Last Minutes and First Hours

 
The day before departure...

Apparently I don't handle stress well.  I've been standing paralyzed in the dining room for the last ten minutes, surrounded by Barc's Chair detritus, staring blindly and making little rhythmic mewing noises, like an endless loop featuring the Top Ten Therapist Sounds of Acknowledgement.

The day of departure...

Pierre Elliot Trudeau had a regular fasting regimen that he believed cleansed his inner and outer man.  At 6:00 am on the day of departure, I ate a Tim Hortons breakfast sandwich.  18 hours and no solid food later I was standing in the teeny, deserted San Diego airport, pitch black outside,  surrounded by Barc's Chair detritus, staring blindly and making little....  (Historical aside: many Albertans believe Trudeau was on an extended fast when he brought in the National Energy Program.)

Our flight was diverted to Chicago owing to the selfish decision of an oxygen-tank-bearing individual choosing to live rather than see San Diego from the other side (of the veil, not compass point, for those of you who are fasting).  By the time the customs and paramedic smoke cleared, our 5 and a half hour flight had become a 9 hour flight.  Airline food was available, but I was worried about consuming it and then having to divert the plane to Denver.  So I starved.

The chair and bike assembly went well, if you leave out the frequent extreme despair and the what-the-hell-have-I-done moments.  My vow to avoid cycling past sunset lasted exactly 0 days, thanks to Chicago, starvation, sleep deprivation, and general mechanical ineptitude.  Full night had fallen as Seb, who's never pedalled a fully-laden touring bike, let alone used the clipless pedals that he's practiced getting out of maybe once for about 30 seconds, followed me out into blackness, like the only-surviving duckling of a really bad mother duck, and we wended our way through dark streets, past even darker alleys, the whole 5 miles to the Point Loma Hostel.

The Start.