As I have been back just a couple weeks stateside, it has been interesting for me. Has been great catching up with friends and other ADV riders who are following on my ride. But some of the time has been very difficult. Here are some thoughts that I wrote down lately.
I have a great loneliness of the heart. This is not loneliness in the physical sense, as I have traveled a great deal and enjoyed the company of many others. It is about losing my wife Chris and missing the relationship, love, intimacy and life we shared. I have grieved the losses but still have a void that will never go away. For me it is how to handle the pain and loss that is the issue. Wish I could say that I have always handled it by the words that have kept me focused, Faith, hope and courage, but this is not always the case. By nature I am not a “solo” traveler, being marriage to Chris was certainly the best part of my life. But for this chapterI know that I need to carry on, meeting and sharing this chapter with others, even as my life is now widowed and on my own. But down really deep inside I hope to share a great relationship and love again during my life.
As I talk with others around my age about dating and finding a good connection. This seems daunting at the very best, with all the online dating and friends “matchmaking”. Have heard too many “horror” stories of meeting people these days. Of course I am on the road, so that is the current adventure that fills my life. Being home for this short time has just made this more clear to me.
Guess I am writing this here in the ride report because I think it is really relevant to the Journey of Life. We all have “stuff” to deal with and this is just some of mine. It is not always easy to share deep emotions especially for a “tough” guy (yah, tough biker guy at that ☺).
Anyway back to the projects at hand.
Thursday I got on a direct flight to DC to attend an Alzheimer’s Advocacy event on Capital Hill. Bringing my voice to a disease with no real treatment, cure or hope. It is easy to speak from the heart for me, having lost Chris to this terrible disease, watch her sister also die from it, But more importantly now knowing the offspring in her family will be faced with this disease personally in the next 10-15 years. For each of them it is a 50% chance to develop the disease starting late 30’s and early 40’s. I have a sense of Urgency about changing governmental focus, financing and awareness of this disease for the millions now suffering and their families but also our entire healthcare system, Medicare and medicaid that will soon be overwhelmed buy the costs associated with long term illness like Alzheimers.
I came out early to see my Nephew Josh and his wife Susan and the “new” baby that has been born since I left for my ride. Josh called me two weeks ago and said…. No problem to stay but I will be out hiking the Appalachian Trail with my buddies, but you are welcome to hike with us. My even had switched from starting Sunday to Starting Monday so I was free on the weekend. Add Hiking to my list of ways to explore this wonderful world. With mostly borrowed gear, I set off with 7 other guys Josh had assembled for the 3 day hike.
Gear packed into the Car as we drove up to Pennsylvania to start the hike.
We headed off with great weather…. Hiking north first night we camped 9 miles up the trail near a small creek!
The Appalachian trail goes from Georgia to Maine over 2,000 miles for through hikers. We were just doing a 20 mile stretch!
The trail is great and marked with these white marks on the trees.
Enjoying the view at Chimney Rocks
Dave took this great shot that Silhouetted us on the rocks.
On the trail, I almost stepped on this Big Black Snake…. but he just slithered off the trail.
Beautiful scenery the whole way!
Dave capturing some close ups.
With my Nephew Josh!!
Josh trying to set up a “Radioman” shot.
We hiked 20 miles in two days. Benji was checking his blisters…. We all had a few!
My nephew bruised his foot in the creek. Ouch.
All in All a great hike on the Appalachian trail
It’s Sunday so I can rest up before a very busy 3 days in DC. Trading in my riding gear for a suit and a political voice for Alzheimer’s Disease.