Not a lot of space… they really cram all the people they can inside airplanes these days… and people are not getting any thinner. Well, here I am confined in this amazing metal tube, looking through the window at the snow covered mountains down there, and dreaming with open spaces. I guess I will have plenty of that soon.
A song from Tim Maia, the Brazilian singer, comes to my mind… “Na vida a gente tem que procurar, Pelo menos viajar, Razao para viver.” (In this life we must seek, At least travel, Reason for living.) Alrigth, Tim!
I read in the in-flight magazine an interview with John Lithgow, the actor, a Harvard graduate who in the commencement speech gave the following advice, “Four rules to live by: be creative, be useful, be practical and be generous.” Amen to that! Alright John!
Yes, I am going to see beautiful new sights, but I know that what I see outside takes me to the inside. This trip is another opportunity, a good one for sure, to examine my own life and Life in general.
The mystic mystery persists, “What brought me here? Why am I doing this? How much of this is of my own making?”
“Where we had thought to travel outward, we should come to the center of our own existence… Where we had thought to be alone, we should be with all the world…” I heard these words from Joseph Campbell speaking about The Adventure and the Hero’s Journey in “The Power of Myth.”
I aspire this trip will give me the strenght to undergo another major and marked creative transformation. The old must die so the new may be born.
I had a choice: to say “Yes” or to say “No.” I could have chosen to said “No” to the Inner Voice. I have chosen to say “Yes.” I have decided to say “Yes” to Life and embrace The Adventure.
I am not sure if I am prepared, but how can I know without trying? I believe no one is fully and completely prepared for anything. I am standing at the edge and I have decided to jump into it. Ready or not, here I go!
Day 0 was fine in Portland was fine. Lots of rain, but enjoyable.
I landed in Portland and got good advice from Sarah at the Airport. She told me where to go and how to get there. I purchased a All Day Pass for their public transportation system and started exploring.
It caught my attention that they are bike friendly. This is the first airport I remember seing a Bike Assembly Area.
My first stop was at the Greyhound Station where I left my bags in the locker. Then I went walking around. First stop Patagonia. Second stop The Laughing Planet Cafe where I ate rice, beans and steamed vegetables… Healthy! And by the way, while I was there guess what music was playing ? Your Love Keeps Lifting Me Higher and Higher! I instantly said to myself, “This is good omen! This is going to be a good trip!” For those of you who don’t know, This is the song I have been singing while pedaling. What a nice coincidence!
Then I went to REI and I bought the face mask I need to protect me from the cold.
I went to one of the largest bookstores I have ever been in my life. I guess the name is Powell’s Books. And then I went to the Japanese Gardens but never made it because it started pouring. Lots os rain. Overall, nice city with friendly people. Everyone I approached was nice to me.
I then made it to the Train Station and caught a bus to Astoria. Actually the Greyhound and the Amtrak stations are side-by-side. I thought I had a Greyhound ticket when in fact I had a Amtrak bus ticket… go figure! Anyway, a nice guy even gave me $1 because I didn’t have the right change for the locker which only accepts cash and does not gives you change back. So be ready with change. You never know when you might need it.
Checked into the Best Western for a good night of sleep.
5:30 AM I am at gate D36 of Miami International Airport ready to catch a flight to Portland.
This is it!
It is happening!
What am I feeling? Anticipation and excitement mixed with doubt and apprehension. A sad sense of loneliness inundates me… Enough of it!
I am wearing an old pair of New Balance running shoes, Adidas socks, black rain pants that Steve lent me, a grey Duofold long sleeve shirt that my son Pedro wore during his canoe adventures in the Canadian Lakes, and my Screaming Lime Reflective Adidas jacket. I am the most visible guy in the entire airport, even more visible than the guys working in the runaway. 🙂
I was able to put everything… tent, sleeping bag, air mattress, panniers, clothes, and all the other parafernalia inside two bags and the Ortlieb handlebar bag. I will get rid of the bags once I get to Astoria and get the bike.
I am changing planes in Dallas / Fort Worth. Thank God! I didn’t pay attention when I selected the seats and I am sitting in front of an Emergency Exit aisle… guess what? The seats don’t recline… and I was dreaming that I would get some sleep. Well! It’s all good!