Birthday On the Road
This post will end with a summary of the last few days and start with as a telling of some memorable birthdays I've had while on the road.
First, I've had some great Birthdays while traveling. In 1995, I was in Quito Ecuador celebrating my 29th birthday. I had just spent about 4 or 5 days prior in Ibarra fighting a bout of some horrible illness. When I was finally strong enough to bike to Otavalo and then Quito, the American clinic thought I had contracted cholera, though I could not provide a stool sample as I was completely empty. Then a few years later, I was in Yellowstone working for Backroads and I came down with a flu like illness for a few days.
But not this time! I had a fantastic Birthday yesterday. The day started out less than ideal. The town we were in, Cokeville, WY didn't have a restaurant, or a grocery store. So breakfast was provided by the Flying J. If you have traveled across the US on any interstate, you probably stopped at one, or something similar. But since this was the only game in town, we wolfed down product from their ever hot display stand. The breakfast sandwiches said they had been made two days prior, we ignored that as we were already almost finished them.
But things got better from there. Our friend Bill was driving up from Salt Lake City. We knew he was coming with treats we don't usually carry. This meant we could lunch on chicken salad or ham and cheese sandwiches instead of our usual PB&Js. We knew his cooler would also be stacked with cold drinks like mineral water, Gatorade, and my faves (tho not while biking) Cold Coors Lights, that's right, I'm man enough to admit this. But more importantly perhaps, this also meant that he would carry our gear!
Bill left early from SLC and caught us at around mile 15 of our shortened day. We were scheduled to ride 45 miles to celebrate my Birthday. So we had 30 miles of riding hard and pushing the limit to see how fast we could go without all the weight. I'd say we probably pushed about 2 MPH faster on flat roads without the weight. So, it something, but I was dreaming of more.
Lunch was delicious, and we ended the day on the early side in Kemmerer, WY. We stayed at the Best Western there, all thanks to a friend and colleague, Elise. About a week before, she contacted us and asked if she could donate some cash towards a hotel room. We all are so thankful for her generosity. Turns out she was paying forward. When I asked if I could share this story, she graciously said yes, and wanted me to include the main reason why:
The idea to give was inspired by the generosity shown to my brother and cousin so many years ago, and the happy memory of my Mom tracing their progress with thumbtacks across her 4th grade classroom bulletin board.
So we had this swanky room, access to a car, I had my family around me, and a great friend who volunteered to take days out of his time and lend support to our trip. These same friend who back in Yellowstone helped feel better during my flu like illness. We went for a less than stellar Mexican dinner, not because I wanted Mexican, but because we thought that may be the best option in town. But it didn't matter because I was having a great day. How lucky am I to be surrounded by some of the people I care about the most all while doing this incredible trip?
But perhaps the best part was that I became a year younger yesterday. How's that possible you ask? It is not because this trip is making me feel younger, because it's not. Somehow, sometime, on this trip I had been thinking I was turning 56. It wasn't until my sister texted me wishing me a happy 55th! Sarah read the text to me and I voiced, I'm 56. But then we did the math, and sure as shit, turns out I'm now only 55. So what else can a person ask for?
Just a little note on where we have been the last few days. We left Pocatello, ID on Tuesday and rode to Soda Springs, ID. On Wednesday we redid Soda Springs to Cokeville, Wy. Yesterday we rode from Cokeville to Kemmerer, and today we arr in Green River, ID. We will probably have very limited cell service after tomorrow as we're headed into a no man's land of sort between Rock Springs, WY and Steamboat Springs, CO. Lucky for us that Bill will be around for part of this portion and our friends from Steamboat will be driving up to intercept us with another load of supplies and goodies. Hope the good fortune continues!