41.5 mi / 11.2 mph / 577 ft. climbing
Home: Super 8 motel
Today it was finally time to end our Napa vacation. We’ve already had a few “vacations” on this trip, where we’ve stayed in one place for more than two nights, and kept the bike riding relatively low. But even when we stayed at the Howard Creek Ranch, or San Francisco, for five nights, I never achieved that level of mental relaxation that most people associate with vacations.
I think one reason is that for most vacationers, their “real life” largely consists of a set of routines and habits (as mine did until a couple months ago). So while I understand there is often stress over returning to office work undone, or home maintenance deferred, those are familiar stresses. So you can take the risk of mentally unplugging, confident that it will be fairly easy (if still unpleasant) to find the outlet again and simply plug the cord back into it when it’s time to return, picking up the habits right where you left them.
In this new life we’re still figuring out, those routines and habits haven’t yet been developed. Every day is different and unknown, and while I’m sure we’ll eventually be able to uncover more of the rhythms that beat across our days, “routine” is something we’ll likely never reach. Which is sort of the point: every day being different and unknown is one of the main reasons we signed up for this adventure.
But it means that it’s difficult to completely unplug from our (abnormal) “normal life” for a week and then plug back into it without skipping a beat. I always need to keep a significant amount of current flowing through my mental wires, whether it’s keeping an eye on the weather forecast, plotting potential routes, or checking how lodging availability will line up with our post-“vacation” days.
Lest this sound like a complaint (“oh, boo-hoo, he can’t take a vacation from his endless vacation!”), I will say that living a life that allowed me to make such a discovery is worth that cost of lost vacation time.
And about that vacation-end? The ride was foggy and then cloudy through the morning, and a return to the “hard to find a place to pee” difficulties of our entry into the Valley. I dried out the tent in the finally-appeared sun at our lunch stop in a not-particularly scenic section of Napa (the town), and then rode a busy highway into the poorly maintained streets of a city (Vallejo). So at least all of that felt very comfortably like a normal return-from-vacation that I remember from my previous routine-based life!