It is 12:20 A.M. on 12-20, 2010–‘early morning in the universe’–as Jack K. would have put it–and Charlie the Gent is sleeping on the couch in the next room. The last time that happened this deep into the next day it was May 2008. On that occasion I hoisted all 112 pounds of him over my shoulder and up the stairs we went. That was one herniated disc ago; a condition largely resolved via marathon bike riding together so, far from complaining, this is a modest tribute to Charlie as we near the completion of our eighth season of riding; or in my favorite call-and-response innovation of this year’s campaign, ‘With you…Always.’
This season was different from the others in that a) there is no end in sight and b) if traced over a political map of North America our distance of ground covered from St. Paddy’s Day til present would limn the equivalent route from here—in N. Ctrl Jersey–to Oakland, California…and back again. And as we are not traveling to the East Bay for this Christmas season, we are mighty grateful that Charlie’s beloved gong gong and popo will soon be headed this way, with surprise guests to follow shortly thereafter: they will quickly discern that Charlie no longer weighs in at 112. He is one very fine young man, who kindly elected to remain within my visual field through each and every rotation of the pedals during this year soon ending; 5,000 miles and growing, as we’re not Dunn yet.