Riding out of Colorado I felt as though I had wings on my feet. I thought it was because we had a day off in Durango to rest, but I quickly realized it was because The entire ride was a slight declination. Either way, we cruised into Utah with some incredible scenery.
Rolling into Bluff, UT was also the first ride I took on alone. It started out sort of unintentional. I figured I would jump on with a group later in the day. However, I found going at my own pace to be extremely energizing. Along the same lines, riding through the desert landscape and unbelievable rock formations was quite a spiritual experience.
Riding alone can be dangerous, but I think I needed a day for some self reflection. I also had the opportunity to meet Inhyung Cho, a 27 year old from South Korea who came to the United States to bike from Los Angeles to Chicago. He said he was wanted to take on adventure before attending law school in the near future. He also mentioned how riding alone was a great opportunity for some deep thought - a feeling I could relate to.
We have now entered the desert of Arizona in our final stretch to California. Most of us agree there is so much more vegetation than we expected. I am also hoping to see a traditional cactus with a tall head and two arms.
One of the things I was looking forward to most on this ride was reaching the Grand Canyon where we spent our fourth and final day off. Coming from a mountain state, a big hole in the ground is pretty much the exact opposite of what I'm used to. There are no words to describe how incredible the canyon is. It truly is a wonder of the world. It's vast walls look like a painting that could never be captured in a photo. It is completely surreal. Several of our team members hiked the canyon from rim to rim. I had to sit out because of some knee pain, and I worried a 14 mile hike would keep me from being able to bike the following day. I'll have to come back someday and spend sometime inside the canyon. Regardless, camping along the rim under the stars for two nights was an unforgettable experience. Not to mention the amazing sunset over the canyon.
Beyond the incredible scenery, Arizona has been a place to wind down and reflect on the trip as a whole. It's hard to believe we've biked over 3,000 miles. I've come to realize that Bike & Build has truly redefined the idea of home for me. Essentially for the last two months, we 28 riders have been homeless.However, I've found a new home in so many unexpected places. Whether it be with my new Bike & Build Family wrapped up in a cinnamon roll (A special form of a group hug), or under the roof of a hospitable host, or raising a frame on the foundation of a new home on a build site, or on my bike seat climbing Monarch Pass, or at the dinner table with a generous community who pulled together a pot luck for us, or simply sleeping on my thermarest under the stars in the Grand Canyon - I can truly call all of these places home. If home is where the heart is, my heart is growing everyday to fill the many homes I now have all across the country.