More Wonder, Please By Frosty Wooldridge

by | Mar 20, 2020 | Featured Article | 0 comments

In the spring, Doug and I pedaled from Mexicali, Mexico toward Calgary, Canada to meet Bryan Delay who had bicycled South America with us. We rode up the middle of California, through Oregon and upwards through Washington State. Because of springtime, we watched millions of birds flying over our heads all day long. Wave after wave after wave. Big Canadian geese, lovely white pelicans, cranes, Arctic Terns, mallards, Western grebes, and many more that we couldn’t identify. 

We rolled our bikes past the Sultan Sea. We cranked through Joshua Tree National Monument. We headed into the southern end of Death Valley at 116 degrees F on April 1st. That Henry Wade exit proved itself 40 miles of sand and ball-busting cycling. We packed plenty of water in order to make the pavement of the regular highway through the valley. 

Interestingly, when you lay your life on the line, but you’re prepared, life meets you. I mean, death could meet you, too. But with intrepid hearts, Doug and I pedaled northward into the heat-tempest of that scorching day. If you ever felt like you had died and gone to the fiery wrath of Hell, that day would define it. 

Along the road, we saw a motorhome creating a dust storm behind its wheels. When it came up to us, it stopped. “Do you guys know the temperature?” the driver asked. “It’s 116 degrees.”

“We feel it with every push on the pedals,” Doug said. “Not our lucky day to be pedaling in this kind of intense heat.”

“Here,” the wife said, “Two cold pears out of our cooler and two ice cold lemonades.”

Monica and Reinhold, a lovely couple from Germany, gave us two gifts in that scorching desert that we remember to this day, over 30 years later. We broke open the cans and guzzled the cool liquid that slid down our throats as refreshingly as if we had drunk the water cascading over Niagara Falls. And those two cold pears, well, a five-course dinner at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York City could not compare to the joy of those delicious, succulent, juicy, life-giving pears. 

More wonder, please!

As we cranked our iron steeds into the Sierra Nevada mountains, one night we stopped by a lake named for three sisters: Lake Alomar. As we sat there under a clear, star-lit sky with the sun just touching down over the mountain peaks, the fire burned brightly into the gathering dusk. Overhead, a 50 gaggle of Canadian geese honked their way across the lake before flapping their mighty wings to settle down on still waters. What a racket they made. Within minutes another gaggle of Western grebes, diving ducks, settled near the geese. Before us, we saw mallards creating V-wakes across the glass-still waters of the lake. Then, the diving ducks began diving for food and popped up to create circles that expanded across the waters. Before us, a mathematical board of triangles, circles and lines cut the lake into sections, much like a protractor and a sextant. 

“Gees,” said Doug. “I can’t imagine how much more intricate and beautiful Nature’s showcase at this moment.”

“I’d say we’re right in the middle of the magnificence of the universe,” I said. 

More wonder, please!

Several days later, we reached the General Sherman Sequoia at 2,500 years old, and a whopping 120 tons of wood with a 30-foot diameter base. Standing beneath it, you, a mere human, become less than a speck of sand, a tiny blob of protoplasm. Yet, you share the same energy as that 2,500-year-old tree, and you share a moment in time for your life. That tree drinks 500 gallons of water a day and expires 500 gallons of water. That tree was ‘old’ at the time of the Roman Empire, and today, it’s 25 centuries later, and it’s still growing strong. To stand at the base of it with our bicycles, well….

More wonder, please!

On that trip with Doug, a man who has bicycled seven continents and ridden through 130 countries, he knows the wonders of the world. He and I have marveled at the stunning moments in the Outback, the fantastic beauties of South America and the sheer magnitude of the history of Europe. Not to mention Asia and the Wall of China on a bicycle.

More wonder, please!

As we moved further north, we captured rare moments in Yosemite National Park. To look up that winding road ahead that features an eight percent incline! Raging white waters pour down the Merced River out of the High Sierra Mountains. Your legs feel like fried bacon after a day of climbing and descending. It’s a roller coaster ride, but your mind pushes your body into it; your legs must obey their commands.

Somehow, they eagerly respond to task. Your lungs heave and your heart thrives. You “will” the spokes to spin via the power of your legs. Around you, Nature thrives with flowers, eagles, bees, hummingbirds and the promise of spring. You head into Yosemite more than 4,000 feet of elevation gain while pounding the pedals. Froto and Condor, the names of your two bikes, respond by carrying you upward. You become aware of every movement because your thighs feel tender with the sensation of living. You push on, toward the final ascent into the valley. In front of you a monster of a mountain appears—El Captain. Your eyes grow wide. You take a deep breath. Suddenly, you feel only wonder.

Like I said, more WONDER, please! And that’s bicycle adventure.

Doug Armstrong, 7 continent world bicycle traveler, with his sidekick Frosty Wooldridge, 6 continent world bicycle traveler; Yes! Please bring on more WONDER!

frosty Woolridge

Frosty Wooldridge, six continent world bicycle traveler, Astoria, Oregon to Bar Harbor, Maine, 4,100 miles, 13 states, Canada, summer 2017, 100,000 feet of climbing

— Frosty Wooldridge

Golden, CO 

Population-Immigration-Environmental specialist: speaker at colleges, civic clubs, high schools and conferences

Facebook: Frosty Wooldridge

Facebook Adventure Page: How to Live a Life of Adventure: The Art of Exploring the World

Www.HowToLiveALifeOfAdventure.com

Www.frostywooldridge.com 

Six continent world bicycle traveler

Speaker/writer/adventurer

Adventure book: How to Live a Life of Adventure: The Art of Exploring the World

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