2013: Life Lived Well, and Days Spent Fully

My middle child and I were talking the other day about our hopes and plans for 2014 when she said something that surprised me.
“Riding your bike has changed your life, Dad.”
She’s probably only slightly exaggerating. My life has gone through some major changes over the past few years, and it’s always been pretty good, but 2013 has become the year that I started spending a lot of my free time looking over Google Maps and TrailLink.com, comparing my work schedule with weather forecasts, and trying to squeeze as much cycling into my days as possible. During my work days, an internal dialogue and debate is often running through my head, sounding something like this:
“I’m running ahead of schedule, and will be approaching Pittsburgh at around 5 pm. There will be plenty of parking available at the turnpike rest area near the Allegheny River. You could park the truck, sneak the bike through the gate to the employee parking lot, then ride down to the river and be back in time to make your appointment”.
“That’s crazy. I’ve never been there, and those hills are steep.”
Then I pass the large bridge over the Allegheny, and I see the beautiful river below.
“Look at that. Well now I just have to stop and do this, don’t I?”

I’ve sneaked through openings in fences to ride from a rest area to the Appalachian Trial, ridden on long-abandoned stretches of highways that looked like post-apocalyptic wastelands, and braved 20 degree weather in order to squeeze in a bike ride after driving all night. When you’re a truck driver, and when finding truck parking can be difficult, it makes it all that much harder to turn down bike riding opportunities when they arise.

So my daughter is right. Bike riding hasn’t helped me lose this extra weight around my middle, but it has changed my life. It has made me even happier than I had been, and it has taught me to better appreciate the opportunities that each and every day provides. Like life in general, the bike rides don’t have to be marathons or endurance events, but they do have to be honored as an important part of life lived well, and days spent fully.

Oh, and there is one more important thing I have been meaning to mention. For truck drivers, as with everyone, time and money are finite resources. When I wasn’t squeezing every last minute trying to fit these little adventures into my U.S. Department of Transportation regulated schedules, I was pinching pennies too. Almost all of these trips cost me next to nothing. That’s one of the benefits of the job; as long as where you want to go coincides with where your dispatcher sends you, then the transportation costs are free!

Well, this introduction has ended up being far longer that I had anticipated, but that’s ok. Here are some of my favorite pictures from my many adventures throughout the past year. Follow the links provided for the original posts, and information about nearby truck parking and whatnot.

If you’ll forgive the hyperbole, I must say that I think 2014 is going to be awesome!

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OK, this was actually taken last year, in December of 2012, in Rye, New Hampshire. It was a cold rainy day, yet this was one of the most invigorating bike rides I’ve ever had. It’s only a six mile bike ride from the Greenland, New Hampshire T/A Truck Stop to the Atlantic Ocean. I wish I had an opportunity to return in the Summer, but that chance never arose. Maybe I’ll get back in 2014.

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This was was spooky. Next time I ride my bike through a mile-long abandoned tunnel I’ll bring a flashlight! From The Abandoned Pennsylvania Turnpike Tunnels

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I still don’t believe that monster-sized dog got into any canoe with Lewis and Clark. From “Missouri’s Katy Trail and Historic St. Charles”

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I spent a lot of time riding around Baltimore this year! Click here for all of my Baltimore-related posts, or click here for a map showing how to easily ride from the Baltimore Travel Center Truck Plaza to the Inner Harbor and the Baltimore Water Taxi docks.

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Fort McHenry

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Pier 5, Baltimore

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Babe Ruth statue, Camden Yards

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If you watch the HBO comedy “Veep”, you will recognize the Baltimore City Hall as the show’s stand-in for the Eishenhower Office Building, the real-life site of the Vice-President’s office. Apparently it is cheaper and easier to film in Baltimore than in Washington, DC.

Metroparks RailTrail Autumn

The Metroparks Bikeway, originally posted in Presidential History and More Autumn Leaf Peeping in Niles, Ohio

Ferry dock in Algonac, Michigan

Ferry dock in Algonac, Michigan

I just recently learned that there is now a growing numbered U.S. bicycle route system, just like the one we have for cars.

I just recently learned that there is now a growing numbered U.S. bicycle route system, just like the one we have for cars.

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Detroit’s Christmas Tree in Campus Martius Park. From the post “Christmastime Cycling in the Motor City”

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About kevinmckague

I left my former dead-end job in 2006 in order to become a truck driver. I wanted a career that was recession-proof, and that offered more opportunity for adventure. Now I travel the country with my bike in the passenger seat, and look for new places to visit whenever the opportunity presents itself.
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4 Responses to 2013: Life Lived Well, and Days Spent Fully

  1. Jim Smith says:

    Glad you enjoy your bike riding. I’m having the same affection for my back packing and hiking in the past few years. Keep up the great writing.

  2. Todd McCann says:

    Best of 2013 blog post? Great idea. The Lewis and Clark, Fort McHenry, and Pier 5 pics didn’t show up in the post, but that could’ve just been my crappy cell data speeds. Enjoyed seeing the rest of them again though. Keep on truckin’ friend… and riding.

    • kevinmckague says:

      Thanks Todd. I checked on various browsers and the WordPress app, and I see the pictures. Maybe your dispatcher but a bug in your Apple. šŸ™‚ Try it again, the Lewis and Clark statue should not be missed!
      Drive safely, Todd and have a good 2014!

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