We’ve been spending a few motionless days in the Bay Area which has allowed us to catch up on some basic housekeeping but also collect our thoughts. One of the unexpectedly poignant moments of the trip for me (Russ), was climbing the hill from Sausalito, turning a bend and seeing the Golden Gate Bridge in all its glory. It wasn’t the first time I’ve seen the Golden Gate. I’ve driven through it a few times on car road trips. Somehow, this time it seemed different. Larger. More profound. I got a little lump in my throat as I slowly realized that we had just ridden 1800 miles and were at San Francisco’s doorstep.

Instantly, I thought of our friends Michael and Chris, who are in their 50s, great adventureers in their own right and who have been touring or travelling since the 70s. A few days before our farewell party, Michael asked me what he should bring. I asked him to dig up some photos of himself and Chris when they were younger. I wanted to see what they looked like when they were younger, before the beard, the wrinkles, before the mask of time had shaped them into the people I knew now. I had a need to see them when they were our age.

I needed, I suppose some reassurance from those that have had adventures before me, that we would come out fine on the other end.

So Michael (the bearded guy!) found some photos. Below is a photo of him in 1976 crossing the Golden Gate Bridge, one hand holding some M&Ms and the other raised in triumph. When I look at the picture, I can hear his distinct full laugh travel through time and space.

I realized when I saw the photos of them when they were younger that Laura and I are part of a continuum and that we are carrying on a tradition. Beyond just bicycle touring, we are joining a long tradition of travelers, of explorers of various magnitude, people who are innately curious but are not content to let the curiosity dwell in a single zip code.

When we got to the bridge, I had that image of Michael in my head and wanted to do homage to them.

So Michael and Chris and all our fellow travelers on the road or in between travels, we salute you!