Top Ten of 2019

The year isn’t over yet so I am assuming nothing particularly notable will happen in the next 10 days. Except for the fact that we will be taking back some daylight from those thieves in the southern hemisphere! Here’s a list of ten notable things that I wrote about in 2019.

  1. Before I left for my bike tour, the Washington Nationals were a complete flop. So disappointing. When I got back they were playing great and having a blast. Baby sharks were busting out all over. I must have gone to 20 games. Many with my daughter. Improbably, with one of the worst bullpens in history, the Nationals won the whole damned thing. Unreal.
  2. My daughter received her masters degree from King’s College in London so we went over the pond to celebrate and play. We visited the Churchill War Rooms, saw Book of Mormon, checked out the Greenwich Observatory and the British Museum, and had breakfast at Dishoom. Twice. (Try the granola with coconut milk yoghurt.)
  3. My son came home from Thailand this fall. So great to see him. He earned his PADI certification this year. When not taking tourists on scuba dives, he works at an Internet-based marketing company.
  4. In April, Dave Salovesh, a dear friend, was killed by an out of control driver in DC. He always seemed to be everywhere. And now he’s nowhere. In death as in life, he brought us together. Too many tears. I can still hear his warm, calming voice in my head. It was a pleasure knowing him.
  5. I rode my bike from Indiana to San Francisco. One day outside Saint Louis, I was scraping Mississippi River mud from my tires and fenders on the side of a highway. Jerry, a retired chef, pulled up in a white pick up and all but ordered me to get off the pavement. Seconds after I did, two cars crashed where I had been standing. Channeling Samuel L. Jackson, Jerry remarked, “That would have fucked you up!” Indeed, it would have. It was a stark reminder that just like Dave I could go at anytime.
  6. The other people who helped me on my trip across the country were amazing.  An especially kind motel owner in Westcliffe, Colorado. Bicycle mechanics. The inspiration of a Buddhist monk in a cowboy hat walking along the highway in the Ozarks. Warmshowers hosts. Mike and Jessie who met me at the ferry terminal and housed, fed, and “watered” me in San Francisco. And a woman giving out cold water out (and letting me use her bathroom) on the side of the road in Kansas. I could not have made it without them. Proving once again, that there is no such thing as a solo bike tour.
  7. Mark and Corey let me join them for the ride across Kansas. You couldn’t find two better people to ride through floods and endless prairie than these two. Corey stopped to take pictures of flowers everyday, and sent one home via his online trip journal to his wife Lynn each night. Mark was the master of logistics. I think the floods near Chanute, Kansas receded when they heard he was coming.
  8. I rode the Nigel Tufnel edition of the 50 States Ride (my 11th time), once again joined by a posse of friends. In reality, I have ridden in 34 states. Maybe I should knock off the other 16. What do you think? I did four other event rides in the fall, three of them with my friend Emilia. Estoy bien.
  9. Several times a year, friends from grad school get together to celebrate birthdays. This year we got into day hiking. I hadn’t done much hiking in the past couple of years. I think I did four or five hikes with them. The hikes were a welcome break from the bicycling grind.
  10. For the second year in a row, I rode over 10,000 miles on my bikes. I cycled through 5 new states (Missouri, Kansas, Colorado, Utah, and Nevada). From Pueblo to San Francisco I climbed (and descended) over 150,000 feet. For the first time ever, I walked up hills, mountains really. My legs are still trying to forget. I hope my mind never does.
  11. And, a final extra note to three traveling bloggers, Lily, Jessica, and Brittany. Thanks for keeping me inspired to go somewhere far. The next time I find myself pushing my bike up a mountain, I’ll remember that I could be sipping tea in a cafe somewhere civilized.

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