Note: The thoughts and activities discussed in this post occurred in mid February, 2011.
The weather today was gorgeous for this time of Winter. It was fairly warm with bright sunshine and only a few fluffy white clouds floating around a deep blue sky. Today was a shuttle day. A couple of hope-to-be thru hikers on the Appalachian Trail needed a shuttle from the Atlanta airport to Springer Mountain, the Southern terminus of “The” trail a few miles outside of Dahlonega, GA. The ride typically takes about 3 hours so we had plenty of time to talk and discuss a variety of subjects. When we finally got out of the heavy Atlanta metro traffic, and onto the half-way deserted two-lane roads, our talk turned to the weather and the natural beauty which surrounded us. We were in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains now. The winding road rose and fell as the miles clicked on with each curve unfolding a vibrant new scene before us.
A few miles from our destination we came upon a group of cyclists peddling hard up the mountain road. As I cautiously passed the cyclists, my hikers began discussing biking trips they had taken in preceeding years. I listened as they described the grandeur of places they visited, the friendliness of people encountered, and the thrill of completing different types of road courses. My mind flashed back to the days I rode my bike often, days I took the time to enjoy some of the simpler things, days I not only biked through small towns and observed the old historic buildings, but stopped at a small family owned cafe or diner for a snack and to talk with people gathered there. Whatever happened to those days? I have always thought of myself as being basically the same now as I was last year, 5 years ago, even 15 years ago. Something was different now. Somehow I had changed without realizing it, becoming much like the person I told myself back then I would never become, rushed and too busy for the things that matter most. I missed those old times. Is it true you can never go back? Possibly, but you can always try to recreate them again if you have the gumption.
After I dropped the hikers off for the start of their 2,100 plus miles of adventure and discovery I headed home, my mind filled with memories of past excursions on my bike, some of them long, others short, but all were fun and exciting in their own unique way. My hikers may be on a path of discovery but I had discovered something also. Feelings were surfacing I hadn’t experienced in years, and it felt good, really good. I wanted those experiences back. I had to have those experiences back. I would get those experiences back, along with the excitement, exploration, and adventure that had been put on the back burner oh so long ago. My mind’s made up. I’m going to pursue this thing everyone now calls cycling. I have a bike somewhere in my mini-warehouse that needs to be dug out of all the mess, cleaned up, then ridden. There are websites to visit, stores to browse, and miles of roads just waiting to be explored. Yep, a good dose of rediscovery is just what I need. 😀