Waynesville, North Carolina. A small mountain town west of Asheville in the heart of the Great Smokies. As a kid we made countless trips down there to visit family. I can remember spending the entire day with my legs stuck to a vinyl seat; windows rolled all the way down, but providing no relief from the furnace that was the back seat of our little red Ford Escort sitting idle in a construction zone somewhere on I-75. I hated those trips in the car, but the time spent with family (and the beauty of the mountains) made it worth every minute.
As I’ve gotten older, I’ve learned that it’s not necessarily the journey I disliked, but rather the manner in which I was doing it. Sometimes we’re forced to undertake things in a certain way, but more often we have a choice. And the easy choice is seldom the most rewarding.
It’s been many years now since I’ve been back to Waynesville. Too many. Despite best intentions, there’s always some reason that “next summer will be the year”. But while we never want to think about it, deep down we know there’s only so many “next summers”, and someday they’ll run out. It’s time to make it happen.
I have no idea if I’m ready for this, and frankly the idea kind of scares me. I’ll be honest though, that’s also what excites me about it. It’s just under 800 miles from my house to my Grandma’s, and while this bicycle may end up being even more uncomfortable than that old Escort, I’m willing to bet it will offer some incredible memories of its own.
The journey begins tomorrow morning, July 3rd. This is the #RideSouth.