"It's a dangerous business, Frodo, going out of your door" … "You step into the Road, and if you don't keep your feet, there is no knowing where you might be swept off to."
~ Bilbo Baggins from The Fellowship of the Ring by JRR Tolkein

Friday, April 24, 2015

Why Now

A Little Nudge from my daughter Elise

For Christmas 2012 Elise gave me a nudge out the door as it were. She presented me with a copy of National Geographic’s Journeys of a Lifetime; 500 of the World’s Greatest Trips with the note “I hope this adventure book gets the ideas going … who knows where you’ll have been by this time next year!” I consumed it in one sitting, annotated the places I’d already been, tagged the places I still wanted to go and, being the organized type, made an ordered list. Since then we checked off China and then Cuba, which had not even occurred to me at the time. And so now I’ll get a chance to do “Around Lake Michigan by Bike” see page 59.

I wrote the following in my journal before visiting China in 2013.  It applies very much to this new adventure as well:
“Somehow I’ve always had it in my mind to visit China – exotic, far away, ancient China; the destination of Marco Polo, the mysterious “East” of spices, silk, culture & chopsticks.  I’m pulled there as I’m pulled to go on long distance bike rides. The adventure and other worldliness of it all intrigues me…. Now, before my life slips away, before I get too old to do this or enjoy it – NOW is the time.” 
“Elise’s global adventure in 2011 made me take note. Three major things I wanted to see since the days of travel logs with my Grandma Elise – three things my daughter Elise got to first: The Pyramids, the Taj Mahal and the Great Wall of China. Grandma’s love of geography and desire to travel passed down to me. I want to see those things for myself. Up close I can feel things I cannot see. I sense the place somehow. I understand something more by seeing the thing in its entirety.” 

"My Younger Self Cheering Me On."

My younger, thinner self the day I rode over the
Silvretta Pass 1980

As I wrote in my previous post, I’ve been pulled by the open road for a long time and had been seriously considering a journey across the country. But, some unexpected health issues got in the way.  Being diagnosed with A-fib simultaneously revealed the problem and presented a possible solution. Now more than a year after a successful ablation surgery I’m anxious to get on with it. A strong riding season last year, a 5-day, self-supported bike ride to Door County and now a willing companion have all convinced me that the time is NOW. The challenge needs to be met. 

To top it off, about the time I started dreaming of the ride, Jim brought home Loreen Niewenhuis’s book A 1,000-Mile Walk on the Beach: One Woman’s Trek of the Perimeter of Lake Michigan (Chickhollow Books).  To say it inspired me is understatement. She gave words to my longing, purpose to my quest. You’ll hear more, much more from Loreen in future posts, but a few quotes here are sufficient.
“This was the perfect time in my life, I thought, to be here doing this. It was necessary. I felt my younger self cheering for me.” Pg 56

Meeting an older man somewhere north of Milwaukee she quotes his lament; “Then years ago, I thought I’d bike around Lake Michigan,” he says. “Haven’t gotten to it.” Pg 155

I will not give voice to his lament. This year I will have My Month with THE LAKE.

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