What I’d been only dreaming of for 22 years had suddenly come to pass: not only had the open-ended tour begun, I couldn’t even thank him for the huge role he’d played in making today reality. (For those of you keeping up via the RSS feed, please take a moment to check the full site for the side-bars, including the donation button.)
We rode down East River Road towards St. Paul. At Lake Street Lanny and Bob peeled off, leaving Kevin and I to ride on. At Kevin’s house Kevin refilled my water bottles, we said our good-byes, and I was riding solo.
The ride was thankfully uneventful, just my 110 pound bike and I seemingly alone in the world. I switched to polarized sunglasses and marveled at the way the colors switched to eye-popping intensity.
Downtown St. Paul came and went. My thoughts turned from my old home and friends in Minneapolis to the mighty Mississippi River, and the unknown ahead.
I saw my first Mississippi River Trail (MRT) sign, just before the first in a series of climbs along the way to my folks house in Cottage Grove. The trail along side US Highway 61 was frequently covered in fallen leaves, reminding me the August-like temperatures were but a temporary aberration.
At long last I reached my folks’ house, exhausted from the cumulative effects of insufficient sleep, sweat-drenched from the exertion of motivating 250 pounds of man and machine 37 miles, all while trying to ignore my growling stomach; brunch having become but a distant memory.
Following a much-needed snack, shower and dry clothes, my sisters showed up for one last meal together. When siblings re-unite they frequently seem to revert to a child-like state, and I found myself getting annoyed at their rambling stories and inappropriate behavior. Then I caught myself: the whole point of this tour was meeting other people, seeing how they lived, and accepting them as they are without judging them for being “different” from my pre-conceived notions. Naturally the evening came to an end all-too-soon; even though *I* may have time enough for lingering, most everyone else is still caught up in the rat-race, in the parlance of our times.
The evening wound down with much necessary screwing around: introducing my folks to skype, installing Linux (UNR) on my brand-spankin’-new-(referbished) Asus EEE PC1015PE netbook, and sorting out through boxes of stuff my folks had hauled from my house for storage.
While I may not know what lies ahead, I do know it will be an adventure.