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Photo by Adam Coppola
In southeast Oregon there is a fabulous day ride (Diamond Loop Tour). Although this loop is promoted as a driving tour, Kat and I encountered only a dozen vehicles as we pedaled through the high desert on mostly unpaved roads.
We encountered an historic round barn, amazing volcanic formations, and plenty of bird life. Landscape that appeared stark and barren at first glance, became a kaleidoscope of colors, as the sun played hide and seek with thunderclouds.
Late in the afternoon, Kat noticed something on the edge of the opposite side of the road and crossed over to investigate. What she found was tragic and beautiful at the same time.
Looking at the Adventure Cycling Route Network as a whole -- all 40,000+ miles of it -- can be a bit intimidating so it's important to remember that a significant journey need not mean pedaling a high number of miles. For example, using the Outer Banks Alternate found on the Atlantic Coast Route section 4, a route of manageable size can be created.
I was chewing on some ginger trail mix and all of a sudden a flood of memories rushed over me. I thought about a trip that I did with my friend Keri on the Trail of the Coeur d'Alenes bike path in Idaho last summer, and all the fun we had while we were snacking. "Don't eat all the ginger!" she laughed, as she caught me poking around picking the best parts out. "That's cheating!
After a foot of snow falls in a couple of days, getting out on the bike is tough going, even on a fat bike! With limited daylight and nasty conditions making it hard to get in the saddle, it's a good time to tackle some more time consuming maintenance projects.
I came upon two boys in South Africa. The sun was getting low in the sky and I was concerned about finding a place to camp. But I had to stop and check out their vehicle. The older boy was pushing his friend along the road. They were both laughing.
During our bike tours, people have often quipped, "Great that you're doing this trip before you have kids!" -- as if children would put a definite and immediate end to our love of cycling and traveling by bicycle. When I became pregnant in May 2011, I wondered if they were right. Would a growing belly (let alone the arrival of a new human being) put a quick end to my bike touring days?
And now ... for someone who really needs no introduction. If you're a member of Adventure Cycling, chances are you've talked to Julie -- she has worked here for over 26 years!
I love hearing stories well told. Spinning a yarn is a gift, and this man has it. Kat and I were cycling in the Deep South and camped in the yard of two delightful hosts. Late in the evening, sitting around their kitchen table, I asked the gentleman to tell me a story off the top of his head. It ended up being about an experience he had while hunting wild hog.
"Give the world outside a point of entry. It'll give back to you."
That lyric stuck in my soul the first time I heard it in Larry Murante's title song of his album Point of Entry.
Music is an incredible force, and each listener interprets what they hear in their own way. Words can be heard and quickly forgotten, but put them to music, and they will most likely be with you forever.
I recently came across a couple of articles about Minneapolis that got me thinking. The first one was about a new vending machine and bike station, called BikeFixtation, which enables cyclists to fix their bikes on the fly.