Driving on the Wrong Side of the Road

They said it was hard to adjust to driving on the opposite side of the road.

It is.

I’m back in Colorado and that’s where I’m having a problem. It’s pretty weird. Every once in a while, I catch myself making a wide turn and being on the wrong side of the road. I’m driving Irish in America. My friend, Dreena, who has been to Ireland, sometimes reminds me that I’m on the wrong side.

Figuring out how to drive on the opposite side of the road in Ireland wasn’t hard for me. Being mindful that I should always be on the inside of the road and driving a standard car were enough to keep me on the proper side. After 23 years of driving stick, trying to shift with the left NOT the right was reminder enough that I was no longer in Kansas. The pedals are all the same. The gear sequence is the same. You use your left to shift. I felt slightly stupid struggling through what was instinct back home.

After a couple small trips to the grocery store, it was almost as if I had driven this way my whole life.

With the exception of driving the country roads.

On my list of “Almost Pooped My Pants” moments is seeing a bus loaded with tourists barreling at me from a sharp turn down a hill on a road that barely fits the bus much less a tiny, beat-to-hell Peugeot that smells like wet dog* and we’re trying to pass each other. The driver didn’t even flinch. He must be a magician because there is no way in hell we should have been able to pass each other without one of us going off the road. Maybe Moses is a distant relative of his and he can widen the road like Moses parted the waters. Who knows but I’ll take it as miracle.

I think I’m going to add that phrase to my arsenal of metaphors. Perhaps I can use it when someone departs from their normal way of thinking/doing things without warning and potentially dangerously. For example:

“Sally just broke up with Brad after 7 years and now she’s going out clubbing every night, doing drugs, and missing a lot of work.”

“Wow. She’s totally driving on the wrong side of the road.”

Or maybe as a way to say someone is not thinking straight:

“Maybe you should go BASE jumping to add some spice to your life?”

“You are driving on the wrong side of the road. No way!”

Hmmmm….

* This fabulous Peugeot I speak of was purchased for a whooping total of 850 euros. It smelled strongly of wet dog and farm and there was mold growing on the dash and console. One morning, I opened the trunk to find a large snail hiding out where the trunk lid and trunk meet.  IMG_7145The suspension was pretty done which made hitting anything that resembled a bump feel like I hit a boulder. Though, if I was driving fast enough and hit a bit of a kicker, my imagination said I was Luke Duke and jumping over Rosco with the General…

0311_sccp_01_z+dukes_of_hazzard_other_news+general_lee

Part VIII: The Way Back Home

I remember flying through the valley but it’s more lush. Flowers that I hadn’t seen on this trip were blooming. The bushes looked green instead of brown. It was still desert, but different. I dip into what looks like the Pinto Basin and then hug the mountains until I see him. He holds out his arm and I settle myself on it. He speaks kindly to me in a language I’ve never heard but oddly I understand. His face is a mix of Mayan and some other Native American. We’ve been here before…

Often I dream of flying. I’m usually a very large hawk or an owl in these dreams and meeting up with an Indian man. I’m never quite sure if he’s a medicine man but I always feel like we’re looking for something.

Waking from this dream, I notice the sky not being so dark. It’s probably about 6:00am. The dream weighs heavy on my mind and I lay there so I can commit it to memory. I dread climbing out of my cozy down sleeping bag, knowing what I must do today.

Leave paradise.

Sunrise over my camp.

Sunrise over my camp.

Breakfast, pack, check the tires, load the bike.

My heart hangs heavy as I start my journey back to Palm Springs. The only motivations for biking a decent speed are the possibility of a hamburger and definitely a shower, though it isn’t that motivating. This road is familiar to me since I had biked it on Sunday to grab supplies. Once I get out of the town of Joshua Tree, it’s unknown territory amidst cars and large trucks. So what do I do? I lollygag through the rest of the park.

 

Do I really have to leave?

Do I really have to leave?

