Deserted

The journey has begun and I am back in the saddle!  It has come as a massive relief that there have been zero issues with knee pain.  Thank you all endlessly for believing in me and for your continued support.  People are nothing without each other – it’s a beautiful truth.

Prior to setting out on June 2nd, I had the pleasure of interviewing with Zach Hillstrom of the Pueblo Cheiftain Newspaper.  We had a 2 hour talk, and he composed this incredible article, summarizing my story and mission beautifully: Read Article

Afterward, I headed to the City Park and met Caiti Blase with Pueblo ABC News Channel 5 (KOAA) to talk about Veteran Issues and the importance of pulling yourself from the ashes long after running into the flames.  View Segment:

While training in Colorado Springs, I received a call from Marie Harris with Bowling Green State University.  I was proud to attend and graduate from BGSU as President of my major with a Bachelor of Science in Technology, an Associate of Arts, and Minor in General Business back in 2009 before starting Sarah Lee Photography in Nashville.

Marie and I spoke for quite a while and Robb Nardeccia constructed this awesome article, which will also be published in the BGSU Alumni Magazine this Fall:  Read Article

An Army Veteran couple named Nancy & Brent reached out and took me into their arms and home like part of the family, making my days prior to starting out fun and comfortable.  They even threw an amazing farewell party with some local friends.  Smoked prime rib, smoked salmon, baked beans, fruit salad, and greens.  Then, a motorcycle ride in the Rockies!!  Vroom Vroom.  I miss them  so much already…

Sam Chambers of Great Divide Bike, Hike, and Ski single handedly arranged a send off escort from City Park in Pueblo to Cañon City.

The escort included cyclists, bikers, and chase vehicles.  They weren’t going to let anything happen to me this time, haha.  ‘Honored’ and ‘speechless’ doesn’t cut it.  All of us single filing down Highway 96 was an incredible sight…

It was a memorable Day One: nearly 50 miles from Pueblo to Cañon City with a stop in Wetmore near my accident site.  The community of Wetmore arranged snacks and a hydration station for us all at the halfway mark.  Just what we all needed!!  We arrived in Cañon City and celebrated a challenging, but successful first ride at Royal Gorge Brewery.

Finally, I came face to face with the front range.  As I mentioned previously: While nature and mankind are equally seasonal, nature never seems to disappoint.  As promised, the Rockies held onto and handed back my heart in one piece.  I left such a part of myself at the front range last year – like an offering…  A collateral of sorts, until my deeply anticipated return.

On a journey from east to west, you inevitably cross paths with avid thru-hikers in two main Trail Towns: Damascus, VA (Appalachian Trail) and Salida, CO (Continental Divide Trail).  It was fun to swap stories in quaint Salida at the Simple Lodge & Hostel.  I even got to buy a Navy Veteran his birthday shot right at midnight, with his girlfriend’s permission of course.  🙂  Happy birthday, Shipmate.

Time for Monarch Pass. This infamous summit peaks at 11,312′ and is the highest point on my entire 4,300+ mile long route.  The main climb is over 3,000′ at 7%-8% grade in only 10 miles distance, from Maysville to Monarch Crest.  I reluctantly listened to all the usual trite warnings and the “watch out for’s”, but consequently, it was a prestine and consistent climb.  “It is what it is” is a resignation of effort – everything is what you make it.  If you can get into a groove, you are golden.  Besides, I have never walked my bike once in over 2,900 miles.  Not going to start now.  Push yourself, not your bike.

17 years ago to this day, at age 17, I enlisted into the United States Military.  June 7, 2001 – the proudest day of my life.  I carried my Army flag and American flag to the top and held them high. This was a day of reflection, vigor, and victory.  I miss the military and its camaraderie every day.  It’s tricky finding civilian friends who would take a bullet for you without hesitation.  Being a soldier in the United States Army is the only thing that’s ever made complete sense to me.

