Sunday, June 21, 1981
At 63, Jack was an experienced cycle tourist. I, an el cheapo rider almost 30 years younger, had six DALMACs and a lazy solo tour of Great Britain under my belt. A new adventure sounded like fun. "But I'm not in shape for something like that!" I told him. "Don't worry - after a few days on the road, you'll be in great shape!" he retorted. And so we bought the route maps from Bikecentennial and began making our plans.
I managed to wangle an extended leave from my job as a COBOL/RPG programmer at the Michigan Department of Mental Health. Come mid-June, I flew out to Seattle to visit Shelley, my sister, for a few days before heading to Portland to meet Jack for the actual start of the ride. Seattle seemed like a very livable city. I spent one evening with Denise and Mary, who used to work with me at DMH, and who were both now in the Seattle area with data processing jobs. They urged me to consider moving out to Seattle, and said I could earn at least $5000 more out here than I could with the State. (Two years later, I took their advice, and bought a house one block from Shelley. I'm still there.)
As usual for me, preparations for the trip were put off until the last minute, with the result that I spent most of the three days in Seattle shopping for bicycle parts and rain gear, tuning my bike, and filling out my 1980 income tax returns. I even worked on those darn taxes while Shelley and her housemates were hosting a party Saturday night. Had I known what lay ahead, I would have postponed that drudgery until Portland, and enjoyed the party. C'est la guerre.