Ten years ago, I turned 40. About a year before my birthday, Bryan asked me what I wanted and I jokingly said that I wanted to buy a new BMW in Munich and then spend the next two weeks riding my bike through Europe while he crewed for me in our new car. He booked the trip and it turned out to been one of the most joyful times of my life. It wasn’t about the new car (but that was nice for sure) – it was spending all that time with Bryan in beautiful places and getting that great riding in. It was decadent for sure but I believe in milestone birthday events. The funniest part about the whole trip was that the first thing that we had to do with the new car was drive it into an elevator to park it in the hotel parking garage. I had to squeeze my perfect new car into this tight space and it was nerve racking! What a fun trip.
Today is the tenth anniversary of my 40th and I am still basking in the glow of the present I gave to my self – the Appalachian Trail. But there might be some other presents too, right? I woke up this morning so excited about what I just knew was waiting for me out front. My new jet black Toyota Tacoma 4 x 4 extended cab with manual transmission, camper top, bike rack and sunroof. I rushed from the bedroom to the front windows and was what I saw was heartbreaking. I ran back to get Bryan and he was just as surprised as I was. The space in front of the house was empty. How could this happen on my birthday? I knew that auto theft was on the rise in Decatur. Someone nicked my new ride. I grabbed the phone to call the police but Bryan said he had already contacted them and they were investigating. I hope I turns up soon.
I’m being silly. No new truck for me but I don’t know a man alive that doesn’t dream about a new Toyota Tacoma. Before the Trail, I probably would have bought one for myself but I have a different perspective right now. I just spent the last four months with all of my belongings on my back and was as happy as I could be. I think that is one of the most powerful lessons for me about the Trail. Less stuff. I came home with an itch to shed some things that I’ve been hanging on to for years. I have quite the bike collection from my days racing triathlons and its time to let this stuff go. I’ve got some great fast gear up on Ebay if your interested. I think I was hanging onto a lot of this because they were memories of a happy time in my life. I was training, racing and traveling to some amazing places with wonderful people. I experienced the same on the Trail and it gave me the space to let some of the stuff go. I have the memories forever but some of the physical objects can go now. It feels good and trust me – I’m hanging onto the really cool bikes.
So, instead of tooling around in my new truck, I spent a great day with my friends. Betty and Ernie came over and we had fun hanging out on the porch. They brought lunch and a midnight cake from Alon’s for Low Branch. That old dude turned 50 today. Yikes. Bryan and I went on a run and then did our new COVID-19 friendly workout in the back shed. I wrapped up the day catching up outside with The Baxters. Our favorite next door neighbors. We’ve known and loved them since our first day in Decatur in 2004. It was a perfect day.