A lot of people I meet have asked me how I've been able to do this trip mid-career. Most people cycling the Trans-Am are right out of college or retired. In fact, in Bendavis MO, the owner of the only business in town (I think, at least), the gas station, told me his thoughts about who takes this cross country bike voyage:
-Just out of college- to "find themselves"
He asked me which category I fit into and I laughed and said, "None, actually!" He looked at me skeptically thinking it was one of the two final categories. Since this trip has been on my 'bucket-list' for 23 years, I've seriously considered it something I can and will do. Making it happen is of course a different story. I've made some sacrifices, but I just set my mind to it. What's costly is not the trip itself, but the lack of income and savings not occurring while on the trip. This trip is costing less than taking a family of 4 from Oregon to Florida to Disney World for a week. So far, on food and lodging (my biggest expenses), I've spent under $1700 since June 5. Of course the gear and 40 hour bike maintenance course cost more. But overall, this trip isn't that expensive. It's the living costs and lack of income you have to take into consideration. I'm paying to store my car, I have health insurance that I pay for (I own my own business), I have business costs (sustaining a website, invoicing systems, etc) and I do pay rent for a place in Portland. Although, I did move out of my beautiful place, I have a room at a friends home with about 20% of my stuff in it. I also pay for a storage unit for the other 80% of my belongings. I took a big risk by not taking clients/work over the summer and doing this trip. I asked myself over and over, "Will I get work come fall? Will people think of me and hire me again?" But, you know, sometimes you have to say, "Screw it, it doesn't matter. I'm doing this no matter what. It's worth it. Even if I'm not contributing to my 401K for 6 months. Even if it takes awhile to find work afterwards. Even if I have to re-think my career. Even if I have to move. This dream, this journey is worth it."
It was recommended that I stay at Buckhorn Lake State Park. I didn't realize it would be about 8 miles more added to my day... up some intense hills, but I got here and it's worth it. I left Slade/Miguel's Campground yesterday morning and cycled the 66 miles to Buckhorn Lake. It was not an easy ride. I woke up to pouring rain, which is kind of nice in a tent, but packing up a wet tent isn't super fun. My gear stays dry, whether in the tent or in my trailer, so I'm never worried during a downpour at night. However, the day was incredibly hilly, humid and I was drenched the entire ride. I saw a lot of turtles & salamanders. I wasn't cold, it was warm out and at times, the rain was welcome. However, after 66 miles in wet clothing, your entire body starts to prune! And, cycling in feet sloshing around in your shoes isn't so fun. I do have shoe covers that are waterproof, but for some reason yesterday, I just decided the rain was welcome. Maybe a baptism of sorts? I am in the bible belt. Although, I haven't sinned recently. I mean, I may have thrown a banana peel (if you've been religiously, no pun intended, reading my blog, you remember my early comments about banana peels? I'm a believer now, again no pun intended!) into the trees alongside the road. That's probably the worst sin I've committed. Well, Jamie and I did drink beer in a dry county. So, maybe that was it. But looking at the 10 Commandments posted all over Western KY (see photo), I seemed to have followed them quite well while riding through this area. I mean, I respected the Sabbath, although my Sabbath being Jewish is Friday sundown to Saturday... so I didn't do that. But, I did go to church last Sunday. I haven't taken the Lord's name in vain. I honored my mother and father- I sent them a postcard this week and thanked them for their love and support. I definitly did NOT commit adultery, kill anyone, steal, covet or bear false witness. But, I'll take the cleansing of the rain either way!
In Booneville, I decided to call the Buckhorn Lake State Park and reserve a room at the lodge rather than camp. That way, I can dry off, have air conditioning and a good night's rest. I figured I've only spent $48 on lodging the entire time in Kentucky over the past week and a half. I arrived around 6pm, wet and tired. I was immediately taken by the beauty and remoteness of this area and upon checking in, I was spontaneous and booked another night. It might mean a couple of longer days ahead, but worth the layover. And, the access road in here will be quite a downhill and then climb out. The 8 miles, a lot of it uphill, will probably take me over an hour just to get back on the road.
I showered, hung out my tent to dry over my balcony, sat and enjoyed the view and then ate dinner in the dining room at the lodge. I slept extremely well. I'm excited to have a day to catch up. I always have emails to respond to, postcards to write, receipts to enter into my spreadsheet, bike stats to enter into another spreadsheet, fundraising thank you notes, photos to download, blog to update. This is a full time job, no doubt. And, I plan on taking a short hike today. My forearms are sore today for the first time. I'm not sure if it's from darts or basketball the other day or climbing yesterday. One thing that's been quite a surprise to me is that I have NOT taken one pill while on this trip. Not one Advil, Aleve or Tylenol. Not one Nyquil, anti-histamine or allergy pill. I've had no headaches (not even my once a month headache during menstruation), no pain or severe soreness that has warranted it. I'm not playing a hero, I have all these pills with me. I just am amazed how healthy and free of pain I've been. I must be doing what I'm supposed to. Eating well, sleeping enough, drinking enough water, stretching, resting. I urge you to do the same. Be active. Eat nutrient-rich foods. Breathe. Meditate. Grieve. Heal. Rest. Enjoy loved ones. Laugh. Laugh some more. Take care of something you have 100% control over- your mind and body.