Saturday, August 1, 2015

Panic Plus Angst Equals Pangst

I am not by nature a worrier. I'm a blue-sky kind of girl who tends to take my cues from Bobby McFerrin. Don't worry. Be happy.

I have faith in my world and yes, things happen. But there are things you can do something about and things you can't. I try my best not to let those things that can't rent space in my head.

Of course, there will always be something that does. The illness of a friend or family member that one can't change or "fix." Or for that matter, your own health. A financial issue that seems overwhelming. Rebuilding a life or a home after a disaster. But these are big worries.

I'm worrying for a few weeks. Why? Because as I've mentioned before, my fabulous biker boy Rick is off on a biking and camping trip, riding from Lansing through part of Canada. This is his route, if you care to take a look, for the scale if nothing else. It will cover over 700 miles and last about two weeks. He also has a very clunky bike-geek blog-like thing and if you're into it, you can follow him HERE. The updated table of contents is at the bottom of the page.

Did I mention he was doing this solo? Did I mention that much of this area has no internet availability? No cell phone signal? No wifi connection? Did I mention that he is totally geeked up about this and has no fear, no worries? Did I mention that I am scared to death?

Now, Rick has been doing this since he was a kid. When he was 16, he and his brother rode from Toledo to -- where? For some reason I'm thinking Columbus, though Rick and Tim would probably correct me.

He's done long day/weekend trips, including one just a week or so ago, taking three days to come down Michigan's beautiful eastern Lake Huron coast. And yes, he was alone on that one. But not far, really. Not in the wilderness.

He will be seeing some of the most beautiful country in North America (so I am told by those who have actually been in parts that he will come through). Just him and his little tiny tent, two wheels held together by a few pieces of metal. He vows to be as determined as the postal service, through wind and rain and bears and ticks and lack of showers and whatever else, nothing will stop him from his appointed rounds.

I will pick him up in Toronto after he spends a day or two with clients (he's doing that elsewhere on the route. Other people would be able to write off the mileage on their car and their meals. I don't know the IRS rate for pedaling. Boxed mac and cheese, Clif bars and coffee probably won't make much of a dent in the deductible meals category). And then in two weeks time, I'll haul his sorry little suntanned bones home in the car so he can get ready for his 400 mile DALMAC ride from Lansing to Mackinac over the Labor Day holiday.

And while he's gone? I will make art. I will swim in the lake. I will spend time with friends. I will go to the Great Lakes Folk Festival. I will make pesto and water my garden and head to Canada where I will spend my birthday with my friend Suzanne on the way to getting Rick.

But I bet I won't be sleeping all that well. Just a hunch.


  1. Oh, my...I just have to ask....WHY...?? Why would he want to do this especially alone...?

  2. I admire his ambition, courage, drive, and spunk. And I admire your courage to let him do it. Hugs to you!

  3. You are two of my favorite people. You are true believers making a life together while apart most of the time. I love this story of rick and his passion for biking. I love that it drives you crazy and worries you. I would react the same way. I love that he goes anyway and you wave good-bye with a smile.

    Happy painting, friend, and happy landings to Rick when you meet up in Toronto.

  4. Hi Jeanie I'm sorry for not visiting for very long time.

    Wow, that is of course truly exciting but if I were you, I'd definitely feel the same. I am not a worry person too or maybe I'm just good at hiding it :)

    Having no signal or internet on some areas is of course worrying but I believe he knows what he's doing. I wish him safe adventure and calm days of waiting for you.

  5. Jeanie, Don't worry too much - doesn't do any good we both know! Bob and I rode from CO to San Francisco for my 60th birthday (gosh - was that 11 years already?). It took us 26 days - 21 biking and 5 rest days. We had our route mapped so we could stay in motels (not 5 star!). I was exhilarated to get to San Fran where our son, Gregg was living at the time. We had a few issues but no catastrophes. People were interested in our tour and very kind. A 4th grade class in AZ followed our ride, and we visited their school afterward (rented a van to drive back to CO). My Bob would love Rick's ride but the camping not so much! Keep us informed. Hugs to you!

  6. I understand completely. I have faith, but I am still concerned that my grandson goes to work every day as a policeman!