The Rockies are magnificent and breathtaking from base to tip.  The detail could entertain your eyes and mind for lifetimes.  The crisp air seems to revive your soul, even as it thins.  On each summit lies a reincarnation of sorts; it can feel as though you’re slowly dying while climbing its sides, but are reborn ten fold during the descents.  Like clockwork.  The way the peaks meet the clouds is the closest reality can get to heaven on earth.

The temperatures have been relatively mild and I’ve very much enjoyed beginning my rides in the late mornings.  Days consist of eating my own limitations for breakfast, sharing lunches with mixed company, and digesting all the details around me.  The way the mountains and I are consuming each other is intoxicating.  This mutual respect must be earned over the miles, for these ranges both preceded and will outlive us all.

Both the Dallas Divide summit and the descent into Telluride, CO could undoubtedly tweak the very definition of stunning.  My cycling host for the night, Zak, met me on the way and rode with me into town.  We ate dinner with Hiatt, another cyclist touring on the same route.

The next day, Zak took us on a spontaneous water skiing excursion at Ridgway Reservoir.  I hadn’t attempted skiing since grade school, but managed to get up right away!  It came back to me immediately… just… like…   ….riding a bike, lol.  Which up until last year, I hadn’t done since grade school either.  We made PB&J’s and relaxed on the lake all afternoon.  It was an unbelievable day with unforgettable people.  You never know who you’ll meet or how or where.  So put yourself out there.

I left Telluride and cycled through smoke and ash alongside a massive wildfire which forced the shut down of San Juan National Forest.  A bit menacing, but I passed by it quickly enough.  Thankfully, a freaking awesome group of bikers helped clear my throat by buying me a very cold, much appreciated Face Down Brown Ale.  We had too much fun, as if that’s possible.  Bambi, the deer skull I found in Missouri, typically attracts my favorite kind of crowd.  😉

The final test was cresting Lizard Head pass, summiting at 10,222′; my last pass of the Rocky Mountains.  Monarch butterflies followed alongside me the entire climb, which was certainly symbolic.  A journey such as this is meant to transform you, and while you may not yet possess the clarity of a Caterpillar, the signs seem to be everywhere you look.  Pointing you in the right direction.  Directing and dissecting your perceptions and perspectives.

The generosity and friendships continue to bloom as I rolled into Delores, CO and was welcomed by Coast Guard Veteran Dave and his wife Belinda, who allowed me to stay in their beautiful gym.  I had met a couple named Al and Betty in the town before that they happened to know and hadn’t seen in a while, so we all got together for breakfast the next morning.  What a spread!!  …So grateful.

Speaking of spontaneity, my time in Dove Creek, CO was riddled with both unexpected excitement and sentiment.  The locals adopted me for the weekend, took me on adventures, and I was even invited to a wedding up in the Monticello Mountains!

The wedding was unique and wonderful.  Perfectly sliced sections of Aspen trunk replaced chairs and rows of trees replaced the aisle.  Warm sun, cool breeze.  The perfect day for love…

I had the great pleasure of spending quality time with a decorated Vietnam Veteran and Marine Special Forces Sniper named Stan.  It’s truly amazing how the military bond transcends both generation, war zone, and branch.  We both felt less alone after having met – our encounter was intense, deep, and will be forever engrained.  Stan gifted me a beautifully engraved knife, complete with his name etched into the side to remember him by.  A keep sake and a keep safe, all in one.

SITREP: Utah. The 7th state out of 10.  Over 560 miles down since Pueblo with roughly 1,380 miles remain.  Crippling heat topped with delicious descents, surrounded by what appear to be slices of 1,000 layer chocolate cake, called Mesas.  Where wind blown sands have sculpted the earth and mountains are crumbling into dunes like an hourglass.  The dust in my teeth simply adds to my grit, there’s no such thing as drinking too much water, and shade is nearly as scarce as cell signal.

