'Tour de Blue' Epilogue:
Friday 10/14
Heather's Parkway...

(Coming Up: Unabashed Commentary from Mike and Karyn, "Where Are They Now", More Pics of the Parkway)

What started out as a mostly selfish act turned into a new awakening. Hans sent out an email asking if anybody would drive him and his brother to Cherokee, NC, then take the car back to Blacksburg to be returned in a week when they finished biking the Blue Ridge Parkway. Since I don't have a car and haven't left Blacksburg in several months, I eagerly offered my services. Little did I know what I was in for.

Sunday was a great day. We woke up surrounded by mountains. These were in-your-face mountains, not the distant, friendly mountains I see when I step outside of my door everyday. It was absolutely breathtaking. I did some sightseeing around Cherokee, NC, and caught up with the group for lunch. It was rather a psychic moment, as I had to turn off the parkway onto an overlook that you could not see from the road. Somehow I just knew they were there. Seeing me meant that Hans had more props to photograph (he had left most of his things in the car) and gave the guys a little surprise. I did a little hiking and caught up with them a further down the road. For a while I played traffic blocker, staying behind them so that cars didn't accidentally run them off the road. Eventually, I went on ahead and scouted the hotel and a restaurant for the evening. It was soon time to go back to the working world, and I left, assuming I would not see them again until they came back to Blacksburg after the end. Little did I know...

I read the web pages; I already knew the stories from the first day having heard them at dinner. Somehow that made them that much funnier. I read the next day, and the day after that. When I realized that they would only be half an hour away that night, I decided to drive out to see if they needed anything. That night proved to be hectic. I passed Karyn on the detour around the parkway, but never saw the guys. I flew back to where I hoped Karyn had stopped, praying that I hadn't missed them somehow. I did find her, and our conversation turned to "where are they?" That seemed to be the subject of most of our conversations that week. We finally decided that, boys being boys, they had ignored the detour signs and continued down the parkway, carrying their bikes over whatever obstacles happened to be in their way. Of course, women being women, we went to look for them, just barely catching them in the dark before they headed off down the wrong entrance to the overlook / visitor center we found.

That night is where I found my role in this trip. Everybody needs new ears. Before things made it to the web pages, I got to hear all of the stories. The story about how Hans just randomly fell over. The story about how Andy Griffith's house had vinyl siding and a security system. The story about how Ziggy Piggy was returned. At everything I sat there and laughed and enjoyed, all the while marveling at their incredible attitudes and their physical tenacity.

I met up with them the next night, bringing Power Bars and Power Gel, bringing more props for Hans, bringing new ears to hear the day's stories.

Finally the last day was here, and I got to be there, snapping pictures of them as they rode across mile zero. I must say, this experience has been an inspiration for me. I can't say that my goal has ever been to do something as difficult as the Blue Ridge Parkway, but the idea of sightseeing on a bike - spending days on the road just enjoying being outside and being physical, has always appealed to me. Now I know some real people who actually did it.

I didn't bike the parkway. I didn't even drive the whole thing. I just showed up every now and then to listen to the stories, to breathe the excitement, and to view the spectacular landscape that God put on this earth. Just this little taste of what life can be like has made me re-evaluate where I'm going and what I'm doing. I may never bike the Blue Ridge Parkway; I don't know if I want to. But you will one day see me out there on my bike, riding through breathtaking country, breathing each bit of air as if it were my first, and really living each day.


Poetry by Heather...

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