May 30, 2019
I wore my green Columbia Silver Ridge Convertible hiking pants on United Flight #2415 to Portland, Oregon, the same ones I had donned eight months earlier for a United flight to San Diego when I began my three-month odyssey from self-doubt to self-confidence. A blue Smartwool 100 long-sleeve shirt and silver Northside Brille lightweight water shoes rounded out the ensemble, giving me an appearance that revealed my enthusiasm for the occasion.
The clothing easily fit into the Salsa Half-Frame Bike Pack, with adequate storage capacity to carry only essential items for my journey. Beginning on June 2, my Smartwool shirt would serve a much more critical purpose than casual travel attire: it would warm my torso as I cycled over five mountain ranges, including the Cascades and the Rocky Mountains, and into the heart of middle America.
The landing gear extended, the wing flaps opened, and the distinct roar attributable to the airplane’s hydraulic motor signaled the final approach. A loud thump and screech of the brakes triggered an immediate roar due to the rush of high-speed air spewing out of engines. United #2415 touched down at 11:12 a.m.
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