Dad - 1,154 miles, 0 hours
Day 3 has come to a close and I've clocked just under 400 miles a day. Not a bad pace if you ask me. A little quicker than I had expected to be honest, especially doing only 300 miles the first day to St. Louis, but the riding has been everything I hoped to it to be and then some.
I deeply enjoy my time spent each day on the bike. I've found it to be incredibly meditative, and it gives my mind the time it needs each day to wonder and speculate. What about? Just about anything to be honest. Some hours it's simple and tactile, and all I can think about is either the road or what I'm doing with my hands or my feet. Other hours it can get deep pretty quickly. Lots of self observation of my past, present, or future. Or at other times I look outward and think at length of the world we live in and the issues that face it.
Driving down through southern Illinois, Missouri, and Kansas definitely made me think quite a bit about the lifestyle we live being near the city, and how much that differs from others out in the country. For us, nearly everything we could ever want is at our fingertips or just a few miles away when living close to a major city. But out in the country you can feel the pace of day-to-day life slow down. When gas stations are spread nearly 80 miles apart and when you pull into a Sonic to feel like nearly every person in town has their truck parked in a stall for lunch, it's hard to imagine what all there is to do out here.
When I get off the bike to camp for the night, things don't necessarily slow down but they do get quiet. I spend my time setting up camp, making dinner, and then getting in some yoga before sun down. Sitting down on the bike for 8 hours a day has definitely not done great things for my shoulders and low back, but I can usually work most of the kinks out to feel good the next day.
One quick story that I think you'll appreciate, and probably even have a similar one to match, and then I'll sign off. On the second night I pulled into the KOA in Topeka and exchanged hellos with a guy who had walked over to make a comment about my bike. Like most folks in the area he told me best of luck with the ride and to be safe. The next night I pull into the KOA in Limon and sure enough, who do I see but the same guy with the same RV! I wave to him and his wife as I pass by and after setting up camp go over to say hello again. His name was Tommy and he and his wife Barbara had been on the road for 3 weeks already and were planning to be out for another 3. They had started in New York and were also headed to Colorado. They invited me over for some kielbasa and a beer, to which I had to politely decline the sausage, but told them I'd join them with some dinner of my own later.
When I came by with my couscous they said they were a bit surprised to see I was a vegetarian given the bike and tattoos and all, but that the previous night my yoga practice and Goya Beans gave me away. "Never judge a book by its cover," Tommy said. To which Barbara replied, "You don't even know, this man right here is a living miracle." It turns out Tommy had a very rare auto immune disease a couple years back that had him paralyzed from the waist down. Barbara is a nurse and nearly every doctor she sent him to looked at his tests and told him he shouldn't even be breathing. After two years of fighting and sheer power of will, Tommy overcame everything and as I mentioned before, he walked over to me that first night to talk about my bike with their dog Bella on a leash. As we talked more I found that they were on this road trip because Tommy's health scare proved to them that life is far to fragile to sit around and wait.
I hope I can channel some of Tommy's courage and Barbara's faith throughout the rest of my adventure, and if I can be at least half as nice as they are to every person I meet, then I think things are going to go really well over the next 6 months. Just as you've always said, kill 'em with kindness.
Live to ride, ride to live.