Our 8th week began with a big splash… visiting with our friend Grace in Buffalo for our rest day and breakfasting on the brink of Niagara Falls. The pop-up overview summary for this week is not entirely accurate as they changed the first couple of days. So from Niagara Falls, Ontario we went to Geneseo, NY and then on to Seneca Falls, then we picked up the original itinerary into Watertown and Star Lake before arriving here in Lake Placid. The terrain has changed significantly again. Since midweek we’re no longer seeing corn and soy fields everywhere. It’s apparently too rocky to do much farming. Instead we’ve seen, Lake Ontario, Lake Erie, The Erie Canal, the Finger Lakes and hundreds of small lakes in the Adirondacks. This area is lovely, plush, and quite hilly. And thankfully the heat has given way to the sunny and comfortable high 70s to mid-80s. We did have one day of rain which is only the 3rd for the entire 8 weeks!
This week’s op-ed from Sheila
Yesterday when we arrived in Lake Placid, as Spencer’s mentioned, we were met by Daria. She’s a friend of another coast to coast rider and has been following our blog. She feels a bit like she knows us. And while we know less about her, we also feel a connection to her. We have about 60 folks who are officially subscribed to our blog and I know of many others who stop by regularly but are not subscribed. So we have many known and unknown connections due to our blogging. When we’re writing we know we’re speaking to 3 unique audiences:
- Ourselves, as a documentation/journal
- Our friends and family, to keep track of our adventures, as well as other riders’ friends and family
- And as a reference point for future travelers who may remain unknown
Stay with me here. I don’t know where I’m going but as the Cheshire Cat said to Alice in Alice in Wonderland, “if you don’t know where you’re going, it doesn’t matter how you get there”. I think I’m following a thread about interconnection and community.
Over the last 8 weeks our group has formed into a loose community. Those “going all the way” from coast to coast (30 of us) feel especially bonded, having shared such intense experiences as the hottest July on record, countless mountain passes including 3 Continental Divide crossings, 10 miles of gravel, 30 miles of chip seal, etc, etc, etc. We can recognize each other from the back by the clothes, the silhouette while riding, the riding style and pace and who they’re with. We may or may not stay in touch, we may or may not ever see each other again. But we’ll remain connected.
The “others”, who arrive each Sunday night and leaving the following Saturday or a week later, have been dubbed “week-lings” or is that “weak-lings”?! Either way, they tend to stick together as our tightness is not easy to permeate. And most of us make no effort to reach out.
Because we value and desire community in our lives we intentionally reach out to these folks. This week that paid off with a very fun ride on Monday. But by Saturday’s ride I realized there were still several new folks whose names I didn’t know, or where they were from…and now, they’re gone.
So where has this rambling taken us? I think seeing some of the dynamics of community while on tour is useful to us as we look at our latest project at home. You may already know Spencer and I have been actively participating in a forming co-housing group for the last 2 years. So I’ve been thinking about the dynamics of our traveling community and how they may apply to our intentional and soon to be residential community in Seattle. The original households involved have shared the hard work of planning and decision making. We will have to work quite intentionally if we are to embrace and enfold the new households as they arrive. This doesn’t happen on it’s own. The bottom line is that community takes intention and work to create and maintain for it to be most worthwhile.
nice to have joined the cross country ride for the last 2 weeks. I am enjoying the chance to meet the folks rob has ridden and communed with over the last 8 weeks, including Sheila & spencer. Reading through blogs and reflection is a great way to live vicariously through all i missed, being the working dog that i am. here is to the rubber side down/shiney side up!
Marina and myself were week 4 weeklings. Just wanted to say thanks for reaching out.
I just started reading your blog yesterday and wow! I have been wondering how things were going since you left the week before school was out, but been a little busy ;-). But that’s another story…
You two are amazing. I am not envious, but so excited to read your posts, in an armchair kinda way. You two are good writers, the blogs are well written with great supporting photos. Well done on that front and your experiences, the demonstrated tenacity, the kind support you’re offering others, great attitude.
Again, well done!
You are almost there!
Such insights about community, I am thinking about the communities I am in currently and how I participate and whether I reach out to newcomers or those on the margins! Even in my yoga classes…thanks for the wisdom!