Before talking about our ride, I'd like to say goodbye to John Seigenthaler, who died yesterday at age 86. I had the honor of appearing on his show, "A Word on Words" in a 30-minute interview about my book Rising Son. Always encouraging people to improve themselves, he finished every show with "Keep reading!" Growing up in Mr. Seigenthaler's hometown of Nashville, Tennessee, I heard all about his fascinating life and accomplishments. As a young reporter sent to cover an imminent suicide attempt, he saved the man from jumping off the bridge, which was subsequently named after Seigenthaler. He was a confidant of the Kennedy family in the 1960's, worked for Robert Kennedy when he was Attorney General in JFK's administration, and was at the forefront of supporting the Civil Rights movement. The Tennesseean Newspaper, which Seigenthaler ran for many years, wrote an extensive piece about his remarkable life. It ends, fittingly, with Seigenthaler's favorite quote from Bobby Kennedy: "Few will have the greatness to bend history, but each of us can work to change small events, and those acts can write the history of our generation."
I mentioned in my last post that I would give the kids a day off from cycling to play at the Seabreeze Amusement Park in Rochester, NY. We had a lot of fun. Near the end of the day, the sky blackened, and it began to rain. I asked the kids if we should go home, but Saya, who has cycled through her fair share of storms, said, "A little rain isn't going to stop us from having fun!"
While in Rochester, we stopped by yellow haus bicycles to say hello to Alex Wirth. Alex commented on our blog two weeks ago and invited us to stop by when we rode through town. He's a good guy. If you visit Rochester, make sure to check out his shop.
People sometimes worry that cycling so many miles might be too much to ask of a 13-year-old and 7-year-old. But every time we take a break from riding, Sho and Saya grab the soccer ball for an impromptu game. Clearly, these kids aren't getting enough exercise...
Cycling along the Erie Canal offers many opportunities to see local animals. Here's Saya with a family of ducks passing by:
More soccer fun next to our tent, which we set up by the Erie Canal in Holley, NY:
Saya catching our dinner:
While camping, we met a group of cyclists on a ride organized by the Adventure Cycling Association (ACA). This hardy crew is following the Northern Tier route across the United States and expect to reach the Pacific Ocean on September 15.
I chatted for a while with Zoe, the tour leader. She was a lot of fun, and I was sorry to say goodbye.
Since we live in NYC, my kids rarely get to play with fire. By that all changes when we camp out. They compete to see who can collect the best firewood, and they've learned how to arrange the wood to allow oxygen to flow. I've also taught them the most important part: how to keep from starting a forest fire when you leave the camping area. The trick is to pour water over the ash, even if you think the fire has completely burned out.
Sho and Saya know how to press each other's buttons and regularly bicker, as all siblings do. But they also share a lot of love. I hope these bike trips help to create a loving bond that will last for the rest of their lives.