What's your favorite invention?
This is a question I have often asked over the past decade while facilitating workshops or gatherings for human rights activists. My answer always varied based upon my mood, but ultimately steered towards coffee production as an homage to my elixir of choice. But after yesterday, I think I will always choose duct tape.
During my last 300 miles, my burgeoning MacGyver skills, a few tiny wires and shreds of duct tape were holding my clutch cable together. Not a good scenario, and admittingly, not the wisest of moves. Before I set out, I debated between being land-locked in rural California waiting for a part to ship, or pushing forward for the last stretch and trusting in my bike, the Gods and Goddesses of the open road and all the guardians who seem to be helping me along this journey. I thought about it, and I decided to go for it. Fortunately, and somewhat miraculously, I'm happy to report that it worked out. Yesterday, as light rain helped coat this drought-ridden Californian soil, I pulled safely into the Bay Area and into the arms of a few of my dearest friends.
These past few weeks have been incredibly rewarding, trying and inspiring. This short update is to let you know that we've crossed a significant milestone: My bike and I made it across the United States! I feel a bit like this:
As I type, I'm writing-out the long list-out of 'to-do's' and starting the logistic dance that will be my next few weeks and months. (Good news for everyone nearby, I'm starting with laundry.)
However, for now, I'm feeling fantastic and full of gratitude for everyone that has helped ensure this project could get off the ground and my bike and I moved safely across the winding black slab of concrete that webs its way through our exceptional country.
I wish I could contact each of you directly, but please accept this brief update and gratitude note as a consolation for now. Specifically, a huge thanks to all of the donors who've invested generously in this project, those who've spread the word and all of your thoughtful emails and notes of support. A massive appreciation for all of the exceptionally thoughtful friends who've hosted me over the past three months. Without you, this period would of been much more trying and exhausting and a whole lot more boring - and much more expensive (over the past three months, I've only paid for two nights in a motel and one depressing night in an RV Park).
Most importantly, a huge thanks to the men I've had the pleasure to speak with and learn from. I'm looking forward to sharing their stories, insights and perspectives with you. I've learned so much from them and continue to grow in ways I wasn't able to foresee, and I believe once you hear them, you will as well.
To be clear, the project is far from complete - I am looking forward to doing two more interviews while I'm here in the Bay Area, and I will be heading back East to do some work and conduct a few more interviews there as well. Currently, I'm planning on doing more outreach over the Fall and working my way through the South in the Winter to meet with more men and further expand the project's diversity of voices and insights.
Though, today - right now - this is a noteworthy moment!
This is a great milestone and one that inspires pause and reflection...and celebration. Please take a moment to mark this great start to this project and a safe, adventure-rich and inspiring journey from the Atlantic to the Pacific and over the 12,000-foot Independence Pass in Colorado, down below sea level into Death Valley and then rising-up through it to the trunks of the largest trees in the world. My emotions and mind have had an equally rich series of twists, turns and ups and downs.
I look forward to sharing more details on what's happened and what my plans are for the project, but for now: A big thanks, a hug and a high five.
Oh, and though I'm in the Bay amongst the sea of orange and black, Go Royals! If you're here as well, come on by Amnesia on Valencia at 19th street tonight after the game to hear my favorite Bay Area band, Gaucho, and find me for a hug and a dance.