Every Person Needs a Quest

The featured attraction of this morning’s truck ride was viewing one of my favorite towns, Butte, from the highway. Flanked by the gaping maw of the Berkley Pit, the mountainside town looks uneven, slanted even, as it is perched on the side of a mountain.
By 11AM Andy was at the wheel making time on route 200 toward Whitefish when the thermometer dropped into the forties, the skies darkened, and cold rain dashed against the windshield. Lincoln was riding in the back seat of the pickup, and it rained hard enough that he opened the back window, and hauled all of Andy’s gear into the back seat.
At some point, we left I-90 and struck due north through increasingly wooded and sharply elevated mountains, stopping for a quick sandwich at Seely Lakes.
Some 7 hours later, we arrived at Whitefish, the final destination for the beer truck, some 60 miles south of the Canada border. Andy tracked down his childhood best friend, Mike Fitzgerald, who lives there.

20120529-224744.jpgAndy will be staying with Mike for two days. Andy shed another layer of protection and familiarity when he left the comfort of his beloved truck, handed over the keys, and said goodbye to his last Maine connection- me. I had to make our goodby quick. I started to tear up. I so much respect and support what he’s going to do. Andy’s been my neighbor and friend for 33 years, and I consider myself privileged to haven ridden bikes together and to have played my part in this most unique adventure.
I have come to believe that Andy’s plan on coming out here early is a masterful decision, one that is rooted in wisdom, shrewd tactics, and a brave heart. He’s going to be better acclimated to the increased altitude in the mountains, and will start the race on hundreds of miles of familiar terrain.
On May 31, Andy catches a ride from Mike, who will drive him to Rooseville, on the Canada border, when he peels off the last layer of safety and connection, clicks into his pedals, and faces a solo adventure of some 270 miles into wilderness Canada as he advances on an uncharted, likely snow-covered, trail to the Tour Divide’s start in Banff. None of the other 100 plus riders are adding additional
Miles on the course, but Andy is.
Andy’s representing High Street, Lincolnville, Maine, and all of New England when he pushes off at the start line on June 8 at high noon.

20120529-224924.jpgHe’s worked so hard and long to be ready, and a force bigger than we can understand is gathering within him to lift him along the 2,700 mile Continental Divide and bring him home.

12 thoughts on “Every Person Needs a Quest

  1. Clarkie

    How can we keep up with Andy’s adventure now that you have left him? Have a great ride, Andy. May you discover and savor ALL of the jewels along your path.


    1. stephen gleasner

      once the race starts, you can follow Andy here….
      Brilliantly penned hand-off Tom! What a wonderful friend, reporter, writer, you are. We are all lucky for the combination. You captured a lot with those layers of comfort, safety. I felt the foreboding in the truck in the driving rain. Soon there won’t be a truck. Andy has a lot in him, otherwise he wouldn’t have come so far. He has a big fan here. I will be watching him every day, living the Divide vicariously through him.


      1. Thanks for the comment. Your completion to the Tour Divide in 2008 is a major reason why Andy decided to do it. That and the Ride the Divide DVD that I suggested he watch. All these connections thicken the resolve and will hopefully fuel him when the going gets tough.


  2. Ben Hazen

    That was great Tom. Almost made me tear up reading that. We are wicked proud of Dad and thanks again to you and Lincoln for the companionship and hospitality. I know dad appreciates it. I know he can do this. See you when you get home.


    1. Ben, he is only able to be here because of you running the brewry. I don’t have any idea what sort of changes you dad will experience, but you may want to start thinking up a special edition of a Andrew’s brew to commemorate this whole deal.


  3. Running Bear

    There is some part in all of us that adores what Andy is doing. What a heartfelt sendoff you have provided for him and the rest of us who are rooting for him. Thanks Uncle Tom!


  4. I have finished my perfectly poached egg, English muffin, and blackberry preserves. There’s still some tea left as I sit at the computer and read this. What a fine way to start a morning. You write well of friendship and adventure. Have a safe journey home. J J


  5. Shelby Hazen

    Thank you Tom for the updates. I have really enjoyed reading your blog. Ben and I watched Ride the Divide last night. I was determined to watch it before Andy started the race. Now that we have watched it I’m not sure that it was the best idea but I do feel a little more informed. Plus I remember when Andy saw the movie for the first time and was so determined to do the race himself. If anyone watches that movie and gets that feeling then they are destined to do it. Me on the other hand never had such a feeling. Andy is incredible and what he is doing is beyond mind blowing to me. I am very proud of him. Thank you again Tom and we will see you and Marcia in a few weeks.


    1. Shelby,
      I am putting info about Ride the Divide on the now blog post today.It should go on within the hour.
      I believe everyone has to see it to understand just how challenging this thing is. I watched the movie and know I am NOT destined to do it. I have done some very long physical days, once hiking with my backpack 25+ miles a day for 17 days in a row over the high mountains in Washington state. It took its toll on me, permanent nerve damage in my feet. I told Andy I would accompany him if we did the trip on 60 days, which would have made it a 50 mile a day challenge, but he turned me down. See you soon! We get back on the 7th. I have not forgot that you want to walk with those rainbows on your feet!


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