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A small gold ribbon journeyed with me, a visual reminder of my Grandpa Harold, “Big Daddy”, as he is known to most of us. Two years ago my Dad, who is now “Big Daddy in Training”, and my Brother Adam, started the tradition of “Berra Boys on Bikes”. A few days in the summer when the three Berra boys enjoy riding, laughing, sharing miles and good times. Last year “B3” toured the Rogue Valley, during the same time of the month as my trip now. My route this trip would take me on some of the same roads and sights. This summer was packed with travel and my Sister’s wedding and B3 did not manifest. My calling was becoming clearer, the pull, vision, intention.
The day was warm and an unexpected tailwind pushed me easily through the first fat forty miles north. My Dad called me as I neared Shady Cove and the Maple Leaf Motel where B3 stopped for a night last year. Turned out he was out on his bike too, and maybe even Adam was out on the streets of NYC.
The miles passed, gradients up, subtle downs. Gold gave way to green, scrub oak became sky- tickling pine. My heart beating with strength and joy as I neared one and left another. It felt good, to finally be here moving with something, towards something, for something, and to realize I can replace all the words, feelings, struggles, excitements, all those ‘somethings’, with one thing, LOVE. Like one fork.
After 100 miles I started the ten mile climb to the North rim of the crater. Aroma of sweet pine rosin marrow filled the air. The blood, sap of the tree, connected to me, my marrow, the marrow of my fathers before me. Injection of scent inspiring emotion that went straight to my lungs, blood, heart, deep into my spirit so strong I felt the impact. I am, my Father is, my Grandfathers are, alive!
Climbing higher I saw a maroon Subaru Outback coming down the hill. “Matt drives a maroon Outback”. “But I don’t think he has a big Rocketbox on the top”. As the car drove by, my gaze pierced the glint on the windshield, to find, looking right at me, Matt!
Brake lights lit up and I slowed my pace. Matt flipped around and quickly caught up. We exchanged “Holy Shits!” and hugs. Literally two minutes before we saw each other Matt had just got back into cell phone range and was listening to the message I left him a couple days earlier.
Matt was on his way back to Bend, with plans for a short masochistic detour to run up Mt. Thielsen. I told Matt he should join me that night back at the Union Creek Resort for a “Mini-American-Dolomite-Vacation”. Similar in many ways: no cell phone or internet service, small mountain style lodging near a cold creek, cycling and running involved.
I continued my climb, rejuvenated in a way that no energy bar could. Five minutes later the view opened to a yellow, gray, and rust painted cinder hillside below the North Rim of the crater. A shadow passed over. I looked up to see Red-Tail for the first time of the trip, circling the rim, just as I expected from the vision in my calling earlier in the week. (My friend, William, later asked if Red-tail was carrying a fork. And I’m sure when I re-tell this story, years from now, he will be.)