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Uphill and Against the Wind - TransAm E-W
By Dave T

Day 68: Missoula to 520 South - "Get a List and Keep Planning"

Thursday July 24, 1986

I slept in until 8am today, a little tired from yesterday. Sleeping in a bed was nice for a change. I headed out for breakfast with Steve and Stew then we hit a much needed laundry place. It's been a few days since I've had clean clothes so I washed everything possible. After the laundry was done I headed over to the BC office to check it out, and meet up with Gene.

Coach (Gene) is leaving the group and taking a direct route by himself to complete the coast to coast journey. I try to dissuade him from leaving, just like he did for me way back in the east. I used all the same rationalizations he used on me to try to get him to change his mind. I didn't want him to leave, but he had his mind made up he was going alone to Seattle. We laughed at how things have changed, and he made me promise I'd finish the journey I started 67 days ago. We said goodbye for the last time, and I watched him pedal off in the distance.

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The Coach visits the Cookie lady

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The Coach entering the Rockies

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Gene, clowning around as usual

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I can hear Gene shouting "Get a List and Keep Planning!"

Gene never really explained to me why he wanted to leave, I think he had enough of everything and was ready for it to end. He decided to take the direct, quickest route to Seattle and cut off 2 weeks from the trip. I'll really miss The Coach, we rode many miles and experienced the best of times together on the road. Gene and I talked about all kinds of things over the last 67 days, mostly about travel, and how to live a great life. Gene has a list of things he wanted to do before he died, but he never would tell me the things on the list. Many times while we rode together, Gene would just blurt out "get a list together and keep planning". I always had some plan or some crazy idea we discussed when there was nothing better to talk about. We had some great conversations and he made me realize I should be thinking BIG, just like the Trans America Trail.

Now that Gene is leaving and the BC group is breaking apart I'm going to be on my own unless I go with the Texas guys north to Glacier. I met back up the Steve and Stew and we headed to 520 South, to see what kind of hook-up we had. We arrived at 520 South and Jenny, Mary Kay, Mary Beth, Mary H., and Mary B. It was funny because the only name I needed to remember was "Mary". They were anxiously awaiting our arrival and had a big party that evening for us... ok, the party was actually their graduation party. We helped out getting everything ready, including picking up the barrel keg of beer. This was the first time I rode in a car in 68 days and it felt very strange, like vertigo almost.

The party went on to the wee hours of 4am, at which time Stew passed out on the washer and dryer. I found a place on the floor and crashed with a bunch of other people. It was one hell of a night......

[Author's Note:] - Most of my adult life has been influenced by Gene and the conversations we had during those 66 days in 1986. I do have a list and it is private, just like Gene told me it should be. I haven't talked to Gene or heard from him in many years, he is always off on some adventure in a remote part of the world.


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