Sorry for the long delay--it's like one adventure ended and another one started right away.
The final days of our bike trip took us through Tennessee and Virginia. Virginia was more beautiful than I ever imagined and the riding was excellent, small roads and rolling hills, and would have been extraordinary except for the dogs. The dogs were truly awful. We were barked at, snarled at, chased, and snapped at continuously. It was really scary (so, so scary) at first but then I started thinking about how I was going to get through Virginia because I obviously couldn't quit and the dogs were not going to get any better. So I decided that I was going to be bigger and meaner than those dogs and put them in their place. I figured out pretty quickly that if I told them to get back and hush up in a stern tone of voice they almost always listened. I would holler at them and they would stop chasing and turn around and go away. It was a good practice in being assertive.
Our final stop was Forest, VA at Dave's aunt and uncle's house. Their house is very beautiful and we stayed with them for a few days. Willis was in Aruba when we got there but Shelia took really good care of us. We had about 12 hours of down time before our trip shifted from biking to wedding/family events. It's sort of been like the Olympics, except with no medals--just lots of events.
The first event was David Sr's surprise birthday party where I met a lot of Daltons. They're a really fun group--lots of laughing and joking--my kind of people. The second event was the car ride to Syracuse, 9 hours in the car with Dave's uncles, Willis and Mark. They're funny and Dave got picked on a lot, in a loving sort of way.
When we made it to Syracuse it was time for dinner with the bride and groom (Robert and Kellie), the best man, the Uncles, and Carmen and David Sr. Then Dave and I had a beer Robert and the best man and then I went to bed. Now there's shopping to be done, hair to be cut, a wedding to rehearse, another birthday to celebrate--madness, truly.
I do have some profound, interesting thoughts about the bike trip. There are a lot of things that I've learned about myself, about Dave, and the nature and complexities of relationships. I have a new perspective on America and the American way of life, I've thought a lot about cars, food, freeways, scenery, people, kindness, racism, politics, communications, and television. But I can't articulate my thoughts right now because I have to get my hair done and find a dress to wear to a wedding. Hopefully I'll be able to think of way to share with you (my loyal fans) my thinking around this trip but you'll have to be patient.
In the mean time, I miss Portland so much my heart hurts when I think about it. All of you who live in Portland, especially those of you who are like me and have lived there all your lives, are blessed. Portland is an oasis. Thanks Mom and Dad, for raising me in such an incredible community.