Finally, a chance to get it out! I’ve been thinking about writing this post since OHIO.
Every day i’m on my bike for an average of 7 hours. That’s an average of 49 hours a week. Forty-nine glorious hours a week, happily rolling over little rocks glued together with tar and concrete…I WISH. I mean yeah, i’ll be the first one to admit it: they’re mostly glorious hours, where i can sit in the saddle with my feet spinning amusing thoughts between my ears…but they definitely aren’t all delightful.
See, there are these other bodies traveling the same paths that i am–big, heavy, fast, loud masses of metal and rubber. Cars. Trucks. Motorcycles. Eighteen wheelers. They take about half a second to pass me on my bike, and within that half second, the humans conducting them assume an enormous amount of power–my life is in their hands. Now, i’d be a fool if i didn’t do everything humanly possible to keep my life out of the hands of a stranger, but to some extent, there’s only so much cyclists can do; we effectively trust and rely on motorists not to kill us.
But life and death are the more obvious implications of the car vs. cyclist interaction, and although it is important to keep safety in mind, i’ve been thinking about motorists power as an opportunity for benevolence. I can’t express how insanely world-shattering a kind gesture from a driver can be. A thumbs up stuck out the window of a passing car can instantly deliver energy to weary quadriceps at the end of a long hill climb. A simple wave is enough to make a cyclist feel visible again after a close call with the last passerby. A supportive cheer is enough to make sudden rain or biting cold feel like a motherly embrace. The more i think about it, the easier it seems to make the road a happy place for both cyclists and drivers alike. Please, if you see someone on two wheels moving themselves down the road by the power of their own legs, give them some support. They’ll love you for it, and you might get something out of seeing their surprised smile, too.
Even the Hoff is doing it!
Whew, now that i finally got that out of my system, i can update y’all on where we’ve been for the past week!
Jackson, WY Stayed with WS hosts Chuck and Karen! How wonderful it was to be part of a family again–and i really mean it, they made us feel like we had lived in their home for ages. Chuck shared with us his passion for bow-hunting by cooking up some elk burgers made with meat from an elk he had killed himself. It was amazing to learn about hunting from a person who truly strips the pastime down to its most simplest form; Sam and i quickly developed a deep respect for Chuck, even though (read: especially because) he brought some pretty tough banter to the table. Karen, on the other hand, stole our hearts with her dedication to bicycle advocacy and her insight into gender roles in Jackson. She summed up one perspective with a little humor, stating, “Jackson is the town where men become boys, and women have three jobs.” Whew–let that stew in your noggin for a few minutes. On a different note, thanks Karen and Chuck for sharing your home with us!
Mom and Pop for a few nights!
Grand Teton/Yellowstone Once we left Jackson, the adventure through Grand Teton and Yellowstone began. We saw tons of wildlife and met such amazing people! Furry highlights included a Grizzly with her two cubs, a lone wolf, two adolescent moose, and a large herd of elk. As far as people go, we camped with Jo (see Day 32-36) for a night, camped with a group of 4 male cyclists headed to Oregon for two nights, and spent one night with a group of 5 strong women biking from Oregon back to college in Maine! Lucia, Amie, Dan, Claire, and Tamara, happy trails! We’ll be following your blog whenever we can!
Amie droppin' logic on the boys
Two other notable characters we met in between the national parks were gentlemen by the name of Tom and Ted. Sam and i approached their campsite late one evening to ask for directions…before we knew it our tooshies were planted at their dinner table and seasoned pork loin sat below our drooling mouthes. Man, do they know how to treat guests. Their hospitality may have unfortunate consequences for others, though, because Sam and i may or may not be inclined to act lost more often…
On a more serious note, our experience with Tom and Ted unexpectedly highlighted the power of sharing good ideas; after only a few minutes of telling them about our trip and 4Walls’ vision, our two friendly hosts were moved to make a significant contribution to the cause. To quote Tom, “Ted, go get your wallet.” Here’s to Tom and Ted for not just telling us,”man, that’s a good idea,” but actually putting their money where there mouth is; it’s people like these two that turn “good ideas” into reality.
Post-Park Depression (PPD) Alright, so after exiting Yellowstone yesterday, Sam and i were convinced we had discovered some type of national park deprivation induced depression. Gardiner, MT, which is actually a really nice town, just wasn’t doing it for us after days and days of woodlands and wildlife. We were extremely lucky though, because the powers that be sent us the one and only cure for PPD: Patrick Maloney. There i was, standing on the side of the road singing the blues, when out of nowhere jumped my junior year roommate and ice hockey teammate himself. What a surprise. Felt kinda like biking over a 10,000 ft mountain pass with a stream of [slowly] oncoming traffic cheering for us. Good to see you, Pat.
Well, we’re Northbound. Look for the blog to come back in all it’s glory once we get out of Glacier and over to Seattle. Shouldn’t be too long!