The following was originally published August 16, 2008 at http://travelingsimply.blogspot.com/2008/08/people-that-you-meet.html
When people ask about our travels, we tend to answer about place. For example today, "We're headed to Lompoc to camp, but we've pedalled over 1000 miles down the coast, starting from Eugene, Oregon and we're going to San Diego." But really, a lot of this is about the people.

We met Brit on the train and a week later spent a day on the Oregon coast with him as our guide. A free spirit Buddhist ballroom dance instructor and balloon entertainer (we realized we'd seen him making balloon sculptures at the Co-op Party in Bellingham the day before we left on our trip), in Bandon we sampled candies at the candy shop with him, and wandered art exhibits where a harpist was playing.

We met Bigfoot trailer campers who invited us to share their site, a family from northern Wisconsin who gave us all their power bars and gels, Antonio from Italy who started his bicycle trip in Alaska and is headed to south America (he gave the kids M&Ms at the top of Leggett Hill, the biggest one on the trip), Ignacio and Daniella from Tucson (who the kids may have voted most fun adults met on the trip), and other cyclists in the hiker-biker sites and on the road. Then there are the brief interactions with local folks, like Woody, the security guard for a small set of stores, who walked up to Tom and said, "Did you lock up your unit, son? Want to do that." As you might imagine, we now repeat that line each time we leave the bikes to enter a grocery store.

Today though, we parted ways with our cycling pals Mark & Jade after two fun-filled weeks riding together from San Francisco to a little past San Luis Obispo. We will miss their humor and companionship, and the kids will especially miss having someone their age to give them a break from mostly hanging out with their parents. The finale day was spent in the campground pool for the morning, in the ocean boogie boarding for the afternoon, and with ice cream and pizza (the latter carried back to the campground by the stokers while we rode) for dinner.

We'll look forward to seeing who we get to meet next, after all we met Mark & Jade while cycling in Canada six years ago, when Dana was 4 and Noah was 6. Sometimes the people that you meet not only enrich your life, they become great friends.