I will now indulge in this untamed terrain – a desolate decadence.  40 mile long climbs, triple digit temperatures, and sharp double-digit grade inclines are a bittersweet, but just dessert for this challenge seeker.  Not a single soul or resource for 70-90 miles at a time.  Preparation will truly be my ticket to survival.  I’m going in hot.  See you on the other side…

Support SGT Sarah Lee’s Mission

// NOTHING FOLLOWS //

Support System

Current status: Colorado Springs, CO.  Two more wakeups remain until I finally face the Rocky Mountains and I AM READY.  Gear and bicycle are fine-tuned, the route is set, and my spirits are high.  2,400 miles under my belt and 2,000 miles remaining.  3 more states and one more time zone.  The line up includes the Rockies, Desert, Sierra Nevadas, and onto the beautiful Golden Gate Bridge.

As June 2nd grows closer, I find myself reflecting on the organizations and people that not only helped make the continuation of my journey possible, but reinforced and solidified the positive mindset I’ve been clinging to since my accident last year.

In late January, I was linked up with Steven Beck, Founder of A Ride for the Wounded, through our mutual military friend, Major Cory Kline.  This Kansas City based non-profit was born to better Veterans’ lives and support their missions by hosting Charity Motorcycle Rides and Events on their behalf.  This year, they chose A Vicious Cycle as one of their recipients!  It was an incredible experience, working with Steven and his organization…

Our Motorcycle Event (We Ride!) took place on April 21st, beginning in Nashville and finishing 90 miles east in Cookeville, TN at The Wall That Heals; Traveling Vietnam Wall.  I met with Fox 17 Nashville on site and was able to gift a Vietnam Veteran the rose that I received at my Welcome Home ceremony from Iraq back in 2005.  View segment:

The impact of this indescribable day certainly fanned the flames that have been building inside of me.  I was overcome with emotion and gratitude for both the massive effort put forth on my behalf by A Ride for the Wounded, as well as the abundance of bikers that participated in support of my vision and mission.  Breathtaking.

The last few months, I’ve been traveling to Tennessee VFWs to discuss my bicycle journey and the story behind A Vicious Cycle and I could not have received a warmer welcome.  The VFW and its members have shown me an enormous amount of encouragement and support, both on a local, district, and national level.

In early May, I was notified that VFW National decided to issue me a grant toward both the completion of A Vicious Cycle and to help kickstart Waypoint Vets, the program I’ve founded and am launching upon my return this fall.  It will afford other Veterans opportunities to detach and unite through nature based outings and social activities.  I now know first hand how much healing can happen out there.  Needless to say: goosebumps and tears.  It’s happening.

I’ve had the honor of speaking to American Legions, AmVets, Legion Riders, Rolling Thunder, Combat Veterans Motorcycle Association, and other incredibly supportive groups and clubs. It’s incredible what can happen when you surround yourself with people who recognize that your intentions are pure, your vision is clear, and drive and execution will be formidable and organized. I am adamant about making a real difference for my fellow Veterans going forward. Period.

In preparation for my departure, my military family really stepped up during training. SFC Masaitis drove from Cleveland, OH to Nashville for two weeks to kickstart my training and get my mind right. At 6’6″, 255 lbs, this hurricane of a human being infiltrated my comfort zones and helped remind me that despite pain or injury, I am still a force to be reckoned with.  My Army Infantry friends SFC Nunn and 1SG Steward had me back on their radio show, Stew & the Nunn (Watch Segment).  My brothers and sisters from across the branches stepped up and joined me in conditioning for my mission.

A special thank you is in order for my good friend Robb (DJ Worm). He is a radio personality for Rock 106 out of Monroe, LA and a professional DJ.  Robb organized a fundraising event on my behalf where contestants challenged him to a game of Name That Tune. …and no night is complete until you are “fireman’s carried” out of the venue by another woman, haha.

