Beginnings and endings. It is what life seems to be all about. Changes can be good and almost always tough to deal with. That's what this story is all about. I called it "The Race Against Death Tour" back then for a few reasons. First- we were going to make it this time- do or die. That was pretty much Troy's take on this ride. We didn't make it to Canada the year before on the "Beg, Borrow, and Bastard Tour", and Troy wasn't about to have that happen this time. I thought "Race Against Death" was good from a humorous standpoint, but in reality, I was trying to out run my own demons that were hounding me from the recent past. It was a funny name on the outside, but on the inside of me, it was a "deadly" serious moniker.
Well, Troy thought we should have a third party. I thought so too. So I kept harassing Ryan to go with us. He didn't have a touring bike, and he couldn't afford to buy one either, being a poor "just-out-of-college-student". So, I told him that if I found him a bike, would he go? He said that he had some gear, but no tent. I said that I had a six man Eureka dome tent and we all could sleep in that. Well, it went back and forth like that until I basically brow beat him into coming with us. Oh, he was wanting it too, but I was pretty insistent that he go.
So, now I had to find him a bike. Great! Well, as fortune would have it, a fellow came in that needed to get a new bike. He was interested in a Bianchi we had. After talking to him a bit, he asked about trade in policies. I asked if he had his bike with him, and he did. Well, around the corner he wheels in a Schwinn Voyager. "Perfect!", I thought to myself. I went into big time salesman mode, made the deal, and had the Schwinn squirreled away before anybody else knew it was there. It was cheap enough that by that evening, Ryan had actually bought the thing.
So, parts swaps were made on all of our rigs while in the meantime we were thinking of a specific route. Troy had in mind two things: One was getting to his folks summer residence in Colorado which was on the other side of the Rocky Mountain National Park in Winter Park. The other was to see the Black Hills. Well, that made for some interesting route finding, but I was left to that on my own.
So I bought some road maps of Iowa, Nebraska, South Dakota, Wyoming, and Colorado. I spent many nights pouring over roads, campground sites, rest areas, towns and villages, and roads of course. It was coming together. Soon we would be making some final preparations, setting a time to go, and setting off to the West.
Next Week: The possibilities were there, but not meant to be!