  7. What a courageous man. And if he's been doing that since 16, I'm sure he's an experienced athlete and, very healthy. I know some people just have the strong will to enjoy the outdoors and be active. Know what, my son and his new bride are doing some camping by Lake Superior, driving not biking though. Again, that's what they (more she I guess, an outdoor enthusiast) chose to do and I didn't even bother asking why they didn't honeymoon at some fancy resort or luxury hotel.

  8. WHERE did you find that picture of Rick and Tim? Such memories! I am holding both of you in my prayers. He has a niece Olivia hiking the Appalachian Trail by herself so I guess this quest for adventure is in the family - but not from me or my side! Thanks for the link to his blog. He was going to send it to me (Perhaps he did and I haven't gotten to it yet) or he knew you would. Hang in there. Call if you need to talk. Love you.

  9. You know, when I left Liberia, my former husband left about six weeks ahead of me. He went overland, across the Sahara, with some friends. I went up the coast of West Africa, flew to Las Palmas, went on to Madrid, and then England. We agreed we would meet under the big clock at Victoria Station on such and such a day, at a specific time. And we did.

    There weren't any cell phones. There was no internet. We could have contacted an office in New York or an embassy had there been a real problem, I suppose, but we had no way of contacting one another for all that time. And no one thought a thing about it. It was just the way it was.

    Of course you'll worry. Things can happen. But don't worry too much. It's my firm conviction that our totally-connected 24/7 lifestyle engenders anxiety and fears of its own, and heightens the ones we naturally have.

    And, just for grins, here's a story of another blogging friend who has a free-roaming husband. You think Rick is nuts? How about this?!

  10. Oh, Jeanie! Your worry is so understandable! I wish he weren't doing this solo and in wifi-free areas! But he is an experienced rider and is savvy and will probably be just fine -- and very, very glad to see you in Toronto! But I know there will be some restless nights for you. My best wishes are with you!

  11. Hey, this is Rick himself typing on a toy computer, aka a tablet. Resort in after my first day. It was fine. Nothing to worry about. But I have to say it feels nice to be CARED about even if it tilts toward worry. It is going to be a fine adventure if the first (and certainly the worst regarding traffic) day is a reliable indication. I have my fears, believe me, but bike riding in Canada ain't one of them! Thanks for caring but you can overdo it you know.... great comments everybody

  12. Jeanie, I can certainly understand your concerns. But you wouldn't want to be the reason for Rick not following his dreams. He's experienced and knows what he's doing (I read his comment) and I'm sure he will have a wonderful time doing what he obviously loves to do. Just try to focus on that and do lots of art!!

  13. Dearest Jeanie, I would be worried too, only because of the obvious things you mentioned: no internet, no cell phone signals, open spaces, being alone.....yes my friend, I can surely understand your angst. I even worry if Ruben gets on a plane and goes on a business trip in a populated city! But keep your mind occupied as you mentioned you would, with art, friends, activity....summer is not over yet, and you will have plenty to do...we are praying and keeping you in our hearts. Anita

  14. It's hard, isn't it, when they do something we don't really *get*, which has its solitude (and the dangers we perceive from same)........

    Mine plays golf. Not the same thing as being gone on a bike for weeks, but ... what if something happened, out there on the course, with no one else to notice..........

    I read somewhere that -- *because it is true* that nearly always, everything turns out ok -- we do ourselves a huge favor by imagining the best possible outcome (rather than all of the bad things that *might* happen).

    Especially when we have exactly zero control over what happens, if we resolutely shift our thoughts from the abyss to the glorious sights, interesting people encountered, wanderlust satisfied (if only momentarily)...... If we make that shift, the more we make that shift, the better we will do.

    Not easy, when your sweetie is biking the backroads. Nor when your kid is gallivanting around New England, solo, for weeks. I am working on imagining her petting baby cows in a meadow on the top of a mountain (which actually has happened) rather than anything darker.

    It's a work in progress.............

  15. I would worry, too, so you are not alone with your fears.

  16. Wow, I can completely understand why you are anxious about this - especially since he'll be in remote areas with no cell phone service at times. Gulp. That's made me pangsty, too! I hope that everything goes smoothly and that he is able to check in often enough so that you are not a nervous wreck for too many of the 14 days he'll be gone! Looking at the map really puts it into perspective - that is a long ways to drive, so a crazy long ways to bike!! I'll pray for his safety on this adventure.

