Wednesday, April 09, 2008

As the Pedals Turn. Mutiny!

Being 500+ miles from home with nothing more than a few bucks in your pocket, a sleeping bag, a change of clothes and your bicycle under you is cool. Damn Cool. Just thinking about it has me yearning to take another trip far from home to see what's out there like can only be done on a bike.

This story is about life changing moments. We all have them. Moving away from Mom and Dad for the first time, getting fired, new job, marriage,... those are the big obvious ones. Sometimes a life changing moment can be something small. Like taking a left turn instead of a right at an intersection or even trying out a new coffee shop, discovering a coffee that tastes so good you find yourself stopping there every day for a fix like some junkie.

The particular one I'm thinking about now happened up along the Maine Coast years ago when my dad, my two younger brothers and I were touring New England on our bicycles. Dad took a few weeks off work in the summer, the busiest part of his work year, to ride with us from Pennsylvania to Maine and back. To say we were on a shoestring budget is an understatement, but somehow we knew we'd be alright. We slept in the woods along the road, under bridges, next to railroad tracks and rode all day, inching our way across the map until we'd reached the coast of Maine, continuing north into what is a really beautiful country.

Somewhere along the way, about 9-10 days into the trip, with finances running dangerously low, Dan, Chris and I seemed to come to the conclusion at the same time that we better turn around and start heading home. Dad was just up the road ahead of us. He stopped, put his feet down, turned and saw the three of us standing there in a group. I think in that moment he knew something was up. We told him our decision and that it was final. He was disappointed. We turned our bikes around and started south. Dad stood there alone for a bit, before finally following.

When you're fourteen, thirteen, and eleven like the three of us were at the time, you see things a bit differently than some guy who's been working 25 years, raising a family and paying taxes. I'll never forget the burst of energy I had when I knew we were finally heading towards home rather than away from it.

Today, given the same small life changing moment decision, I'd have continued on north with you Dad.

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