That thing is HUGE, like bigger than my hand huge.

That thing is HUGE, like bigger than my hand huge.

You'll always be in my heart, Joshua Tree. You were my first.

You’ll always be in my heart, Joshua Tree. You were my first.

After having biked I-10 at night, I was hopeful that route 62 wouldn’t be worse.

I started to wish I had taken I-10 again.

Route 62 has a lot of local traffic: cars, small trucks, the occasional semi. The down side is that on many parts of the road there is very little shoulder and it’s in super crappy condition. The super downside is the areas you want a shoulder, there is NONE. For example going down all the hills…there is no shoulder, there is a super strong head/side wind, and it’s curvy with concrete dividers. Even if you hopped the divider to get to what could be a safe spot, there’s no land to step on. It’s pretty much a cliff.

I had the fear of death on I-10 but at least there was a 5 foot shoulder the whole way. Route 62 scared the living bee-jeebus out of me.

When you crest the hill, the shoulder magically disappears as you gain light speed in a head wind.

When you crest the hill, the shoulder magically disappears as you gain light speed in a head wind.

Normally, I would take a food/water break. I took “get my nerve back up” breaks instead.

With the worst of route 62 behind me, I found myself looking at Palm Springs and the massive wind farms that preside to the North of the city. Almost there! Wait…what’s that sound…

With the little bit of shoulder I had and being careful to keep one eye on traffic, I start searching my bike for a strange whirring sound. Turns out, I lost a screw on the bottom arm of the bike rack so the rack itself was resting on my back tire. Fortunately, I had brought with me the extra screws for my clipless sneakers. It was a perfect fit. No MacGyvering it with duct tape and zip ties!

I exited Rote 62 onto Pierson Blvd, then took North Indian Canyon Drive all the way into the heart of Palm Springs. Civilization again. It was much hotter down here than in Joshua Tree. Exhausted, hot, and smelling horrendous, I arrived at my Air BnB hosts’ house. After dropping off my stuff, I hit the local bike shop to pack my baby up and get her shipped back home to Denver. With that done, I can relax.

Thank you to the bike dudes at Palm Springs Cyclery for all your help!

Thank you to the bike dudes at Palm Springs Cyclery for all your help!

Shower then food.

It was the weirdest thing. Even though I had a good burger, it just wasn’t as satisfying as I thought it would be. I found myself wanting a salad instead. I guess that is what happens when you eat nuts and fruit for a week straight.

I can’t remember what time I fell asleep. I just remember laying on the bed, which was so comfortable it became uncomfortable, thinking, “How the heck do I assimilate back into my normal life after this? Is it even possible?”

Not really.

Part VI: The 46 Mile Grocery Trip

Do you think I could get another pin into Denver?

Do you think I could get another pin into Denver?

Sunday.

It’s said that God rested on this day. He may be resting, but I’m definitely not.

As I sit in the Park Rock Cafe and charge my phone and GoPro, it slowly dawns on me there are no grocery stores in the town of Joshua Tree with the lonely exception of an organic store. The closest is about 5 miles. The 23-ish miles I just rode to get into town weren’t so bad considering they were mostly downhill. An extra 10 miles and then back uphill to Jumbo Rocks does not sound like fun times.

Note: The signs in the park at Jumbo Rocks says it’s 23 miles to the town. The question once I hit the park entrance was, where does the town begin? Did the town start at the park boundary or some other odd spot on the road? And how many extra miles from the park entrance (if it was 23 to it) would I need to go to find a grocery store? As it turns out, it’s 23 miles to get to the information center right smack dab in the middle of town and next to route 62. Be aware that Map My Ride’s initial route to town takes you on Queen Valley Road which turns into dirt/gravel from pavement, though it knocks off 3 miles. 

You may be asking yourself, why the hell did she leave the park and go into town? Didn’t she pack enough?

Well, yes and no.

