Is It Worth It?

We couldn’t pass it up. When would we get this chance again? It was perfect.


Free from the demands of the conference, the rest of the day was all ours. I couldn’t get out of the hotel quickly enough. Ahh…the extensive beauty of San Francisco. A haven of artistry. Tantalizing possibilities. One afternoon. How would we spend it?

Doing what any other two east coast tourists would do, of course. Go on a camera-ready, completely insane escapade to see the sights. Starting with the “it sounded plausible at the time” idea to bike across the Golden Gate Bridge. Mm hmm.

I’d been DYING to see the Redwoods. I’m talking the starry-eyed daydreaming kind of dying. We didn’t have the money to take the tour bus to the forest. But, hey, no problem. No money + starry-eyed ambition = anything goes.

Hence, the bikes.

Since I’d come for a business conference, I obviously didn’t pack appropriate bike gear. The outdoors guru behind the bike rental counter did a once-over at my attire, her gaze stopping at the lack of fitness already glistening on my forehead. “Umm . . . yeah, I don’t think you’re dressed to make the trek. But check it out,” she said, handing me a map. “There’s a small park not far past the bridge where you can see some Redwoods.”

Redwoods. Not far. Sounds good to me. Seats adjusted. Helmets on. Vision in focus. Off we went.

Now, California has these not-so-little things that we don’t have in Virginia Beach. Hills. You know, those grueling things that light fire to the tops of your thighs. Yeah, those. Leg muscles whining, we made it to the bridge and stopped to snap a few pictures. Or twenty.

Our compulsion to document the journey nearly got us run over by a local bicyclist who passed us, muttering something that sound like, “Crazy tourists.” Tourists? Did the florescent green beacon on the top of my head give us away?? Or maybe it was the fact that we’d been illegally riding on the sidewalks until some more locals upheld their civic duty of pointing out our blunder. But we’d come this far. Screaming muscles and screaming locals wouldn’t deter us now.

We crossed the bridge and kept going. Against the wind. The decadent scenery trailed behind us. Pavement stretched ahead. No signs. No indication of how much farther we had to go. Just pedals and resistance. Our lungs and muscles soared past the whining stage, past the temper tantrums, and skidded into full-blown screams of bloody murder. The wind burned our cheeks, grease from the bike chain soiled our jeans, and the endless road overshadowed the vision we started out with.

Is the journey really worth it?

We had a choice. We could turn around. Though, it really wouldn’t be any easier. We might avoid trekking against the wind, but we’d be carrying a burden of regret and disappointment.

So, we pressed forward. Down the straightaway. Around the bends. Through the exhaustion and fatigue. Pedal turn after pedal turn. Mile after mile. Until we finally reached our destination.

Recognize this journey? It starts out with vibrant expectations. Not far down the road, resistance kicks in. Fatigue stifles. Border patrol hollers. The “not far” sprint turns into a twenty-mile marathon. And somewhere along that nothing-in-sight stretch of sidewalk, you face a crossroads. Keep the vision before you or stare at the pavement. Push through the pain or give into it. Keep going or turn around.

The choice is always ours. And I wish I could tell you it wouldn’t be much farther. I wish I could promise it’s going to get easier. But all I can assure you is this:

It’s going to be worth it.

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