On my way to Colorado, I stopped in Kansas City, KS, where I met with ABC News Channel 9 to discuss the importance of post-war healing, winning the war inside, and finishing what you start. We interviewed at the National WWI Memorial downtown – a powerful and one of a kind landmark that I was honored to visit. The segment aires on June 1st: View Segment

While in Kansas City, I was able to link up with Daniel (founder) and Mark from Team Fidelis, enjoy time with the members of A Ride For The Wounded, and visit my local friends.  We toured the National WWI Museum, visited a few Veteran Memorials, and said our goodbyes at iHop.

On May 21st, I left Kansas City for Pueblo, CO, where I dropped off my bicycle at Great Divide Bike Shop.  The owner, Lee, and his staff gave it a thorough once over and Sam, who works at Great Divide, posed for a selfie with Bambi.  Sam also organized a 7-mile bicycle ride when I got into Pueblo that visited each of the Veteran Memorials as well as an escort for our first day back!  Incredible.

It’s been awesome being back in Colorado Springs. Familiar views were quick to steal my gaze and both new and familiar faces were eager to warm my heart…  I couldn’t ask for more generous, thoughtful, and uplifting people to surround myself with before setting out back on this journey…

I’ve been house and dog sitting for a Navy Veteran, who is one of the members / medics of Team Rubicon that helped me last year.  Such a relaxing escape to come back to after training each day…  Having the right people behind you makes moving forward easy.

Time to head back to Pueblo and mentally clip in.  Day 1 will be 51 miles to Canon City with a stop in Wetmore…  Saturday, June 2nd, 2018 at 0800 is just around the corner –  and as I said the night before I set out last year: the only thing left to do is to start.  #ArmyStrong #HonorTheFallen #FinishWhatYouStart

// NOTHING FOLLOWS //

Behind A Vicious Cycle

SGT Sarah Lee, OIF II Combat Vet, will be completing a 4,000+ Mile Cycling Journey Across America.
Start Date: June 2nd, 2018 – Pueblo, CO.
Her story:

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WE RIDE! MOTORCYCLE EVENT
Sponsored by A Ride for the Wounded

Click Image to View Event

“A Scenic Ride from Nashville, TN to The Wall That Heals: Traveling Vietnam Wall in Cookeville, TN”

// NOTHING FOLLOWS //

Arsenal

I received word that the Second Brigade Motorcycle Club planned to recognize me at their Annual Banquet in Northeastern Ohio.  SBMC is a Fraternal Motorcycle Club of Veterans and Non-Veterans alike, whose mission is to support and honor Veterans of all Ages and from all Wars.  Each year, they present plaques to 5 Combat Veterans and I am the second Female Vet to be recognized in their club’s history!

What a privilege to be recognized alongside three Vietnam Veterans, as well my fellow OIF I / II Vet, Amanda Adamson.  Adamson and I spent a couple months pulling 12-hour static security shifts together at the perimeter of FOB Speicher near Tikrit, Iraq in 2004.  She has been a massive supporter of A Vicious Cycle, and an overall solid battle buddy and friend over the years.

As you can imagine, we had a wonderfully wild time celebrating with the members of Second Brigade MC.  Participating in their ceremonies and traditions, swapping stories with fellow Vets, and learning about their Club’s ongoing missions.  I call them the Rock for the Rocks.  After all, what in the world would us Veterans do without selfless organizations such as SBMC…

While up in Ohio, I got to spend some quality time with my close friend and former Squad Leader, Sergeant First Class David Parks.  We had WAY too much fun playing with weapons.  I almost couldn’t bring myself to give that Ruger 7.62 back to him…  And never hurts to dabble in the more intimate forms of medieval combat.  It’s always a real treat for my inner child to get her hands on grown-up toys.

Don’t just turn heads. Break necks. 😉

Every military enlistee has someone they’ve looked up to since the day they arrive at their assigned Unit.  For me, that Soldier is Sergeant First Class Sandra Mesenburg.  My very first formation as a 17 year old Private in the 612th Combat Engineers, I watched and mimicked her facing movements and took note of her behavior.

