We interrupt this broadcast...
To let you know that exciting things are afoot in our family this Columbus Day!
The Boy has begun a journey of epic proportions. He has climbed aboard his bicycle and headed off.
His plan is to ride to California.
Go West Young Man! err... but go South first!
What? You have questions about this? How surprising.
Let's see if I can answer them for you:
You are correct. I did say bicycle. Two wheels, no motor. A Tricross Sport by Specialized.
Yes, he does know how far that it is - mapped it out and everything.
About two or three months. Give or take.
Yes, he is aware that it is getting colder. He would have left sooner, but the emergency surgery at the end of August on his hand's cut tendon slowed him down. Can't ride with a cast and all that. He would have left last week, but then I would have been unable to see him to say goodbye, so I convinced him that one more week would be alright. After all, I pointed out that today was Columbus Day and that sounded like a very auspicious day to begin a journey of such magnitude to see America. One of his last purchases - spare inner tubes for his tires - came to $14.92 yesterday - that pretty well clinched that I was correct!
Of course he's heard of the Donner Party. He's headed from Ohio toward New Orleans - then he turns right toward Texas and scootches around the Southern end of the Rockies and the other ranges so that he doesn't have to worry much about crossing the mountains.
Seriously? Them ones in the East is just big hills...
Of course I'm a just a smidge worried - I'm not completely loony!
Camping mostly, although there are hostels along the way for hikers and backpackers.
(Yes - I did see the movie Hostel and this is not Eastern Europe. Besides - hush!)
He has assured me that he has studied the Worst Case Scenarios books I gave him for High School Graduation and promises not to stake his tent next to a cliff or rastle any bears. With him almost anything else is fair game. Did I mention he tried cliff diving and parachuting on his last trip to Hawaii? Yup. That's what we're dealing with here.
He was a Boy Scout. Got lots of Merit Badges...
Nope, he can't even ride on the expressway. Mainly smaller state roads and routes mapped for bikes.
In his saddlebags and also a backpack.
He doesn't have to carry all the food at one time, there are grocery stores between here and California. At least that's what they tell me.
Silk, wool, space aged fabrics in layers....and no cotton!
Yes, people do this all the time.
He's been saving money all Summer.
Yes, he has his cell phone and he can access the Internet with his iPod Touch. And he has a Eton Solar powered radio, flashlight and USB device charger thingy (thank God for Public Radio pledge premiums!)
Don't worry. A phone card will fix the problem of lack of connectivity - there are still payphones in areas that don't have cell service. His Mommy got him one of those too.
Because he wants to see the world before he completely morphs into a grown-up. And it will be fun (theoretically)
No, telling him not to go would be silly. Once he accomplishes this he will know he can do anything he sets his mind to. (I am already aware of this - he needs a small amount of convincing.)
Yes, I am ginormously proud of him.
No, I have not stopped crying since I said goodbye yesterday, thanks for asking.
He promises Post Cards.
I'll keep you informed if you keep him in your thoughts!