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.