What I did not anticipate was the energy being sucked out of my devices from the cold nights (I started sticking them in my sleeping bag at night). However, I had planned on Sunday being grocery/water fetching day. I knew I would only be able to carry so much water so why waste calories trucking more food and water around when I could just hop into town.

If I had known what my first day biking was going to have been, I probably would have loaded up. Looking back, I’m glad I didn’t. It was the most relaxed biking day I had the whole trip. Easy cruise into town with one pannier and backpack and hit the coffee shop, the park’s gift shop and organic store (expensive but organic). In addition, I found the post office (I needed stamps for postcards. I don’t buy chintzy souvenir crap. It’s wasted beer money.), the alcoholics’ liquor store, and an overpriced hi-uppie coffee shop.

Hi-uppie: noun. a person that is a combination of hippie and yuppie. They have both sensibilities which create the most annoying mishmash of patchouli/sandalwood, tree-hugging laid-backness with high irritability if their $9 coffee order doesn’t come out exactly the way they think it should as they drive off in a brand new, macked out Touareg with Save the Earth and jam band stickers on the bumper. 

Swiss cheese, a couple of avocados, bananas, and pears, a tomato, an orange, dried papaya, strawberries, two bottles of organic beer, and a second coffee in my system later, I’m headed back up to the park. I figure stocking up on water at the entrance is the better idea since the hill into town looked like it was the worst part of this upcoming 23 miles.

That was the best decision I had made besides waiting until 1:00pm to get moving again.

The trek from town to the park entrance kinda sucks. It’s steep-ish rolling hills all the way (though it looks like one big hill). The upside was bumping into two other cyclists on their way back to Jumbo Rocks that had come into town for brunch. The lady was living in Estes Park, CO, while the gentleman was visiting her from Belgium. We chit-chatted most of the way and they invited me to stop by later that evening for dinner and relaxing by the campfire.

It's only about 5 miles from town to the West Entrance. Those 2 red hills are the worst parts. Especially when all you want to do is drink the beer in your pack.

It’s only about 5 miles from town to the West Entrance. Those 2 red hills are the worst parts. Especially when all you want to do is drink the beer in your pack.

Once into the park, the ride was so easy I started singing songs as I biked. The afternoon became cooler yet the sun was still strong and warm. The worst part of the day is 11:00am to 1:00pm. It’s just so horribly hot.

It’s 3:00pm and I’m back to my campsite. After a much needed nap, I take a bit of a walk around on the rocks again. The sun is fading to orange as a large group of spandex-clad cyclists go huffing up the road. I yell out to the stragglers, “Get it!! There’s cold beer at the end!!!” One sits up on his bike, shakes his hands in victory at the air, and with a huge smile on his face yells back, “YES!!!”

The benefit of traveling alone is meeting new people. As I walked the camp roads looking for the biking couple, I strike up conversation with an older couple out for an evening stroll. They’re snowbirds from Canada, as are many of the snowbirds in Joshua Tree and Southern California. According to them, Mexico is too far and it’s warm enough for them here. Huh. Go figure.

The biking couple had moved to another campsite, to which I had been redirected, to let a large group of older hippies all camp together. Apparently, this group comes to JTNP once a year to see each other and party like the good old days. I hope that I’m that kind of bad ass in my 60’s.

The campfire was just starting to roll. It was wonderful to have company for an evening, sharing stories over a glass of wine and pasta. I never appreciated pasta as much as I did that night. They shared stories of how they met doing a trans-American bicycle tour, how small the touring community is (apparently there’s a pair of Portuguese twins and an Irishman that tour a lot), and some tips on touring. They were on a month-long road trip and biking wherever they ended up.

There’s always more good people out there than bad.

I still sleep with my knife close by, just in case. I’m a cute girl… can you blame me?

 

 

Part IV: Another Hill Workout at Joshua Tree National Park

The Cholla Cactus. To touch  or not to touch?

The Cholla Cactus. To touch or not to touch?

