in the Bay Area. It seems we’re through the worst now but there are so many people out of their homes, so many homes and businesses destroyed, it’s hard to comprehend.

On Tuesday I had to do something and met up with some local Orindans to take provisions, water, gatorade, etc to the firefighters. It was a small thing but for a short time it felt good to DO SOMETHING rather than just watching the disaster unfold on TV.

My new BFFs Tamara and Suzie. They had the good idea to post on Facebook that they were going to meet at Safeway and take a couple of cars of stuff up to the firefighters. By the time we left, we had 3 full cars and had to turn down any more donations. Great idea you two!
A guy I never met donated 20 cases of water bottles and the kind folks at Safeway gave us 36 packs for 24 pack price, plus some extras. I had so much water in my truck I thought the front wheels were going to lift off the ground.

Now the word is going out to stop with donating goods and just send money. It doesn’t feel as satisfying but it’s what they really need. There are a lot of places that are taking donations but here is one that I know is credible if you want to help.

So it’s been a challenge. Anyway I am looking forward to commuting by bike a lot. That seems more purposeful.

On the Trip

To maybe state the obvious, this ride has been fantastic. I still miss the journey, the freedom from timelines and the freedom from stuff. I’m not sure what it is about carrying all you need on a bike that just feels so simple and satisfying. I’m hooked.

I’d also encourage anyone reading this to try a trip. I found even with my first little weekend jaunts that same kind of satisfaction. And you don’t have to be an athlete either. Most of the people I saw going coast to coast with only sometime-cyclists. It’s really not that hard and takes more patience than fitness.

And not to forget, pat yourself on the back for helping me raise $15,000 for ClimateRide and NRDC I’m really happy that together we were able to make a significant contribution. I hear that will put me in the “hall of fame” ClimateRide fundraisers – not many have topped $15k. I have you all to thank for that.

Thanks for listening and I’ll let you know whether this whole sabbatical thing pans out with re-entry to the working world. I feel like it’s already paid big dividends for me personally – if I can hold on to it…

Remember the beard? Well most of it is gone. Megan just loves the new look 😉
Will shave for climate change action. Pony up Chuck! (See comments below…)

9 thoughts on “Postscript / Update”

  1. Thanks for sharing. If you ever want some hands on help with your new project please let meet know.
    -Glenn

  2. Please…shave the mustache. You’re freaking me out. I will donate $500 to your ride if you send me a picture of you without that nasty thing on your face! 🙂 Congrats on your awesome accomplishments and your inspiring world view. I’m sorry to hear about your Mom but greatly enjoyed reading / viewing the memories. You’re a good egg.

    Remember – “be careful” means “i love you”

  3. Thanks Jim for the update. I’ve been wondering how things are going. So sorry about your mom’s passing. Good luck with the start back to work. Excited about the Inverness evolution and not surprised to hear you’re taking a break from riding. I like the idea of a riding trip goal. And thanks for the fire link; I’d like to donate. We miss your regular blogs… Keep writing and taking photos. You’ve got the talent and a lot to say.

    1. Thanks for all the support, David. Writing the blog has been an unexpected treasure of this trip. It got a bit exhausting by the end though – maybe more than the pedaling. Time to try the happy middle ground for once. I’m not always so good at that.

  4. Thanks for the update, always fun to hear from you — but I’m so sad about your Mom, they’re very special people who we’ll never forget. I’m glad you could have a memorial with your family. I love your family photos, and you & your Mom running is great. Nice to be working on the Inverness house, looking forward to seeing it in the ‘bye & bye’. Let us know how your return to kW goes, and I agree with Chuck, unless it’s the pose … you’d make a good Fuller Brush man!

    1. I forgot about Fuller brushes – good one. Thanks for your steady support through the whole trip.

  5. Hi Jim,

    Thanks for sharing- it’s been inspiring to follow your trip. Your circa 1980 photo reminded me of me- I was a too skinny cross country runner, too …

    All the best,

    Tim

Comments are closed.