2019 BTUSFMS #12 – Adopted Son

September 5 | Carlsbad

I am not a native, having moved here two weeks before my freshman year in high school. Nor am I a prodigal, having moved away when I was 34 with the idea of going back to school and to explore becoming a writer.

But you could say that I am an adopted son of Carlsbad, California. I learned to drive here. I met my wife here. And I rode this stretch of the Pacific Coast Highway countless times in the 20 years I lived in the area.

So today, when we exited I-5 at Harbor Drive in north Oceanside after an 8-mile sprint down the freeway, I felt like I was coming home, even though many things have changed dramatically in the decades since I first rode my bike to the Oceanside harbor from Carlsbad as a 14-year-old explorer.

Today, I led a group of the Bike The US For MS riders through the route turns over the last ten miles, including past the waterfront duplex where I lived for four years in my 20s (it’s been much improved since I lived there).

Riding these roads was deeply nostalgic, and when we reached the campground where the team will spend the last night on the road, I walked to the fence overlooking the ocean, and saw a pelican fishing in its unique, dive-bombing way.

It felt like a kind of talisman, a completion of the scene I had witnessed days earlier, farther north, when a flock of pelicans skimmed the surface of the water below my viewpoint.

We are now 32 miles from completing our journey, and it feels even more clearly that completion is not really an end, but simply one stage in a continuing process of unfolding. The nostalgia of retracing steps and pedal strokes taken 50 years earlier heightens this perception, and brings to mind one of the passages from Lao Tsu’s Tao Te Ching:

“In Tao, the only action is yielding, the only direction is return.”

To learn more about Bike The US For MS, visit biketheusforms.org.


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