It's the Thursday after the trip - we finished riding 6 days ago and I'm back home in Austin while Paul is in the south of France licking his wounds. For me, the trip already seems like it was long ago; well, sort of. The first night home, I woke up in the middle of the night and thought I was in Europe and that Jill was Paul and wondered just what in the hell was going on. Since then, I've generally remembered where I was and have consumed quite a bit of Mexican food.
Traveling is always a bit disorienting, but moving so quickly through so many places and having only a small amount of free time seemed to heighten that sense of disorientation. Or, perhaps, the constant motion became normal. Dunno. What I'm struggling to say is that committing to the blog helped me feel a connection to home - to something normal - during the trip. My motivation for starting the blog was originally to let others know what was going on with me and Paul, but since I was writing to family and friends, it felt more like an ongoing dialog than a simple one-way discourse, and knowing that a variety of loved ones were reading this was always a cheering thought. So, I want to thank everyone who followed us along the way via the blog.
I also want to thank Jill's parents, John and Sara, for taking care of Riley during the latter part of the trip. That allowed Jill to work without having to fuss with sitters and daycare, and just as importantly for me, I knew he was in excellent care while at the same time having a very enjoyable summer vacation at his grandparents' home. I especially want to thank Jill for her support of this trip - not only did she support me on this trip, but she reorganized her life around it for 3 weeks. Considering that she already has a busy life and demanding job, that's a considerable and gracious thing for her to do just so I can ride my bike for three weeks! Thanks, Sweetie!!
EDIT: Jeez, I can't believe I forgot to thank Paul for going on the trip with me! He knows I thanked him a bunch in person, but I should have included him here and feel like a jerk for not doing so. So, THANKS PAUL!
Lastly, those of you who signed up for automatic e-mail updates, this should be the last e-mail update. I might update the blog later with some technical information about our gear, lessons learned, etc., but I'll disable the automated update feature before doing so.