Yesterday, I was having breakfast with a friend at a local restaurant with my back to the window, and my friend calmly stated and pointed behind me, "Are those your people???". I turned around and noticed two tour cyclist pulling up to the restaurant with fully loaded rigs. I turned back and noted "Yup.....they are part of the tribe".
They came into the restaurant, and long behold were seated directly next to us. I let them order before blowing them up with questions - where are they from, where are they going, what are they eating, etc, etc.
Long story short........Brian and Alex came back to my place and camped at my house. They are just embarking on a 4 month journey riding the continental divide from South to North. They left Traverse City 6 days prior, and were headed to the train station in Kalamazoo. We talked about my trip, and their trip and everything in between. I showed them my short documentary, and gave them some books that had touched my heart in what seemed like a previous distant life......
The following day after resting, I drove them to the local bike shop to get a couple things, and then headed south of Grand Rapids to get them to a safe start point, and then sent them on their way, as they were hitching a Train to New Mexico and riding the continental divide over the next 4 months.
What's interesting and something they probably didn't understand (yet), is that what they provided me was way more than what I provided them. Sure, they had a warm shower, a couple of books, and gained some knowledge of what I had done on my ride the previous summer, but I had a chance to live vicariously through them and give back for all the gratitude I had received last summer on my ride across the USA. In a weird way, it was the same feeling I had on the road every time something cool would happen.
The truth is - without turning this post into a 1000 word marathon monologue - that transitioning back to normal life hasn't been the buttery-smooth landing I had hoped. It's tough going from being on the road, to coming back to everything that is comfortable and sane. And meeting people like Alex & Brian, and taking a moment to realize that there is 'adventure' all around you, is something I need to embrace and incorporate into my life on a daily basis.
Thanks Guys - and enjoy the ride of your life. You're badasses!!!!!