Dick and Ingrid Adams are a retired couple bicycling the Pacific Coast this summer. After a ferry ride to Alaska, they started their bicycle trip in Seattle, Washington and are traveling south to San Diego, California. This path, though scenic, is difficult. The Coastal Mountains rival any other mountain range in North America when it comes to bicycling. And the weather is cold and wet. Dick and Ingrid mentioned several times in their correspondence that even Alaska was warmer than the fog-enshrouded coast.
Needless to say, they are an amazing couple. They served as a source of inspiration to me several years ago when I was struggling with my own bicycle journey from coast-to-coast. Through a fortuitous series of encounters, they urged me forward when I lacked the faith in myself to continue.
The first time we met face-to-face was at an ice cream stand on the back roads of Kentucky. Dick didn’t hesitate to buy me a root beer float, which after pushing a ninety-pound bicycle through the mountains was a godsend. Anyway, this was their second trip bicycling across the country. Dick said, “I thought I was done and then this.” Dick rolls his eyes and inclines his head towards Ingrid.
She patted his arm and said in a German accent, “I know, dear. You can say it — this thing you married is making you do it all over again. Scott, I tell him that we have to do it. We don’t have much more time and this will be the last trip.”
“That’s what she says,” Dick said.
“Don’t worry, honey, I promise.”
“I didn’t know what I was getting myself into when I married her,” Dick said affectionately.
Dick and Ingrid’s path trailed mine all the way to Seattle and I came to think of them not only as role models but as guardian angels.
Two years later, when Dick and Ingrid’s journey along the Pacific Coast Highway brings them to my house in San Francisco, I tease Dick, “I thought Ingrid promised that was your last trip.”
Dick rolls his eyes in a manner reminiscent of our time in Kentucky. “Ah ha!” Dick says and turns toward Ingrid. “Ah ha. Did you hear that?”
“This is the last big one, honey,” Ingrid says nonchalantly.
“The last big one?” Dick says.
“You know. There are other places we must see, but this is the last big one. I promise.”
“You heard her. She says she promises.”
“Ingrid, just has adventure in her bones.”
I laugh. Dick doesn’t fool me — I know these trips mean just as much to him as they do to Ingrid.
Note: Dick and Ingrid are currently finishing their bicycle tour in Southern California. Check back next month for an update on their trip.