Iraq 2003, Recruiting 2005, Panama 2002

Over the past 15 years, I have been so very fortunate to have gained a best friend.  We’ve served in three Units together, deployed to Panama and Iraq, went to war and survived combat zones together, worked in Recruiting together, and we confide in and rely on each other to this day.

FOB Speicher, Tikrit Iraq, 2004

Spending time with other Veterans seems to be the best medicine.  It’s a camaraderie that cheers when you succeed and catches you when you fall.  Because when you fail, fail.  We joke on each other a lot and we’re tough on each other.  Don’t be fooled by our grotesque humor and brutal one-liners…  We care a lot.  Unspoken sentiments.  Unyielding loyalty.  Truth is, I would not be alive today if it weren’t for one of my Brother’s ultimate sacrifice.  Which brings me to my final stop up north: The Fallen Heroes Memorial in Sunbury, OH.

It was a cold day in central Ohio, with a high of 13° and wind chill of 2°.  I parked, took a deep breath, and walked into the Memorial.  It was quite an impressive layout, complete with impeccably aligned rows of labeled crosses, marking every fallen Ohio Hero during the War on Terror.  I scanned the grounds silently, impacted and speechless; this was our war, these are my heroes.  I came here seeking out one cross in particular.

PFC Samuel Bowen.  A husband, a father, a Soldier in my section of the 216th Combat Engineers – who because of his ultimate sacrifice and acts of bravery, could not return from Iraq with us.  Still, after 13 years, I have not the words, Brother.  I am forever grateful to have known you and honored to have laughed with you.  Thankful to have received your famous bear hugs, and to have served by your side.  We will Never Forget your courage and selflessness.

After drying my cheeks and circling the sobering grounds one last time, I ended up crossing paths with a man and his wife.  They were taking turns photographing each other next to a cross that read Sergeant First Class Charles “Chuck” Adkins.  I carefully offered to take a photo so they could both be in it.  They looked over and nodded with thankful eyes.

After the photo, the man introduced himself. “I’m Charles Adkins, Chuck’s Dad.”  He paused, adjusting his cover that read Vietnam Veteran and straightened up tall. “That’s my boy…”  Perspective flushed over me like a slow-moving tsunami – Charles had lost his son in Afghanistan near FOB Gamberi during Operation Enduring Freedom in April of 2011.  He took me through the tough story of that day, then shared some endearing memories, and spoke of how they’ve kept SFC Adkin’s memory alive through benefits, charities, and programs such as their Annual Golf Scramble.

His son is a local legend and truly a hero’s hero.  The Charles L. Adkins Memorial Highway (Ohio SR-101) runs from Castalia, OH to Sandusky, OH in Erie County.  It was incredibly special to get to learn about Chuck directly from his father: who is also a Combat Veteran, bravely serving in Vietnam as a Small Artillery Specialist in the First Field Force’s Charley Battery.  We said our goodbyes and exchanged a very lengthy and meaningful hug.  What an unbelievably remarkable encounter.  These coincidences continue to give me chills.

Well, it’s not every day that you find yourself sitting across the table from a bona fide Rosie the Riveter.  Rosemary Keefe is a 93-year-old Michigan native who humbly describes herself as a “plain old farmer”.  However, anyone who has had the pleasure of listening to her stories knows better. She is the loyal widow of Airman George Keefe, a decorated WWII Veteran.  Brave revolutionaries such as Rosemary inspired a massive social movement that increased the number of working American women from 12 million to 20 million by 1944 – a 57% increase from 1940.

Rosemary’s factory was located in Detroit, MI. The riveters drilled holes into the floors of planes, which were then shipped to Buffalo, NY for assembly. The holes along these 8-foot panels had to be perfectly straight and circular as to not let air get trapped under the rivets. One Rosie would drill and another would hold a backing for the metal bolts to tighten against, forcing them flat. The rivets were then affixed and covered with mica glass to ensure they were airtight.

