Let's Do It! (Part 1)
Roger back in his home state, via spandex
I had met Roger Burke many years ago and the early days of friendship included cycling, learning about the fine art of coffee (our biggest sponsor on our bicycle tour was a coffee company!) and spilling stories of our lives and the goals and dreams for the future. Being linked via the velocipede, I had even shared my aspiration to pedal across the country.
Ready to roll, Tucson, Arizona
I only knew a couple of key facts about the energetic and good humored guy. Mainly, that he was a bicycle racer, who was not showing any discernible interest in loading a touring bicycle with 30+ pounds of stuff and moving at speeds that would be terrifyingly slow for a racer.
3 days after the cycle America conversation, I crossed paths with Rog and all I remember him uttering was 'Let's Do It'.
Whaaaaa????? Is it time to go get more coffee? My observation and analysis of this bicycle racer was 100% wrong. We were going on a little road trip.
Our first night was spent with the Woodridges in Willcox, AZ. Their daughter got on her bicycle the next morning to join us.
The summer was square upon us and we would have to fly out the door asap. The calendar allowed us about 11/2 months to prepare for this rather detailed adventure. With a departure date of August 31st, we were asking for rather cold weather and extremely short days by the time we grinded up the Appalachians, but we were game, and we had already turned in our escape to adventure slips at work.
A rather difficult camping spot on the cement-hard soil in a pecan orchard in Garfield, NM
As I write out this story, I am aware of the fact that I really should not be writing about bicycle tales from the back roads of America. 2 weeks before the journey, I had seriously injured my back at work. Somewhere lost in the stubborn zone and sketchy optimism that it would all work out, I continued to plan and pack. Training had stopped, abruptly. Come August 31st I was planning on mounting my trusty 2 wheeled steed.
It was about a week before the trip, amidst daily visits to the chiropracter and/or physical therapy sessions from hell, I spilled the news of my disintegrating health, mixed with my resolve to buck up to my calendar plans. At this point, I had not even ridden my bicycle with any of my substantial piles of bicycle gear, clothing, food, diabetes supplies, toiletries. I did lighten the load in one area. My wallet would be shockingly empty.
A great sign in Oklahoma
August 27, 28, 29, 30........no riding. Still in pain.......
August 31st, I got on my bicycle. 81+ miles to Willcox, Arizona.
Part 2, coming.
We had approximately 10 miles of dirt road (in Kansas). Appropriate time to have bicycle issues.