Zero shade.

It’s almost noon.

Maybe this was bad planning.

But I left at 9:00am…

34 miles shouldn’t take this long.

Deja vu.

I’m trying to get a little bit of shade from the fence while I eat lunch and rest. It’s Friday, day three of my trip, which means I’m on the move to my next campsite at Jumbo Rocks. It’s blazing hot out. I’m wearing the long sleeve USA biking shirt I won in a raffle. I grok why cyclists wear this stuff but it still is one of the worst fashion statements ever.

If I didn’t die getting into the park, then this can’t possibly kill me. Right?

Two small panniers, a small backpack, and all this stuff. Did I buy too much food?

Two small panniers, a small backpack, and all this stuff. Did I buy too much food?

My tent had the soft glow of first light on it. I should start out early just in case. There’s another big ass hill I have to climb to get to the other side of the park but I only have 34 miles to go. Packing up all my gear takes me a little longer than expected due to changing up my original configuration. No more heavy water bottles in my hip pack, only the camel back, food for the afternoon, and cameras.

Regardless of my new packing job, the back tire has gone flat over night. Do I change out the tube? I already fixed this one on the first day, so it should have been good. Take the wheel off…check the tube…no air is escaping it. Huh. Perhaps I’ll just keep checking it as I go.

Bike is packed with everything for the second time and I’m off on my second long haul of the trip. The ranger station just flipped the “open” sign so it’s 9:00am. The weather is absolutely perfect for biking. A little nip to the air but the sun is nice and warm. Being on my bike again feels great even though my legs are still struggling a bit. They eventually stop complaining and find their groove again.

It’s weird…I can see the road going up ahead of me but it feels like I’m biking down hill. Oh well. It’s beautiful out here! One of my friends said the rocks were alive. From what I can see and feel, I believe him. Their presence pressed on mine, feeling like two goliaths meeting and I was in the middle. I started thinking that they chose to be where they were instead of what geology says. I believed that if I sat long enough, they would start talking to me.

No, I didn’t have any drugs on me. I didn’t even have beer. I definitely wasn’t delusional anymore from my first day.

That’s how alive the rocks in Joshua Tree feel.

See those mountains? I'm headed from them in the Pinto Basin.

See those mountains? I’m headed from them in the Pinto Basin.

Photos can not capture the beauty of the desert. It is raw and unyielding. It beats you down with heat and sun mercilessly. But while you’re trying to hide from the sun under a boulder or next to a fence, it shows you the budding red on the ocotillo or two small lizards that think your backpack and you are the best playground ever. The desert forces you to stop so you can see it’s beauty, otherwise, you miss it completely.

Stopping is what I did a lot of.

Especially after lunch. I had stopped at the Cholla Catcus Gardens (about mile 20 of 34 and at 2200 feet) around 11:00am for lunch and to rest a bit before tackling Wilson Canyon. The Pinto Basin had been a beautiful morning ride but it had taken me down to about 1760 feet and my next destination was at about 4400 feet.

Note to self for next desert tour: Bring an umbrella. Taking a much longer walk in the Cholla Cactus Garden would have been nice if I could have escaped the sun for a wee bit. I had heard that they glow at sunset, but at the end of this day, I would decide that it was a sight for when I return with a car. Hundreds of cacti waiting to make someone into a pin cushion beamed like white angels of death under the blistering sun.

At noon, I started my way up the last 14 miles. I had no idea it was 14 miles, nor that I was climbing 2200 feet of elevation in that one chunk through Wilson Canyon. Which was a good thing. Sometimes knowing what you’re up against is worse than being ignorant of it. Instead of counting the miles down and getting discouraged that I was going a turtle’s pace, I appreciated seeing the landscape or watching the cyclists out for their daily ride bomb the canyon (with a touch of envy of course). I would peddle anywhere from 100 meters to a quarter-mile, stop, drink water, rest for 10 minutes, eat a few nuts or dried fruit, and start again.

