Friday September 16, 2016
The routing went through a few iterations from January to August 2016, and reality dashed some of the more fanciful ideas. The final version of the routing – what we rode – was easily achievable (at least to the person who was riding unencumbered!) the way we did it. We had pre-booked accommodation, camping was mixed with cabins and homestays for the mums and bubs, and we had Jen’s mom with a mini-van to carry all the gear from point-to-point. The grades and on-road bits were all very manageable with a load, and all very safe from a mommy point-of-view.
We were still able to do the Peter Norbeck Scenic Byway because we had a baby-sitter. I still feel like you could do this route with a trailer and a bub if you rode each day from 7-10am but were done for the day by the time the traffic picked up. There are accommodation options available to split this ride up into very short days of 20-30 miles. Still, it was super-fun to just ride and not worry about a trailer on those spectacular downhills.
If you do the Byway, make sure to ride north/northwest on the Iron Mtn Road so you get Mt Rushmore framed by the tunnels and that rollercoaster-like downhill to the Hwy 244 junction. So much fun!
I was unsure of what to expect with an 11-month-old. I haven’t been around anyone that young in… well.. decades. My friends in Oz all have older children, teenagers or young adults in their households. But, if an adventure involves Jenny, I’m up for it! And this went very well!
I am sure we could have done this with two trailers (one for gear – one for kiddo) and no SAG, but it would have been harder and I would have had to have considerably more baby duties. I’m not sure my talents would have stood up to that. I did some baby duty, but not much…. I was better doing support activities like tent set-up/take-down and washing dishes than keeping track of a squirmy child. Still, if you love kiddos, then this ride would totally be do-able with or without SAG if one person towed gear and the other towed the kid.
The good news is that I still have no desire to have kids. I LOVE that my good friends have been able to start families and realise that part of their life dreams. I’ve known since I was 12-years-old that I didn’t want kids. Still, I joked with friends before that trip that it would be very ironic if I went home and hung out with a close friend’s kid and had an epiphany that I was missing something in my life… when it is too late to go down that road! But, no, there was no cluckiness on my part whatsoever. I still have no idea why anyone would want all that noise, hassle, dependency and messiness in their life for the rather small amounts of joy that come in return 🙂 To each their own!
I look forward to more adventures with Jenny and Baby H. I hope to be a distant Auntie Em that sends books and outdoor gear to Baby H as she grows up. I hope to go riding and hiking with her on special trips as she matures. And I hope Jen and I have a friendship as fulfilling and supportive as the past 20 years for the next 20! I am so fortunate to have such an amazing, inspiring, humble and kind woman to call my friend.