Haul glass up and down the interstate and you'll stumble upon a ton of cross-country quests. I feel as if I've covered 'em all: cowboy preachers on horseback, junkies taking a run at redemption, wall-eyed drifter carrying a cross. Whatever led to their personal sojourn, they had one thing in common: they were all half a bubble off plumb. That's carpenter talk for 'avoid elevator rides with this person'. So far I've managed todo just that, but scaling a few floors in close proximity with one of these pioneers is nothing compared to back-pedaling in front of them on some lonesome highway for a few hours. Don't get me wrong: I've met some fine folk, but quite often I've left their presence with the bullshit detector in my brain clanging away.
Which is why my time with a group of cyclists from Buffalo was so refreshing, for they didn't come off as the least bit loopy. Instead, they seemed dangerously sane for a flock of forty-somethings pedaling from state to state. Then again, they've had a quarter century to think about it. See, these three friends began their journey back in 1986 and they'd have finished it then too, had a truck driver not fallen asleep at the wheel and plowed into their group. Two went down, hard. What followed can only be described as life: a couple of the cyclists grew up to be doctors while a third fell into a crevasse of addiction. That's usually where the story ends, but these Buffalo natives are simply made of stronger stuff. When they decided to embark on another cross-country trek, a sore-saddle lunge for closure, local media outlets swooned. That included Bob Buckley and me. We spent no more than two hours with the guys as they snaked their way through the Piedmont, but I'll have a hard time forgetting them, for they taught me A.) it's never too late to finish what you started, B.) old campers CAN be held together by duct tape and C.) not everyone obsessed with that next horizon is completely out of their gourds.
I'll try to remember that next time I roll my eyes at an assignment.