Currently, I'm vacillating between nausea combined with sheer terror, and an intense desire to have nothing but the open road and a vast amount of possibilities before me.
Four months to plan something like this is beginning to seem more and more insane by the moment (to be fair, I had been pondering the idea for some time, but the decision to act took me until January).
I'm exhausted from moving out of my apartment, trying to wrap up loose ends, and working on the 1,000,000 tasks I create for myself on a daily basis. I haven't gotten enough sleep at night for weeks for I've been too busy staying up until 3am every night researching, formatting maps, having last minute melt downs. I am looking forward to physically exhausting myself on a daily basis, just so I can crumple into a heap of sore flesh and bones right at dusk, forcing myself into a regimen of little to no internet and going to sleep earlier than most of society. I am looking forward to having a certain amount of control taken from my hands, to quite the type A part of my personality for a few brief minutes at a time as I swim over oceans of road.
Almost everything is packed on my bike I just need to cinch a few straps and pray that it all stays on the bike. I'm currently envisioning it all slipping as I bounce through the first pothole along the streets of LA. I never had time for a dry run. (Which happened when I started on the PCT...and I was miserable for the first 500 miles. At least this time I'm prepared to suffer?!?!)
I'm nervous about where I'm going to find a place to poop, should the scenario arise, as I ride along desolate stretches of I-40 in a few days. I'm worried about drivers who like to text and drive and swerve onto shoulders. I'm uncertain of wether I'll be able to manage major climbing on long days with a loaded bike. But one thing I do know is just to push one pedal at a time. One. Two. One. Two. One. Two...
I keep thinking of what one of my hiking idols, Kristin Gates, said a couple summers ago right before she embarked on a solo traverse of Alaska's Brooks Range. And while I'm not coming close to what she's done, I resonate with her sentiment...
"I wish I were passionate about something more safe. I wish that my dreams allowed me to stay near home, I wish that I could content myself with a normal livelihood.
But I can’t.
And so here it goes. I have emptied my pockets for this expedition, exhausted every resource, planned as much as I could stand. Now a 1,000 mile adventure across Alaska’s Arctic waits at my feet. This is going to be an adventure for the books.
Here it goes. Here goes everything."
Part 1 begins: Montana or Bust!