Simplicity is making the journey of this life with just baggage enough.*
Our cross country adventure began 14 years ago today and as I reflect on that day I can remember the anxiety and exhilaration Virginia and I felt as we locked up our little house and realized that we weren't coming back for almost 4 months! It was just us, our tandem bicycle and about 90lbs of gear. And think about this: we didn't own a cell phone, we had no computer technology (except for our little bicycle odometer) and we didn't have a digital camera or video camera. One thing we did have was a passion to hit the road and have a "real adventure."
As you can see, our "rig" consisted of a custom-made Rodriguez tandem which was constructed by R+E Cycles in 1997. We were pulling a one-wheeled trailer called a BOB (beast of burden) and we carried all our gear in watertight saddlebags (panniers) manufactured by Ortlieb which is a German company that makes some of the best travel bags in the world. Our gear NEVER got wet during the trip in spite of the fact that we often found ourselves in some incredibly terrible weather conditions (more about that later). In fact, I believe our choice of panniers was critical in making our journey safe and comfortable. There's nothing more miserable than being soaked to the bone and not having a dry change of clothing at the end of a long day in the saddle. In fact, it can be quite dangerous to be perpetually waterlogged on the road.
Once we mustered up our courage, we got on the road at about 11:00 and began our trip. We rode from Shoreline north along roads that we had ridden many times over the years so our first day was uneventful. We ended the day at around 7:00PM at the small logging community of Darrington. We had bicycled 75 miles! We ended the day by finding the nearby state campground, pitched our tent and had time to relax before turning in. We were both beat!
There are a couple of things I still laugh about when I think about our tour: I can't begin to tell you how worried our families were about us doing this trip. Some of our bicycle friends understood what we were doing, but our parents and good friends wondered about our sanity. Then there was the idea that some people had that we should carry a gun because "you never know who you're going to run into out there." We never considered bringing a gun. If we did another tour tomorrow, we still wouldn't bring one......it just doesn't make sense. Oh, and you're not going to believe this: Virginia and I had NEVER really gone camping together before this tour..........really. We practiced setting up the tent and did a lot of planning, but this tour was the first time I had done any camping since Boy Scouts (and that was back in the late 1970's!!!! Virginia (my Jersey Girl) hardly knew what a tent was! Needless to say, we became real pros during this trip.
*Charles Dudley Warner