"When are we gonna get there?"

Trip Start Jul 05, 2011
Trip End Jul 17, 2011

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Flag of United States  , Illinois
Thursday, July 28, 2011

Sam writes:
That was the proverbial question during the first few days of riding. Each day, no matter the distance, we seemed to arrive around dusk or after the sun set, just in time to take a quick shower and meet for dinner. By the fourth day, when someone asked this question, Alex answered, “It’s going to take all day.” The humor of this reply was its truth – it did take us all day long, no matter the day or distance and that’s because we stopped just about every hour to quench our thirst, cool down, get some food and refuel. But looking back on the trip, when people ask how the riding was, I tend to think about our stops more than the ride itself. When riding, while we were together, we were alone. Alone to think about the road, friends, family, what we forgot to do before the trip or what was ahead of us when we returned but mostly, we were alone (except for when Jayne figured out she could call me on my Bluetooth hook-up!). At our stops however, we were able to share time together, recall memories and make new ones. And, that was to me, the most memorable part of this trip.

Stories about crossing the Khyber Pass, going to the outdoor meat markets in Lahore, field trips to the Swat Valley, vacations in Tehran, parents working for the CIA, assassinations of people we knew, teachers taking us to go buy donkeys and camels, all seemed like normal conversation in this group. While most of us have settled well to the "normalcy" of living in the US, this group quickly reminded me how relative all this is. It was amazing to me that Jayne drove the entire length of this country and back in her very cool (and new) white Mustang convertible, when in fact, she was not able to drive in Saudi Arabia for the last 20 years. And in a more funny moment, when Jeff and I took Karen’s rented van to get some wine, he automatically went to the passenger side with the car keys, until he realized the driver's seat was on the other side. Eighteen years driving in Singapore can do that, I suppose. But above all, our conversations weren’t just about the past. We celebrated a very remarkable reunion and the very act of living out a dream a bunch of high school kids had over 35 years ago in a place far away.  And on each stop, I believe every one of us deep inside knew that and tried to appreciate every minute (or hour as was the case on occasion to Dan's chagrin) as we made our way to Santa Monica.
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