"Finding friends with the same mental disorder...PRICELESS!"~ anonymous
Recently, I had a new experience that was so Los Alamos perfect! It all fits into the quote above, so I'll get to the mental disorder in good time.
In a few of my previous posts, I put down a few of my thoughts about Los Alamos and it's weirdnesses, as well as another post discussing the type of bicycle tire that I'm presently using on my road bike (Continental Gatorskins). Nothing unusual about either post, but it prompted Lee Kanning of Washington (state not D.C.) to send off an email to me. That wasn't unusual either, but Lee stated that he'd been following my website for a few years, which pleased me since I have not a clue if/when people follow/read my website posts. He asked if I knew another cyclist in the Los Alamos area, which I did not. His name was/is Tarik Saleh. Come to find out, Lee and his wife, Petra, were coming to Santa Fe, NM, to see a few operas of which they are fans. We agreed to try to get together while they were here visiting. That was a first as a result of my website. Other email exchanges were just that...brief exchanges. This was new.
My wife, Eileen, and her mother, Marilyn, were heading off to NY for a wedding and then Eileen was heading to Olympia, WA, to teach beginning Irish fiddle at an Irish music camp, Cascadia, that our friend, Randal Bays was putting on there. Somehow, between Eileen's travels and my travels to Albuquerque, Lee and I managed to figure out a way to meet. I had been down to Albuquerque and, on my return to Los Alamos, I stopped at the Trader Joe's in Santa Fe to get a few things. After I was done shopping, I got in my car and texted Lee about perhaps getting together for coffee or a beer while I was in Santa Fe. Voila! Lee and Tarik were going to be meeting at a bookstore in downtown Santa Fe in a matter of minutes, per Lee, and he asked if I'd like to join them. On my way!
A side note here...prior to moving to Los Alamos, Santa Fe was at the bottom of the list of places that I enjoyed visiting. Having grown up in a major tourist area in Upstate NY, tourists became my least favorite of the human species, so Santa Fe had nothing going for it in that category. What I did enjoy about Santa Fe included Second Street Brewpub and a now defunct pan Asian restaurant on Cerrillos Road. That was the extent of the things I enjoyed about Santa Fe. When I lived in Albuquerque and friends visited that wanted to go to Santa Fe, I would just let them take my car and go on their own. Since we've lived in Los Alamos for over a year now, I have become more acquainted with Santa Fe and what it has to offer...and I have learned how to drive around the "city different"...which has allowed me to see Santa Fe in a much different light. I now enjoy going there and discovering all that it has to offer.
So, I was off to meet up with Lee and Tarik, and their spouses/family. Since I now know how to maneuver around Santa Fe, I found a place to park near the bookstore. One of the bennies of learning my way around Santa Fe has been becoming more aware of where to park, which is a major issue when visiting Santa Fe. Got my vehicle parked and walked to the bookstore. At the bookstore, I was at a disadvantage since Lee knew what I looked like, but I had no idea who I was looking for, except his name. I conjured up all my images of cyclists so I might pick him out of the crowd as I ordered my coffee and waited around the counter to see who would be approaching me that looked like someone with the same mental disorder...extensive cycling. Soon enough, a gentleman approached me that didn't look like he was going to ask me for money or was someone who would be assaulting me. Lee? Patrick? Lee was with his wife, Petra, and Tarik and his wife and daughter arrived shortly after Lee, Petra, and I had sat down. Lee had met Tarik as a result of following his blog and had met in Santa Fe as a result of that connection a few years earlier.
Well, we had a good conversation, appeared to enjoy each other's company, and spent a fair amount of time talking to each other. Good vibes! Tarik and I discovered that we lived in the same neighborhood in Los Alamos, probably less than a mile apart. So, here we are, two cyclists that live in the same community being introduced to each other by another cyclist from the State of Washington. That was a first for me, but it seemed so Los Alamos-ish. I really enjoyed meeting all of them and I'm looking forward to catching up with Lee and Petra around the Christmas holidays, when they'll be visiting again. I've not made it over to Tarik's yet, but I will. Hopefully, around the holidays, we'll be able to go out to dinner together or, better yet, have everyone over to our house for dinner and drinks. Found out that Lee's wife, Petra, was also a librarian with an MLS degree...the same as my wife, Eileen. Everyone had interesting histories, particularly Petra, who grew up in a family of migrant workers in Texas and other parts of the country. I'm looking forward to finding out more about her history, which she is writing down now and is going to submit a column for the NY Times. What I found really fascinating is that everyone there had an interesting story. So, getting together over the holidays should be fun and educational. Lee worked for Boeing and is now retired. Tarik works for the National Labs here in Los Alamos and has lived here for 15yrs. Tarik seemed to agree with my thoughts about the weirdnesses of Los Alamos. Will find out more later.
Unfortunately, I took no photos at the time we met up, but I will when we meet again. This is, as I stated, a first as a result of writing posts for my website. Other contacts I have had via my website have mostly dealt with questions about products I've reviewed or about my bike touring and were very brief email exchanges. I've enjoyed this quite a bit.
Now, it's time to end this post and I need to find an appropriate tune. Hmmm, how about Iris Dement's "Our Town"? She is one of my favorite singer/songwriters, along with John Prine. This seems relevant to me, as a cyclist, since I've ridden through so many small towns in the U.S. that are just barely hanging on, slowly dying, literally disappearing in front of the people who live there. Any cyclist who has rode their bike across any section, or the whole, of this country has seen this and knows just how fleeting life is for towns and for people. The joy is in taking advantage of those moments in time where life exists. Thanks for reading this and to Lee, thanks for reaching out to me. I sincerely appreciated it. Looking forward to seeing you and Petra down the road...
Cycling Along The Way...
- Patrick Lyford
- Silver City, NM, United States
- Riders of the wheel. Racers, Roadies, Mountain bikers, Touring cyclists, Commuters, and others. Diamond frames, recumbents, trikes, and more. Sharing a web of connections often misunderstood or unappreciated by those who don't ride. Herewith, my attempt to share some of the more rational thoughts that flit around inside my head while bicycling, knocking back a brew or three, or just thinking about life. Reviews of bicycles, gear, touring, and more, plus some unsolicited posts about people, politics, and philosophy. Other things, too. Me: retired, gave up my TV in 1988, avid cyclist, several cross country tours completed with more to come. Your thoughts?