A sobering news story, and then beautiful Watson Lake


Today I headed south about ten miles, from my friend’s place in Chino Valley to my other friends’ place between Chino Valley and Prescott.

I had originally planned to cycle it, but ended up accepting Denise’s kind offer to drive me, after reading a sobering article that jolted me into fear for a bit. A Portland man who was living his own dream to bicycle across the country—he had embarked only four days ago—was struck and killed by a truck in Arizona yesterday, east of Phoenix.

What a profound loss. I had not been aware of Ian, but it sounds like he was an exceptional person, who had founded a nonprofit to help at-risk and underserved youth improve their lives through music. His ride was a fundraiser for the nonprofit. He leaves behind a wife and six-year-old son.

It’s hard for me to read a story like that.

I know that he is not me. I may not meet a similar fate. (I certainly hope not.) And, I will not let this jolt of fear deter me from living my own dream, although I did let it deter me from riding these ten miles today.

Here is what I wrote in a Facebook post this morning:

Ouch. Horrible. This hits close to home.

This bicycle trip is what I want to do more than anything else right now. I’m aware that I’ll be lucky if I make it through the year. If I don’t, please know that this is what I most wanted to do right now. And I’m grateful each day that I make it to a new destination.

A heartfelt request, though, for the next time you get behind the wheel: please watch for cyclists. Give us space. Turn the ringer off on your phone and turn it upside down so that you can’t see it light up and potentially be distracted. Let’s all make it to our next destination, eh?

So, with that said… my journey continues.

Denise drove me to Dori and Jon’s place, where I dropped off my luggage, and then she dropped me off at Watson Lake, to meet my old friend Bradley. We went for a wonderful walk along the dry trail to the lake (and its incredible, unique rock formations on the other side) and then on the return we diverted from the trail into a shady area next to a creek. We talked about my journey, his travel aspirations, and how we all choose to live life, and how to be as conscious as we can while we move through it.

It was the perfect balm for the morning’s news.

After this nature time with Bradley, my host Dori picked me up and brought me back for a delicious homemade meal in their magical house, and then she and Jon taught me how to play a Mexican domino game. (I started out the evening with a strong lead, and then ended up losing spectacularly. Such is life sometimes, eh?)

Thank you all for following my travels, for caring about me, and for trusting me to follow what feels right (and beautiful, and incredible) to me, despite the dangers.

May we all live our dreams, until we can’t anymore.

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4 thoughts on “A sobering news story, and then beautiful Watson Lake”

  1. Thank you as always for the stunningly beautiful images.

    What a heartbreaking story about Ian. I can imagine it “sobered” you. I hope it just makes you extra careful. No doubt Ian leaves behind many who grieve him and are in pain now over the loss of him. You too, Maren … should something happen to you … I would be among those who would hurt a lot over the loss of you. Please please make a commitment to return to us safely. You can do that. Make it a key objective of your journey, along with all your other goals. Please settle for nothing less.

    I have a belief about death — and about life too really — which is that certain events are inevitable for some reason. There is a mysterious reality happening behind the one that we can see. I think events are much less random than they seem, generally speaking.

    I feel it is your destiny to complete your journey safe and whole and free of injury. May it be so! You have so much life in you … you have so much to give … more than you even realize as yet.

    It was a very good day to accept a ride from a friend. I’m glad you did that. That feels … sensitive. And self-loving.

    So let the beauty and syncronicity of the universe fill your heart and soul, and know that on an ultimate level, you’re on this journey on behalf of all of us. I bow to you and thank you.

    1. Thank you for these heartfelt words, Marc. I appreciate everything you have written. I do hope, intend, and believe that I will complete this journey, and continue on to live many more years and, yes, give as much as I can to the world. May it be so. I’m definitely being careful… and also appreciating each moment, each person, each scenic view that I experience.

      Thanks, as always, for following my journey, believing in me, and keeping in touch.

    1. Thanks, Laurie. Yes, it’s such a sad story… and I’m doing my best to trust that I’ll be OK. I do believe I’ll complete this journey. Thanks for your witnessing and encouragement. 🙂

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