Well, maybe it was 26 hours, but it could have been 24 if not for the shopping. I’ll get to that later.
The bike ride was the inspired notion of Kathy (aka Easy Rider) who organized and promoted it. In the end, after some defections, we were six. Besides Kathy, there were Altan (aka K9), Tara (aka Trust Me), Aylin and Laura (no aliases), and me (aka Godfarter).
Before I give you some details of a four-day bike trip a friend and I took recently, I want to take a moment and say why I write these accounts of my traveling life. Of course, I want to stay in communication with you, my far-flung family and friends. As I’ve aged, this desire has only grown stronger, and in retirement I have more time to gratify it.
From the Turks we meet, Kay and I often get the question, “Why did you come to Turkey?” This is a simple question with a complex answer, only part of which concerns affordability. It’s still cheaper to live here than in many other places we might have settled, yet it’s not as cheap as it was only a few short months ago. Not only is the dollar worth less, but the cost of living keeps rising as well. Turkey’s inflation rate is in the high single digits. Of course, New York is no bargain either; it never was. Still, we’re amazed on our infrequent trips back to that city at how much prices have gone up. Then there is travel in Western Europe’s Euro Zone, which these days tends to make all Americans, except the exceptionally well-heeled, feel the pinch.
Adventure Cycling Bike Tour with Judy Stoner – July 21-28, 2001
Friday & Saturday, July 21 & 22, 2001
Bad start. Arrived 7 pm, grey skies, no bikes. Northwest Airlines’ employees not reassuring. All turned out well, however, Bikes were delivered the next morning at Big Sky High School. Judy and I assembled ours in the parking lot, and then rode into downtown Missoula.
Town has a special atmosphere, sense of liberal tolerance. Young people on the street dressed like hippies from the 60s.
RAGBRAI is an acronym. It stands for Register’s Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa. The Des Moines Register is a newspaper that claims to be the number one source for news and information in Des Moines and across Iowa.
The history: “In the beginning, when a few friends got together for a casual bike ride across Iowa in 1973, no one imagined that a tradition would be born, let alone that it would become the longest, largest and oldest recreational bicycle touring event in the world.”
Sometime in late 1994 or early 1995 in New York City, I bought a touring bike, a Trek 525, with the intention of touring parts of Western Ireland that I knew to be Yeat’s country. A novice at touring, I did know I would be facing wind, rain, and hills, so I began training in earnest around New York, riding mostly in the hills of Northern New Jersey. By degrees, I loaded my panniers with more and more weight, and picked rainy days and hills to accustom myself to the rigors I would encounter in Ireland. When the time came, I disassembled my bike and packed it in cardboard. Aer Lingus was good about checking my bike and gear, and the Shannon Airport authorities had no problem letting me assemble my bike in a quiet corner and even stored my packing materials until I returned. What follows are the notes I made in my travel journal of that adventure. Fortunately, I took photos with my Nikon SLR, and I’ve used some to illustrate my notes.