Epilogue - Tearing Down the Coast - CycleBlaze


Where we went.

Of course more than Highway 101 changed since we rode over the US-Mexico border. President Kennedy would be assassinated in just three months time. Many, many more political deaths would rock the social fabric of the nation and the world.  A classmate would be killed in Vietnam as would my closest cousin. Cities would catch fire. Marches and protests soon would be nonstop across the nation. Shouts for a new world that started then are still being heard today.  But that August in 1963 we were two teenagers riding our bikes. We were not oblivious to the tides of change rising around us but I think we couldn’t see it rolling over us, which it most surely did. And it is from that point of view I have tried to tell this story.

When we return to school to start our junior year, there was little interest in our feat. It didn't merit a mention in the school paper. Girls didn't swarm to hear the adventures two such daring and independent young men. Ed did make the all conference football A team as a defensive linebacker. He told me that his quads were so strong that there was nobody on the field who could stop faster or change direction quicker. I had always been a second string athlete with the definite exception of body surfing (nobody much cared). I did make it onto the varsity the water polo team as a defender on my ability to get my already long arms even higher into the air because I could tread water with my legs so well. At the end of the ride Ed had gained one pound and I lost one pound in spite of the thousands of excess calories we took in.

Ed and I never rode together again. We remained best of friends throughout high school and then eventually went our separate ways. I suffered something of a physical and emotional breakdown at the beginning of my first year of college. Ed was there with his sometimes cynical and always stoic but caring personality to nurse me back to reality. I saw him one more time a few years later and we took in a rock concert at the Fillmore in San Francisco headlining two new groups, one called the Chicago Transit Authority (Chicago) and the other Big Brother and the Holding Company.

We neither went to Vietnam and were at various levels war resister, and peace and justice activists in general. We lost contact for over four decades, but one day I received an email with an address that had something about horses in it and no subject line. I almost didn't open it. It turned out we both lived in Washington State on opposite sides of the mountains. Just out of college Ed had moved to the Spokane area to teach at a Native American reservation school. After a number of years, with his wife Kathy, also a teacher, they started raising and training champion show horses. My working days went through many twists and turns, but the last twenty plus year before retiring I was an industrial textile designer doing work mostly for the Boeing Company and aerospace in general in the Puget Sound area and beyond.

We both had the bicycles of this story stolen while in college. Ed never rode again and hip problems and preclude starting up again anytime soon. I never stopped riding except my junior and senior years in high school. I courted my wife to be, Mary Jane, while bike touring around the island of Maui. I rode to work all or part time for my entire working career. I even raced some in the lower divisions. I trained with and helped coach a friend who became the Hawaiian state champion road racer in the mid-seventies.

Encouraged by my cardiologist who told me my bike riding was doing more good for my heart than the medicine she prescribed, I continue to actively ride and have taken bicycle touring up again.

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