Monday, August 1, 2011

Day 43

Day 43 is a rest day in Niagara Falls.  Kim got here yesterday afternoon and we went out for a great supper last night at a local restaurant.  It is great to have her here and today we are going to do some sightseeing.  Kim tells other riders the reasons I wanted to have her here was first I do not have to eat at another buffet, second not wait in line to do laundry and third to see her.  Though one and two are nice, three is actually number one and got all the first place votes with me.  The initial pictures are of Kim and me on the Canadian side of the Falls.  We spent some time looking at the Falls from a variety of points.  Folloiwng are a few thoughts and comments. 

Weather:  We continued to be very fortunate with the weather going across the Ontario.  Every day there was rain and t-storms around us, but we never got wet except for few sprinkles.  Especially the day we went across the toll bridge when we had t-storms all night the night before ending just before we left.  If the severe weather south of us had been 30 miles to the north, it would have been ugly.  Also we had at least a partial tailwind every day which makes biking a whole lot easier.

Fun:  People often ask me if I am having fun.  The reality is the tour is very challenging, at least for me, rewarding, especially completing each day, incredibly scenic everywhere we have been, and spiritual, but rarely fun.  There have been parts of some days which have been a lot of fun, for example the first day going across Michigan, but for the most part, I would not describe it as fun.  At the same time, life should be fun at times, but also needs to be other things, most of which we have experienced on the tour. 

Self Contained Riders:  Since the first day in Oregon, we have seen self contained riders most every day.  Self contained riders have touring bikes, which are much heavier than road bikes, and carry their own gear as they ride across the US.  Adventure Cycling, a non-profit organization which promotes all types of bicycling, sells detailed maps of routes going across the US of which one parallels our route in many places.  I have a new respect for self-contained riders.  A few years ago I biked the coast of Oregon by myself and carried my own gear, but stayed in hotels.  Many self-contained riders camp, some stay in hotels and some do both.  Self contained riders are often carrying 50-70 lbs of gear including extra water and food as they never know if they will be at a place they can find more.  Though I have always respected self-contained riders, my respect has increased 100-fold.  Kim and I met a self-contained rider in Casper who was an ex-attorney, moved to Oregon and built a new type of touring bike and then was biking back to New York City.  Though it is hard to tell in the last picture, the total weight including the bike, gear and himself approached 300 lbs.  On the ferry across Lake Michigan there was a rider who had started in Oregon two days after us, carrying a total weight including himself of about 300 lbs, and was on the ferry with us.  This means that he had two days of less riding, carrying his own gear and camping at night, ended up the same place we did with none of the support we have had.  We all felt like weanies compared to him. 

In the moment:  For most of my adult life, I have lived my profession by thinking and planning for the future for myself and our clients.  However, on this tour I have been the most in the moment that I have been for many years.  I think about today and tomorrow and that’s about it.  Very few riders on the tour think or plan beyond tomorrow. 

Speaking of tomorrow, we got to Henrietta, NY.  

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