Friday, March 21, 2008

Breakfast at Harry’s

This morning, the day before my departure, I met with good friends Geno and Dick for a last farewell breakfast at Harry’s CafĂ©, one of our favorite eateries in the downtown area of Sacramento. It is small, nicely decorated, locally owned, and serves great coffee and food in a very relaxed atmosphere. A good place to sit and talk about the events of the day during the lull of a work week morning! Unplanned, my brother Tom and his partner Bob also happened to be there this morning, so I had a great time visiting with everyone. The first picture shows Dick, Geno and I and the second is of Tom and Bob.

Locally, the warmth of spring has taken hold and the air permeates with the fragrances of many colorful blossoms that reside in this region of the valley along the Sacramento River. It’s a good time of year, my favorite, so it’s hard to think I’m leaving for two months on such a difficult journey when everything around, in nature and locally, is so inviting and joyously anew with winter’s end. But, alas, my sojourn is just ahead and I must hold steadfast to my vision. For, there is much to be discovered about myself and the world below my shores.

See you on the road, Herb

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Hawks on the Move

A side note! A few days back, I got a forwarded e-mail from Geno originally from the Borrego Valley Hawkwatch group in southern California stating that record numbers of hawks have been spotted migrating north from their wintering grounds. I’m hopeful that I’ll be able to witness parts of the mass northerly bird migration as I ride east from San Diego during the bike tour. The picture below of kettling hawks speaks for itself. Hmmm, perhaps I should bring my binos!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Packed and Ready To Go

Well, I've said my "Goodbyes" and all my family and friends are back about their lives after wishing me well. Now, I'm all packed and ready to go, but I still have a few days before leaving. It does feel good however to have everything packed. After many months, I'm one final step closer to the big trip. I can only hope the bike makes it through the flight undamaged. To help in that cause, I'm using the largest bike box available (69x40x9) in hopes that it necessitates added or special attention. The box contains primarily my bike with empty panniers attached for protection. Most of the equipment is in the duffle bag which will be checked in and the backpack contains mostly clothing.

Mentally, I'm tired of training and just want to start riding for better or worse. Physically, I don’t feel I’m in top condition since I have had to fight with some comfort issues and minor injuries during training. Either way, it’s a go. What ever happens in the future will happen. My plan is to ride easy and enjoy.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Bon Voyage

During the past weeks, I've gotten together with family and good friends whom all have cheered me onward and wished me well on my great journey. I also received e-mails of encouragement and support from friends afar.

For some time now as Kay would attest to, I had been overly intense and focused on the equipment needed for the tour as well as training, and dealing with nerves and anxiety. Seeing and hearing from family and good friends, like the Masuda’s and the Fraschetti’s, forced me out of myself and allowed me to air my feelings and concerns, and to laugh at myself. Surely, this will be long and hard, but I’ll just have to take it one day at a time. Bike touring has been an activity that I have loved doing and now I have a chance to do something that many touring bicyclist have dreamed about. The support and talks with everyone seemed to settle me and reminded me of my dream to ride across the country. As I write this, I am still nervous, but I’m also excited about the adventure ahead. Next Saturday, I will fly to San Diego to begin my journey.

Below is a picture of long time friends from the Lodi and Stockton area during a gathering to send me off. We met in the early ’90 while riding the California Tour North, a supported 5-day bike tour through Sacramento to San Francisco. We spent a leisurely day riding tandems from South Sacramento through old town and the popular midtown area followed by dinner. Their excitement for me and well wishes warmed my heart.

I am truly thankful for good friends and family. It’s time to get packing!