Saturday, January 19, 2008

In the Beginning

Willie started bicycle touring long before email and the internet, before lycra shorts and coolmax t-shirts, before mountain bikes, and long before Kat came into his life. Kat started cycle-touring after meeting Willie when an email in the early days of the world-wide web popped into her mailbox with an old-fashioned phone number for a hostel in Slovenia where he was spending the night. A phone call that night led to an invitation to join his cycling trip through the Balkans. The rest is history.

That first trip together, we spent many nights snuggled in our little yellow tent. It was a small, no frills; basic starter model tent from REI, but it was home. It was our hamster’s nest chuck full of 10 bicycle bags, 2 thermarests and lust for adventure. That tent and all it symbolized grew into the lyrics for our wedding song composed by Willie’s brother, Jeff.

Our little yellow tent in Hungary, 1996

The four-month Balkans trip from Budapest to Athens in 1996 led to Cuba in 1998. After Bush took office in 2001, we decided it was time to learn more about the Deep South of the US and pedaled three months through the region. A three-month trip to Turkey in 2003 coincided with the US troops entering Baghdad, and in 2005/6 we toured Thailand and Laos for nearly four months. All told, together we’ve pedaled lots of miles, and still love to snuggle. Our tent is now gray, and come to think of it, so are we.

Our little gray tent at a fruitstall "campsite" in Laos, 2006

This blog won’t be much about the miles on the bicycle, but about the people and experience along the way. It’s about life on the road, and maybe it won’t be so different than an ordinary life taking place in an extraordinary experience.

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