The Plan

For years now, Jerry has been romantically putting forth the idea that we could someday, when he retires, fly to Key West, recover our bikes (which we’d have shipped ahead), climb onto those bikes, and ride home again, “following the spring.” I’ve always smiled at this lovely picture—not unlike a picture on a postcard, which might be a bit watery around the edges, like a Monet painting. I’m sailing down a long, freshly-paved slope, hair flying out from beneath my pretty blue helmet. Jerry’s following in his standard protective, last-in-line position. Early pink crocuses (or whatever mystery springtime flowers grow in the southern U.S.) dot the velvety green swale that swoops down alongside me on that hill.

The fact that home is Burlington, Vermont, a land far, far away from Key West, just added to the charm of the proposal. We’d see the east coast, close up and in color!

Two years ago, the unthinkable happened; he f@#*ing retired. And he hasn’t yet stopped talking about how spring really does begin in the south, and move north, and what a great adventure this will be. Suddenly the postcard is taking on grays and browns, and we, on our bikes, are not visible for the rain.

This trip is going to happen, and I’ll be writing about it; probably, we both will. I may have to devote a couple entries to finding a bike seat that I think I can sit on for 2000 miles, but I’ll try to be amusing. I’m 50 and Jerry is 62. Fit but not superhuman, we’re giving ourselves eight weeks to do this trip. (Well, he is. I’m giving us ten.) We begin in February. Maybe writing a blog about it will remove some of the sting from that leather saddle. Maybe not, but I’d like to try.

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24 Responses to The Plan

  1. mclvt81 says:

    Bon Voyage! I’ll be thinking about you … Watch out for those crazy southern drivers! Love you. xoxo. Maura

  2. Jim Bowers says:

    Shelagh, I biked a little over 2000 miles last year, though not day after day like you trip will be. It’s all about the seat. Find one that fits you can cycle around the world, try to use one that doesn’t Key West to Marathon might as well be to the moon. Here is an article that might help a little, best of luck, what a great adventure. Jim
    http://totalwomenscycling.com/bikes-gear/gear-guide-choosing-a-saddle-901/

    • shelaghvt says:

      Jim, where were you a month ago? 🙂 Actually, I’m happy with the seat I have, and it’s one of the ones mentioned in your link (the Selle Italia, which they say is so popular with women). It’s really good to see my seat given the seal of approval in your article. Thanks so much!

  3. Anne Barbano says:

    Very Very exciting Shelagh! My brother rode his bike across the west to California two times during the 1970’s. I hope you’ll tell us where you’re staying and watch out for the big bugs! Oh good idea on 10 weeks so you don’t meet winter here. Hugs, ANNE

  4. Let me know if you find a good seat; I’ve been looking for a good one for years. I wish you loads of fun, very little adversity, and wonderful adventures. Have the best time

  5. annwilt says:

    We will be waiting to hear ALL about the adventure!

  6. Mary Jane says:

    Hi Shelagh,
    You are truly an inspiration to me, in so many ways. I look forward to chuckling along with your stories recounting the good, the bad, and all the in-between in your inimitable, and undoubtedly self-effacing, way.

    Oh yeah. And I will really miss you at book club!
    xo
    Mary Jane

  7. Mary says:

    Can’t ait to see you two!!

  8. Heidi says:

    Heidi
    The weather has been fantastic this season. Rain at night and 50-85 degrees. Only one soggy week in those 50’s.
    Jacaranda trees- purple- are signs of spring here. They are not yet blooming. Hibiscus, bird of paradise and the red and purple flowers I don’t know how to spell (starts with B) are in bloom.
    Enjoy the ride.

  9. Bill F-H says:

    Maybe the biking will be easier than the air travel? We just back after hellacious travel days. Best to you both. XX

  10. Michelle Demers says:

    Have a great trip you guys! (What makes you think spring will be here in April. . .?) Hoping you don’t hit snow. Looking forward to the updates on your blog.

  11. Larry says:

    Enjoy Blue Heaven. Then take the ride.

  12. BFH says:

    Winter storm warning here…🌴🚲🚲🌞🌴

  13. kathleen connir says:

    S & J: Much as I love the snow, today is a little much!! I’m picturing you two in warm sunny Fla while up here in Pa, the snow is POURING DOWN and swirling in circles as the wind whips all around the buildings and homes. They say we’re due for a two hour break this aftie before it all begins again. I’m in for the duration, so it doesn’t much matter, except I see my car getting covered higher and higher where it’s parked at the curb, and I wonder if I will ever get it out of the drift it is buried in!!! Have fun, and be safe!!! Love, Aunt K.

  14. nancy alexander says:

    I think that you were a bit more spot on with the timing of the whole trip (10 wks vs. 8) I love your somewhat naive but romantic mental imagery of the journey. Esp. the flowing hair …..Can’t wait to read reality !

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