By Kevin B Parsons
My family fights geezing with kicks and fists. At age sixty-two, my sister raced her first triathlon last summer. She hikes though the Cascade Mountains like a gazelle. And brother Bill, sixty- seven, plays on basketball teams. He hates playing on forty and over teams because they walk the ball up the floor. And I race motorcycles. Fifty-nine.
We come by it honestly. The other day my dad enjoyed a golf outing. Since he couldn't find a friend to accompany him, he just headed out and hooked up with three men. After eight holes he asked one of them if he might be holding them up. Dad wouldn't want to be a 'burden.' We always tease him about that.
"No, you're not holding us up at all."
The man put his club back in his bag. "By the way, how old are you?"
"...Take all the time you want."
So, I come by it honestly. Old age, stay away! All my off road racing friends are ten years younger than me. Our church has a 'Young at Heart' group for members that are fifty and over. Not attending that, nuh uh. Rode my first Century bike ride last spring, a hundred miles of pedaling through the hills of California. And my sister's inspiration for triathlon came from yours truly. My poor wife must put up with the insanity. She's the yang to my yin. She's a quilter.
But she crossed over, oh yes. April 29th of 2012, we launched together on a '50 States in 50 Weeks' motorcycle adventure, towing a pop top tent trailer. My friends didn't even flinch when they heard of my latest adventure. But Quilter Girl? Really?
Yep. And while she is the stereotypical piece-and-quilt lady, these days she's on the back of our Honda Gold Wing, riding through every and any type of weather imaginable. And living in a tent trailer. A friend calls it 'training for homelessness.'
Qualifier here: Cold, extreme hot, wind or (God forbid) snow and it's off to a motel for these travelers. We're adventurers, not masochists.
But what a thrill, to visit every state in the union!
And now, some FAQs:
What about Alaska and Hawaii?
I flew to Alaska and rented a bike. Quilter Girl stayed behind with her folks in Seattle. We'll both go to Hawaii and rent one there. The Big Island.
How long will the adventure take?
Seriously, people ask. Um... fifty weeks. Actually, it may take fifty five or more. We may hang in Florida for some time and let Old Man Winter move along.
How many miles will you travel?
Around forty-five thousand- 200 a day, often less, and Sundays off.
And the question no one asks:
What will it cost?
$42,000, plus or minus. Plus the bike and trailer.
But what a once in a lifetime adventure.
And it keeps us young.