Sunday, October 12, 2008

Epiloge - Isnt that what they call it.

Well its over. A job that was 8 years in the making. A dream that was in the head. A dream that was talked about in times over a pint..'You know what I would really like to do?' 'No. What..'
Id love to cycle the Pacific Coast Highway from Vancouver to San Diego.''Well, why dont ya?'
Ah! I will one day...... have another pint..!
There were a few serious attempts ...well attempts! None too serious. If Im honest.
Then I turned 60. I thought.? If you are going to do it you better get serious.
They say you rarely regret the things you do but you always regret the things you dont do.
It was in Paulines garden, cutting the grass. There was an intervention. An element introduced, which made it possible to move, and it was a commitment.That commitment came from somewhere deep in the heart. Someone saying 'Do it now or regret it forever!' So I decided there and then to 'book the flight'.
No more prevarication.
Time to live the dream.
That done, everything else was easy. Make the plans, dust off all those old websites. 'Crazy Guys on Bikes' Dig out the book 'Bicycling the Pacific Coast'
Tell people!... 'your mad' 'your nuts' 'on your own?'' why not wait and go with someone'.
But I can tell anyone now ...
THERE ARE AN AWFUL LOT OF CRAZY PEOPLE OUT THERE. A lot of ordinary people who do extraordinary things. Nice people!
There's a guy who is on his way round the world on a bike
there's a couple who cycled from Northern Alaska heading for Tierra Del Fuego. There's the 2 brothers whose jobs weren't going so well, Never rode bikes before, no training, bought 2 second hand mountain bikes and headed out from Seattle to San Diego. (have to say I worry about them).
My 'support group' Intrepid Canadians mostly. Who do something crazy annually. They are off to cycle China next year! Nutcases!!
Have to say, by and large, members of the older community. People with wisdom and fortitude. Not given to fanciful ways. Just ordinary people who want to do stuff and dont see the pitfalls.
THE BAND! A 5 piece band who were cycling the Pacific coast. Travelling with all their instruments including a drum kit. (Im Serious) and a double bass in a trailer behind the bike which was a coffin.Playing in different venues every night.
A lot of nutcases out there.
But people who live the life and dream the dream and make it possible.
Acouple wholeft their home in 2004 cycling round the world, were not due to finish until 2011. Can you believe that!!
A lot of crazy people.
I have been taken with the generosity of people and the support from people.Unexpected support, which made me feel that the next town or person i meet could be someone who will, in some way, change me.
And so it was.
In Vancouver, Colin Shanogue in The Bottle Tipper who gave me my breakfast every day and some nice dinners.
The bus driver who carried my bike across the tunnel in Vancouver and gave me a verbal travelogue of the islands in Puget Sound I should go and see.
Jean, who took my picture on my camera in Vancouver park in front of the Totem poles. She wanted to tell me her life story.Her husband wasnt too impressed.
All the people on the ferry to Vancouver Island who enquired what I was doing and told me their story.
The people on the ferry from Victoria to Port Angelas who seemed to be lining up to ask me about my trip.
The surly US immigration officer who told me to go back and fill out the form right. And the sweet lady immigration officer when I went back up. Cause surly was busy..

Piroska and Donald who extolled on me the ways of the camper. And who in reality gave me that, wanting to do it. And so it proved. Looking back, the nights in the tent, uncomfortable as they may have been where the best nights. Out under the stars listening to the surf. Meeting like minded people. It is an amazing dimension to experience that a soft bed doesnt give you. So to Perouska a very special thank.
Forrest Daniel, a professor of voice. 2 professors in one day!! Donald was also a professor. who was 'Salem or bust' who inspired my 'San Diego or bust' banner which got me so much praise and support on the road.
Nancy and Paul from Crazy Guys my support team. Nancy a retired teacher and Paul a nuclear observer, no less! Crazy Eh?
Chris and Tracy Berryman my first night camping companions
from Tacoma who shared their camp dinner with me and gave me coffee the next morning.
Werner from Cross canada who extolled the virtues of the heart rate monitor which really helped me.
All the cc crew.
John from London the Adventure cycling group who i never saw again. His wife had bought him the trip as a present on his 60th birthday.
Bonnie in 'Art Happens' in Nahelem who gave me a place to stay, where there was nowhere else. Trusted me with her paintings and left me with some music playing that really soothed me.
Virginia Gillmore in Yachats who showed me where she had marked the rising of the sun on all the solstices.
Herman and Mary Hutchinson in Half Moon Bay who brought me to their house and treated me to cheese and biscuits and some nice charrdonnay and watched the sunset from their deck.
, who invited me to his house in Berkeley in San Francisco. Told me to stay as long as I wanted.
, from Navan who had recently moved to San Francisco with his dad. Who wanted to pint with me in San Fran. Unfortunately or fortunately I got his message too late.
Ed and Marge Moore from NY and\Florida who had me to lunch and in the best traditions of a new Yorker made me promise him a dinner in dublin when next he comes.
Berry who got me out of San Clemente when I was lost.
And Jim Barnes a retired teacher who was cycling in aid of his foundation set up for his brother who suffered brain injury. He was stopping at every hospital on the way from Canada to San Diego to tell them about his foundation. He was great company for last few days of the trip.
All those lovely people who spoke to me and encouraged me on the way down and who thought I was awesome. There was never a begrudger. Not a single negative comment all the way.
And all those lovely people, my family and friends who didnt forget me out there.
I give a humble Thanks.
Thanks for making it memorable..... CHEERS!


suazz said...

Cant believe its over and YOU DID IT WOO HOO...well done Father dear u are indeed a legend and of course dont forget(or can we ever???) the genius that you are!!Am so proud of you life is for the livin and you certainly have done that see u tomorrow xxx

JP said...

Congratulations John, it sounds like you had an amazing trip - one day hopefully.........


John said...

Thanks Susie. Enjoyed my home coming xxx

Hey JP
dont leave it as long as me

piroska said...

Hello John,
It is Oct 22 and I am just catching up a bit with your comings and goings here in Copenhagen, of all places! (I will read ALL your postings, once back in the USA, planned for 10.23.) You made it, like I knew you would.
Now: write a book!
Please stay in touch every now and then.

John said...

hello Piroska
lovely to hear from you. did you have alovely time in copenhagen. were you camping? HaHa...
send me your email and ill keep in touch with you.

piroska said...

Hello John,
I am "slow"! Well,we've been back from the Europe trip (no camping!) for about five weeks, but I have not checked your blog. Don is on-task, however, and called my attention to your posting.
-- Piroska
P.S. Was it hard to get back to the hum-drum of life after your fantastic trip?

Colin S said...

John, Congrats!

Thanks for making notes on your trip I will give it a good read!

Take Care!

Colin Shandler
The Tipper Restaurant
Vancouver BC

Holly said...

Hi John

Congrats on an amazing ride! My boyfriend and I will be cycling from Vancouver to Tijuana in August to raise money for Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research.

Reading your blog is making me really excited! Thank you so much for sharing your experience.

Here's our blog:

Take care

Holly and Dave