Elevation gain? What elevation gain?

Elevation gain? What elevation gain?

My stop by the White Tank Campground was one of those moments that made me think, “Yep…there are definitely strange people out there”. I was alone at a point of interest, resting next to a rock and getting a touch of shade when a guy walks up to me out of nowhere and starts talking to me asking where I was headed and if I was alone. My Spidey sense was on red alert: I’m camping at Hidden Valley (lie). Friends are meeting me tomorrow to tour the park (lie). Not sure which way we’re biking tomorrow (lie). Only here for a couple of days (lie). As we’re talking, I starting nonchalantly rifling through my pack, pulling out a bag of nuts but secretly palming my pocket knife. As much as I believe the world has more good than bad people, I’m not stupid. Maybe he sensed me being slightly stand-offish or it was the presence of another car pulling up but he decided to continue on his way. I noticed his car and license plate, making a mental note of it just in case I saw it too frequently the rest of my trip. He came back for a second and tossed me an orange. Normally, I’d be okay with it, but the top had been plucked off. Hmmm….I think this is turning into a snack for a chipmunk. Stranger danger, kids. Always be aware.

Anyhoots, that was life from noon until 5:00pm when I arrived at the Jumbo Rocks Campground to find the camp sign being flipped to “full”. The next campground was about 6 miles away, I had no clue what the road ahead had in store, or even if that campsite was full too. So I did what made sense. I went in regardless and looked at the campsite tags. Fortunately, there were open sites, the last inhabitants having just left that day.

Legs still wobbly, I decided doing a little walk about the rocks would do my muscles some good and give my brain a little candy by watching the sunset on top of these stone beings.

It was similar to the movie City of Angels, where the angels would all congregate and watch the sunset. Most of the higher rocks had people siting atop them, watching the last rays of the day fade into shades of pink, purple, and night.

Just as the campfires started to roar with laughter and stories, the last rays of my consciousness faded into dreams.

“What is life? It is the flash of a firefly in the night. It is the breath of a buffalo in the wintertime. It is the little shadow which runs across the grass and loses itself in the sunset.” ~ Crowfoot quote

“What is life? It is the flash of a firefly in the night. It is the breath of a buffalo in the wintertime. It is the little shadow which runs across the grass and loses itself in the sunset.” ~ Crowfoot quote

 

 

Ghosts, Ships, and Aliens, OH MY!

“You’re going where? Boy, you sure are trying to figure something out aren’t you?”

That’s what my good friend Drew said to me upon hearing that I was biking to Joshua Tree National Park. If anyone else said that, I would just shrug it off. Coming from Drew…I had to know what he was thinking.

“You’re going to a place that has a very high amount of paranormal activity. You may want to check that out (as he giggles).”

Joshua Tree has been on my list for years. I’m excited to finally go.

“I’m not surprised. Of course you pick a place that has a lot of energy. And of course you’re going for your 38th birthday.”

But…but…

As much as I appreciate all the intel I’ve been getting from people, there’s a part of me that’s getting scared. Besides the insane amount of elevation that I’ll be trying to bike up with probably an extra 30 – 40 lbs of camping weight, there’s a wind farm on the southern edge of the park. Uphill, wind, and extra weight. All the things I love most! Note: sarcasm.

To top that, PARANORMAL ACTIVITY! I had no clue. Apparently there is an amazing amount of ghosts, aliens, and other odd things going on in the Mojave Desert. Like rocks that mysteriously move. Or how about a Spanish ship from the 1600’s that is buried somewhere out there with a poop ton of pearls. Or the countless stories of people seeing UFOs. Or chupacabras. Or a ghost of an old man in clothes from the turn of the 20th century riding his bike down the middle of the road. If the ride didn’t make me nervous enough, the idea that I’ll be camping with ghosts and aliens sure does.

