When, in a few days, we return to the UK there will be ‘ artists ‘ in the pop chart that we have never heard of, and may only have been at infant school when we left. There will be celebrities of the chef variety and otherwise that we have no idea of the names of or care much about. New cars will have unfamiliar shapes and the bank notes of Scotland will be as baffling to us as any tourist.
Things will have changed in 3 and a half years and I can only hope that someone has cut the grass. We are older that is just simple mathematics, and there are times when the wrong light makes us look as if the journey has aged us. There are other moments when I can be convinced it has kept us young.
You left us just after we had got to Seattle and were full to the brim with emotions of a project completed. We have now crossed the USA from coast to coast twice, which makes us part of a special club of sorts. If we had to pick, and of course it would be as hard as choosing which one of the twins you would save in a house fire, it would have to be The Northern Tier. The next person you ask on this subject will probably put these the other way around just to confuse you.
We have met wonderful people, crazy people, slightly confused people and people who have just the very vaguest grasp of reality. People who just a moment before have been total strangers have stepped forward to offer us help. We could have made it without them, but my goodness it would have been far, far harder.
If you set out on a bicycle to travel the world you will make the sort of friends that you can count on. The sort of people you want by your side at a lion hunt. You will be invited into people’s homes without a moment’s hesitation. We are lucky enough to have a whole legion of theses ‘ trail angels ‘. In Seattle we had hospitality beyond our wildest dreams. If you are reading this because you met us on the road somewhere on the journey, we thank you.
Chris Cameron of Rosebud Bicycle Builds came around to give our bikes the bicycle equivalent of a Rock Star Spa weekend. He did the same sort of thing in year one, which is why we look so good after all these miles. We have tried to look good, smell fragrant and smile throughout the more than 31,000 miles and it is thanks to a few good mechanics and the best equipment on planet Earth that we have managed this most of the time. Most of the stuff we use we hand over hard cash for. A few things we get a deal on – Thank you Big Agnes Tents of Colorado USA and Showers Pass Waterproofs of USA. These are the best in the business.
If you have stumbled upon the blog while searching for some sportswool socks – welcome. If you are here for a bit of inspiration, or to find a route, get out there and tell them we sent you. There are lots of you reading this who should be working – you need a rest anyway, and will be far more productive in 20 minutes time after a bit of a distraction. If you just can’t sleep, pull up a chair and grab a Scotch. It is good to have you all.
We are now in Baltimore guests of the wonderful Tom and Kathryn, with our flight back to the UK just 2 days away. Thanks to South West Airlines everything got here and for no extra charge for oversized – a bit of charm helped, and a €150 fee got waved. If Sir Richard’s people do a good job and the bikes come off the other end with everything there and unmolested Virgin Atlantic will remain our favourite way to get across the pond.
If we can meet any of you on our way from the North of the English Midlands as we ride up to Scotland, make yourselves known. If you are in Scotland, on the West coast or on many of the islands then we will be passing by your door. We will be trying to show you our home country through this blog. I hope it all works out and the sun shines and the wind drops to a breeze that keeps away the midges. This last kick of the ball should be fun. Let’s see what happens and as usual we have almost no plan.