It’s that time again…

USA route

Here’s the route of my next bicycle tour, on a wall map in yarn and post-it tags. The multi-colored yarn is a leftover from last winter’s failed sock knitting experiment. It’s not especially easy to see. Too bad I didn’t wasn’t making red socks.

My tour around America starts with a ride down the California coast to Los Angeles, a big left turn to Joshua Tree, a long way to the Grand Canyon, and then a leisurely mountain ride around as many gorgeous parks in Utah and Colorado I can pack in.

I’ve signed up for a writing workshop in Boulder, CO in April, where I get to see Pam Houston, one of my favorite writers. If I can work up the nerve, I might actually speak to Pam Houston. Maybe.

Thanks to a few all-night CGOAB reading marathons, I’ve got the turn-by-turn route to Boulder nearly planned. Beyond Colorado, I start my journey across the fly-over states. I’m sure Crazy Horse and Mt. Rushmore are totally worth the windy ride across the plains. I drove across the country in my early twenties, and took Amtrak across once. It looks like a hard ride. I need to get to Iowa City in time for the Summer Writing Festival. (I have no idea which classes I’ll sign up for. There are far too many to choose from.)

After that, I’d like to explore the Great Lakes, both the American and Canadian sides. On the big map, it looks like a fantastic meandering path. Then I’ll keep going east, all the way to New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. Lucky for me, I’ve got friends in Fredricton. Since I’m going that far anyway, I may as well go to Nova Scotia, especially since it looks like there might be a ferry boat back to Maine. (More research is required to verify the boat.)

If you look closely at my map, you’ll see that the yarn ends there. This does not mean that my trip ends on the east coast. I aim to continue riding south, following my trail of post-its. And as much as I’d like to take another week fantasizing about my ride southwards, I’ve got a deadline to meet.

My start date is February 9th, the day after my 44th birthday. I might delay if the weather sucks. Big Sur is too beautiful to waste on a low-visibility day. But rainy riding is inevitable with a winter start date. I’m likely to freeze in the desert. And who knows what effect El Niño will have? I’m also slightly concerned about riding through the San Bernardino Valley with that terrible natural gas leak. And besides all that, I’m worried about monsters. And zombies. And Zika mosquito virus.

Actually, I’m so excited to be off, I can barely contain myself. I would leave tomorrow if there weren’t ten million things left to do. Like finish my taxes and get new brakes and tires installed and … yeah, a few other things too. Undoubtedly, I will forget something. And, so what? I’ll deal with it.

 

The best part? I don’t have to put my bicycle on an airplane this time. I get to start from my front door.

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