NOW the excitement is starting to build - I can tell by all the lists I'm making. Lists of people to call, lists of things to pack, lists of things to buy, lists for cat sitters, lists for stuff that happens when I'm gone, lists of lists I still need to make.
My lists give shape to what still needs to be done and as I cross them off, they provide me with at least the illusion that I have done all I need to do for the trip. The getting ready is more complex this time because there will be no one here to make sure things get done while I'm gone -- and the thought is always in my mind that there will be no one but the cats to come home to.
Two years ago, the leaving was harder but the coming home was very sweet. This time the leaving is easy but the coming home will be rather sad. I don't think realizing that ahead of time is going to make it any easier. I miss my biggest fan and my staunchest supporter.
It's amazing to think that 30 women from all over the map and from all walks of life are now doing exactly what I am doing - getting ready for another trip of a lifetime. The Southern Tier enriched my life beyond belief and I can't imagine that this tour will be any different.
Because, epic ride aside, what makes the tour is the people on it and their stories - can't wait to hear them.