It has been a month since I reached the Pacific Ocean with my trusty little Trek. I spent four days slowly wandering up the Oregon coastline, spending each evening walking on a sandy beach. And then, at long last I reached my final destination and the end of the TransAmerica trail: Astoria, Oregon.
That afternoon I bid farewell to the coast and rode inland. The next day I biked into Washington and boarded a train headed for Vancouver, British Columbia. While waiting in Vancouver for my connecting train, I met up with Gary from PedalWORKS and we rode around Stanley Park and the Olympic village together. The views were lovely and that is quite telling because it was a rainy, gloomy day. On a clear, sunny day with sparkling water it must be stunning! Gary was a gracious host, he made navigating through the city a breeze and he even gave me a bicycle map, which kept me from getting lost for the remainder of the day.
Then I took a train to Edmonton, Alberta before jumping on a bus that brought me to the city of Calgary, where my grandma lives. I stayed in Calgary for a full week, visiting my dear grandma each day and riding to somewhere new in the city. On Saturday, Jean from Cycle Write Blog and I met up for a ride. Jean showed me around to some of the beautiful artwork in Calgary and shared from her wealth of knowledge about the history and culture of the city. Jean also brought along a map which ensured that I never got lost again.
After my week was up, I took the bus back to Edmonton and back onto the train I went. I spent 60 hours on that train and during that time I went a bit stir crazy and caught a bad cold. But finally I made it to Toronto where my parents were waiting to pick me up, they gave me great big hugs which was an act of valor of their part since I hadn’t been able to take a shower in three days.
On the way home we stopped to visit my great-aunt and we were also able to meet up with my uncle for ice cream.
And then finally, finally, finally I was home.
My dogs cried and so did I. Noah gave me a great big bear hug, I had missed him so much after Colorado!
Then life went back to normal. Except normal didn’t feel normal anymore. It was great to see family and friends again, the joy of familiar faces made me smile. It felt good to be working and earning money again instead of constantly spending it in small towns across the country.
But I miss the simple touring life. I miss riding my bike all day, every day. In fact, once I came home, I must admit there have been a few days that I didn’t want to bike at all. Because what is the point of riding 25 miles on the same old roads when just a few weeks ago I was riding 70 miles a day on new, exciting roads? I have been in a slump.
I have been hauling my bike out anyways of course and though I have been riding without much joy, I always come back home feeling a little better. With every passing ride, however, it is obvious to me that I lost something while on tour, a bit of my heart perhaps. I yearn for freedom, for endless open skies, dramatic vistas and most of all, the snow-covered, majestic mountains of the west.
But finally this week I am feeling more “myself” again, thanks to some lovely people. A coworker rode home with me on Monday (first time that has ever happened!!), my mom has ridden with me two days in a row and last night I rode in the most exciting group ride of my life. (And during that ride I reached 8,000 miles for the year, yippee!)
I am actually feeling energized and motivated this morning, today is gonna be a great day. It is time to be thankful for all the wonderful things right here in Lewis County, New York. September starts tomorrow and I am ready to enjoy it, I can’t wait for the beautiful autumn leaves!