“The day Pearl Harbor was bombed, I was walking out of the theater and when I looked around, people were like statues on the streets.  It was quite a sight to behold”, Rosemary explained.  “They were all frozen in place, reading the local papers.  The war separated a lot of families and it was hard saying goodbye to my George.”

“I had wonderful parents…  My husband and I had 7 children together, and now I have over 80 grandchildren and great-grandchildren”, she paused. “I can’t complain about my life.  All I know is the day I turn 100, I’m going to have pork roast.”

Acupuncture @ Totty Chiropractic, Nashville

Getting to gorge myself on the bare-bones lifestyle of the road has now become a constant craving.  Comfort and convenience leave very little room for appreciation.  Out in the elements, feeling fully submerged in LIFE, free from newsfeeds and click-bait and talking heads.  Disconnecting, being embraced by communities, experiencing kindness, and listening to people’s stories has a remarkable effect on a person’s psyche.  Like sunbeams through societal storm clouds, America quickly begins feeling as indivisible as it was born to be.  For now, I’ll be rehabilitating my knee and counting down the days until May.  Because when it comes to my limitations, I get the final say.  #FinishWhatYouStart #ArmyStrong

// NOTHING FOLLOWS //

Nostalgia

[SUPPORT A VICIOUS CYCLE]

OFFICIAL:  I am able to continue my journey in May, 2018!!  My VA PAC Team linked me up with Dr. Tammareddi, an Orthopedic Surgeon at the campus in Murfreesboro, TN.  There is moderate tearing throughout my PCL Ligament, as well as some damage to the cartilage around my patella.  There is not a full tear, so they would like to avoid surgery.  For now, it’s IBUprofen, physical therapy, and slowly re-strengthening my knee and body.  Dr. Tammareddi is truly a talented and caring doctor.  I gave him one of my A Vicious Cycle cards at our initial consultation back in October.  Two months later, my Airborne Infantry friend, who also had an appointment with him, told me that my AVC card was still sitting at his keyboard, on display.  I couldn’t believe it…  That meant so much to me.  I see Dr. T again on January 18th to follow up.

I would like to extend a very special thank you to my great friend: Vietnam Combat Veteran and Army 1st Infantry Division Brother,  Captain Jerry Bell.  He surprised me by sending an OIF Veteran hat, which I received the morning of my MRI appointment.  His impeccable timing and thoughtfulness brightened my day immensely…  CPT Bell served from ’66 – ’72 as a Small Unit Commander.  He is a two times recipient of the Bronze Star Medal as well as the Air Medal, for heroic acts in combat.  He took the time to meet me on my journey (a 20 hour drive for him) on his way to the annual Big Red One reunion.  It was incredible to hear him speak and I’m so thankful to have gained the continued support, encouragement, and friendship from a man of his caliber.

After resting my knee for a few weeks, I submerged myself back into my Photography business.  A positive way to keep busy and forget about being suspended in this recovery limbo.  This is my 10th year as small business owner and I truly do love capturing moments for others…

Quite a lot of Veterans have increasingly noticeable memory issues, including myself, and I often rely on photos to specifically recall people and events.  They are important.  One photo can bring back a whole day of memories.  Images can paint the complete picture of an experience, or summarize an existence.  Someday, it could be all we have left of someone.  Many of my clients have been coming to me for over a decade now!  Their trust and business have meant so much…

My sister took the time to make a trip from Ohio and visit me in Nashville.  After stopping at Halcyon Bike Shop and photographing murals around the city, we spotted two homeless Veterans sitting near highway I-65.  An Army Vet and a Navy Vet.  They waved and smiled at every single vehicle that passed them by.  It was incredibly heartwarming on a cold November day.  We found a gas station and got them two hot coffees and some Clif bars, then parked on the shoulder and walked over.  We had a great talk, shared some laughs, exchanged stories, and ended with long hugs.  It was pretty special.  Always try to leave people better than you found them.  Take the time, make the effort.  I only wish I could have done more…

