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Katy Trail 2008 Final Thoughts

Katy Trail 2008 Final Thoughts

Summing it all up…

Well it was a grand adventure we had! Despite the rough beginning, we both had a marvelous time and we are already planning for our next tour… maybe we’ll do the Katy again next year? Maybe we’ll take two weeks and go out and back? Maybe we’ll take Amtrak up to Chicago and ride the hundreds of miles of trails up there for two weeks. I wish we could take a month and do it all!

Part of this trip had been a test for us. Craig and I love bicycle touring and our plan when he retires in six years is to do extended touring (months even year long tours) across the U.S., Asia, Europe, Australia and who knows where else??? So this was our first real test of our gear, our process, our psyche and our stamina. Is this really a lifestyle that we’ll enjoy? Are we tough enough to meet the challenge?

I think we passed all the tests…. The first three days WERE hard, much harder than I had anticipated. When Craig was having the body cramps, that was scarey and traumatic. Riding 81 miles on Monday and getting lost in the dark was frustrating and very difficult. Riding through the cold rain all day on Tuesday and getting drenched at the campsite was just plain miserable. But even though we weren’t always having fun, we were still glad to be having the adventure. Neither one of us ever experienced a time when we wished we had never come on the trip.

But neither of us have any delusions about how difficult an extended bike tour will be. Maybe we didn’t have any “What the heck am I doing here; am I crazy?!” moments during our one week on the Katy Trail. But we will most surely have those moments during an extended tour. Our most formidable experiences will probably be 100 times more difficult than we can even imagine now.

There is a tiny part of both of us that would like to just stay at home sleeping in our warm dry beds and never venture on tours that will most certainly contain moments of agony. But as excruciating as the struggles might prove to be, we know that the joys will be equally as extreme. We know that if we give in to the urge to stay put, we will never forgive ourselves.

Bicycle touring is perhaps the most affordable way to see the world. It is also the most intense way to experience and learn about other places. Bicycle tourists meet the people, hear the sounds, smell the smells and participate in the culture of wherever they are much more than most travellers. Challenging ourselves in this way will teach us more about ourselves, about humanity and about God and His creation than we could ever learn in any other way. So Godwilling, we want to see the world and we want to see it on our bicycles!

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