I came across this quote in “A Field Guide to Getting Lost” and thought it deserved a little attention.
Go get lost this weekend!
When the moment came for us to squeeze Sitka and Moose (our bikes) into inhospitable cardboard bike boxes and lug them to the FedEx in downtown Berkeley, I tripped on the sidewalk near the muffin store and took Brandon out for a beer. It was a bittersweet night of accomplishment mixed with that belly churning you get when you want to cling to the last string of something good. The next day we got on a train at 9 in the morning carrying a giant jug of half-brewed kombucha, a tattered ukelele, and the remains of our bike adventure packed tightly into our backpacks. We set east from our temporary home of CA to make an eight day train voyage to the east coast in order to spend time with our families for those days that we celebrate in December. I felt – and still feel – an uncomfortable nostalgia for the west coast (which, by the way, I had only visited once before this trip, when I was 22). Having now spent a solid six months teasing its contours on two wheels, it has come to represent more than rugged hills and tall trees: it is the home of our epic adventure.
It was only fitting to leave the coast with a similarly epic (and slow) voyage eastward. The California Zephyr (run by Amtrak) is quite a trip. I’m pretty sure the majority of fellow travelers on board are either afraid of flying, hopeless romantics, or simply looking for someone (anyone) to talk to. A few also do it because the scenery is spectacular.
Some Zephyr highlights:
1. We spent five hours talking with two relatively wild ramblers about: if there could be such thing as a ‘benevolent dictator’, the concept of God (who one guy characterized as a “frantic, nervous Woody Allen type”), the blues (via harmonica), string theory, and the meaning of life
2. We had on-train park service narration between Sacramento and Reno (the unfortunate accent of one narrator made him sound like he was saying ‘ray rod’ instead of railroad… which was, to our delight, referenced roughly every four words for several hours)
3. The personal narration of a train-enchanted four year old who, for an hour or so, made sure to remind his grandmother: “hey look! I’m looking out the window!” and “we’re on a train!”
4. Oh yeah, the most incredible traverses of the Sierras, several giant red canyons, and the Rockies, and snaking along the Colorado river, shooting through vast deserts and snowstorms, and leaping the continental divide. I will admit that I was a bit relieved I didn’t have to pedal my way through some of those snowy mountain ranges to get the views!
We’ve made stops in Salt Lake City and Denver, where we’ve climbed two mountains, hung out with Space Jesus, learned swing dancing at 1:30 am, spotted a great horned owl in a friend’s backyard, and acted ridiculous an unquantifiable number of times in public. Today Brandon played songs from “Amelie” on a random piano placed conveniently in the middle of downtown Denver and I waltzed.
I leave you with a few images from the journey:
Golly the Oregon coast is spectacular… and we are lovin on the tailwinds! Were on our way to Sunset Bay state park tonight, checking in by iGadget from a roadside espresso shack. If you, dear reader, are anywhere near the west coast right now, please… PLEASE go eat some roadside blackberries. There are far too many going uneaten despite our futile attempts to gobble them all. Such a tragedy…