Outside of a visit from family and meeting clients for photo shoots, I have admittedly been isolating myself heavily with little to no social interactions since early September.  It still isn’t clear why isolating feels like such a necessity, regardless of how unhealthy and dangerous it can be.  This sort of pattern is part of what this journey was mending, and continuing my ride in the spring has never felt more crucial.  After several months of self-inflicted cabin fever, fight or flight anxiousness was setting in.  It was time to try and fly.  I decided to head north for a few days and return to a few special spots I’d discovered along my bicycle journey.  Bag packed, gas tank full, on four wheels rather than two.  Time to hit the open road and pay Bicycle Route 76 a visit.

Sonora, KY: A small town along the TransAmerica Trail that will forever hold a  place in my heart.  My parents surprised me back in June for my birthday in this very patriotic place.  Nostalgia swept me back to June, when I rounded the corner of Main Street on my bicycle – my Mom and Dad waving ecstatically from the front columns of Brooks General Store and Cafe.

It was just as I remembered; the table where I opened birthday presents, the wall of signatures, and I even ordered the same meal again.  Grilled chicken sandwich, cottage cheese, coffee, and water.   The owners remembered us vividly and we looked through the log book together for my entry.

On my way into the Cafe, I spotted a truck parked out front with a Special Forces license plate and couldn’t help but asked who it belonged to.  A gentleman raised his eyes from a newspaper and lifted a couple fingers in the air.  “That would be my truck, ma’am.  Name’s Jarvis Burton.”  We began talking and he shared some incredible stories from his tour in Vietnam and his time as a Green Beret with the 6th Special Forces out of Fort Bragg.

SPC Burton led my imagination through a couple of intense combat experiences, to include a descriptive witnessing of the infamous “Puff the Magic Dragon” warship in action.  The Douglas AC-47 ‘Spooky’ (radio call sign “Puff”) stockpiled 45 Flares and 24,000 rounds, including three 7.62 mm miniguns, each of which could selectively fire either 50 or 100 rounds per second.  As he spoke, it felt as if my ears tripled in size, as to not miss a single syllable this hero was telling me.  On the way out to my car, I remembered a special little spot, hidden from view, where I watched a sunset on my journey.  There was no better way to end my visit in Sonora, KY…

Nothing beats getting lost on Memory Lane – a welcome diversion when plagued with choosing a path…  Nostalgia is a beautiful escape – it’s hindsight’s charming stunt double.  Hindsight can be a harsh educator for somebody with a warm heart and cold mind.  The 20/20 vision hindsight affords can stain you with resentment and cynicism – particularly when you’ve allowed yourself to only see the beauty in others.  While people and nature are equally seasonal, one ironclad truth remains: Nature never disappoints.  My stop for the night was a humble, secluded cabin near Falls of Rough, KY, where I had taken several cycling days off to spend time with my parents back in July.  It was nice to be back.

The memories came flooding in as I pulled into the Rough River Dam Lodge, located in Falls of Rough, KY.  Smiling ear to ear, I recalled exploring the grounds, the endless buffet at Grayson Landing Restaurant, playing putt-putt golf, laughing with the lodge staff…  Recalling having to fix three flat tires while there even made me chuckle.  And the staff members remembered me!  It was so cool.  Being back here made it clear – I was really onto something out there.  The anticipation for continuing this journey has reached an all-time high.

As the sky darkened, it was time to refocus on the reason I came here: some internal conflict resolution, free from interjection or external insight.  Closing the door is soothing because it’s safety, but sad because it’s selfish.  Locking yourself in also means locking everyone else out.  But no one has a better chance of solving your puzzle than you do.

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// NOTHING FOLLOWS //