24 hour flight from Rome to LAX, picked up by Christina and my father, arrive in Bakersfield at 8pm, unpack bags, do laundry, unload SD cards, pack bags, bed, alarm, hugs, pedaling. I have a feeling I’ll need that second wind just to greet the sun that morning, not to mention pedal for a good 80 miles. For those who don’t yet know, I’ve been in Europe the past month with my brother as part of his post graduation injection of culture and everything a growing mind needs. I’m currently typing this on a phone, sitting on a picnic bench at my hostel in Rome, triple checking flight times, and trying to scrounge up enough euros for the metro tomorrow. Nervous isn’t the word. I feel more of a joyful tension, a sort of tangible hum, a buzz, in the air as these next 48 hours will have to be delicately danced though. My father back home has been a great support in all this, running around, grabbing items I would have forgotten, prepping for me. I’m quite lucky. Normally I would have arrived home, done what I could to scrape something together and stood back, proudly admiring the lack of grace of my unwieldy contraption, which would have to somehow transport me over 8000 miles, as it sat promising adventures of the most mechanical sort. Fortunately for me, my Dad knew that. But he, I now feel, has a base sense of responsibility to a son whose endeavors never cease to be proposed with an ambition that comes nicely paired with a few simple plans and no clue how it be done, only that it must. However I would have ventured off into the unknown, he has done all he can to set my journey off on a… mechanically sound foot.
So when I do land, when I do pack my bags, it will be with a light heart because a man who I respect very much decided to spare me an adventure in replacing a flat 20 miles in.
On another note, this is a trip that I’ve been mentally preparing myself for since this time last year. But I only met Christina in late March of this year. That was a little over 3 months ago, and in that time, she has bought a bike, reached out to charities, gotten us a sponsor by Bearded Bros (which I’m painfully excited to try their energy bars), sold or donated her possessions including a much-loved stick shift, and is moving out of her home. IN THREE MONTHS!!! 3 and a half months ago she was happily discovering her desert home and continuing efforts on her photo documenting, unaware of the commitment she was about to take. With three months notice she prepared to leap headfirst into a new chapter without pausing to dot the Ts and cross the Is of the previous. I’m constantly humbled and challenged by her attitude, her flexibility and her pursuit of opportunity. I got to know Christina for a week but I feel like I’ve known her for years. I’m excited for our friendship over the next year. Let’s get spinning.