By Frosty Wooldridge
Each summer, I enjoy clearing my head, flexing my muscles and traveling somewhere in the world on my expedition touring bicycle named “Condor.” Pedaling allows me to gather my spiritual energy, stretch my body toward incredible heights, physical well-being and a chance to refresh my mind. Additionally, I love camping by a lake, stream, ocean or somewhere out in the vast expanses of any desert. I love pedaling the long tracks of land through deserts, seacoasts and heavily wooded areas like in the New England states. Of course the Outback, Amazon, Europe, Asia and even snow drifts of Antarctica have seen my tire tracks.
I love climbing mountain passes from 3,000 feet to 16,000 feet in the Andes or Himalaya. I can’t begin to explain the incredible rush of joy that transforms my mind and body at the summit of such passes. Along the way, I share the world with critters like kangaroos, golden eagles, hawks, deer, elk, buffalo and endless fields of flowers. Emerson once said, “God laughs in flowers.” I agree.
Jack London said, “I would rather be ashes than dust. I would rather my spark burn out in a brilliant blaze than be stifled by dry rot. I would rather be a superb meteor; every atom in magnificent glow—than a sleepy, comfortable planet. The proper function of a man or women is to live, not merely exist. I shall use my time.”
My bicycle carries me to distant peaks, amazing countries and different cultures. Having ridden across six continents, from the Arctic to Antarctica in my lifetime, I can attest to a dynamic world, incredible people everywhere on the planet and stunning experiences with scenery and wild life.
Mike Dooley said, “Invariably, when big dreams come true, and I mean BIG, there is a total metamorphosis of one’s life. Their thoughts change, their words change, decisions are made differently, gratitude is tossed about like rice at a wedding, priorities are rearranged, and optimism soars. Yes, they are almost annoying. You could have guessed all that. Would you have guessed that these changes, invariably, come before, not after, their dream’s manifestation?”
So, this magnificent summer, I will pedal Condor from the border of Mexico near El Paso, Texas all the way to Canada’s border north of Eureka, Montana on Route 93. At some point, I will write about it on my adventure website: www.HowToLiveALifeOfAdventure.com . I will post pictures, too.
For each of us living in the United States of America, we may enjoy our own path to, as Thomas Jefferson said, “Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”
While strangers come up to me saying, “Man, how do you do that? Isn’t that a lot of work to haul that loaded bike down the highway and up mountain passes?”
I respond, “It’s a lot of ‘hard play’.” Sure, I push my body to the limits. My muscles each night after a long day in the saddle let me know that I’m alive. I feel exhausted, cleansed with lots of sweat, toned as blood rushes to every cell in my skin and calmed by the day’s miracles. A shower feels like a miracle from heaven. (Yes, I carry a shower bag!)
Henry David Thoreau also said, “If you advance confidently in the direction of your dreams, and endeavor to live the life which you have imagined, you will meet with success unexpected in common hours. You will pass through an invisible boundary; new universal and liberal laws will begin to establish themselves; and you will live with a license of a higher order of beings.”
At night, I pitch my tent under the stars by a popping campfire. I cook up dinner along with a hot chocolate. While I sip my drink, I stare at the starlit sky or listen for a Great Horned Owl. Seldom am I disappointed. Of course, remarks by my cycle mates make for campfire laughter and memorable moments. Life glows when shared with a friend.
Robert Service said it this way:
The summer no sweeter than ever,
The sunshiny woods all athrill;
The grayling aleap in the river,
The bighorn asleep on the hill.
The strong life that never knows harness;
The wild where the caribou call;
The freshness, the freedom, the farness---
Oh God! How I’m stuck on it all.
On June 6, 2013, I will touch the Mexican border, take a few pictures, and begin this 2,500 miles, 10 crossings of Continental Divide passes, 150,000 vertical feet of climbing, guzzling endless gallons of water, inhaling food like a Kansas combine and, if you see me out there with my three flags flying from my back rack, you will see a big smile plastered on my face from ear to ear. Stop and share a word and a cold lemonade with me!
As Goethe said, “Plunge boldly into the thick of life, and seize it where you will; it is always interesting.”
What about you? What dreams will you pursue this summer of 2013? Whether a weekend, week or month—go out into the world and explore. Discover your own creative energy, enthusiasm and joy for a life well lived.
I’ll be back in my writing chair by the 1st of August to bring you more commentaries on America and her many challenges. Love and light, Frosty Wooldridge, six continent world bicycle traveler and nine times across the USA. And, as you read this travel note, I’m probably sweating up a very steep mountain pass in New Mexico headed into the Rock Mountains. www.HowtoLiveALifeOfAdventure.com
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