I could have a completely uncomplicated, easy trip. I could be scared poopless every night in my tent waiting for sunrise. I could be abducted by aliens and found wandering naked on the roadside talking about radiators and space travel. Wait a second…naw…that was just a night of too much gin. Hee hee!

Seriously though, I can be quite the scaredy cat. Horror movies are not on my list of things to watch because they screw with my head. The last time I watched one was 10 years ago. It was the Ring. I couldn’t walk by a tv or computer screen without getting freaked out for months. Forget about sitting in front of one. It made working in an accounting department very hard. (Yes, I used to be an accounting clerk in another life.)

This trip keeps getting more and more interesting. I have a feeling that I might find myself being super tight with the ranger service. They’ll let scared, lone, cute cyclists stay in the their bunk house, right?

Yeah…probably not.

The Confessions of a Hopeful Romantic

“My dad left home when I was eight. You know what he said to me? Have fun, stay single. I was eight.” ~Steve from Singles

In 1992 when Singles hit movie theatres, I was a junior in high school. It’s still in my top 10 of movies I like to watch because I am a hopeful romantic and sometimes nostalgic as all hell. Pearl Jam holds a special place in my heart along with Mother Love Bone, singing the angst that many teenagers felt at that time. I wish I could take the teenage me aside and tell her all the things I’ve learned since:

  • Sex does not equal love. Sex is sex. Even if it’s mind-blowing it’s still just sex.
  • Don’t let go of you in a relationship. Nurture yourself and if the other person wants you to change, then they probably don’t have a clue who you actually are. And by change, I mean the person you are at the core. Everything else is just a habit that you can choose to change or not.
  • Communicate! Ask the hard questions and have the difficult discussions. Don’t hold it all in until you explode. That does no one any favors.
  • Recognize that we all change and if the person you love is growing away from you, SAY SOMETHING! Making the other person and yourself aware and mindful of what’s happening can actually save the relationship.
  • Good men are far and few, especially as you get older because you get pickier about what you actually want. Dating gets boring and tedious. At this point, I’d rather just hang out, find out what actually makes the man of my desires tick, and hope that on a random night of mischief and fun he gets the moxie after a few drinks to actually kiss me.
  • Be patient. Very patient.

Being single is nice…I get to work on my career, read books, hang out with friends, chase after my crazy ideas of travel and hobbies, figure out my own weird little psyche, watch movies that reinforce my hopeful romantic ways, ride my bike everywhere and anywhere…it’s a pretty good life.

But…

There are days I miss having a partner in crime. Someone to play with. Someone to love. Someone that can be balls to the wall fun and the next day spend it cuddling on the couch, watching movies or reading separate books or getting work done. I actually miss checking in with the other person about our social lives and where and when do we need to be somewhere or not. I miss looking across the room at my sweetie and melting a bit on the inside, especially when he notices I’m looking. I miss wanting to do little things to brighten his day. I miss watching him sleep and memorizing the lines and curves of his face. I miss wanting nothing more than to kiss his eye lids and snuggle my nose behind his ear so I can breathe him in. I miss meeting his parents and siblings (weird, I know). I miss the very specific give and receive that only happens in a loving relationship with someone who is your friend and lover.

I miss planning adventures with my heart’s desire.

BUT…

That doesn’t mean I’m going to settle for just anyone because I feel a twinge of loneliness every so often. My yeti, Nino, Largeman, Mr. E. Edward Grey…He’s out there somewhere. Maybe he’s patiently waiting for me to walk into his brewery, his favorite bar, pass him on the bike path or in the airport, or even for a mutual friend to introduce us. Maybe we already know each other but the timing isn’t right just yet. Maybe I’m just waiting for him to get divorced so he can start his life over again. Maybe he’s being chased by natives in the Congo for an old relic he took for archaeological study…

…so what if I fell in love with Indiana Jones as a kid?

I guess that’s my never-ending trend of my so-called ideal man.