    In the mean time, I hope you can stay busy and distracted. I'm glad you've got some fun plans - especially birthday plans - to help make the time pass by faster!!!

  17. Hi Jeannie. We've never met, but when Rick travels through the Strathroy area to do some work for OGWA, we wind up chatting as much as working, and often about his solo bike adventures. I picked up 3 back roads maps covering most of his current trek and he stopped at our house on day 2 to pick them up and have lunch, before heading to Strathroy and then Ailsa Craig.

    Just to help alleviate some of your fears, I can say that my husband and I have traveled and lived in remote areas of Ontario and with those travels have always found people go the extra mile to help if you are in any difficulty.

    I also have a news story that might help point out why Rick isn't worried about his travels in Canada versus trips in the U.S.

    A robot named Hitchbot was developed by researchers in Canada and sent out to "hitch rides" across Canada and also on a 2nd adventure in Europe. This robot was picked up by people and traveled from a university on the east coast to its intended destination on the west coast in BC. The researchers were so happy with the results, they just sent Hitchbot on a journey through the U.S., starting from a university in Boston with the goal of reaching a university in San Francisco. The robot didn't make it past Philadelphia. To read the story:

    The point is, Rick feels safer traveling here and this social experiment backs up his feelings. Try not to over-worry. He's far more resilient and capable than Hitchbot AND he's in Canada:) I told him we've dubbed him an honorary Canadian!!

  18. So good to read Rick's comments. There wasn't anything on his blog today! I like Anne's comments too.

  19. Best wishes to Rick! He will do great! What memories for him!
    I remember when we lived in Kansas, years ago, a bike rider came by our farm house and ended up camping nearby and having a meal with us. We was riding solo across the country. I thought how wonderful, but glad he is doing it and not me.

  20. Rick is so adventurous. I admire his independent spirit and his desire to make this kind of a trip. I am sure he will always take every precaution for his safety, but I would worry also. I would worry a lot. He will be in our prayers.

  21. I'm not sure who I think is braver: him for doing it alone, or you for letting him.

    I know it's easier said than done, but try not to let the worry keep you from sleeping, and - this one should be a bit easier - try not to break any of his ribs when you hug him tightly in relief when you meet up with him afterwards.

  22. In total admiration of Rick and would love the experience of what he is embarking on. And if he didn't do these things then he wouldn't be the Rick you know and love.
    Pocket ever positive thought you can capture, keep him safe in your mind and look forward to seeing him and his weary bones in Canada in a couple of weeks time.
    Bon courage to you both,
    Heather :)

  23. Oh, honey ...

    Very well said. All of us share your worry. It is indeed an adventurous, risky journey Rick is making. The worrying for a loved one on his own, beyond the reach of cell phones is only natural.
    (Penelope / Ulysses)

    Just know that you (both of you) are spiritually surrounded by the loving support of those of us who know you and read Marmelade Gypsy.

    Ram Dass (and I'm paraphrasing)has a beautiful meditation for those who worry/grieve/suffer alone. He invites the anxious one to imagine that there is another person just like him, in the same neighborhood. To imagine yourself going to that person, and saying "There, are not alone. Let's wait this out together."
    Then to broaden the imagination to include others in your city who are similarly waiting/worrying. Others in your state, your country, your world. All of you (us) united, supporting each other through the night. "There, there, you are not alone. I will see this through with you."

    Waiting with you through this one --

  24. Jeanie, I can understand your feelings. But it is wonderful that Rick is doing this, so lucky to have the chance. Wow! And so much better than if he was sitting in front of the TV all day. Having said that, of course, I do understand your feelings. I hope you can lose yourself in your art and your fun activities. My instinct would be to go somewhere myself... and maybe regret a little that I wasn't on the bike trip too! :D

  25. It is easy to say "don't worry" or "worry is wasted time" BUT we all worry now again.
    One thing I have found in life is it is not usually what I was worrying about that happened anyway...soooo
    Don't worry be happy and keep making beautiful art dear Jeanie!
    p.s. your biker boy is quite a guy!


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