On Sunday, together with my mother and two sisters we opened my fathers ashes. His remains were not pulverized meaning so there were many bones inside, and the ashes needed to be scooped up from the bottom of the bag. I was very surprised at the amount of emotion that I still carried and I now understand why it is so common to grind the remains after cremation. It was fascinating to see so many of his bones and joints were still intact. Here was his hip joint and there was his shoulder which was part of him for the 27 years that I knew him. I put much of the ash together in a plastic bag, and put it in a pearl powder box. He loved the stuff, and would often times go as far as trying to bath himself in it. Actually, now that I think of it one of my earliest memories is opening up countless containers of the powder and putting in a large bowl which could be used for bulk. I hope that the dainty container coupled with the lack of bones will deter the eyes of customs. If not… my back up plan is to tell them that its really pearl powder, he probably used enough of it.
The journey is getting much press, and it is exciting to see things unfold. About ten days ago Brooks England, the legendary leather saddle maker, featured my blog on their website. I purchased their B17 model three years ago and have used it on every tour. To date the saddle has provided solid bum support for over 7,000 miles, and seems to show no sign of fatigue.
The local news paper, the Murrieta Patch also was interested in writing a story. What are you to say when asked if you are scared? If you ever get lonely on the road? Do these questions even need to be asked? Well I guess the thought of being alone on a bike in a foreign country that does not speak your language isn’t enough. She came to the house took a few photos, interviewed my two sisters and wished me luck with the journey.
I got a bit obsessed with publicizing the story, but I figured that any coverage is good coverage. So I contacting the Union tribune in San Diego. The receptionist was not in that day and instead one of the producers picked up the phone and loved my story. She then asked me if I would come in and do an interview on TV. I made the band on my hat a little larger and accepted, having no idea what to expect. I took gaby, and the ashes on a car field trip to San Diego and went in to the Union Tribune building. I had to wait a while so I ate a few bananas in the cafe to calm the nerves. Fifteen minutes later I am greeted in the lobby and told that I am going on live San Diego TV. Sure why not? During a 20 second commercial break I am rushed to the set where I lean Gaby against the wall and am given a chair very similar to those used at a hair dresser. In the last five seconds before commercial break ends, I notice the following; the chair squeaks and is slowly sinking, I am also told to only look in one direction and that the interview is all about me. So here goes!! Well I told my story or at least started too when she asked about “how my father died”, response “well it was congestive heart failure” followed by “what does your mom think about this” my response “well she is going to worry (of course that is what moms do) “her response “you are going to give your mom a heart attack”… Future headline “Boy leaves home with ashes of father (who died of heart failure) only to give his mother a heart attack”. Well it was my ten minutes of fame, the anchor asked me how long the journey was from Orlando to China and I told her is was a “18 hour flight”. All things considered I think it went OK the squeaking chair may have drowned out my voice at a few parts but at least gaby looked good and never showed a sign of weakness. I will keep you posted on the whereabouts of the interview.
Gaby is ridding like a champ, thanks to Paul Components who sent me new brakes, levers, hangars, clothes and more. I sent them over a request for sponsorship and was asked what I needed, I produced a rather long list with a few (hmm) extraneous items. It took them a while to respond so I figured that I went too far, at the end of the month I received two boxes from them containing everything that was on the list. Thanks Paul!! I also got a beautiful new pannier, which I gave to my sister Evan, but is nonetheless a great bag, check out the bugbite from Arkel panniers.
Locally I have received great support and would like to thank both Greg Hann and Andy Weigel for their contributions. Thanks guys!! The ashes are in my bags, my scorching southern route has been decided and everything is ready to go. I had a farewell party with my sisters and got to eat lots of Mexican food!!
Sorry for the delay but sometimes its hard to live your life. I am departing on Monday, June 17th and will be heading to Anza Borrego (day one) and on to Brawley. Temperatures in these areas are probably in the triple digits and rising, and I have been warned by several people not to attempt riding this route during the summer. But whats the other option? Remember in-climate weather when you were a kid in grade school? It was either raining or too hot so teachers wouldn’t let you go outside and play. Remember what you ended up doing, sitting around watching movies, and scratching mosquito bites. I can’t think of anything that I want to watch and I haven’t even been bitten by a mosquito yet. Here we go…..