  • Indiana Jones
  • Han Solo
  • Capt Jean-Luc Picard
  • Doctor Who (David Tennant…Oh, how I love thee)

Intelligent, charismatic travelers that have adventures. Renaissance men.

Because smart and playful are super sexy!

It used to be that I was waiting for my Doctor Who to show up and ask me to jump in his Tardis. After so much dating, perhaps I’m Doctor Who and instead of looking for a companion, I’m actually looking for another timelord. Or Rose…she was a bad ass!

SO, Mr Could-Be-Right, I challenge you to come out and play with me. Ride bikes with me. Climb trees. Tie a good one on some random night with me. Watch movies with me. Go backpacking through a national park with me. Let’s hit the symphony or check out the new exhibits at the art museum. Come to a kegger and play beer pong. Go to a lecture with me. Cuddle with me. Come out dancing. Make dinner with me. Inspire me.

In return, I’ll match your enthusiasm and go play with you on your turf.

I dare you….

I double dog dare you.

P.S. I love flowers, even if it’s stolen a dandelion off someone’s yard.

Paris: a Story of Love and Disappointment Part II

A man that can serenade me can have my heart anytime.

A man that can serenade me can have my heart anytime.

This isn’t titled A Story of Love and Disappointment for shits and giggles.

Ah, love….the concept I perpetually struggle with.

His name is Thibault.

We met in Prague. We talked. We smoked. We drank. We danced. We looked for my “lost” travel companion. There’s alot of other things we did but I’m not telling you about it.

Well…I guess I am telling you about it because it wouldn’t be titled as such without this story.

Going to Europe, for me, was about the culture, the sights, the people, the food…not the romance story I had heard so often. Or even the hook up stories. Shagging was the second to last thing on my mind. Falling in love was definitely the last thing. I was done with love at that point. All it had brought me was pain, dashed dreams, and innumerable nights of crying. It felt good to be someplace where there was no way in hell I could fall for someone. Someplace where I could forget…

Thibault was hilarious. He made fun of Texans (“HOOOW-DEEEE! My name is Chaz! I like George Bush Senior AND Junior.”). He asked questions. He organized people to have fun. He was passionate and full of spitfire. He talked with everyone. He spoke intelligently not only in French but also in English. I found myself liking him. And then I found myself dancing with him. He was kind and caring. He was optimistic…I found myself liking him even more. We sat up all night and talked and waited…and waited….and then he said “would you like to see my suite?”. We stared at the stars on the roof top patio and then time went out the window along with the last two things on my mind.

He smelled of crisp spring water and ferns.

His eyes burnt with so much want.

I melted under his fingers tips.

We made plans to meet up in Paris.

Yeah, yeah, yeah…it all sounds like a cheesy romantic movie. All those movie writers get it from somewhere!

Paris with my travel companion was disappointing. I admit, I didn’t research Paris as much as I had the Czech Republic and Prague. My original plan was to spend 2 weeks just in Czech so I was under prepared. All the same, it’s hard to realize half way through a trip that maybe…just maybe…..you chose the wrong travel companion. That’s something you can’t take back. Trips like that will either make or break a friendship. It broke ours.

But there was Thibault. He was like sunshine after a month of rain. All I wanted to do was bury my nose in his neck and breathe him in. I didn’t want to admit to myself that he was amazing. He lived in France. I lived in America. And I SUCK at long distance relationships. If you’re more than a 4 hour drive from me, it’s probably going to go south at some point. I was still hopeful and thought I could overcome my own character. Maybe I could move to France?

We enjoyed Paris. We had a picnic on a bridge with hundreds of other people over the Seine. We drank wine in a cafe late at night. We kissed in the streets Paris. We saw the lights of the Eiffel Tower. We hung out in Montmartre with his friend and got pulled over by the police. We napped next to the canal in soft, late summer grass. We made love. We promised to call. I cried when he left to go back home.

That day, the sky cried with me.