Part 12: Bicycling the Continental Divide—Mexico to Canada—headwinds test our resolve
By Frosty Wooldridge
“Let us step into the night and
pursue that flighty temptress, adventure.”
― J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
Most people think of adventure with Harrison Ford as Indiana Jones and the Lost Temple of Doom. My definition reads like this: What is adventure?
Adventure offers every human being the ability to live “the” moment of his or her most passionate idea, fantasy or pursuit. It may take form in the arts, sports, acting, travel or other creative endeavors. Once engaged, a person enjoys “satori” or the “perfect moment.” That instant may last seconds or a lifetime. The key to adventure whether it is painting, dancing, sports or travel is to throw yourself into your quests with rambunctious enthusiasm and zealous energy. Your exploits will lead you toward an uncommon passion for living. By following that path, you will attract an amazing life that will imbue your spirit and fulfill your destiny as defined by you alone. Along the way, you will savor the sweet taste of life pursuing goals that make you happy, rewarded and fulfilled. As a bonus, you may share your experiences with other intrepid human beings who laugh at life, compare themselves with no one and enjoy a fabulous ride.
Pursue your adventures at your speed, your passion and your joy.
After our hilarious dinner, in the morning, Dave, Gerry and I packed up for what turned out to be a seven day riding, laughing and bicycling festival for three guys who met up on life’s highway by random chance. I admit that I have never laughed so much in my life. I woke up laughing in my sleep. Sometimes, Gerry looked at me and I broke out laughing. We became the bicycling “Three amigos of laughter, hilarity and singing.”
After 20 miles, we hit Saratoga for breakfast on the deck of Café on the River. The South Platte flowed past with ducks, geese and other wildlife entertaining us as we ate and chatted. For certain, I liked those guys and they appeared to get a kick out of me. We shared instant bonding with the vehicle of bicycle travel. When you share the strenuous “play” provided by cycling, it causes bonding emotionally, spiritually and mentally. While I make the best of traveling alone, I dearly love shared company with like-minded bicyclists.
(We reached I-80 in Wyoming where we hit headwinds that felt like riding into a wall of jelly.)
We pedaled into Wyoming with moderate side winds. But once we hit I-80 westbound for a 21 mile ride to Route 287 in Rawlins, we slammed into a headwind that felt like pedaling into a wall of jelly. We pushed against 30 to 50 mph winds. Busted us relentlessly, brutally. Several gusts blew me off the road. I had to stop to get my legs out to stay upright.
Such moments test a person’s resolve, their mettle and their inner tenacity.
My dad used to say, “Wherever you put yourself in the world, you chose it. So, decide to succeed in your situation. In the end, no one feels sorry for you or cares. It comes down to you and your choice. That choice defines you. You define your choice.”
From the pleasant and quiet journey through the mountains where the road wound up to the horizon, and I could see it snake into the future, we felt Mother Nature’s fury on I-80. Talk about true grit! We ate it in our teeth and noses for two hours.
At 5:00 p.m., we met my friend Wayne in Rawlins, Wyoming. We found a campsite on the plains five miles from the city. A glorious sunset greeted us as the wind calmed down. A gold sky ramped up with towering thunderheads along with a gold bank stretching low on the horizon. After a half hour of exquisite drama, a silvery moon popped up on the southern horizon.
“Man,” said Wayne. “It doesn’t get any better than this.”
“You got that right,” I said.
(Western sunsets take a half hour to develop and morph into stunning vistas. We sat in our seats, eating dinner while this show evolved into a stunning light show. Later, a silvery moon popped up over the southern horizon.)
Our friends stopped at a host from www.WarmShowers.org in Rawlins and would join us in the morning. You can become a bicycle host for traveling cyclists by joining the organization. You offer a warm shower, bed-floor to traveling cyclists. They call you a couple of days in advance to see if you’re home. If you host them, you are in for meeting interesting folks from around the world.
Sleep came quickly as the wind melted with the sunset. By that night, I had climbed 11 passes and climbed over 100,000 vertical feet on Condor.
(Another crossing of the Continental Divide that would eventually end up with 19 crossings. Every crossing features altitudes from 2,000 to 12,000 foot passes. As you can see, this easy 8,500 foot pass took very little to climb.)
Frosty Wooldridge has bicycled across six continents - from the Arctic to the South Pole - as well as eight times across the USA, coast to coast and border to border. In 2005, he bicycled from the Arctic Circle, Norway to Athens, Greece. In 2012, he bicycled coast to coast across America. In 2013, he bicycled 2,500 miles from Mexico to Canada on the Continental Divide, 150,000 vertical feet of climbing and 19 crossing of passes. He presents “The Coming Population Crisis facing America: what to do about it.” www.frostywooldridge.com . His latest book is: How to Live a Life of Adventure: The Art of Exploring the World by Frosty Wooldridge, copies at 1 888 280 7715/ Motivational program: How to Live a Life of Adventure: The Art of Exploring the World by Frosty Wooldridge, click: www.HowToLiveALifeOfAdventure.com
Live well, laugh often, celebrate daily and enjoy the ride,
6 Continent world bicycle traveler
Order these unique cards today: http://www.howtolivealifeofadventure.com/