Make America Bike Again Tour – Day 42
There are no more miles to pedal. Robert is at the airport three hours early. He’s eager and anxious to get home. Sad to be leaving the Northern Tier Trail and the satisfactions of life astride a bicycle seat.
In the beginning there were five cyclists, all at least 60; aging men motivated toward continued growth and the experience of life to the fullest. As planned, Frank went as far as Missoula, Mt. and then, back home to California. Unplanned, my chain broke on the southeastern plains of Montana. It was the 23rd day. We were few miles west of the Musselshell River. Unable to repair the chain, Robert and I hitchhiked ahead, leaving Don, Frosty, and Gerry on the road of the Lewis and Clark Trail, and with the smoke from a prairie grass fire filling the sky ahead. Their goal, to cross the continent from west to east, ending at Bar Harbor, Maine.
From the beginning, our goal has been a more modest one. To reach Akron, Ohio with enough time to return to Denver for Lee’s wedding. Here’s some pictures of father and daughter together.
(These were taken at Norfolk, Virginia in 2007. Lee was still in the Navy. Robert, still practicing law.)
Lee’s marriage is truly a milestone and not to be missed. It is the daughters and sons who inherit the earth. They stand and blossom, while fathers age, commemorate events if they can, and pass away.
In terms of priorities, it just doesn’t get much higher than family. So, Robert’s decision to leave the bicycle trail in Minneapolis – after 2,096 miles – is the right one. So too, his decision to ride on alone after my chain replacement in Medora, North Dakota.
A coast to coast ride need not be completed in one pyrrhic effort. The trail will be there next year, and many more after that. And to my friends, Don, Frosty, and Gerry, be safe and travel well.
Thanks to everyone who has read and enjoyed this blog. Even though the bicycle journey has reached a temporary resolution, the blogging goes on.