Already in the second week of this incredible adventure...wow! I wanted to post a little about my thoughts after this first week and will update everyone tomorrow with details of my ride from Mitchell to Dayville.
Looking back to June 10th when my boss and I pulled into Florence, Or. in a driving rain storm perhaps this was to be a metaphor for the entire journey. What seemed to be a gloomy, drab day for the beginning of the ride quickly changed to beautiful sunshine and then back to heavy rain storms for much of the day. The pain from riding is hardly noticeable one day and is so painful the next, if leaves me wondering if it will ever stop and of course it doesn't really stop entirely but becomes manageable. The one thing that is consistent is the incredible people I'm meeting every day...each with their own unique story.
The very first day I met up with another cyclist (Ryan) about 5 miles into the ride. Neither of us having ever set on an adventure like this, we have been riding most of the way together, motivating each other, laughing, dealing with challenges...oh and Ryan cooks up an awesome bacon and eggs breakfast and steak dinner too! We have become good friends in just a week and look forward to keeping in touch long after the ride has ended. Many other cyclists including Karolina (AKA That Cycling Chick) who is trying to cycle across the country with no money...she is something else! A great sense of humor and could probably make sailors blush too! Mitchell, a recent college graduate that decided he wanted to ride across the country this summer before going back to school or pursuing a career and he's doing it! He is one of the nicest guys you could ever meet. All four of us have crossed paths several times in different places on this trip and over the weekend we were all quests at the Spoke'n Hostel in Mitchell, Oregon (Mitchell is convinced they named the town after him!). This place and the people who run it (Pat and Jalet Farrell) are truly special. The hospitality shown to guests at this facility (A church) should be a lesson for all hospitality companies big and small. They are not only concerned about you as a guest, they are genuinely interested in you as an individual. Thank you Pat and Jalet for everything...I won't forget how special you made me feel.
There of course are so many other people I've met along the way...not just cyclists but people at rest areas, stores, restaurants and more who are so curious about what I'm doing and why! Offering suggestions for routes, offering food, water and extending well wishes for a safe and fun trip.
Then there is the time for heavy reflection while on my bike...my thoughts turning to Bob, Nick and a dear friend that is battling some serious health issues. I draw such strength from all of them and enjoy the time I have alone with each of them individually at different times of the ride. Going through some steep climbs or in the middle of nowhere, I never feel alone.
Then all the continued support from family, friends and co-workers. I can't begin to tell you how much I appreciate it. The commenting and sharing of photos, stories from my ride. The "great job Dan", "You got this" etc. Thomas and Joni posting photos of Ace on Facebook...it all culminates into, I'm not really riding alone and I am so thankful!
What does the next week, month or months hold in store? No way of knowing but I look to continuing this adventure of a lifetime!