4,000 for 40 – Sep Ride 1 – Departure

It’s early. 6.15am. There is frost on the ground and it’s 30F. Importantly, there is no fog. My flight out of Albury will not be delayed.

I’m sitting in our little airport waiting to board. I love the little airport. It got an upgrade a few years back so it has huge windows overlooking the tarmac, updated restrooms and a nice little cafe. But it’s still just got three gates and you only need to rock up about 20 minutes before your flight. The baggage claim is a single belt with just a wall between you and the tarmac and luggage cart. You still walk outside and along the tarmac to climb steps to get on the 36-seater prop planes. You don’t even have to go through any security.

I get on the wifi to check my email and ensure there are no changes to my international flight. In doing so, I come across an email from Jen. She’s been talking to her sister and her sister now wants to come on the bike tour, too. Oh, and she’ll be bringing her 17-month-old son. Jen is asking if this will be okay.

I say, “Sure! It will be crazy, but it will be fun.”

So I think I will have to change this journal title to “Biking with the bubs” (bub being the Aussie slang term for baby). But even though Jen’s sister and nephew do join us on the trip, they never actually end up riding with us, so I will retain the title “Biking with the bub”.

And so I catch the first flight to Melbourne. And the second flight to Auckland. And the third flight to Los Angeles. And the fourth flight to Denver. I spend two weeks hanging out with my family in Salida. Then I head up to Fort Collins to get ready for the ride.

The cast looks a bit like this:

Jen’s Mom – the Ringmaster
Baby H (Jen’s bub)
Sister C
Baby K (Jen’s nephew)

We all head up to the Black Hills on Sunday in two vehicles. I ride with Sister C and Baby K. Travelling with kids requires more breaks! We spend the night camped out behind the staff residences at Wind Cave National Park (Jenny knows some of the staff here). And then the ride begins Monday….

Got to spend two weeks with family before the bike trip. I hadn’t seen my parents in two years, so I relished the time we had to go hiking and just hang out.

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