Monday, February 11, 2013

P4W2 Day 37 Salt Mine Wallace-Morehead City, NC 92 miles

For a period of time today, the road conditions were as I would have scripted them:  rainy and windswept but otherwise quiet.  I was able to lose myself in a series of daydreams...essential nourishment for one's soul.  I thought about the many miles behind me across this beautiful land.  Pedaling through Mojave moonscapes, the sun-soaked climb into the lovely Davis Mountains of West Texas, and the tranquility of the Natchez Trace: these memories will stay with me for a long time.

I have many people to thank for making this journey a reality.  Thanks to my parents, C.G. and M.E. Rudershausen, and my siblings, Chuck, Bonnie, and Sara, for their support and encouragement of my ride.  I want to thank the OWLS director, Trish Slape, for being game for another fundraising ride for the shelter.  My boss, Dr. Jeff Buckel, graciously gave me time off from a busy work schedule.   Chris Whitlock's many words of encouragement and hog bars were carefully planted to provide me a maximum boost of 'umph' when I needed it the most.  And thanks to my many faithful e-mailers and texters that gave me regular words of support.   They kept me going when my legs started to fail.

I would like to thank all the donors to the Outer Banks Wildlife Shelter through Pedal 4 Wildlife II.  Your generosity will be put to use to revamp the pool that houses brown pelicans that come into OWLS from all over eastern North Carolina.  You, the donors to OWLS, really gave my ride as bedrock sense of purpose and motivated me through seemingly endless miles of hills and headwinds.

I was able to bike across the continent with really sub-par bike mechanic skills.  Despite my love of biking, it's simply something I have not mastered, far from it!  So I am thankful particularly for the shop that sold me a wonderful bike and trustworthy components - Downingtown Bike Shop (Downingtown, PA).   Ken and George have always provided me wonderful service.  I committed their phone number to memory many years ago, and called them 'cold' many times during my ride this winter.   I also thank the shops I visited on the 'spur of the moment' and who unflinchingly gave me wonderful service: Hi Tec (San Diego), Gila Hike and Bike (Silver City, NM), Crazy Cat (El Paso), Arrowhead Bicycles (Kyle, TX), Trippe's Western Auto (Natchez, MS), and Cycle Therapy (Rome, GA).

In an era when bikers and bike lanes are unfortunately still way too uncommon, I am pleasantly surprised and very thankful that the vast majority of motorists gave me space on the road.  I could not have asked for, or been provided, better road etiquette by almost every one of the tens of thousands of drivers that passed me between the two oceans that bound this wonderful country of ours.

Finally, a message to those of you that have considered a big journey of your own.   A journey like this stirs rare, priceless, and powerful emotions.  Completion of a trip like this can have an everlasting benefit on one's soul.  If you've ever considered a big journey like this, whether it be carried out by the mind or the muscles, or both, have faith in your plan.  Do not let natural human trepidation derail your visions.  Dream big, believe in yourself, and go for it!

I think over again my small adventures, my fears, Those small ones that seemed so big. For all the vital things I had to get and to reach. And yet there is only one great thing, the only thing. To live to see the great day that dawns, and the light that fills the world.   -Inuit song

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