Originally Published in my column for RoadRUNNER Magazine on: 7/10/2014
Fanfare for Return (Half Way)
Arriving home is a strange and bittersweet feeling. The journey is only half over but coming home in the middle creates some type of finality. From this point forward I will have riding companions for the majority of the trip. For many people the Colorado portion is the highlight of their TAT experience. It really is hard to beat. Stunning views alongside technical challenges make it an adventure rider’s playground on a grand scale. Calling this area home, has allowed me to explore much of the western portions of the TAT over the years in various chunks. I am excited, but it is much different from the anxiety that I experienced when I started off alone so many weeks earlier.
I cannot help but wonder how I feel when it is time to start the second half of the journey. Living in Colorado makes for a great pit stop. It affords me the opportunity to take a break, catch up with the family and perform some much-needed maintenance on the KLR. But once I role into my garage, and see my family, I will never again be able to recapture that feeling of starting TAT. Every trip holds a certain amount of the unknown, but this one held so much more; self-discovery, solitude and healing. Having companions will lessen the anxiety of the second of half of the trip. But it also no doubt will change the dynamic. Fortunately, the first half of my journey was drama and mostly maintenance free. No doubt a direct results of “traveling alone” and being watched over a little more closely. But
Back on the trail, I push hard to arrive home in time to pick up my girls, Nya and Sophia from school. I drop off the bike, peel off my riding pants, put on my sandals, and immediately head down to their school. I have not seen them in weeks and I am excited to surprise them. My wife, Beth joins me. She heads inside to sign them out, while I stay hidden around a corner.
Their reaction makes the break in the middle all the more special for me and solidifies that I have made the right choice of splitting the journey into two parts. I know in a few minutes their excitement will wane, and they will be off playing, but for now I can revel in being a hero to them for at least a few moments; moments that will pass even quicker as they get older each year. I miss them while I am away, but I hope my absences will inspire them, as they grow up. Show them how they can, “have a life, share a life and experience life all at once, even when the world around them may not always encourage them to do so.
Who knows? Perhaps one day they will sneak up on me some unsuspecting afternoon and tell me all about their latest amazing adventures!