And we’re off!
We did it!
Six hours behind schedule, with the sun already beginning to set over the Pacific ocean and friends having waited most of the day for us to show up, we arrived at Ocean beach: seven rascals, twenty-eight panniers and three trailers. Our departure was appropriate for the project: behind schedule, a little frenzied and chaotic, but full of high spirits. As the sun set over the ocean, we made our way down the Great Highway. Those who had never really rode a fully-loaded bicycle acclimated to the new balance, those who had offered to pull a trailer adjusted to the added weight . By dark we had just barely climbed the massive hill of Daly City and decided to pitch our tents on an elementary school field. It was far from our goal of Half Moon Bay, but at least we had made it out the door!
The next day (which was only yesterday) was full of firsts. Our first breakfast on the road together, our first grocery shop, our first lunch break, our first day of biking over 50 miles together.
Already we are realizing the need for creating new systems for efficiency and clear communication: constant rallys, structured check-ins, clearer divisions of leadership and labor and protocol for mediating tensions. And as we struggle to communicate about HOW we want to communicate and struggle to reach consensus about what it even MEANS to reach consensus, everything takes so much time. These past two days have been epically long, with us arriving at camp way after dark with little time to do more than cook dinner and pitch our tents before it’s time to go to sleep. There is no time to take stock of the day, prepare for the next day or even think about the play! (Last night Jenny said, “hey, remember when we put on a play?” and we joked that last week already felt worlds away)
But the hope is that everything will get easier. Our bodies are already adjusting to the massive amount of weight we are hauling and our communication is already become clearer. As we shift from navigating familiar daily paths autonomously and mostly indoors, to negotiating huge distances, collectively and almost entirely outdoors I am amazed at everyone’s physical stamina and remarkably good spirits in the face of what I am constantly being reminded is a ludicrously taxing endeavor.
But as I write this blogpost on my little laptop from my tent, John, Allison and Alexis are making breakfast for everyone, Jenny is packing up our gear, Lelia is charging our lights and phones and Ren is archiving our photographs. The beast is moving, slowly but surely, lumbering forward with trepidation and negotiation at every step, but it’s moving nevertheless. This is going to be quite a summer.