Monday, March 2, 2009

Last day(s) of riding and driving

We stayed in a hotel in San Diego last night, and officially parted after breakfast. We’ve now dropped Rachel off for a day in Vegas before she flies home, and we’re rolling up the miles to Denver. This many miles always gets me thinking… I'll try to keep this brief.

Our last day was amazing in many ways; it was a great way to end the trip, it represented in 1 day a cross section of nearly all the types of riding we did through the previous 2 weeks, and it was also a good representation of the types of challenges we dealt with the whole trip – complete with a couple missed turns/getting lost, more challenging terrain than expected, and a late race against the sunset for the truck, ending the day several hours later than planned. It challenged our stamina, our riding skills, and further underscored the humbling that the Baja’s been giving us.

It’s an amazing place, full of wonderful people, and I’m trying to not get all sappy about the amount of grace I experienced on this trip, both from the members of MennoBaja, but also from the people of the Baja, and the place it’s self. We’ve had many “themes for the day” (and even the whole trip) through these couple weeks, but grace has featured prominently throughout. This is for more reasons than just Glenn’s propensity for insertion of this subject. There’s something more there in travelling in a place like that.

The Baja is still a wild, untamed frontier (despite being over-run by tourists, etc.). When we drift through, spending from our excess to come play in their back yard… I don’t need to turn this into an geo-political/socio-economic commentary, but needless to say there was food for thought on those long dark rides, trying to avoid hitting a wandering cow (it's generally not advisable to travel at night - even the locals avoid it - too many livestock around the roadways).

It was really great having my Dad and Sister join me on this trip. We’ve been talking about bike trips for so long, and I thoroughly enjoyed actually doing one together. I’m trying to figure out how to make this sort of thing a relatively regular occurrence – at least once every 5 years? I was so cathartic to just unplug for a while, and more so with family and friends. So, thanks Dad, for your willingness to join us on this adventure, and to play support for all our only partly successful plans. I really appreciated you being along. And thanks Rachel, for taking on such an unknown, so far from either of our past experience, together with me. I didn’t mind being your “bounty”, and am glad I could share this with you.

I also appreciate Del & Glenn’s willingness to have the Neufelds suddenly outnumber them on this adventure they had been planning for so long. You both made this “our” trip (as a group), and I thank you for your efforts. I’ll ride with either of you any time…
(I15 through AZ on the way to the I70 junction in Idaho)

… later (Monday) ....

Del and I wiggled and waggled our way back to KS from Denver today (his truck doesn’t pull like Glenn’s diesel, and lacks the hookups for brakes which meant we had no quick way to get a wagging trailer to quit except slow down or climb a hill – hard to find in KS). We got home around 9pm, and I’ve got word that Clare and Rachel are both back in Canada, so this trip is now over. There will be many more photos, video clips, stories and thoughts to post from home over the next little while, but for now, this is end of the “real-time” travel-log for me.

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