Amy says . . .
Today doesn't need words. But if I were to say a few, they would be these: there is nothing like riding a bicycle with the person you love for hours, hardly saying a word, just soaking it all in and hoping you can remember it for the rest of your life. Seeing Stef and Maude appear on the horizon at the exact second we need her most feels like true magic. Laughter is the very best sound in the world. Sunset is my favorite time of day. I can't believe how much I love sleeping at campgrounds in Maude. The wind in the trees sounds like the ocean. I miss my boys so much I can hardly stand it. I'll say it again, laughter is the very best sound in the world.
A day that needed to be felt to be experienced. The heat and humidity and how the women at the library said it would feel like 108 degrees. Pedaling out as early as we could after breakfast, and the immediate sweating. Out of Dyersville and past the Field of Dreams and into what seemed like the true heart of Iowa. Loving the view, the quiet, the road, the corn, the barns, the small silos, the gentle roll of the countryside, the little whip of wind cooling us, the sun hiding occasionally behind clouds, the tiny town with the giant church, two wineries, the road, the road, the sweet silence of the ride, the detour that tooks us even further and how even in the grind of a long climb we were happy. The saltiness of sunflower seeds. When Stef found us just before Peosta on Girl Scout Road and the delight we all felt. Stopping for Gatorade before Route 20. Finding Melissa's Little Free Library on the western edge of Dubuque and standing under the awning of her house. The little planter box on the post. Thirteen-year-old Maya, coming out from behind the house and the patient way she listened. The run to Staples and more stickers. Entering Dubuque in the hazy heat. Coleslaw made with cucumbers and dill. The funny Russian waiter and his cheeky jokes. The slowpoke walk to the Funicular and a $3 round trip ticket. The city as seen from the top, and the curlicue of the Mississippi below. Finding air-conditioning and strong iced coffee. The sound of Amy swooning over her mocha. Driving in the wrong direction and turning around to find a part of Dubuque that reminded me exactly of Portland, Oregon. Crossing the river into Wisconsin. The glee in the car, Stef beaming from the back seat. A kind of homecoming for all of us. Less than one week to go. The Rustic Barn Campground and the most beautiful campsite we'd seen. A view like a postcard. The couple next door and their tandem bicycle and the synchronicity of that. The tiny campground chapel and the intimacy of those pews. Dinner at Gooch's and the fast-talking waitress who stopped long enough to ask where we were from. The old-timer at the bar who barely moved. Coming back to the longest possible sunset. How we couldn't stop looking at the sky.