Monday morning around 8:30am, I began the drive towards Squamish, British Columbia; my home and work-place for the coming summer season. The day before, I was joined by sixteen friends for a wonderful day riding in Big Bend Ranch State Park. Afterwards, we retired to Desert Sports where many more joined for an evening of food, libations and good times around the fire. While I am really looking forward to the new adventure this summer will offer, it felt like I was leaving too soon. Like I was going into the unknown completely alone.
Monday I drove to Las Vegas, New Mexico, where I knew of some road-side hot springs. Soaking that evening and again the next morning, my trip was off to a good start. Tuesday afternoon I arrived in Denver, Colorado and spent the evening with my dear friend, Reilly, his girlfriend, Krista, and their new dog, Jinx. Although we visited way back in October, I sure missed having that guy in the desert all winter.
Wednesday I drove from Denver to that iconic mountain-bike destination, Moab, Utah, arriving with enough time to get in a killer ninety minute ride over some really technical trails. Back at the Amasa Back trail-head, sitting on the grass with a beer in my hand, I watched four base-jumpers do their thing. Spectacular! Alone in the parking lot, I spent the night there and was back on the road by about 6am Thursday morning. By the end of the day, I had passed through Utah, Idaho and into Montana.
Parked at a rest-stop for the night south of Butte, Montana, I was on the road early Friday morning, heading for Spokane, Washington. Arriving late afternoon, I was reunited with my dear old friend, Dave. Joined by his girlfriend, Robin, the night was filled with Old Fashioned’s and hearty laughs. Always great to catch up with this guy.
Saturday around noon, I drove west towards Seattle, parking for the night in North Bend, Washington. Sunday morning–my 43rd birthday–I received calls from my old friend Gordon in Ontario, as well as from Sierra in Terlingua. Checking in online a little later, I’d received a hilarious video birthday greeting from my brother Ed and my three young nephews, Gavin, Oscar and Heath. Arriving in Vancouver, British Columbia after 4300kms/2700miles of driving over seven days, I was treated to home-made dinner and cake from my friend Jill and her wife, Kimberly. Online, dozens of dear friends wished me a happy birthday.
Leaving my desert paradise is tough and it only gets harder every year. I leave behind those I love; my friends, my family, my tribe. This year, I’ve left them all for a new job in a new town where I don’t know a single person. It’s making me feel a little melancholy, feeling a little alone. Then I consider the farewell party, the reunions with old friends during the drive, the calls and messages of love from friends and family today and that chocolate cake. I smile and feel warm inside, knowing that while my heart is in Big Bend, the love surrounds me where-ever I go.
Tomorrow morning I begin a new adventure. And while I may do so by myself, I am armed with the love expressed by you all. So thank you all so very much. Squamish, I’ll see you in the morning.