Dee took this stunning shot of the Altamaha River as we approached Darien in the morning.
Coincidence and synchronicity are both defined as “striking occurrences of two or more events at one time.” The difference is that coincidence is perceived as chance or luck while synchronicity implies the presence of a deeper intelligence at work.
Synchronicity, then! I like the idea of a deeper intelligence at work as we make our way steadily north up the East Coast. Thanks to that deeper presence — and the good part about Facebook — my first-ever boyfriend, Charlie Finnegan from Wellesley High, now living in Rhode Island, and our crew were in southern coastal Georgia at the same time. Charlie and his wife, Linda, came to St. Simons Island for a few days to celebrate their daughter Olivia’s graduation from University of South Carolina. So, thanks to the marvels of Google, Dee found a sweet breakfast place in Darien to meet. We had a beautiful sunrise ride there, riding over creeks and marshes and rivers (see Dee’s stunning shot above).
Karla (another Wellesley High pal) please note: I put on sneakers for the forecast of rain (that never really came).
It was fun catching up with the Finnegans and, to be honest, soaking up a few “you rode how far?!” Charlie and I had reconnected some 20 years ago, pre-Facebook, when my kids were little and we lived in Mystic, CT, and my new friend Kim had grown up best friends with Linda. How cool is that? Linda said something sweet as we were wrapping up breakfast. I was talking to her about how fun it is to travel by bike, and how doable it is, how Bob had just taken his first bike trip with me last year and loved it. We — Finnegans and us — are at the wonderful age when, with any financial cushion at all, we can start to daydream about retiring, or at least cutting back on work, and Linda seemed intrigued. (Charlie loves to bike, he’s training for another MS 150 next month inRhode Island; Dee has done two with him and I joined them for one.) “Maybe there’s a reason we met for breakfast,” she told me. A reason or a deeper presence — I love to think of inspiring someone to start bike touring.
Enjoying a nice stretch of greenway out of Darien. I ride so fast with my 50 pounds of panniers and all that Dee couldn’t catch me in focus.
Water and bathroom stop where we gave some locals plenty to talk about
After lunch at Angie’s Diner in Midway, Dee met a family’s baby parrot. With the surname of Bird, she feels an affinity for winged creatures.
The rest of our miles, 66 in total to Richmond Hill, flew by in a blur. I don’t know how to explain it but they were effortless, even when we had to balance on the shoulder of Route 17 in the narrow space between the grass and a rumble strip. (“Shake and bake” is what Virginia’s biking friends call riding on rough roads and rumble strips.)
After fine dining (hey, they have a salad bar!) at the travel stop restaurant near our Holiday Inn, we had another sweet dose of synchronicity to end our day. We had been talking about watching Forrest Gump ever since Virginia laughed about how Joseph joining our ride on Sunday reminded her of all the people who joined Forrest as he started running across the U.S. When you get to be our age (Dee and me, not young Virginia) you can barely remember movie scenes, much less the story. I wish you could have seen us in our hotel room fumbling over how we could play Netflix from our phones on the TV. I’m playing a YouTube how-to video where the guy is talking about cables that we don’t have while Dee is clicking around with the remote. Then, miracle of miracles: Dee types in Forrest Gump and the movie was playing on one of the 87 channels on the TV, at 7:45 — just 10 minutes away!
The movie holds up after all these years, go watch it again. Tom Hanks is brilliant. And much of it was shot in Savannah, where are headed now. Coincidence? I think not.