The papers have been submitted, the hats thrown, the tearful goodbyes said. After an exciting and emotional graduation weekend, my three best friends and I packed into a Prius for a celebratory cross-country road trip. The close quarters with my closest friends gave room for much-needed reflective conversation.
When we arrived at the Pacific today though, a pang of emptiness hit my chest. We skipped around the Golden Gate Bridge merrily, but the joy was hardly a blip on the radar compared to how it felt to bike here two years ago.
Driving across the country is just profoundly different than biking it. It's too fast, it's too easy. You choose out a handful of exciting places to visit and pass over all of the tiny ones that serve the best chocolate milkshakes and offer the best conversations. I've undeniably enjoyed my driving journey so far, but it feels like a bar hop rather than a good, slow dinner.
But the journey does offer some goodness in terms of PRO8000. I'm spending time tomorrow with Megan, our illustrious west-coast team member. We'll be confirming hosts (expect some emails!), securing hosts through warmshowers.org, reaching out to sponsors, and purchasing gear. One of the crazy aspects of this ride is that all four of us have never met together in person, so some face time will certainly be good before the eight-month journey. We'll be sure to skype Greg and Rachel in too, although I'm sure they'll be jealous of the California glory.
My friends and I depart the Bay area the day after tomorrow, and I won't again see it until after 3,000 miles of bicycling. But when I do encounter it again, my skipping around the Golden Gate will be all the merrier.