"Beauty confronts us with the requirement that we place ourselves among...the redeemers, the leaders in the protection of life. Once you have seen the bush on fire, you are not going to get out of the assignment unless you close your eyes to the beauty.... [You] either have to close your eyes or go back to Egypt and set the people free." - Rev. Dr. Rebecca Parker, "Rising to the Challenge of Our Times"

Friday, April 24, 2009

The next really really big thing

This Chico News & Review article set me off on a long flight of fancy last night...hopefully not just fanciful, though. These Chico 50-somethings rode their bikes from Chico to the coast via Forest Highway 7 through the Mendocino National Forest. Since I moved to Chico I have had many flights of fancy about doing that very ride, finding that Northwest Passage if you will, but last summer the flight of fancy was somewhat weighted down by the experience of actually trying to drive the route in my truck. Beautiful, largely uninhabited country. Lots of trees. 60 miles of gravel and dirt road "maintained" by the Forest Service on whatever budget they had left for such things last year, and a 6000' elevation gain. I thought, over the hours and hours it took to drive it, well, maybe this isn't really a doable thing. But then these people (Bob and Christina Aranguren) went and did it. One of my favorite quotes from the article:

After not seeing a single human being for a day and a half, the Arangurens walked into the little store at Eel River Station and asked, “Do you get any cyclists in here?” They indicated the summit now behind them.

“No, nobody does that,” the store clerk replied.

“Then we told her, ‘We just did,’ ” said Christina. “She looked at us like we were aliens.”

I emailed the reporter and asked her to forward my contact information to the Arangurens. Apparently they're planning to do it AGAIN, and this time two other couples are joining them. Their route to the coast took them through Laytonville and over Branscomb Road. This summer may be too soon for me to plan this and get my very eager potential touring buddy Tim and his new Surly Long Haul Trucker trained up for that climb, but maybe I could at least set up a little lemonade stand for the riders as they go by the homestead near the coast.

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