Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Bike Trip Reunion-The People


Here is our crew from 25 years ago during a stop in Michigan.  When we reached Yellowstone National Park, three of us (Mr. Lime, Gus, and I) had to leave the rest of the group and take a more direct route to our destination.  Just after we left another guy (Gerry) joined the group, thus he is not in this picture.  Over the years we've had limited contact with most folks in the group.  Happily though, for the reunion all but two of us were able to attend. Missing from the reunion were Kristen, on the far left, and Gus, in the black shirt next to me.

Twenty-five years ago my job in the group, since I didn't do the pedaling, was to drive the car carrying supplies, cook the meals, do the laundry, and find a place to stay each night.  The first morning at the reunion I sort of fell into one of my old jobs again.  Back in the day I did the cooking with virtually no help.  This time around several folks worked together to get the meals on the table.  That was a nice change.  Although we were a single group in theory, there were two subgroups based on half the crew starting the trip in New Jersey and later meeting the other half in Pennsylvania.  The NJ crew was a bit more independent in some ways and relied less on the support vehicle.  All these years later several of them said they had no idea how much I had actually done at the time.  I wasn't looking for it in any way and was surprised when it came, but I got a belated thank-you for being "the mom" from the NJ group.  I appreciated it.

Back in 1986 we had lots of laughs with a measuring tape.  This time around it was a bottle of ketchup providing the chuckles.  Yes, we know how to make our own fun with some of the strangest items.

When we made our cross-country trek we had flat tires.  This time around, even during a comparatively short ride to tour the local microbreweries we had a tire with a slow leak which required several stops to pump it up.  Once we got to the first pub we were able to repair it properly.  It was really wonderful that our host was able to organize borrowing enough bicycles to give us each one to be able to have a commemorative ride together.

All those years ago we were all single and without children.  However, two marriages occurred within the group and most of us have children. What was interesting to note is the common theme of adventure and unconventional choices and deliberate lifestyles among  the group members.  I suppose that shouldn't be surprising given that a 4000-5000 mile bicycle tour of the US is what brought us all together in the first place but that it was sustained to greater or lesser degrees by all of us was kind of reaffirming to me.  There was extended wandering for some before settling down.  Others settled down early but in unusual settings (overseas, in tents, or intentionally small homes so there was money for extensive travel).  There's been a lot of heartbreak and adversity faced by the members of our group, and yet there has been perseverance and endurance as well.  I can't help but think perhaps those qualities that were necessary to carry us across a continent were what helped us each find a way to carry on through trials.

Last week in Colorado we convened from all over the US and UK.  We decided to recreate one of our old pictures that was used in a newspaper article (the first one in this post is almost the same as the newspaper shot, I just don't have a scanner to be able to reproduce that).  Gerry replaces Gus.  Gerry's and Trish's daughter replaces Kristen. We relived memories, shared perspectives, and caught up with so much that has gone on with each other over the years.  We laughed and cried together, we got on each others nerves and we worked together for the well-being of the group.  Folks drifted in and out of the gathering at different times and in different ways, much like we did 25 years ago but the 10 out of 12 of us who showed up all recognized that over the decades and over the the great distances we are all grateful to be a part of this group.

 



11 comments:

Stephen Hayes said...

I think it's great that you folks have remained in touch after all this time.

haphazardlife said...

I can't help but notice you weren't wearing tie dye the first time around...

Craig said...

Aww, man, that just looks like a great time! I can imagine that, having shared a couple months on the road together, it was a blast of a reunion. . .

Tape measures and ketchup bottles. . . I won't ask. . .

;)

Suldog said...

Purely wonderful stuff. Isn't it such a kick to get together with old friends, especially when they were comrades in some group undertaking? I know the feelings, from my reunion with old bandmates. Sweet, and bittersweet, but entirely noble and invigorating. God bless the lot of you!

coopernicus said...

What a kewl reunion....

Daryl said...

fantastic ... and has another reunion been scheduled?

G-Man said...

I LOVE reunions!!!
Loved your story Trini...:-)

Kat said...

Wow. What a fantastic group to be a part of and what a fabulous reunion. :)

Hilary said...

What an amazing experience. So wonderful that you and your group still opted to connect after all these years. What a great story.

~Tim said...

I remember those posts about your trip. How great that most of you could get together again.

So, who had the biggest... ketchup bottle? ;-)

Jocelyn said...

I'm really moved at the way the effects of this amazing journey are still playing out; it's like you couldn't know the half of it until you got together again.