When touring on a popular route, such as the TransAmerican Trail (established 1976!), you are part of a constant flow of cyclists. Cyclists are traveling east, west, fast and slow. You may see them only for a moment, as you blister down a mountain pass, having time only for a nod and smile of acknowledgement. Or, you may meet them at a gas station, and share a chocolate milk, conversation and a campsite that night. They might be gone in the morning (speedy tourists!), or wave good-bye, because they're going to stay to catch the town's festival. You could meet them once, or many times over.
We met Melanie on the second day of our trip. After dozens and dozens of variables played out, we also saw her again later in Oregon, Montana and Wyoming, but never after that (we took a week off in Colorado). In those places, the chapters of our TransAmerica stories collided.
Melanie sent me these photos that she took of us in Oregon and Wyoming last summer:
A reflection of us taking photos of the halfway-abandoned town that we spent the night in.
A collection of bicycle travelers, sharing space in a mid-renovation building, still filled with nails, planks and sawdust. We didn't mind, though-- we were ecstatic just to be free of the mosquitoes!
We look so clean! This is before we even got to Eugene, OR.
Mia didn't even have her panniers yet!
(She bought a full set of Arkel bags in Eugene.) (Long story.)
These photos are interesting to see, because while they're of us, they're from someone else's memory of their tour. We're characters in someone else's story, and this is how we appear.