“Deep summer is when laziness finds respectability.”
— Sam Keen, American author, professor, philosopher
The summer doldrums, a sojourn in Spain and a lack of imagination have taken a toll on the frequency of the posts to Jim’s Bike Blog during this hot, lazy season.
As production has dropped off, so have the page views. I’ll try to rectify that.
At this time last year — Texas furnace heat, be damned — I was preparing full bore for a transcontinental bicycle ride in the autumn from San Diego to St. Augustine, Fla., and was closing in on 3,000 training miles. This year, I’ve logged only a little more than 1,000 miles. And my upcoming bike excursion is not nearly as challenging as last fall’s: a ride of about 260 miles across Missouri on the mostly flat Katy Trail and then to my hometown, Alton, Ill., during the week before Labor Day.
Last year, I had much to write about as I trained, assembled gear and researched the cross-country route of more than 3,000 miles along the southern tier of the United States — California, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida.
This year, after achieving that long-held dream of riding a bicycle across America, the inevitable letdown has set in as I try to focus on some new adventure to forestall the relentless advance of old age. Perhaps hiking the Appalachian Trail from Georgia to Maine while I’m still in good enough shape for such a trek?
I have all the gear — tent, sleeping bag, etc. It’s been tested and proven. My legs are still strong.
I’ve envied other members of last fall’s trans-America ride: Dolores, who, like the Energizer Bunny, is crossing the country again, this time along the northern tier of states from Anacortes, Wash., to Bar Harbor, Maine; Kami, who has been leading adventure-travel trekkers in the Himalayas and the Andes; and Cathy and Derrik, who so far have logged about 1,500 miles on a bike ride through western Canada and the United States.
I should be out on my bike during these sultry days of late July, preparing for the steamy bottom lands of the Missouri River along the Katy Trail. I’ve ridden some, but not nearly as frequently as last summer at this time.
Instead, I’ve been trying to shake the residual fatigue of nearly three weeks on the go in Spain — traveling and studying Spanish — by napping and reading, trying to bring some respectability to laziness. Books in progress: Iberia by James A. Michener, D-Day by Stephen E. Ambrose and Tales of the Alhambra by Washington Irving.
Bring me another margarita, please.