It’s been a month on the road, and Grand Rapids sets me over the thousand-mile marker.
When I left Ithaca, I felt in perfect balance. It was bliss and sorrow, it was goodbye’s and open roads. I met up with Leon a couple of days later – He is riding coast to coast on a really similar route, and making weekly blog documentaries. We found a happy pace and pedaled on. In Buffalo I met up with Jon the Quaker again, and got to hear him play in the park. It was a magical day of summer skies, dappled light and falling leaves. His words echoed again in my mind and a little more of our souls poured together. This was the end of his journey, I helped him pack up his xtracycle, ready for the shipping box. I wondered what I would feel at the ‘end’ of my road, or really, where I would feel was the finish. I envied him his home to return to, so close, and yet I relished the power to pedal on.
Leon and I rolled on into Canada, up past Niagara Falls to the coast of Lake Ontario. We met Jason, a humble and friendly face, who balanced his bike on his chin before setting off into the sun. We skirted the lake, through Hamilton and into Toronto. It was bike month and bike breakfasts and bike fun. I sat in a cafe and had friends walk through the door, one after another. I shared my stories and they told their tales – a fire of inspiration burned under the table and warmed us all. I set up another Lightfoot box, and letters flew in.
Then onwards and ever onwards, through Ontario. Leon and I honed our habits of all day breakfasts ($3!!) and daily ‘Freezies’ (CA) – otherwise known as icy poles (AUS) – otherwise known as ice lollies (UK). Twice we were offered perfect hospitality and comfy beds while purchasing them towards late afternoon, and so the cool refreshments became prized treats with magical qualities.
Through Michigan and back into The U.S of A, together until Grand Rapids. This morning we split ways again, and no Popsicle will ever be the same. Another goodbye, but another link in the chain and connections to come back to.
1000 miles of friendship, of lessons, of inspiration. Of gardens and co-ops and bike communities. Of wild camping, forests and grasses, of comfy couches and lush beds. Of dumpstered food, free food and shared food. There has been little loneliness, rare rains and much mischief. Bring on the next 1000.