The preparations for this trip are something of a paradox in that most of them have nothing to do with the trip itself. There is so little that one can practically carry on a bicycle that it will take about ten minutes to actually load the panniers and ride off on the first mile. Easy. Finishing outstanding work at home for customers, preparing the house for renters (a heap of deferred maintenance to confront), choosing renters (from what is now a field of about a hundred applicants), taking care of bank accounts and investments, eliminating a ridiculous number of automatic withdrawls that pay fees and premiums I’ll no longer have; all of this must be accomplished before I can even think about passing go. But I’ve been picking away at it for over a month now and the end- or beginning- is in sight. I’ll miss many things and people that I’m leaving behind, but this one photo (above) taken deep in the Wind River Mountains on an especially sunny winter’s morn represents something I’ll particularly miss. I’m including it here as a sort of anchor and I’ll set it as a goal to one day get back here- the purpose of the trip perhaps simply to return. And it’s not just to the Wind Rivers- say more the Rockies in general. They are where I grew up and what I always dream of when in some far away place for a while.
So what am I preparing for? There’s an outlandishly lofty goal of leaving Logan, Utah, USA, heading south, and then return coming from the north. A small air hop from the tip of S. America to S. Africa and then another from Siberia to Alaska. I think of it as an exploration of the fragments of Pangea, or trying to treat five of the seven continents as though they were still, more or less, one. It’s a sort of Mobius strip that, with a couple of exceptions, the bike tires never leave the paper, and though the continents are split, they are really still as one given an appropriate transit. But that’s the outlandish part. The more realistic part is to say I’m heading south out of Logan, Utah and beyond that I need to see how I feel- both physically and mentally. I’m nearing sixty, but I’m young for my years; I have vast experience that the young and strong lack, but I’m cynical and afraid; I’ll be alone but I know I’ll find people; My knee hurts but the doctors say it’s my imagination (x-rays look normal); I’ll be heading into the jaws of some of the most dangerous parts of a world that is, from all appearance, at war. Can I find a safe way? Can I endure? Can it be something that at least at times could be regarded as fun? Quien sabe?