Pedaling

In nineteen-ninety-three, while bicycling from Seattle to Milwaukee, I rediscovered my natural sense of wonder.

My friend Bob Hurly Bob joined this adventure. We knew we missed our chance to explore with Lewis & Clarke.

After a few days on the road, hours ceased to exist. There were three distinct times of day: dawn, hungry, and dusk.

A National Forest ranger dispelled the notion we watched our national symbol, a bald eagle, glide over and fish the McKenzie River. Ospreys are pretty damn wondrous, too.

One day we passed Oregon Trail re-enactors in a covered wagon drawn by draft horses. It reminded me my father served in the U.S. Army’s last horse drawn artillery unit.

Another day, in eastern Oregon we discovered we could attain thirty miles per hour on a slight incline. A rancher and his sons ripped apart red and white bullseye targets with submachine gun fire.

At the west entrance to Yellowstone an ambulance flew by on the narrow road. We arrived to hear a woman explain to the EMTs that her crushed husband petted a wild buffalo on the nose.

We purchased a case of beer at the end of each day near the hiker-biker campgrounds. We traded beer for travel stories.

A rodeo cowboy told us that anyone who bicycles up thirty-one hundred foot White Bird Pass is tougher than a bull rider.

The manliest man we met was a woman. She did double-shift nursing all winter along the US-Mexico border, then bicycled to Lake Louise, Alberta, Canada and back the rest of the year.

I do not remember how Bob got the second Bob in his name, but it’s sounded right every day since.

After nineteen hundred miles, I broke down outside of Caspar, Wyoming. Understand, Bob Hurly Bob ran marathons for fun.


copyright © 2019 Kenneth P. Gurney

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