Nine years ago, two of my closest friends and I wedged ourselves and our camping gear into my underpowered economy hatchback, loaded our mountain bikes onto the roof and rattled the 1,000 miles from Seattle to Moab, Utah.
Devlin, Bryan and I spent a little less than a week in Moab, pitching our tents beneath a massive sandstone dome, making the journey to Arches National Park—consecrated ground for us Edward Abbey fans—and exploring the miles upon miles of singletrack for which southeastern Utah is justifiably famous. We ate rich, greasy food cooked over a camp stove, drank whisky and beer to dull the aches and pains earned on the slickrock, and stayed up every night laughing with—and at—each other around the campfire. It was perfect.
At the time, I was the only one of us who was married. Since then, both friends have settled down with wives and children, and my wife and I have children of our own. Though Devlin still lives in Seattle, my family and I have since moved to Bend, and Bryan moved across the country, settling in Vermont.
Now that meeting up for a beer at the corner bar is no longer an option, late last year we decided it was time to “meet in the middle,” and relive the glory of our Moab trip, this time in Fruita, Colorado. Devlin and I planned to rendezvous in Eastern Oregon, and Bryan would fly into Grand Junction, where we’d pick him up. We scheduled our adventure for April 24 through April 29. And then COVID-19 hit.
Things could be much worse. For many people, they are. But postponing—I won’t say “cancelling”—this trip was a serious bummer. These days, finding the time to leave both work and family for even a day or two gets complicated, so making the dates of our trip work with each of our schedules took a fair amount of planning… not to mention a fair amount of pleading with significant others.
But we’ll get there eventually. I’m not giving up on meeting in the middle. We’re just going to have to wait a bit. Maybe I’ll share the singletrack with my friends in the fall instead of the spring. Maybe a year will pass before we can relive the glory days of our mountain biking pilgrimage to Moab. Maybe it’ll be even longer than that.
I’d been looking forward to this adventure with my buddies. And now, sheltering at home amid massive uncertainty, I’m still looking forward to it: riding world-famous singletrack and laughing hysterically whenever one of us takes a digger; telling jokes and stories around a campfire under a massive desert sky; spending time with amazing friends in an amazing place.
And knowing now that we can’t take those kind of adventures for granted, when it finally happens, this one will be all the sweeter.