In the Time of Stories

OMG. Ian just took Owen’s shoes and put them directly under the campsite water faucet at full blast. Then Owen took Ian’s shoes and scooped mud into them. Then they took turns attacking each other.

What set them off was the news this morning that we cannot cross into Canada at Port Huron. We have been riding for about three days to line up with a Port Huron crossing into Canada. We called the Port Authority and they said they do not permit cyclists over the bridge. It’s an interstate highway, and we aren’t permitted to use the pedestrian bridge either. Instead we have to ride 30 miles south to cross on the Blue Water Ferry.

The kids started a rant storm because they are pushing hard to get home. In a turn of events, now the kids are asking to do 100 mile days. A few weeks ago they wanted to start late and quit early. Now suddenly, the pull homeward is strong and the kids want to crank out the miles. They don’t even get tired. I mean, they do get tired of biking, bored with it, but they don’t seem fatigued by it. Punks.

“Illio tempore fabularum” (thank you Racquel, Latin guru and pirate) in Latin means “in the time of stories.” It’s the time of the beginning, the time that defines an experience. This summer will likely be one of the most memorable of their childhood. Yes, without question.

Each day is new. Each day is uncertain. The only certainty is that we will wake, pack, and begin again. Who we meet, the weather we encounter, the people we interact with, will all be new. There is no familiarity, except the deepening relationships with each other. Our group is tight, thick as thieves, but everything else we encounter each and every day, is nothing but new.

It’s the same reason we describe previous days as seeming so far away. We can recollect Gillette, WY, but when we do, it feels like a distant memory. So much happens in each day. Every day is so rich.

So if we tell you that nothing happened today (or yesterday), it doesn’t mean that nothing happened today, it means that we’ve normalized our daily rhythm, in the same way that we might think of our morning coffee, commute to work, and evening dinner if we weren’t cycling 80-90 miles every single day, which we do now.

Not every day is a seismic, rapturous experience. Earlier today I mentioned to Annie (after only 50 miles) that I was done, tired, and ready to finish for the day. We still had 40 miles to go. Annie said, “Today I was ready to be done after breakfast.”

Last August our family went up to Katahdin Mountain in Maine to hike to the summit. At the parking lot at the end of the day we encountered two women and a man who had just completed the entirety of the Appalachian Trial – six months of hiking from Springer Mountain, Georgia to Maine. Sure, of course they were polite and willing to talk about the trip, to describe the various places and terrain they had encountered, but once we started talking about a completely different topic they became animated and interested.

We don’t mean to say what we are doing is mundane, but it has become routine. Today we turned on to a road to take us six miles to our final campground destination. The road was closed. Signage and construction equipment everywhere. We surveyed the scene and found a small, rickety wooden bridge we could use to walk our bikes around the bridge construction. This was an interesting, unusual break in our day. It’s not worth telling, except that it represents one of the more interesting parts of the day.

Honestly the most interesting parts of the day are often the small moments – Hobbit strapping salad tongs on his handlebars, trying out the massage chair at the mall, juggling a soccer ball by the side of the road, or just watching Ian and Owen do battle at the campground.

2 thoughts on “In the Time of Stories”

  1. Shawn, Thanks for keeping the story going. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve thought of all of you and your travels. I suppose some jealousy is involved. I’m really happy to have meet all of you and able to aid in the adventure in a small way. Seems your in the HOME STRECH! Enjoy it! Larry


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