Part 9: Bicycling the Continental Divide—Mexico to Canada—old friends and friendship
By Frosty Wooldridge
“I sense the world might be more
dreamlike, metaphorical, and poetic than we currently believe—but
just as irrational as sympathetic magic when looked at in a typically
scientific way. I wouldn't be surprised if poetry—poetry in the
broadest sense, in the sense of a world filled with metaphor, rhyme,
and recurring patterns, shapes, and designs—is how the world works.
The world isn't logical, it's a song.”
― David Byrne, Bicycle Diaries
If I may, waking up to a babbling brook near my tent creates a song on my lips, a song in my whole body. Often times, I find myself singing as I pedal down the road—songs such as “Zipity do da, zipity ay, my oh my what a wonderful day, plenty of sunshine coming my way, zipity do da, zipity ay, oh Mr. Blue Bird’s on my shoulder, it’s a snap, it’s actual, everything is satisfactual, zipity do da, zipity ay, my oh my what a wonderful day….”
You get the picture. Bicycling involves rotating wheels that fly across the good Earth. It involves constant motion of my feet pressing on the pedals that transfer energy to the chain that turns the freewheel, that moves the bike and me toward unknown destinations and moments. Lots of times, I break out in a smile or another song that crosses my mind. I enjoy being a kid with limitless possibilities, no problems and I am conscious of the fun I am enjoying.
Have you ever awoken wondering, “What kind of amazing things will happen to me today?”
Most people don’t, however, on a bicycle, I don’t have to ask because invariably, something happens on a bicycle tour at any moment that can “make my day.”
After breakfast, I pulled out of Winter Park, Colorado on my way to Granby on Route 40. I stopped at an old buddy’s rental business along the rolling route through a wide valley. Mike and I worked together three decades ago. We skied together at Winter Park. I used to think of him as a dear friend. However, over the years, I discovered he only liked my friendship when I made all the effort. He made no effort and only if I hung around— would he be friends with me.
(My old friend VJ helping me to learn how to ride a tricycle.)
Friendship can be very disappointing when one person likes another, but the other makes no effort to reciprocate. That happened to me more times than I can remember. Many times, I burned myself out trying to be best friends with some dude. I once spent 18 years being friends with a guy from Detroit whom I worked with in the summer. I sent him presents, visited him, called him and sent him birthday and Christmas cards. In all those 18 years, I never received a return phone call or card or visit or any message or even an email. When my first book published, I sent him a copy. He knew a published book constituted my highest goal in life. His response: nothing.
His lack of reciprocation taught me one thing: if someone doesn’t show interest or doesn’t respond to your friendship overtures—get out, get gone and leave that person in your rear view mirrors. After his non-response, I never sent another message again. I never heard from him. He never cared. I wrote about friendships and how to protect yourself from detrimental ones as my message to others in a book: Losing Your Best Friend: Vacancies of the Heart. www.Amazon.com
I stopped into Mike’s place. He shook my hand as if I were a total stranger. As I suspected, he never considered me a friend. I wished him well and pedaled out of the parking lot within five minutes.
In the end, dear friends maintain your connection to life. Treasure them. Nurture them. For the ones that cannot show emotion or care for you—ditch them quickly and avoid wasting time chasing friendships.
As luck would slip into my life, a reporter in Granby for the Sky Hi News interviewed me on my journey. So much fun! Minutes later, I pedaled past the Full Circle Cyclery at www.fullcirclecyclery.com and noticed a man that looked familiar. Instantly I shouted, “VJ!”
He turned, “ Well, I’ll be danged, Frosty old buddy!”
I pedaled up to him and we embraced. He used to be the repair man at the National Sports Center for the Disabled in Winter Park for the ski program. I have been a volunteer instructor for 23 years. www.NSCD.org They restructured and VJ lost his job so he worked for Sol Vista in Granby at their ski resort. Now, he ran a bicycle shop in the summers in Granby.
We shared conversation and memories from our days together at Winter Park with the NSCD. He showed me his shop and all his activities. He even married a lovely lady. If you ever ride through Granby, Colorado, VJ and Sue will give you the best and most honest service for your bicycle repairs, rentals and other mechanical needs. VJ, I love you big guy!
(Three retired Army buddies cycling across America.)
Back on the road, I pedaled through Hot Sulphur Springs where I met three military gray-haired guys on a coast to coast ride. They stopped for the day at noon to enjoy a motel, food, showers and lazy time. That’s the cool thing about bicycle travel, you get to do whatever the heck you want with your day. We shared a few stories and I continued onward toward Kremmling.
Soon, I rolled along the headwaters of the Colorado River with fly fishermen slinging their lines out into the current. Beauty in motion! I still love Brad Pitt in Robert Redford’s “A River Runs Through It.”
Soon, I rolled into Byer’s Canyon where the road rises 300 feet above the river with steep canyon walls on both sides. I hugged the south side of the river with sheer rock cliffs hanging over my head all the way along the canyon. Later, I crossed over the river and into a wide valley.
Kremmling provided a Subway veggie sandwich late in the day. I pedaled 28 miles through stupendous scenery, river and mountains. Lots of ranches, hay fields, horses and cows. As always, hawks circled overhead on their daily dinner patrols.
Finally, I climbed hard for two miles to Muddy Pass, Continental Divide, 8,700 feet. The sun set low in the sky. I took some shots and camped out in back of the sign in a patch of golden flowers, purple mountain blue bells and trembling aspen leaves.
With a quick airing up of my mattress and fluffing up of my sleeping bag, I fell asleep after 75 miles through gorgeous mountain scenery, meeting old friends and climbing yet another pass on the Continental Divide.
(How does this tent work?)
(Finally, sleeping in a bed of flowers on Muddy Pass, Colorado.)
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, climbed 150,000 vertical feet and five states from Mexico to Canada on the Continental Divide with 19 pass crossings. 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
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