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The Impossible. -or- All the West There Is.

Written on: Sunday October 19th, 2008

I went west. I went west until there was no more west left. I am somewhat surprised to report that I have now completed westward travel. Anymore west and I would get real wet. West- check. And I'd be a liar if I said I didn't work for it. Yesterday- my most ambitious day by far. 500+ miles. Through the desert. To end in LA. And LA traffic. And I didn't get rollin til noon. Tucson enticed me to delay my departure significantly. I refused to be rushed. When I left in the morning- or- um- when I left at noon, I didn't know where I might stop. I had not yet decided that I would be ambitious. Maybe sleping in the desert. So I went to the co-op and bought up all variety of my favorite foods. It took a while. Then a friend called, so I sat in the shade of a mostly un-stinky dumpster by my bike and talked on the phone for a while. Then a shiny gal I had met the night before invited me to (late) breakfast with her at the super old and neat Hotel Congress and I found that it did not please me to refuse. So I accepted. Latest departure. Longest day. Desert. Most challenging city riding in the whole freakin country. And half of it after dark. And then I arrived. About 12 hours later. Welcomed lovingly to an apartment where I have never been before, but that feels like home because Josh and Justin are family.

The desert is hot and dry and big. I have heard people use such words to describe the desert. And the yesterday I understood what they meant. Hot. Dry. Big. Simple, easy to spell, easy to pronounce words in the vocabulary of a toddler. But I didn't really know what they meant until yesterday. And oh eck did I ever learn. Had to stop super often to refill my water and ice, to soak my shirt, hair, bandana, gloves. Plus the sun was frying my brain and making it extra hard to have the perfect awareness and attention that I must have for riding. Then it was dark and until yesterday, I only rode the last handful of miles in the dark. When the sun set yesterday, I had about 250 miles to go.

The night riding wasn't so challenging. I was grateful for the coolness. I stopped often. Took my time to be aware of how I was feeling. Resting my brain. Taking deep breaths. As I decided that I would certainly press on, I was calling on all available angels to go with me. Knowing that the desert had taken a toll, knowing I was being goddamn ambitious. Feeling more than a thimble of fear. Especially about riding into the city. Since the conception of this trip there has been the question of what will I do when I get to LA. Will I be able to ride in that city. I just looked at the calendar. I have been riding on the road for exactly one month today. Today. Exactly one month. Before that I had a bit more than a week of practice in parking lots and the county fair grounds in KY an in my uncle's backyards. One month today.  And I have gone to the westest. All the way west. Oh my.

Coming into the city, which happens like 120 miles from LA proper, my adrenalin picked up and my mind was clear and focused. I knew I was tired. But I was on. I was praying and requesting the prayers of others. There were certainly a couple of moments that had my heart pounding fast- fast curves- people zipping through the lanes- nasty city driver on my ass. And when I arrived. After a challenging and rather impressive city bike parking job- my first- I said to Josh- I am just so glad that I am here and not injured n anyway. I wasn't even feeling too cramped or achey ☺ and indeed I was feeling accomplished. And indeed I had done the impossible.

So here I am on the West coast. I learned in June that I really love LA. I am lounging by a pool in North Hollywood right now. It is warm and wonderful. It is great to be with J and J. They are becoming increasingly awesome musicians. Snapped a couple pics of them wowing and wooing the crowd at the totally fun Hollywood farmers market. I'm gonna stick around here til probably Wednesday morning. And then, I will pivot on this point, to begin to go North. Yep. NORTH. No more West to go. South tampoco. Gonna get my heated vest hooked up and North it will be.

The rest of my journey will be very different. I have more friends up the coast than I have miles to go. Meaning that I will mostly have pretty short days of riding and will stay with friends all the way home. Its about 1000 miles up the 1 and the 101. I have about 4-5 flex days in my tentative itinerary so if a place strikes my fancy, or if some friends are particularly gleeful. I'll stick around. Wacky that home feels really very close. I guess I learned yesterday that 1000 miles could be only 2 days if I decided that's what I wanted.  Two easy days compared to yesterday's late start, desert and city. Wacky.


From Sigrid and Tony on Oct 19th, 2008

You go girl! We're so very proud of you and the adventure you've undertaken! Your Pops called me with your website...thanx Daddy Mark! We're enjoying your voyage...and living vicariously! So envious....be safe little one!!