That’s when the magic happens…
“And above all, watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places. Those who don’t believe in magic will never find it.” – Roadl Dahl
After my disastrous partner bailed on the trip, I was pretty bummed. Even though it sucked riding with him, I also did not feel comfortable riding alone in the Sonoran desert, on back roads. Nor did I have a plan, as I came out there under the impression that my partner had a plan (which he didn’t anyway).
I turned, as one does in these days, to social media and posted a picture of where I was hoping to camp and stating that I was unsure of what was going to happen.
My people rose to the occasion, texting and messaging me ideas and well wishes. I felt taken care of and loved, even from afar. But one friend wrote something that really struck me.
‘that’s when the magic happens’, she wrote.
I didn’t know how quite right she was.
Loosing my bike partner ended up being the best thing that happened to me on the trip. Or at least it cleared the way for all the magic headed my way.
It was magic when I got to the campground and there was a site open, and showers nearby. People offered me food and beer (which I didn’t take them up on, but still), and I was able to poach the site (and shower!!) for free as I arrived after the office closed and left before it opened.
It was magic when the rancher asked me about the fat tires and I, in return, asked him about dirt roads. Boddy then offered to take me out to the mountains, and being a wealth of knowledge about where to ride. He set me up on a 50-mile ride of dirt-road bliss. He also offered to bring me a pistol and teach me how to shoot it, which I did not take him up on.
It was magic when I met Greg and Dorothy Ann, snowbirds from Eastern Washington who wanted to make sure I was ok and offered to do what they could. They later texted me ideas for camping and places to visit.
It was magic when I was camped on some rancher’s land, unable to find the forest service boundary and I was feeling anxious and lonely and nervous, but got to witness the full moon rise in front of me over the mountains, while the sun set behind the mountains behind me.
It was magic when I went for my first beer, hanging out in South Tucson, industrial wasteland, but discovering that there were two breweries a 10 minute ride away. The first time I tried to ride out there, I got my first flat tire and had to go back to repair it. My first fix, building my confidence, but also delaying my plans. I almost didn’t go back, but when I did – not only was the beer delicious, but I met Bethany and Ron, a hilarious couple who have lived in Canada and the US and who were fast friends and happy to buy me beers to hear stories.
It was magic when I was riding ‘the loop’, Tucson’s awesome bike path, and Ed stopped to comment on my bike (you might notice a pattern here – it might just be the fat tires that are the actual magic….). He’s a local and we ended up riding the next two hours together, cruising the bike path and me learning about Tucson.
And it was magic when, in my last 4 hours in Tucson, Bruce, who was sitting near me in the bar, asked me if I wanted a water, and we spent the next 4 delightful hours together, talking adventure and life, eating Mexican food, drinking local brews and mescal.
Cheryl Strayed talks about how her mom used to tell her: put yourself in the way of beauty. And while I wholeheartedly agree with that, yes – let us all put ourselves in the way of beauty! But more than that, let us all put ourselves in the way of magic.
Let us all find that magic that is just out there waiting for us.