I know it's been awhile since my last post, and I apologize. I have finally made it over the worst and had some of the best this year and I'm here to catch you up, if you're interested. So, here goes. And check back again soon as I'm getting into this travel writer thing and I'll have much more coming.
The tour took seven more days to complete. Six-hundred-thirty six miles from NOLA to the old (as in, original European settlement in North America) northeastern port town of St. Augustine, FL. It was over one-hundred degrees most days - in the sun - and I literally wobbled through the thick humidity from campsite to gas-station to campsite, with a few fresh springs in between. Afterwards, I
convalesced at Casa Yallaha, a long standing hippy hostel, for a few
days in that crazy pirate town, was taken in by a Warmshowers.org host in Jacksonville for a night, and flew home to be with my family for a week, struck with recent news of serious illness among our numbers.
Then, though I was feeling a little weary and definitely physically discombobulated, I left my touring bike behind in Idaho, packed my track bike in a box, and headed to San Francisco for a big urban bike party, that lasted more or less this whole last year. I should stress less, because there has been very little partying in the traditional sense.
But, it was still a year for bikes and celebrating. And getting down with the Bay Area. I got a job at a bike shoe company called DZR, fell in love, ran around crazy trying to get my feet on the ground in SF (by getting an apartment, which took 9 months), then ended up leaving that job, that apartment (but not the man) and found another, less glamourous job at REI that is allowing me to get up and go yet again, to Chicago.
I plan on being in Chicago for awhile, but that's a generous word for my globetrotting existence. I will be flying to and fro when I can scrounge up the cash or find a backdoor; to SF, Boise, and Abu Dhabi most likely in the next year. (From whence I intend to do more bicycle touring back in the Mideast.) Meanwhile, I will be alternately grateful and cranky, drink way too much caffeine, and ride my bike a little too far.
I choked a couple tears when I arrived at the little boardwalk that day in St. Augustine last June, which took me down to the water and the end of my ride. There was an elderly man with a metal detector scanning the beach. And, a few young children splashing in the shallow water. The sun was soon to set, and some fresh-looking ladies with sun-hats and flowing white clothes took my picture. I took everything off my bicycle and carried it down the sand to touch the water, too. Then I sat there in the rising tide, buried my toes in the shell-gravel and wondered what it was I had just accomplished.
It's been a year, and I still don't know. But I know I did it!
Photos: (in descending order) One Post, San Francisco as cyclists navigate the chaos at the beginning of an alleycat; Me helping out, posing in DZR Zurich boots for some promos; Minna St, where the DZR showroom is located above the Hunan Chinese restaurant; Villano Beach, St. Augustine, FL; Me At the Beach (so sorry for the blinding belly, lost my riding shirt two days left on the tour!); The pet parrots of my hosts in Jacksonville