Thursday, August 14, 2008

Middlebury, VT

The journey takes us, not the reverse. I had hoped to pedal all 3800 miles, but I'm going to be a little bit short because of the MS. My multiple sclerosis is atypical. It's in my spinal cord, so is mainly numb legs and some lower extremity weakness. I have only had one other exacerbation in eight years. I've had my IV infusion tune-up over the past two days in Ticonderoga, NY, but it's clear that I'm still not strong enough to finish the trip on a bike. Rental pickup truck to the rescue! Gus and I are going to provide sag support, and Dan and Sonia are continuing on bikes. For the past few days, they've been spending time at the top of each hill, waiting for me to slowly climb. I have to finally just swallow my pride and perseverence and admit that I am holding us back and endangering finishing the cross-continent trip as a family.

We've altered the trip plans. 8/14: Rochester, VT. 8/15: Orford, NH. 8/16: North Woodstock, NH. 8/17 Climb Kancamagus Pass on our 23rd wedding anniversary, and end in Conway, NH. 8/18 Go off route directly to Portland, Maine and dip the tires in the Atlantic Ocean for Sonia's 12th birthday. Then we have a couple days to drive up to Acadia National Park and bike around, ship the bikes out of Bangor, and return to Portland on the 21st to fly home on 8/22.

Travel across the country is teaching me about travel through life. You encounter a lot of wonderful human beings. (Thanks, Kevin, for driving me and Gus to Ticonderoga!) You find that you truly can endure unexpected turns of events with courage and grace and humor. Speaking for myself, the one who tells people, "Life is not a float trip. Paddle.", I am learning, sometimes painfully, that it's ok to let go of control and let life unfold.

Thank you to family and friends, especially Jen Bolduc, for making this eye-opening experience possible. --Alison


Anonymous said...

Getting to and through your 23rd anniversary.....THAT's letting life unfold...:)

Terri Davis said...

I have been following your web site from the beginning. I admire you so much.

Anonymous said...

Alison....CONGRATULATIONS~ You biked 3800 miles more than most Americans! I hope you and Gus will continue to enjoy the trip via the pick-up! I bet it will be nice to just be able to hang back and chat with him while you drive. You should be very proud of what you have accomplished and what you have taught your children on this trip. You have become my hero over this summer. I am thankful that you are taking care of yourself and also that you still get to finish the trip in Bar Harbor. When it is all said and done, you have accomplished much. Happy 23rd Anniversary. You will be celebrating where Chris and I started.... 8 years ago. Enjoy the rest of the trip, enjoy New England, enjoy Sonia's birthday, but most of all, enjoy each other. With love, Chandra

Anonymous said...

PS....If you get a chance while in Conway NH check out the pub upstairs at Horsefeathers. It is on the main street. See if Dennis and Davey are playing. They are amazing and Dan will love them. Lots of cool Irish music coming from just two guys, one who plays the keyboard with his feet far better than I can play with my two hands. They are local celebrities in their own right...and a ton of fun. Tell them you know us and that we said hi. Both can share some amazing stories of Scotland and Ireland. They also played at our wedding:) Horsefeathers has a web site with the dates they are playing and Dennis and Davy have their own site as well. Love, Chandra

Anonymous said...

Oh...they play at the Shannon Door pub too on Saturday nights. Have fun. Chandra

Anonymous said...

Wow, what an achievement. Most people just dream of such an adventure. What wonderful parents to really spend time with you children, a chance of a life time. Thanks for your blog. Jeri Fulbright

wombat064 said...

Alison, please dont ever think that you gave up because you havn't. Further to my last comment to your blog, you are still going Girl by providind support for the other bike.
Heres a suggestion for you, make Dan and Sonia pedal up the hills and You and Gus coast down the other side. Other wise spend a few minutes every day on the bike , 10 min or so. It will at least help cheer you up a bit. Swap around you and Dan go in the Ute for a while and let the kids ride.
!0 min befor the finish line YOU get on the bike and cross it , you have earnt it.

Congrats on the 23rd wedding aniversary.

Our blessings, admiration, and our friendship to yo all.

Phil and Stacey

ps Hi Elaine and Jim.

Anonymous said...

Hello to all you mad people at "shut up and pedal." Alison, I know what you are going through as I have a sister with MS. She gave up and let it happen. You haven't which makes you the bravest of us all. You are an ispiration with the determination that you have shown. I am an able bod and find it difficult to do anything even close to you trip. I bet your hubby and kids really think you truly are a superwoman. I know I do. As long as you hold Dan's hand as cross over the line, all targets will have been accomplished. Keep smiling and never surrender. Stacey (the wombats better half).