“Leaving Fort Worth is like leaving a good girlfriend- it’s hard to say goodbye.” Yes, that’s what I said in the opening of the preview for our new sustainable reality series. I never really liked it, in fact I shuddered every time I heard it. Damn, what was I thinking?
I was actually sitting atop the Mountain at the Fort Worth Water Gardens with my very dear friend Leo, we were up there trying to get some footage, “say something about leaving Fort Worth, Zac!” Ugh, should have though it out a little more!
But, here I am back in town, for a little bit longer than I had originally wanted to be. I’ll be honest, I lost some steam, lost the urge to be moving… It happened every time I stopped for more than a day while on the road: in Wichita Falls, Amarillo, Tucumcari, Las Vegas, Mora, Taos, Durango, Moab and Monroe. It is simply hard to leave the comforts of friends, beds and camaraderie!
Once again I find that it’s as hard to leave the confines of society as it is to leave the loving arms of a wonderful woman. But, all I have to do is put my shoes on and make that first pedal stroke. I have to get past the first ten miles, I have to leave the stoplights behind and get back on the road. It’s nice out there, I love it but it’s an easy fact to forget.
My newest goal, as soon as I leave SLC and get to the salt flats then the desert, is to embrace the road; I want to embrace the loneliness that hurt me previously. It’s something that can and will make me stronger albeit, perhaps, a bit more odd. But, really, I'm okay with that.
So that’s it, to be happy-- and thrive-- alone and continue onward through winter, meeting people along the way and working on myself. The next couple months are going to be even tougher than the last three of my trip. It will be cold, the mountains steeper buut I’ll also be going up then down the coast, seeing the redwoods, the vinyards and all the rest of the amazing places that that part of the world has to offer- in the non tourist season! …I’m really looking forward to it.
But that's another thing, this next stretch of road is going to be a true test for me AND my equipment.
I'm from Dallas, Texas, I'm NOT a skier, and I've never really been in a truly cold environment. Sure, it snowed here last Christmas, but snow here isn't really like snow in the rest of the world. It's Texas snow. So it should be an interesting little test for me. I'm basically prepared for it, though; I have the equipment and the clothes, sure there's one or two more things I need but I'm set. Now I just have to get my mind set!
I know, it's been too long, what is it, two months since I was last on my touring bike? I've been enjoying myself and the company of friends back in Texas, it's been great but now it's time to get back on the road. Back to my oatmeal with peanut and coconut butter every morning, my minute rice and lentils every night; it's time for me to return to my home- my tent.
I have been enjoying this time to rest, fatten up, have some beers with people and generally take it easy but I miss the road! I really do.
About eight months before I left on this little voyage of mine I did a 130 mile overnighter to Wichita Falls, Texas for a century that happens to be somewhat popular in that part of the world. You can read the full account of day one here and day two here and the actual century ride here. The journey was great, the rally amazing but what I truly loved was talking to a man while watching the Pro criterium the night before the rally.
David Schlewitz is a chaplain in a Federal prison and likes to go on long bike rides- across the country. We sat by and watched the racers go round and round, chatting about traveling.
He said that the thing that I will come to learn is that the single greatest point of bike touring is that it IS only one thing.
It's when you're riding over a mountain, across a mesa, riding to a water source that is eight miles away. it's the knowledge that everything you could possibly need on earth is right there, strapped to your bike. All that is necessary for life and enjoying it are present and accounted for. One thing, the fact that all you have to do everyday is ride-- and eat-- and enjoy yourself. You ride into a town looking around, "where is the biggest, juiciest, fattest hamburger in this town?" Asking the locals that come up to talk to you questions about their little corner of the world.
"Where are you riding from?" "Fort Worth, Texas," is what you reply.
"Holy crap, on a bicycle?!?" "Yes, on a PEDAL bike."
It amazes people, and it makes people wonder, "what is possible?" I love doing it, I love the freedom it gives me, I can go ANYWHERE I want. I have EVERYTHING I need to survive. Writing this has me jonesing too be out there again. I have stayed in one place for much too long but tomorrow I go back and am reunited with my partner- my bike.
See you all on the road!