Well, the timing for that certainly worked out well. Did it? I don’t know. On the one hand, if we had to get sick, I’m sure glad it was while were in a comfortable hotel with a private bathroom and not out in the woods camping. Yeah, but to pedal all the way to Madrid — cycling Spain in the heat — and not leave the hotel for two days? That’s not true though, Doug, and you know it. We did go tour the bullring — what a waste of money that was! Hey, look, an empty stadium! Ole! Okay, that sucked, but Kristin thought it would be fun. We did get to see Picasso’s Guernica — damn that was a huge painting — and you did track down a new Garmin. Yeah, that’s right, we didn’t stay in the hotel the entire time. But we didn’t go out for tapas or go to one of the chocolaterias the city is famous for. So what. Oh, good, here comes Kristin.
“How was the climb?
“Awful. I don’t know what’s wrong, I have no energy. I’m still tired from being sick. How long were you waiting?”
“Five minutes or so, not sure. I’m tired too. Just try and hang in there, it’s not that far today.”
That’s a lie and you know it, Doug. She knows it too. We’ve only gone thirty five miles and have already done over three thousand feet of climbing. And this heat is unrelenting. I think these rocks are trying to cook us. And every day in Spain has been the hardest in months. She’s tired and she’s getting demoralized. She said this morning that she’s hit a plateau athletically and is starting to get frustrated that you keep getting stronger. You were waiting a lot longer than five minutes atop that climb, too. Yeah, but it’s best to not tell her that. That was good. Don’t rub it in. She’s right though, I am getting stronger. But there’s no comparison between us athletically. I’m in the best shape of my life. No you’re not. Okay, no I’m not. I was pretty fast in my running days. Yeah, you were. Too bad you didn’t have the mental strength you have now. That was always my weakness. Damn, I feel I can handle anything now. But back then I sucked. I wasn’t strong enough between the ears to handle the pain without pulling the plug. Remember that time you just walked off the track in Boston? Yeah, that was messed up. What a loser. Man, imagine if you could combine your head now with the speed you had when you were 19 or 20? Damn! You still wouldn’t have been elite. No, of course not. You wouldn’t have sniffed a sub-4 mile. No, but maybe a 1:49 in the half? Or a low 14-minute 5k? Yeah, that might have been possible. But a sub-4 mile? No way. Not a chance.
Oh great, another hill.
Maybe Kristin is right and we should just go work on a farm for a month or two in Greece this winter. I dunno. I think I’d rather just go back to Pamplona. There was that apartment you saw near Plaza del Castillo. Fully furnished and only five hundred euros a month. Yeah, but what about Turkey? Yeah, Turkey. And the Silk Road cities. Do you even care about that anymore? All you and Kristin talk about is taking time off to live in Spain or work on a farm or taking a cruise ship from Istanbul to Bangkok. What about biking around the world?
I don’t know. I’m tired, man. That’s what it is. We’re just tired. We’ve been going for 3 months since getting to Europe and we need some time off. Physically I’m in the best shape ever. No, we’ve already been through that. Not ever. Fine. Best shape since my early twenties. But this whole life on the road thing gets exhausting. People think it’s a damn vacation. Shit, this is harder than any day of our old lives. Yeah it is. But nobody would ever believe it. No, that’s fine. They don’t need to. I don’t care. It’s true though. Get yourself a house and a job and the easiest thing to do is to just wake up every day in that same bed and go to that same office. Yeah, but that’s no fun. No, I guess it isn’t.
Are those oranges? Where have you ever seen cacti growing next to oranges? And olives too? Spain is nuts. Olives and oranges growing in harmony. That’s some serious cats and dogs shit right there. That’s just nonsense.
Nonsense. All you do is think nonsense all day. Okay, think about Morocco. You’re going to be in Morocco in a few days. That’s insane! Morocco! You guys rode your bike to Morocco! But what about the oceans? Ugh. What is it with people who always ask about the ocean? You tell them you just rode here from Seattle and it’s always the same thing: ‘Must have had to pedal really fast to stay atop the water.’ Flipping derps. Derps. That’s a funny word.
But seriously, what are we going to do? Winter’s coming. We’re going to head to Tangier for a week and do nothing, that’s what we’re going to do. God, I hope we don’t even leave the apartment. I’m just going to play Hearthstone. Yeah, that will be good. And catch up on your journaling. And get some notes down for that book you’re going to write, don’t forget about that. Yeah, that will be good. A week off the bikes, just chilling out will be fun. And it will be good for you, too! Maybe then you’ll stop talking about renting an apartment in Spain. But I want to do that! Yeah, well, you’re not going to die when this trip is over. You’ve got your whole lives. But what about winter? Who cares about winter. It’s the Mediterranean! How cold can it be? You crossed the Cascades in March and eastern Montana in April! Yeah, that was cold. Did it even get above freezing that week? No, but let’s not think about that. That was damn cold. Italy isn’t going to be that cold. No, and if it is, you’ll hold up someplace and rent an apartment. Or go work on a farm. Or come back to Spain. Shut up about Spain!
“Hey to you too! Nice job on the climb.”
“Thanks. Were you waiting long?”
“Not at all.”
You’re a filthy liar. Yeah, but a good husband.
Special Thanks: Want to issue a special thanks to Barbara, a loyal reader we met on the Queen Mary 2, who was kind enough to contribute to our tapas fund. Thank you so much for your contribution! And thank you all to everyone who continues to read, like, and comment on our blog and on our Facebook page. Be sure to send us any questions you might have or suggestions.