Monday, November 09, 2020

To Oregon and Beyond

"Joy does not betray, but sustains activism." ~Rebecca Solnit

November 7

Sunset pictures from the seat of my bicycle. Pinch me... this is one of the views I am blessed to enjoy when peddling around on one of our six or ten, or twenty mile rides. Eighteen months ago, if you'd told me I would be riding my bike six days a week, for at least six miles, sometimes at night, a few times all the way into town, to the beach, I could not have believed it, or even wanted to imagine it. It still makes me anxious, and even on the twenty mile rides, it's only many many loops on the same quiet streets, away from cars, and loud noises. But twelve or twenty miles is still a lot, even if I'm getting nowhere. Sometimes William rides with us. Usually it's just me and Geoff. He calls me on the phone, a funny gesture for two people constantly at home together, and he asks "Are we riding?" Or I step into his office, and ask, "Are we athletes?" Our street and neighborhood were once very quiet, but these days lots of people are out, and many of them are riding the same make of e-bike. Geoff has a knack for being one step ahead of these things.

Incidently, and I've been meaning to write about this: I am not getting nowhere, because I am riding to Oregon, then Boston. On paper, anyway. So far, I've peddled 1,737 miles of neighborhood loops. From here, to my Mother's home is roughly 1,059 miles. I spend long spells figuring things out, imagining a typical day, wondering how I would manage the more challenging aspects of an actual bicycle ride to the Oregon Coast. For instance, if I rode twenty miles a day it would take me about 53 days to finish the trip. Of course, if riding to Oregon was my one occupation, I like to think I could get in more miles than twenty. Could I ride 40 miles a day, and sustain that pace for 1,059 miles? Then I'd be there in less than a month. Sometimes, in my wild head, I cheat... like, for instance when I imagine riding a bicycle through Los Angeles, (shudder) so I hop on the train instead, and disembark in Ventura. How would I fair in San Francisco? I think if I mapped the route along the coast, on the Coast Highway, it will be more miles, but wouldn't that be wonderful, I mean the sights? Tecnically I've shot past Mom and Dad's house, even if I do take the long way. And I wonder about riding directly from Oregon to Boston, or if I should begin, again, from home. I'm not sure. And I pull up a map. Oh, bliss. It's clear, on first glance: Riding east from Oregon lines me up nicely for stops in Minnesota, and Wisconsin, and that is irresistible. Wow! Not detouring for my Midwest favorites, and it's still a whopping 3,262 miles from the Oregon Coast to Jennifer's house. I am short by about 2,900 miles. Hmmm. Very well. I am not in any hurry. And it's way more compelling to imagine the stops along the way than just racing to the end. What I would love is a map feature that tells me destinations that are a fixed number of miles away from where I am presently. For example, I am in Coos Bay, Oregon and traveling toward Southborough Massachusetts: Where would I be if I rode my bike 637 miles? Incidently, I am never bored.

Where should I stop? What should I see? And should I bring a tent, and all manner of survival gear, or just a credit card, tooth brush and fresh change of clothes? So many variables. So many possibilities. I still think I will keep it more fun, than daring, so that train ride through Los Angeles is not negotiable.


gretchenjoanna said...

This sounds like a lot of fun! In The Art of Travel by de Botton, it is pointed out by more than one traveler that the planning/imagining and the remembering are the most pleasurable aspects in the moment(s). I am likely to be gifted with an exercise bike in the near future and I may have to cook up some adventures for myself.

Natalie, the Chickenblogger said...

You should... make fabulous routes and destinations. Thinking about all of this has been a surprising incentive to pedal further. Planning and imagining are such terrific practices.