September 27, 2013
Almost any day on a bike trip is a good day. But every once in a while, a perfect day comes along. I don't have an official checklist of what qualifies a day as being perfect. I'm sure good weather, good food, and beautiful scenery would factor in. But there are those days when your heart sings, and you couldn't keep a smile off your face if you tried. They are the days that first pop into your mind when it's been too long since your last bicycle journey.
One of those days for me came on the road between Avila and Salamanca in Spain. We woke up in our tent on a hillside near a village and slowly pedaled through a rolling landscape of wheat and oak trees. The road, that we had mostly to ourselves, wandered with the landscape, instead of slicing through it. The sky varied all day, from clear, achingly bright blue to cloudy. The climbs were gentle. The downhills sublime. The locals were friendly, and our afternoon tapas with beer at a local bar were simply amazing.
I want to go back and relive that day. But I know if I tried to recreate it, I'd fail. The rain would fall or the traffic would be heavy. We'd get a couple of flats, and the cook who made the divine tapas would be on vacation.
I've traveled long enough now to understand that you can't make the perfect day. You just have to keep on traveling and wait for the perfect day to present itself to you. And the beauty is, you get to enjoy a whole slew of good and grand days while you wait.
Photos by Willie Weir
SIGHTS AND SOUNDS is posted every other Friday. Willie Weir is a columnist for Adventure Cyclist magazine. His latest book Travels with Willie: Adventure Cyclist will inspire you to hit the road and just might change the way you approach bicycle travel. He lives in Seattle with his wife Kat. You can read about their adventures at http://yellowtentadventures.com.