Chapter 22 - Letters

From Sarabeth

June 1997
Dear Dad,
This past Monday, I passed the 2,000-mile mark on my odometer. I still have over 2,000 to go, but as I pedal closer to the Oregon Coast, I know I can do it. My gray bike that we built together carries me over pavement and gravel and potholes, through wind and sun and rain, and is my one constant in this summer of variables.

…So even though I won't be there on Sunday to give you a hug in person, I'll be thinking about you and how we used to ride together when I was little. And since it's supposed to rain tomorrow, I guess I'll be singing our old Mud song!
Happy Father's Day to the best father in the world.
Love from Kansas, Sarabeth

From April

May 5, 1997
Dear Sara,
I got one of those heads that sprout grass for hair. So, how do you water a grassman? Whenever I try, the water slides down. So far, it hasn’t grown any hair.
What’s with you and that boy you’re riding with?! Is he your boyfriend??

The woman I baby-sit for, Hanina, is having concussions, so she will have the baby very soon.

By the way, next time you call on the phone, could you please ask to talk to me? I never get a chance.

What did the Obnoxious Kentucky Men say to you?

Can you save my letters, or do you throw them out?

Yesterday I had a baseball game. I got my first hit, first run, and fourth walk! I was really happy! But mom was talking to you on the phone when I had to leave, and so it's your fault that she couldn't drive me and I had to ride my bike. What was the matter? I picked up the phone, and you sounded real upset. Are you okay? I'm dying to find out what happened.

Dad is now the proud owner of a motorcycle. Aren't you happy?

I miss you. So does everyone.

Good luck,
Love, April

P.S. Mom told my soccer coach about your trip, and he didn’t believe her.
P.P.S. In gymnastics I got to tell all about you and your trip. One girl says there's a road that goes from one end of the country to the other. Do you know if that's true? If it is, why didn't you ride on that one?

From Lili and Jack
[Addressed to Ruth and Terry Matilsky]

Dear parents of Sarabeth,
Since May 18, we knew from a biker’s log in Elk Garden, Virginia that a Matilsky from Highland Park, NJ was somewhere ahead of us. But it was only last Sunday that we finally joined up with her for 36 hours, exchanged life histories, became friends, parted regretfully, and planned to meet later this year in NJ if not again along the route west.

We left her in good hands (her own) and cycling with two fine young men who will be meeting a father and sister for their ride to Pueblo.
We feel like we got to know you too!

Fondly, Lili and Jack
P.S. Please say hi to Sarabeth when she calls, and tell her we’ve been cycling two days with her friend Roel of Amsterdam.