My friend Carl Cooke (I call him Cookie) has been to England three times now. He goes in the summer for about 6 weeks. He rides his bike, camps out, and generally comes and goes when he pleases. He's been trying to get me to go with him each year. There was always some reason I couldn't go: time, money, no one to take care of my dog, etc. I would always say to him, “It's not a good time.” We say that at work a lot too. There is always a project, conference, meeting, etc. I realized, there never really is a good time. So, with some assistance from Cookie, I decided to go this year, for a week.
The decision was simple, the preparation seemed daunting. Apply for (and get in time) a passport, make sure I have all the equipment I need. Get work projects in order before I leave. Ask Betty (my friend) to take care of Ginger (my dog). Stop worrying about all of the above.
The passport was easier than I thought. I paid the extra for expedition, I had it in less that two weeks! The rest of the stuff got worked out (except for the worrying) as Cookie and I talked and strategized almost every day for 4 weeks. I decided to buy or rent a bike there, shipping is far to expensive. Then there was more worrying: How much can I afford? Will I find one that fits me? What will I do with it when I go home? Lock it up as Cookie does with his? Store it somewhere? Worry, worry, worry. Hmmm... I am seeing a pattern here that I need to change.
Well, it's finally here: the day we leave for England! The duffle I bought is just a bit smaller than I thought. It is bulging, but I got everything in. Two paniers (bike bags), one small bag that sits on top of the back rack, clothes, tent, sleeping bag, cooking stuff, a small assortment of dehydrated food, and various bike attachments and 'chotchkis'. (That's a Yiddish word that translates as “little nick-nacks” and like most Yiddish words, it has about 6 different spelling variations.)
It is early, 4:30 am. Cab to the airport to find a long line at the check-in counter, but it does move quickly. Another long/quick line at security. Computer, belt, shoes, watch, through the radar, then everything back on again. Some coffee for Cookie, a danish for me. A short wait and we board the plane.
Three hours to Atlanta, a three hour layover, then 8 hours across the ocean.
The adventure is about to begin. Or has it already?