Cody is sixteen. Amazingly, he still loves his parents. But that doesn't mean he has to love what they do. He's just smart enough, and just cynical enough, to approach this tour with a heavy dose of disdain.
But then, we sent him off to Outward Bound last summer. He said the same things about that trip, before starting off. Meeting him at the airport three weeks later, all he had to say was "That's the best thing I've ever done in my life!"
Cody starts slow, is thorough, and has high standards for himself. So he worries - a lot - about whatever project he undertakes, works on it until past the last minute, and usually produces a great results. When he gets into something, he usually goes deep. The classic family story is the dam he has keeps building across the stream running under our driveway. He first started it when we moved in at age two. Every 2-3 years, he upgrades. Most recently, he used concrete forms and pipes within the structure to control the flow. He's almost got it perfected; maybe another couple of tries...
He's the Web captain for this trip. For ten years, he's been into computers, learning about them the way my generation did cars. But if you're reading this, that's not news to you. Give him some feedback on our web page; his next one will be ten times better.
Cody is a great kid (and now, a great person) to have around. He's got high integrity, and doesn't hold a grudge. He thinks a lot, expects others to do the same. When they react mindlessly, he finds it lame, and disappointing.
Cody actually got us into biking, five years. ago. In 1992, he bought himself a mountain bike, having saved $250 for the privilege. When Cheryl saw the fun he was having, the next summer she took Al into the local Mountain Shoppe, and made him buy twin Trek 930s. (The stories of our bike histories, and this cycle of cycles, is another page entirely). "So we can do something with our son!" she said. As if skiing together, hiking in the summer, and generally raising the boy weren't enough? He then got us interested in long-distance biking, suggesting the "Courage Classic" which he insisted we do with him in 1994; three days and 178 miles, 11,000 vertical feet over three Cascade passes. On mtn bikes with 1.5 inch slicks. What did we know?
Since then, when he saw how his parents were getting into it (Cheryl going out and buying Al a carbon-fiber Trek, then a custom tandem, and finally an Italian designed titanium road number for herself), he's turned away - a perfect chance to rebel without really causing havoc.
But with teen-agers, the more important question is not "What's he done?", or even "what's he like?", but rather, "Where's he going?" When asked to say something about what he wants to be when he grows up for this vignette, Cody suggested, "Cody's cool; 'nuff said."