Day 39 Sunday 11th August 2013 – Denver, CO
Today was the day I had been waiting for. My girl was getting into town, and would be joining me for 4 weeks of Riding Americana. It was over 5 weeks since I’d last seen her and I was seriously excited. I said when I started re-blogging at the start of this trip that I there was perhaps some catching up to do from where I left the blog last time, and I guess this is place to do it.
Riding Americana holds a special place in both our hearts. When I had met Doreen back at the beginning of 2011, plans for the first trip of Riding Americana were in their tentative stages, but it was something firmly on the agenda that our blossoming relationship had to deal with. Not only did Doreen take it all in her stride, but she seriously wanted to come on the trip too. She even quite sincerely considered jacking her job in with a development agency of the Scottish government and coming with me for the whole 3 months, but caution just slightly outbalanced impulsiveness, and instead she decided to come only for parts of the trip. She came over for Sturgis in 2011, to see what it was all about, rode the Black Hills with me, and then down into the Rockies,before heading back north through Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks, and Beartooth Pass.
People who knew me back then would know how jaded I was about women, having come through one bitter and acrimonious divorce, where I had lost everything and had been denied any contact with my kids for months, even a year, at a time. Now 10 years on, I thankfully, have a great relationship with my 15 year old son, Brandon, who wants to come to live with Doreen and I in Edinburgh next year. Unfortunately, the same is not true of my 18 year daughter, Holly. The venom injected by my ex-wife over 10 years has really stuck there. Divorce Poison is an evil thing.
Then a 6 year relationship ended like this, with my stuff being put out in the yard over a frosty January night for me to collect the next day after her, and her new boyfriend, had gone to work.
Needless to say, I didn’t really trust women back then and early readers of this blog may have picked up on that. I wasn’t anti-women, I just didn’t trust them. I was adamant I didn’t want to live, and entangle my life, with another woman. That’s the frame of mind I was in when I met Doreen.
My first 3 month road trip could easily have caused us to part, but it didn’t. It did the opposite and brought us closer together. Doreen proved to be a great travelling companion, and if you know Doreen and her past, then it quickly becomes pretty evident that she hasn’t got a bad bone in her body. When she flew back to Scotland from Montana, we’d already made plans for her to fly out to Austin, TX later in my journey.
Riding down west coast, through Washington, Oregon and California, something changed in my head. All that time riding solo gives you lots of time to think – and I got to thinking about what I really wanted from my life. My issue with women was one of trust, and ironically, it was Doreen’s current relationship with her ex-husband that convinced me that she was nothing like the greedy, vindictive women I’d previously had in my life. Even 10 years after her divorce, she was still helping her ex-husband out when he needed it and when she could. She was to my mind and incredibly rare breed. Something very special indeed.
We met up in Austin and spent a week hanging out there, with Doreen’s very good friend, Korilyn. Within a couple of days of Doreen arriving, I proposed to her. And she said yes.
As early blog readers will know, I’d originally planned to ride all of the “Lower 48” in one go, taking 4 or 5 months to complete this. This plan changed when I realised that getting a visa to stay in the US longer than the 3 month visa waiver program wasn’t quite as easy as I had originally thought – Setback 1. Part 2 of the Riding Americana adventure should have happened in 2012, but Doreen and I had a much bigger, more important adventure to embark on. We got married.
So many of our friends and family came from around the world to help us celebrate this special day.
Our good friends from Size Queen and MetalTek played and helped to make our wedding the best party we could have hoped for.
And now, after a year of marriage, we are still blissfully happy together, and unlike many wives, my wonderful wife is fully supportive of my adventures, and believes, like I do, that life is for living – right now, not tomorrow. If she could have got the vacation time from her job, she would have been riding her own bike with me through every mile of Riding Americana part 2. As it was, she had to settle for a 4 week period, and her part of the trip was based around seeing bits of America she hadn’t seen before, despite spending 10 years living in San Francisco, and in visiting special friends and family.
Today was a day that couldn’t have come quick enough for me. I would soon be riding with my best friend and perfect partner-in-crime again.
All I day to do until her flight got in was prepare for her arrival, and part of that was doing my laundry. I was more than a little peeved that the Days Inn at Denver Airport didn’t have the guest laundry that it advertises on its website, since this was one of the main reasons I had chosen it. Instead I had to ride with my dirty clothes to the Holiday Inn down the road, and do my laundry there.
I checked the arrival information constantly all day, and thankfully her flight wasn’t delayed. I managed to get to the airport nearly a full hour before her flight was due in, and still managed to get confused about which exit hall she’d come out of – Canadian flights apparently count as domestic flights in Denver rather than international flights. So I scuttled between the two exits, and until finally I looked around and there she was.
We spent the rest of the day getting very happily re-acquainted, but that is not a story for here.