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