Ready for the final ride to the beach
Editor’s note: David Freeze is biking coast to coast. His trek started June 10 in Oregon. He’s sending dispatches from the road to be published in the newspaper, at www.salisburypost.com, and on his blog, “Gotta Run” at blog.salisburypost.com/gottarun
Most of the things that I wanted to do at home are complete. Now it is time to head out early on Saturday morning. Looks like we are going to Myrtle Beach, so the ride is just a little shorter than some of the other beaches. It will also include another state in the adventure. Can’t wait to get it done.
One of the questions that I promised to address before completing the journey will get an answer tonight. Several people have asked some version of “How did you get to do this? How did you work it out to be gone for close to two months?”
I’ve already addressed earlier that I got the idea when riding for three days in West Virginia on the Greenbrier River a few years ago. Over three full days I was in a beautiful wilderness area. It rained the first day, was beautiful the second, and snowed some on the third. My afterthought was something along the lines of “Wouldn’t it be great to do that over the whole country?”
I thought about it for a couple of years, read several books, and talked to Andrew Sufficool from Florida about his experiences doing most of the same ride. By late 2011, I was committed to ride cross country in the summer of 2012. Arthroscopic knee surgery got in the way, and once again there came an assessment of whether to go in 2013.
Here is the scoop on how I worked it out to go this year. Lots of people told me that 60-70 days was a long time to be gone, and I believed it. My principal jobs all are part-time. If I could make them work out, then 2013 would be the year.
Coaching runners is a year round sport, but it slows down some in the summer every year. The heat makes running less enjoyable, but I spoke to my clients and told them that I would be available by e-mail and would set up workable training schedules for those that needed one.
My position as Wellness Coordinator at Partners in Learning goes hand in hand with this trip. The ride across America has been used to raise awareness of childhood obesity and to help the kids at school learn about geography. I can’t wait to see all the staff members again and see how they are all sticking to their programs for better health.
As a freelance writer with the Salisbury Post, I hoped that people would be interested in the journey from a regular guy point of view. We had some discussions about it, and I committed to writing about each day’s journey. Honestly, I just wanted to make it interesting and tell what I saw and who I met. It would double as a journal of my travels.
My classes at Rowan Cabarrus Community College worked out just fine. I will start teaching again in September.
Lastly, as a farmer, I felt I could make it work. We got the spring hay in right before the start of the trip, and planned to make the next cutting right after I got back. Lots of late spring and summer rain has helped the hay grow and I don’t think we missed any opportunities of sustained good weather to cut it. My nephew Sammy took care of the feeding of the horses and other things that needed doing inside the gates. My neighbor Ollie McKnight kept an eye on the place even though she was a little busy with the Banshee crowd.
Steve Clark kept a capable handle on doings with the Salisbury Rowan Runners and it sounds like he got lots of good help.
I’ve heard from several people the last few days that they are inspired to do something on a smaller scale. That sounds great to me, but don’t limit yourself. There never will come a perfect time to do something like this, because there will be things that you miss. But you will make new experiences and get to remember those later. One of my own favorite sayings goes something like this: Don’t look back over your shoulder years from now and say “I wish I had done that.” Give it a chance, and just maybe it can be done. Frankly, I didn’t know how the adventure would go and it took at least seven days to decide that I was in the right place.
Now, there are hopefully just two days of riding remaining. Time to pack those bags, get a good night’s sleep and head out early again Saturday and complete this great adventure.
The next report comes from on the road.
David Freeze lives in Rowan County.