There are a lot of things that go through your mind while pedaling 550 miles from San Jose to Los Angeles. For instance, “How many more days do we have left?” and “What have I gotten myself into?” But beyond fatigue and near-exhaustion are feelings of gratitude and humility. While biking through the mountains and across countless roadways for 10 days with my son, I made a series of personal observations that provided me with a greater appreciation for life and nature.
The natural beauty of the West Coast was spectacular. Imagine yourself watching the sun burst through the top of a massive redwood early in the morning at Big Sur or watching the sun set over the mountains.
I was able to witness the beauty of nature first-hand without the interruptions or distractions that we often come across during our everyday lives. For example, there were countless fields of color as we pedaled down small country roads. Some flowers were so bright that I viewed them as works of art.
I also had the opportunity to witness breathtaking cliffs overlooking the ocean where huge waves crashed against the rocks.
They were quite a sight to see as Jeff and I barreled down a mountain at more than 40 miles an hour. On one occasion, we even saw a beach fill with elephant seals who clamored nosily as they soaked up the sun.
My journey showed me that the world is filled with wonderful, big-hearted people. The smiles we received from so many were simply inspiring. For example, while Jeff and I sat at Kristy’s, a wonderful Pizza and Wine Bar overlooking Malibu, the owners Greg and Kristy inquired about our bike jerseys and we shared our efforts to raise money and awareness. When the bill came, they said lunch was on them!
Jeff and I also came across a number of great campsites where we received help starting campfires close by our bike tents, and mapping out routes. People were quick to offer their friendship and a couple even cooked us some of their homemade chili – a nice alternate to our s’mores and beer platter!
Upon reflection, one of the best parts of my trip was the fact that everything seemed to slow down. Priorities changed quickly – from work goals to personal accomplishments. It was always great to see an encouraging email or get a nice blog post. One of the best calls I had was from my boss. He didn’t mention any of the upcoming work priorities or even the global planning session scheduled in a few days. Instead, I just received words of support and kindness, as he encouraged me to enjoy this special time with my son.