This is my view from here:
A to-do list 3 pages long which we are slowly but surely checking off. With a week to go before we drive MAUDE out to Colorado, I do what I usually do before leaving for a big trip: get distracted by all of the little side projects waving at me. A pantry cabinet I would like to paint. A door handle to fix. Fix-it stuff. But yesterday's news of the Twin Tornadoes in Nebraska snapped me awake in a different way. That staying alert and awake to the changing weather conditions will be crucial for all of us. That there will be no daredevilry when it comes to the biking part of the trip, or any part of the trip, for that matter. That we have to pay attention to our environment in more ways than one.
We returned to Sandy Hook, NJ on Sunday for a low-key ride along the beach. It was beautiful out, one of those days when you realize just how close summer is, and already the smell of sunscreen is in the air. There's a part of me that wishes we had more time to take longer rides before we leave, but I also know that the more time we get the more we tend to fill with a myriad other things that need doing, or that appear to need doing. I don't know that 3 or 4 more weeks would necessarily make a difference. Amy keeps reminding me "The ride is the training," something I said two years ago when asked how I had prepared myself physically for the first Type Rider trip. Not having ever done a ride of that length or scale, I didn't really know how to train for it, only knew that I needed to have my body be used to being on a bike seat for a few hours. Speed wasn't a factor, and I had no real deadlines for my arrival into the day's destination, so I wasn't worried that much about the intensity of the ride itself.
This time around, we've created a pretty packed schedule for ourselves, so I know I will spend more time looking at the clock and gauging the mph we need to ride to get to where we're going. But I also know that we can make all of the preparations we want and something can come along (say, a tornado), to divert our best-laid plans. So I am remembering to stay loose and flexible, ready and willing to make changes as changes asks to be made. I think that's the best we can do. Maybe it's the only thing.
Speaking of tornadoes, the one (or two) that touched down in Pilger yesterday had me awake half the night last night. Of course, I thought about the people who were affected, how close that twister touched down to the route we'll be following and how many lives it devastated before it lifted. I am thinking about the images of total destruction and the rebuilding that is already began this morning. How it is in some way a metaphor for this trip. I have a tattoo that resides on my left ribcage of Akhilandeshvari, the goddess of Never Not Broken. She shows us there is power, and more importantly, opportunity when we find ourselves broken in pieces by heartache, disaster, or any other curveball life may throw at us. She rides a crocodile, which represents her fear, and rather than remaining chained to the known and the routine, she keeps herself wide open to possibility allowing herself to flow and create and recreate herself again and again as she faces life's hard spots.
We'll find them on the road, these hard spots, certainly. A flat tire, a broken chain, a heatwave, not enough water, too many miles, getting lost on unknown roads, big storms (hopefully not a tornadoes). But what I am most excited about is being open to all of the possibilities that will happen in spite, of or maybe in some cases because of, these rough patches. The possibility of new friendships, new bonds formed, new communities met, libraries built, connections made. The possibilities for new sparks of inspiration. Akhilandeshvari promises us that the greatest magic is in the moments that transform us. That pause just before we hit the pavement and the way we get back up after a hard landing.