The End is Here/The Start is Near T-2

The End is Here/The Start is Near T-2

My friend Ariel sent me a card that reached me at the perfect time Saturday.

“Sometimes English doesn’t cut it”

The definition is uncanny to what I’ve been trying to describe the last few weeks to my friends and to you, my readers. It really helped me, as Saturday became the high point of anxiety for me in getting this trip off the ground. We’ll revisit Saturday shortly though, as we run through the preceding few days.

 

Friday was my last day at work, which was both wonderful and bittersweet. I love the people I work with, so leaving them was sad, but it also signals the true start of the adventure. However, they surprised the shit out of me at lunchtime.

I have a habit of fixing things at work, mostly because my job involves setting things up for other people to complete, so when they have questions about the system and database they come to me. So when the first person showed up at my desk asking a question, I didn’t think anything about it. When the second one showed up a few seconds later, it was still within the norm. After the 6th person came by I knew something was up. In fact, the whole department came by to see me off. And then surprised me with a cake (which was incredibly delicious) and the ratcheted the surprise up another level by giving me a bag full of very useful items for my trip! There was a whole bunch of snacks for the road – things like jerky, M&M’s protein bars as well as some very

thoughtful bicycle items. I now am the proud owner of a set of colorful lights to go on my bike tires! They all signed the bag that everything was in, so I get to carry the warm wishes from my office friends with me! The plan is stop back and see them on my return trip when I’m almost at the end, since Richmond is right on the path to Yorktown! I can’t wait to see y’all!

By the end of the day though after leaving work I wanted nothing more than to just relax and quiet my mind. My friend Jordan brought her dog over and we (My roommate Alex, Jordan and I) ate a pile of wings and had a margarita while watching a good/bad movie. I may have fallen asleep on the couch at some point, which signaled to me that it was time for bed.

Saturday meant that I had to face packing and cleaning. I’ve known this day was coming for several weeks now, but it always seemed much farther away than “now” which meant that I could always put it off a little more. “I should clean tonight and pack” always got pushed forward because of other things, like spending time with friends or playing volleyball. Well Saturday became the day where I did it all. I packed up my room, started wiping things down and did a lot of throwing things away. It still amazes me how you can accumulate so much stuff that you don’t need and never use just by living in one place for a year or two.

After a hard day of cleaning, Alex ran to the store to grab pizzas and juice for mixers, as people were going to come over for a “going away for  not-ever” party. While we were waiting for the pizza to cook, we watched “Inspired to Ride” (currently on Netflix) which is about the race on the TransAm trail route I’m taking. The winning rider finished the 4200 mile race in 18 days, a feat I am glad I’m not trying to undertake. Several people who recommended I watch this film, and while the story was amazing, the piece that stuck with me was how many people dropped out but also how some people the interviewed in the film ended up dying. They had interviewed one woman who was not in the race, but was riding the TransAm at the same time, normal lady who was doing the ride in honor of a friend of hers. She was killed 3 months after the film in a hit-and-run accident while on her bike. It’s a sobering moment – realizing that yes, despite doing everything right and being careful, you’re still mortal and at the whim of the universe sometimes.

Beardy MermaidLuckily friends showed up right after to dispel any negative feelings! And then we did something fun and amusing! A few weeks ago, one of my friends found a picture that resembled me and my beard in what can only be described as a “Beardy Mermaid Moment”. When I got my haircut, I had shown the stylist the picture and she said that we could get close to it. So on Saturday night, we filled up a bathtub, I put on a swimsuit and I got into the tub to try and recreate that picture. We did it fairly well I think.

This of course led to a discussion about whether or not I was going to be keeping my beard for the whole trip. Considering I hadn’t trimmed it or really done anything to it over the last 6 months, besides trimming the mustache (because eating your mustache is the worst) it was a little… large and out of control. We had talked about cutting funny designs and patterns into it for a few weeks, and we decided to go ahead and do it.

 

Yes. By the end of the night I had a Fu Man Chu. It was epic. Also it got into every beer I drank. Sometimes you suffer for your art.

Jordan did all the work with the clippers and I manage to only make myself bleed 3 times with the safety razor. It’s been so long since I’ve had to do a full shave that I was sorely out of practice. But it was a lot of fun, and I  definetly feel naked right now, as I shaved off the mustache entirely when I went home to see my folks.

Sunday I packed up my truck with everything I owned and left Richmond, VA for an adventure. This is the second time in the last 5 years I’ve done that. I’ve come back because I really do enjoy the place – it’s got a little bit of everything I love. The people there are amazing. And I miss them already.

My life fits in one truck load.

Now I’m in northern Virginia for a few days seeing my family before I head out on my flight Tuesday (tomorrow night). I’m very much resfeber. But that’s part of the trip.

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