If yesterday was my toughest day physically, today was the toughest emotionally. I first met Ty, Drew, and Mac on June 1, on the road between Biggs, OR and Umatilla, OR. We hop-scotched and occasionally rode together until Kamiah on June 6. On the 7th I met Mac’s father, Tom. I rode and camped with them for the next three weeks, 1,500 or so miles.

Tom left us on June 18 when he took a bus from Glendive, MT back to Missoula. I really enjoyed his company. The “boys” and I continued on to Minneapolis.

Last night we all knew that we would be parting ways soon. This morning we were all so tired that we slept late and our breakfast plans turned into lunch plans. I swung my leg over my fully loaded bike and cycled out to meet them, somewhere west on American Boulevard, between their host family and my hotel. At 11:30 it was already 85 degrees and humid. Mac texted me and said they had to stop at the church hosting the charity riders. I knew it was time to face east and start pedaling.

I texted Mac and told him “Headed east, Miss you already”.

In a few minutes my cell phone rang and it was Mac. We were both so emotional, I think we were both about to cry. So I did the only thing I knew. I said goodbye and hung up. He wouldn’t have understood a thing I had to say anyway because I would have been blubbering.

Ty called next and I was able to keep it together a little longer. He told me that both Drew and Mac were as upset as I was. Ty is a good guy with a good heart and he wished me safe travels.

I wanted to do 50 miles today. I could barely push the pedals. I had no energy physically or emotionally. I couldn’t stand and pedal for more than 10 pedal strokes whereas the day before, 75-100 was no problem. I shed a few tears along the way. So I found a room in Hastings, MN, on the Mississippi, Wisconsin beckoning on the other side. I limped out of Minneapolis and I struggled into Hastings, the 28 miles taking me nearly 3 hours, practically an exercise in futility.

Everything goes in cycles. Everything. Humans like to arrange things into cycles so that when one stops, the next one begins. This may have something to do with an innate sense of mortality. It may be us imitating nature. Mac and Drew and Ty are on a different route now, as am I. When I met them, I adopted their youthful vigor and outlook. I feel as if the exuberance of youth has been drained from my body.

I thank them all, their families, their friends, and all the kind people we met along the way.

I better get it together soon, I have to be in Detroit in 10 days.

20120630-193101.jpgTom, Mac, Ginny, and Drew

20120630-193833.jpgMac, Ty, Drew, and the Icon of Napoleon, Tony Braun.