Cheryl is the mom. She's also the one who got us into all this biking. In 1993, she insisted we buy his and hers matching mountain bikes, to keep up with Cody, who'd bought himself one a year earlier. (He was following a "like father, like son" model. At age 11, I'd bought a Raleigh 3-speed "English bike" with $50 saved from allowances. When he was 12, he bought an 18-speed Giant for $280 with money saved over a year from allowances.) Two years later, she bought me a total-surprise front-suspension job, saying, "If you're going to be gone riding every weekend, you might as well be comfortable while you're doing it" - True Love!. The next summer, she moved up to a custom tandem, figuring it was something she could do with the two girls (she still hasn't "learned" how to captain). Then, she bought herself a Basso road bike, and a year later, forced me to buy a touring bike, "so Cody can have something to ride this summer".
And this trip is all her idea as well. When I announced I would be renouncing my current position, and taking a sabbatical, she asked, "What will you do?"
"Well, maybe I'll bike across the country for charity?"
"What about the rest of us?"
"Maybe you can come along - you know, follow in our van or something, bike when you want to, sort of support me?"
"Maybe we should all go together."
With that, she went out and bought a small RV, saying she wouldn't try parking the pop-up trailer towed behind the van anymore.
Cheryl claims to be a beach bum/hippie trapped in the masquerade of a suburban housewife. All I know is, she's the best mother and partner I could have found anywhere, and I never would have gone on this trip without her.
When she's not being a mom, a wife, or a nostalgic California girl, she's an ex-midwife who now works part-time as a nurse-practitioner at the local children's hospital. Her work puts her in contact with some less-desirable elements in our world (it's a sexual assault/child abuse clinic), but she sees her role as bringing light and hope to people's lives, not reflecting back the darkness.
At home, she organizes everything. Last fall, when I heard the term "soccer mom", I knew exactly who they were talking about. Chauffeur, cook, child advocate - I don't know how she keeps herself straight. But our kids are great, and I know the reason why. It's usually cause of the mom.