Tad and Gaila left in 2012 for a year touring on motorcycles, and blogged about their adventures here.

After my trip to Alaska in 2011, Gaila said she wanted to ride, “Not for a month or two!” I recall her saying. She was in it for a year. Although I was seriously tempted to go with them when they asked, I had a lot of things I was juggling at the time. But in retrospect, I should have met them on the road for a much longer time. My trip to Arizona was inspired by their visit to the Overland Expo. So glad I was part of their epic ride.

My connection with them spans about the last five years. At a self-catered motorcycle safety day, Tad looked very familiar. After the ride, I pulled out my high school year book–sure ‘nough, we graduated from the same high school in Minnesota back in the 80s. Seattle has about .2 degrees of separation compared to anywhere I’ve lived before. With this added bond, we three and our large motorcycle family have grown incredibly strong.

During their year, I followed along on their blog and on Facebook, and felt so proud of their accomplishments as individuals and a couple. Seeing them live with little gear, spending wisely, and being open to all that came their way: dirt, family reunions, rain, Gaila’s broken ankle, volunteering at orphanages in Mexico, bald tires, more dirt and then snow; and finally, their trepidation to return home. They took it all in stride and with a smile.

Meeting them on the road was probably one of the craziest and healthiest things I’ve ever done in my life. Good friends push you to step out of your comfort zone and are there to catch you if necessary. Thanks again to you both for letting me wiggle into your last weeks of your ride. I am awaiting instructions for your next ride! I may only have a month to join you, but I know it’ll be another trip of a lifetime.

With gratitude and love,