‘A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.’   Lao-Tze

Great adventures begin with ideas.  Long before the first step, adventurers dream. Then they must think through, as best they can, the likely challenges; anticipate and provide for their future needs.  Their very lives may depend on how well this task is performed.

Lewis & Clark, the 19th Century explorers of North American, began with their idea – to traverse the Louisiana Purchase from the Mississippi to the Pacific Ocean and report back to President Thomas Jefferson and Congress.  No one then understood just exactly what the infant United States had purchased from France.  Lewis & Clark meant to find out.  They thought they might encounter living herds of Wooly Mammoth and wondered at the legend of the ‘immortal giant’, the Grizzly Bear.  They thought they might discover a water route to the Pacific Ocean.  Lewis & Clark considered their future in the wilderness, purchased supplies and equipment, and crossed the Mississippi into the unknown.

Their adventure inspires and daunts me.  My much more modest idea is to circumnavigate the world by train, container ship, and bicycle.  I’ve got the time. I’m retired and my children are grown.  I have the cycling skills; have been riding a bike since my 6th birthday on which I received a maroon Rainbow Frame Schwinn cruiser with 24″ wheels.  That was September 1948.  I loved that bike, wrote a poem about her.   Here it is:                           

Double Bubble

In ‘48 Double Bubble and me
We patrolled the Burma skies
(Of Summit Avenue, Pasadena, California)

Aak, aak, aak, aaaaaaak!

Magnesium Zeros detonated
Becoming shooting stars
Swirling into steaming jungle

Aak, aak, aak, aaaaaaak!

Falling like dandruff
On General Tojo’s
Bloody epaulettes

Aak, aak, aak, aaaaaaak!

We flew home for refueling,
Peanut butter & jelly on
Still-warm homemade bread

Ms. von B, my mount for this journey, is more sophisticated, but no less loved than Double Bubble.  We don’t anticipate encountering Wooly Mammoth or Grizzly Bear on our journey of discovery, but hey, you never know.  If we do,  you’ll read about it here first.

Come along, slow coach.  Ms. von B says life is like a train, don’t be late!

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Copyright Jack Kelleher © 2014.