I have come to the extremely painful and unfortunate late resort of prematurely ending my Big Year in light of the Coronavirus-inspired public health crisis. Several sleepless nights and restless waking hours of painful deliberation have led me to this point. I’ve just run out of options. Distance unicycling is already a very difficult and complicated undertaking in the best of times. I have found that it becomes next to impossible to carry out in a state of emergency. The closure of California State Park campgrounds was really the final blow. With camping and homestays removed from my toolbox, hotels are pretty much the only remaining option. But the reality of hotel rates along the road ahead in Southern California is impractical. Not to mention the increasingly complicated and unreliable food situation and limitations on activities.
The virus has changed the way that we operate as a society. Reliance on people, especially in LA, was a massive component of my progress. As self-reliant as I’d like to think the adventure was making me, I simply could not advance without the help of kind folks. Without the generosity of the people that I encountered along the way, I would not have even made it out of Olympia.
A unicycle Big Year is a dream for the best of times, a luxury in times of stability. In a scenario where non-essential businesses are forcibly closed and nonessential practices are discouraged, my lifestyle does not merit special treatment. Everyone is suffering from this crisis, and calling it quits on this journey, as much as it hurts my heart, is a sacrifice that ought to be made.
I am eternally grateful for the blessings along the road during these eleven weeks. I’ve met incredible people and have been privileged to see the west coast in a unique and unusual way. It’s been a blast, and I’m not stretching when I say that I’ve had the time of my life. It’s incredibly bitter to go out after setting a respectable pace of 209 species and 1000+ miles in less than 80 days. But I suppose there are worse ways to go out on a long-distance cycle tour.
Y’all have been an incredible support group. I drew so much on your great vibes to cover the ground that I did cover. For that, I cannot thank you enough.
As for how I proceed? I’m not sure. I mean nobody knows where we’ll be heading from here. All we have is hope, which is a great substitute for direction. I’ll definitely get around to posting about the past couple of weeks, as they were some of the most exciting and enjoyable days of my trip.
In the meantime, I hope that everyone stays hopeful and healthy. It ain’t nothing but a hiccup in the grand scheme. Cherish time together and continue to support each other; love, hope, and patience will pull us through.