It is Monday morning June 3, 2013 and we are really home now. Yes it feels strange and yes it is wonderful too. Strange because these things are so foreign to us here at the house, wonderful because we made it! 40,368 miles safely and soundly. 13 ½ months on the road starting in Seattle doing 33 US States, 6 Canadian Provinces as far North as Labrador, much of Mexico and all 7 of the Central American countries as far South as the roads will take you in Panama. We could have traveled around the world one and half times. Maybe next time that is just what we will do. For this first journey, getting to know ourselves, our nearest neighbors and the whole motorcycle travel thing was most important.
Gaila and I are so grateful for our friends it is very hard to put in words. They came from far and wide to welcome us home. Michele gets a big shout out as her solo ride down to AZ where she met us for the www.overlandexpo.com was adventurous for her and very much appreciated by us. Her blog at www.roadworthy.com tells of her tails. Our Kamper Kids (you know who you are) made it through the traditional PNW rain to meet us on the OR border for a day and night of reunions and old time mischief. Their arrival was perfect as it kept me from thinking too much about the return. In quiet moments I have been getting depressed and sad it is over.
Thanks to Deb’s organizational skills and giving heart we had a brilliant cadre of riders greet us at the Cedar Creek Grist Mill in Southern WA on Saturday morning. Thanks to my adventurous route planning and their willingness to follow we were able to give everyone a small taste of our travels. I think the Harley’s especially liked the snow. Greg, James & especially Deanna – you guys rocked your HOG status J. Well done. Road blocks and closures of snow where not part of my original plan, but Mt. St. Helen’s and Mother Nature had different ideas. 330 miles later they all safely delivered us home. Thank you all so very much.
What a wonderful thing to see, the big hugs and kisses of Gaila’s Mom greeting her home. You could see the relief on her face. I think the most fun was watching here little nieces tackle and squeeze Auntie “Gee Gee” for hours. The late night phone call to my Mom in Florida felt warm and reassuring. I can’t wait to see her and all of my family again soon – thank you each for sharing your time and space with us along the road.
We spent a leisurely Sunday morning looking up at Mount Si and the beautiful acreage that is Judy’s home and Gaila’s childhood. What a wonderful and quiet place. Then, we packed up just one more time for the last 15 miles or so back out our casa. The ranch we call home again. It too is a wonderful quiet place. We were greeted by the emptiness left by renters now gone and a storage garage and shed full of our “things.” While this was a bit overwhelming, the graciousness of our friends Pat, Missy, Pam, Michele and Anita made the move-in process bearable. In fact, throw in some sunshine and a bottle of wine or two and it turned into downright fun. Thank you all!
It feels very strange now. I wanted some food this morning so what did I do? Open up our travel kitchen and got out my coffee kit and fired up some oatmeal too. It just feels right, like normal. Being at home opening up all of these boxes with clothes that haven’t been seen or worn for a year and things we haven’t needed or barely wanted are all staring blankly back at me. Why did we need or want all of these things before? I know there was once a good reason, but it seems very strange to have more than a bikes worth of possessions now. I for one plan on continuing the purge this event has fostered. Living simply is better – IMHO. I can’t help but be reminded of the smiles and looks of contentment we saw on the road from families and individuals alike that had so much less than us.
This is going to be a big transition. Will we go back and do as we have done before or will this life changing experience create different working priorities and opportunities for us? Too soon to tell for sure, but I suspect it might. For the next few days things are going to be very domestic as we restock the yearlong rented house and reacquaint ourselves with things long forgotten. Pillows here, dishes there, glasses up in that cupboard you know. Ah, but at least we can do laundry when and as we like and we don’t have to make the toilet paper decision. You know, that one about whether the TP should go down the toilet as we do here or into the trash bin as is the custom South of the Border.
We have been tearing up these last few days quite a bit as we are so grateful for this trip of a lifetime. We have so many stories yet to share and many memories keep flooding their way back into our consciousness. We will tell these tales here and share the things we have learned on the road. Now that we aren’t on the move it will be much easier to provide updates on gear, maps of the actual route and pictures galore. Oh my do we have pictures – almost a terabyte by one quick estimate.
P.S. It is really cute watching Gaila’s brain work as she thinks creatively about reorganizing and decorating the house. Now, off to pick up this thing called a “car.”