Back when I was building decks, we would often come across issues where we had to figure out how to make something work. Though the general construction was basically the same, every design was a little different, and every house presented different challenges. When the solution wasn't immediately obvious, we would let the problem sit in the back of our minds. Sometimes your brain keeps that problem running in the background and a solution will pop up while you are working on something else. Other times you just need to step away to come back with a fresh set of eyes.
Occasionally a customer would see the problem themselves and would ask us how we were going to solve it. If we didn't yet have the answer, we would say, "Something'll happen". It was shorthand for "We haven't figured it out yet, but are confident that we will. Just give it/us some time."
"Something'll happen" has been the theme of the last few days.
When I landed in Paris, my bike did not. The cardboard box that held my panniers and other bags showed up, but the bike box was nowhere to be found. I talked to the people in baggage claim and called Iceland Air, but their answer was basically, "Don't call us, we'll call you". Unfortunately, they mistyped my email address, got my home address wrong, and even put down my last name as "Dan" rather than "Day". It took an additional twenty minute call to get that fixed. It didn't inspire confidence.
Since I had planned to ride my bike everywhere, I had to take an Uber while Rick and Liz rode to hotel from the airport, then another Uber on to the hotel in Paris the following day. Every next move and plan was prefaced by, "Well, if you get your bike..." There was one plan with, and one plan without a bike. We tried to stay positive, stay in the moment, and continued to work the plan as variables kept changing. Something'll happen.
We had planned for one full down day in Paris to let me recover some sleep, finish getting set up, and race by a few touristy spots. When we hadn't heard from the airline at the end of that second day, we spent an additional day looking around to see if I could rent a bike for two weeks. We struck out in Paris. Not only was it a long holiday weekend, but there was also a championship soccer/football final that weekend. The city was more overrun than normal, and everything was more expensive. Our already expensive hotel was due to double in price the second day, but Liz was able to sweet talk them into letting us stay on another day at the original price.
We looked at taking a train to a smaller town on the route to see if we could pick up a bike there, but still no luck. As each hour and day ticked by, I became less and less confident my bike would ever show up, much less late, or that we would be able to figure out a work around.
Before arriving, I had worried about throwing a wrench in their trip if my hip made it too difficult to keep up. The last thing I wanted to do was show up and screw up this epic trip they were on. Now I didn't even have a bike to fail on. I told Rick and Liz that I was planning to go home early, to let them continue the trip and ride without me. It broke my heart. They understood how I felt, but we set aside any final decisions until the next day. We went out and had a wonderful dinner, then slept on it.
I could have shifted gears and made a new vacation plan for myself. After all, I was in Europe for the first time in thirty years. Why not spend some time, see the sights. But that wasn't what this trip was going to be about. It was about riding along rivers and through countrysides. It was about spending time with family I love, and finding small places and moments together that would be missed on a normal journey. I travel by myself all the time, but again this wasn't what this trip was about. I was pretty crushed, but still ready to make the difficult call to go home.
I woke up at 3:30 and couldn't fall back asleep. I looked at changing my flight ($540 charge), for hotels anywhere between Paris and the airport (nothing under $200), our previously planned route and other things while fighting insomnia. I was finally able to sleep for an hour and then met Rick and Liz for breakfast. My new suggested plan was to take a train to Rouen (which was on our planned route), to spend another day with them before finding my way home. Paris had been a mess, and I just wanted to see a smaller town, and have a day where we didn't have to come up with any contingency plans. We found an apartment in Rouen where we could stay for two nights.
I had not heard a peep from the airport or the airline in all this time, even though I had corrected all the information they took down (except my last name was still Dan since that was somehow unchangeable). There was however a website where I could log in to see if they had found my bag. I had checked it every couple of hours over the three days, and checked it again in the middle of the night when I couldn't sleep. Still no sign of my bag.
I checked the website one more time after breakfast. The bike was now at the airport.
Liz had finalized the reservation in Rouen just minutes before, so the train was still the plan. Scrambling ensued. Rick and I took an Uber to the airport, grabbed the bike, and took a taxi back, taking about three hours in the process. We assembled the bike in the street, loaded up our gear and rode to the train station. Another three hours later, we were in Rouen. The trip was back on.
I am thankful that Rick and Liz are so flexible in the way they travel, always ready to figure out the next solution to the next problem. Even after I had given up hope, they were ready to roll with what came next.
|Oh how I have missed this stupid box|
|Ready to ride|
|But first, a train.|