Over a week has gone by since our Mom-to-Mom bicycle tour ended. Here are some post-trip thoughts.
We miss you, Mom-to-Mom! It may be difficult for those of you who do not bicycle on a regular basis to relate, but the urge to be cycling every day, all day, does not surrender easily. To leave life behind and venture out to discover more of it is part of the allure of bicycle touring. There is so much to see in this big world we live in. Experiencing it at a slower pace, from a bicycle seat, stimulates the senses. Daily exercise in mega dosages cleanses the body and mind, and paves the way for deep rest. And being with Debbie all day long was a constant reminder of God’s provision in my life.
This tour had its challenges. I suppose they all do. We were cycling in a degree of humid heat that we had never experienced from the seat of a bicycle. We had swapped cooler temperatures for flat terrain. As long as we kept moving, drank plenty of fluids, and applied ample sunscreen, we tolerated the heat and humidity well. I loved the long flat stretches conducive to high daily mileage. Somewhere in Virginia, the flat terrain left us. We faced some stiff climbing–not long mountain pass climbs, but rather small, steep ascents in rapid succession. With a built-in deadline to push us on daily mileage, we passed through many areas that warranted further investigation. We’ll need to leave that for another time. And as with any bicycle tour, we experienced some soreness and fatigue, but nothing major. We cycled with watchful eyes toward the afternoon sky, wondering whether the building cloud cover would douse us later in the day, or make us dash for cover when the flashes and rumbles could be contained no longer.
Riding through Maine was nostalgic–and unforgettable. As we approached Bangor and Houlton, the touring seemed to take a back rack to saying goodbye and looking forward to what lies ahead. I spent so many years in these locations, knew them like the back of my hand, and have dear people there who I don’t see or talk with as often as I’d like. A future in Tennessee suggests I will see them much less frequently. Rather than any longing or heartache, however, I feel a deep sense of appreciation for what I’ve been allowed to experience and who I know. Enjoy what God has given you, don’t take things for granted, and be thankful for blessings you have.
I will remember interesting and beautiful places visited on our tour. There was the Florida coast, the Southern pine tree farms of Georgia, the cotton fields of the coastal Carolinas, the beautiful evergreen forests of Virginia, lovely little New Bern, North Carolina, a bike path leading right to the Lincoln Memorial, strikingly green and well-groomed horse pastures in Maryland, the beauty of the fields of Amish country in Lancaster County, PA, bike paths around Philly and New York, and the Maine coast. And lest we forget the Haynesville woods!
The anticipation and promotion of Two Are Better gave this tour a unique feel. We worked on the project during certain stops, as the progress toward publication continues. We expect the book to be released near the end of 2012. Promoting a book is not something I have ever done, or ever imagined I would be doing–especially a book about myself and my spouse. But Debbie and I feel God has given us a special story to share with others, and we intend to do so in a way that will bring glory and honor to Him. It was a privilege to share our story with random folks along our way, to hand out cards with contact info, and to see the reactions of total strangers.
Moms will always be special. Not every bicycle tour gets a name like Mom-to-Mom. My mother blessed my life until her last day. And, now that she’s gone, the blessings she poured into me continue to bear fruit and return more blessing every day that I live. I am so glad we toured Mom-to-Mom and chose to acknowledge mothers in our tour name.