Four months and two days after I left Chicago, I rolled back into town today, Friday September 18th, at 4:10pm.
And as I sit here, back in the spare guest bedroom at my dad's house that I used for my base of operations when I planned this, I'm struck by how I feel like no time has passed at all. I'm back where I started; my maps that I used when planning are still up on the wall, the boxes with the few possessions that I wasn't able/didn't need to take on the trip are still in the corner, and the weather now is about the same as when I left. It's a little bit hard to remind myself that I don't have a summer ahead of me to waste on the bike.
Everything seems so quiet and still now. Even in the last few months when I have been indoors, it's been in a hotel or in someone else's house, and now I'm back in a space that is mostly my own, and it's just . . . strange. My bike sleeps in a garage tonight; I unpacked my saddlebags for the last time, took my seat bag inside, flopped into a chair . . . and now I'm at a bit of a loss for what to do with myself. I mean, sure I've got a few thousand pictures that I need to sort, and a lot of writing to do, but rarely in my life have I been so unsure of what the future holds for me.
Oddly, tomorrow is another bike trip, although not of the same caliber. Tomorrow I head up to Milwaukee to spend a few days with the not-girlfriend. When my dad asked me if I wanted to borrow one of his cars for the trip, I looked at him with a slightly incredulous expression; Was he serious? Did he actually think I was tired of riding?
The sad part is, that I am in no way read for this trip to be over. I feel like I was just getting into the grove of things, I had my routine down to a science and nothing phased me anymore. Some people are ready for a break after just four days on a bike, and for many, a four week trip is the luxury of a lifetime. I rode for four months straight and still don't feel like it was enough; already I'm itching for more. In my head, I've already got the seeds planted for another trip.
I think Norway sounds like a nice place to visit, don't you?