By: Margaret Fetzer-Rogers (Eastern MA team)
Well, Monday was our first day biking. Though we had taken a few short trips to the library during our orientation week, that was nothing to compare to biking thirty miles (or more) with two full trailers. We looked great riding out. That lasted about thirty seconds. As I left the driveway of Camp Wilmot my water bottle fell off my bike. I stopped to allow the group to pass and grabbed my water bottle. Turning the corner, preparing to push to catch up with the rest of the group, I found myself laughing; ahead of me there were bikers scattered all along the hill. One group had lost a bag, three trailers had unhitched; it was chaos. We all laughed, fixed the glitches, and got back on the road.
After our initial break down, all went well. Eastern Mass and New Hampshire rode together for many miles, while Western Mass traveled in the other direction. Though Eastern and New Hampshire split for a mile or two we ended up together again for another mile before we (Eastern MA) were transported further into New Hampshire to continue biking.
Our last soiree in New Hampshire was entirely improvised. While driving through Newton, Bliss recognized the road; we were right around where one of her good friends lives. We called her friend Leanna Bergeron and met with her in a gas station parking lot. We talked with her for about 10 minutes; gratefully munching on snacks she brought us, then hit the rode again.
We finally made it Massachusetts, but then things started to go down hill (not literally)! There was an issue with one of the trailers and the rope kept breaking. We tried it about 4 times, and then learned the New Hampshire team had had the same problem. They had used duct tape to fix theirs, but they had the only roll of duct tape. So, we asked ourselves, What would Marla do? (Marla Marcum is one of the orientation trainers and organizers for Climate Summer, and she rocks…) So we decided it was best to knock on doors and ask for duct tape. We got it. But during that time we had sat on that short strip on Kenosa Av. in Haverhill, we convinced ourselves we were lost. Cue old senile man.
We were sitting near his driveway, trying to sort out the trailer and direction and he came out asking if we needed any help and what not. Well, good as his intentions were, he did not know his way around very well. Naturally, this aided to our confusion. Thinking we were fifteen miles out while simultaneously being freaked out by the dusk falling, we ended up calling for help.
Sara, being from North Andover, knew people close by. Her neighbor came to our rescue. Susan, ever so kindly, took all of our stuff and fit in Bliss and Sara into her SUV (to our relief yet grimace). Meanwhile Ying and I rode on with directions for our first two turns. Ying and I flew. At first we were nervous and unsure while driving on busy streets, but then we realize that situations like these are all part of what we’re doing this summer. We were biking down a beautiful New England road at dusk, admiring the moon, cool wind blowing past us.
The time went quickly without our things dragging us down and soon we were at the Rolling Ridge Retreat Center, our home for the next four days. After the whole ordeal, I understand so much better why we are doing what we are doing this summer. We are challenging ourselves to live beyond the boundaries we have always known. In questioning what we really need, we learn that it is so much less than we previously thought. Before if I where traveling through that area, in a car, I would never I have seen its beauty as I did that night. By sitting in our cars we are living life in the passenger’s seat, observing beauty, but not experiencing it. That is what we are doing this summer, removing all but the essentials and treasuring all that’s left.