It felt like we were never getting out of Pamplona. More than once during our week there I declared “We live HERE now!”
The city is pretty small, so much so that you can get very familiar with the city in a single week, especially if much of that week is spent racing around from place to place looking for an affordable kid’s trailer for your bike. I loved that about Pamplona. It was unbelievably comfortable, with especially cheap pintxos (little sandwich tapas) and cañas (beer) every Tuesday and Thursday night.
Despite being just enough city for me, I wanted out. We couldn’t find a trailer for the bike until all of a sudden, there it was. Two hours away by bus. I call it “Little Hercules” because I’m hoping he can go the distance.
And as soon as we had it, we lit out. Yellow flowers lined the highway as we headed out of town, a sort of Yellow Brick Road leading us off, until a couple of hours later when a truck pulled up behind us and informed us that bikes were not permitted on that tolled highway. He escorted our slow moving, overheated butts off to the next exit.
Woops, that is what we get for mapping the route as if we were driving instead of walking. The diversion took us on a dirt road, where Christine’s rear tire tube blew out, leaving me to change my first tube ever, without a handbook or the aid of youtube. I had a feeling it would be simple. It was, but we cooked in the sun for awhile.
Despite that hiccup, I haven’t felt more alive, happy, and thankful to be on the road as I was on that first day. Christine recognized it right away. I was beginning to think that the way through some of my crazy ADHD fueled anxieties was just as I had hoped; “Run the crazy out.” It was an adventure. A hard one. But with fresh air, the endorphins from hours of cardio, the vitamin D from the sun, all in all, I felt in my element.
Then the rest of the week happened. What should have been a few days through to San Sebastian and on to France turned into a week. Other tire troubles for both bikes, arguments with hostel owners, overheating. I’m embarrassed to say that when things have gotten their most stressful, my instinct is to put my head down and plow through. It’s hard to say “yes” to diversions to parks and activities that require turning the big trailer and all of our gear around and going back up a hill. It’s hard to say “yes”, when “no” is momentarily easier, though certainly more damaging in the long run. The point of the trip isn’t “get to point B”, it’s to enjoy where we are, even if it’s not as far along as we expected.
On days where we are able to put a lot of miles in without walking half of them uphill, I’m good. On days where a breakdown doesn’t happen on a Saturday night when I know I won’t be able to get something fixed for two days, I’m great.
I am getting better at this, I think. Or maybe it’s that the route is unbelievably easier since we crossed into France yesterday, and we are now on the well marked Eurovelo 1 route. Now I need to learn the French for “Would it be ok for my family and I to camp on your lawn?”
I’m well outside of my comfort zone, and sometimes that isn’t pretty, but I’m getting back to that thankful place from our first day.