Wow. Wooooooow. What a weird time to be alive.
I started this tour as a meditation on the death of my father in 2017, something I hardly had time to think about in the midst of a mental breakdown that involved accidentally moving to Cali for a year, and subsequently moving more intentionally to Leadville, CO. I tried settling in at 10,200 ft, and tried dealing with emotional and relationship stress by walking the CDT in 2018, and bike touring the southern half of the Great Divide Mountain Bike route in 2019. Ultimately, I was still deeply unhappy and trying to set things right in my head. My work situation wasn’t helping – as a bartender I was stressed & blacked out every night. Things needed to change.
My mom sent me a bike my pops had purchased towards the end of his life. He started cycling after retirement – I think as a way of connecting to something that had been fundamentally important to me throughout my life. As he got into it, I suggested we try cycling the Pacific Coast route sometime – a suggestion made impossible by his sudden death, as it turned out. So what to do with the bike? With this memory, and this unfulfilled tour?
I decided the best answer to both questions was riding the bike out to Olympia, WA and giving the bike to my newly born nibling, George, who bears my father’s name. Sure, he wouldn’t be able to ride the bike for a decade, but great plans are based on legacy not logic. This would give me a chance to meditate on my father George’s death, and maybe provide space for me to resolve my existential crisis resulting from the last few rough seasons. I could also visit some friends along the way – an opportunity to reconnect after feeling lonely in the high mountains.