Lewis Carl Jackson, conceived on a weeklong bicycle tour of the Olympic peninsula in the state of Washington during the spring of 1999, was predestined to achieve great things through bicycling. He just doesn’t know it yet! I’m ranking Lewis just behind his mother in importance as far as the successful completion of this grand adventure. The primary concerns surrounding his mother have to do with physical limitations, or Donna’s ability to get back on that bicycle the next day and the next day and the next day, and on and on. Lewis’ nine year old body should be able to bounce right back into that bicycle seat day after day after day. The question that remains to be answered is how he will hold up mentally. Lewis has shown an inclination to become bored on some of the longer bike rides which inevitably leads to complaining and whining. The strategy to get around this inclination will be to take frequent rest stops so that the 50 or 60 mile bike ride is instead reduced to a half dozen 10 mile bike rides! Is that clever or what? Bribery will undoubtedly be a part of the strategy as well.
Lewis arrived late in this world in more ways than one. Entering with parents who are 42 years old certainly qualifies as being late. The medical experts who monitored Donna during her 'geriatric' pregnancy expected Lewis to arrive just before Valentine’s Day. A week after his anticipated arrival and his adamant refusal to leave the womb on his own, it was decided that additional measures would be necessary. These initially consisted of naturopathic remedies that were supposed to get him moving in the right direction, including plenty of activity for his mother during the daytime. It was even suggested that some activity by his father during the nighttime might convince him that it was time to come out. Nope, he wasn’t going anywhere! His mother then tried an herbalist’s remedy to get labor started by brewing and drinking Black Cohosh tea. This actually had some effect and lead to some mild contractions but these soon faded when the tea passed through. When he was officially two weeks beyond the date, the medical experts took over. It was now out of our hands. They were determined to get him out. His mother was given Pitosin and then the waiting began. But this was not your comfortable sit on the couch with a book and a beer kind of waiting. This was hospital room uncomfortable maybe read a magazine type waiting. He resisted and resisted and resisted until his vital signs began to show signs of distress. The medical experts have trained all their lives to handle these situations but when they noticed that his previously robust heartbeat was beginning to falter, the casual atmosphere during the previous 30 hours of unproductive labor was immediately replaced with an almost panic type situation. We were no longer allowed to just wait for him to pop out. This called for an immediate emergency cesarean delivery. After all that planning and training and hard work on his mothers part, the Ob Gyn doctor and her assistants had him out of his little cocoon within minutes from when the decision had been made. Immediately following this extraction his bluish lifeless bloody body was rushed to the opposite side of the surgical theater where a second team of experts were waiting for him. At this point his mother was unaware of her surroundings while his panicked father was watching and waiting hysterically to hear an infant cry. Lo and behold, Lewis did eventually cry and his father chose this opportunity to do so as well.
Lewis’ progression from infancy to toddler followed the norms that have been set by countless generations before him. He was walking on his own around 11 months. He experienced his first earthquake 2 days after his first birthday! This was a 7.0 magnitude on the Richter scale shaker that lasted for almost 45 seconds. This coincides with his mother’s first big earthquake as well. She had been expecting a parcel from UPS that day so when the house began to shake and shimmer she mistakenly thought the driver had crashed into the house with his truck. Once the building started lurching up and down she realized that this was no UPS truck! She grabbed her son and took shelter in a doorway in the recently completed structure. Had she remembered who was responsible for building this structure she might have reconsidered! But the house that Donna and her husband and several friends built was up to the challenge and was proven worthy.
Lewis’ first word was HOT. His father was responsible for this as he was the one to build a house with a woodstove in it. Lewis soon learned many more words! But HOT will always get his attention. Lewis attended a co-op preschool in Olympia for 3 years. His mother was very involved with the pre-school and organized a fundraiser that is still going on. She took her passion of running and abundant knowledge of what makes a good race and ran with it! Lewis has always been a participant in the activities that his parents happen to enjoy. He has been in many road races without even lacing up a shoe. He was typically situated in his 3 wheeled jogger and continued along these lines until the ripe old age of 5. Lewis has actually run some races as well. He twice competed in the State Agency Challenge and twice finished first or second in his age group which earned him a moment of fame when his picture was discovered in the local newspaper in Olympia. Go Lewis! His experience with bicycling also began at an early age. He initially participated by sitting in the child carrier that was part of the tandem that his mother and father shared. Lewis began riding on his own when he received his first hand-me-down Hot Cycle at the age of three. This was his preferred mode of travel for several years. While he was given a two wheel bicycle with training wheels by the time he was four years old, this was not considered a viable form of transportation due to the existence of the Hot Cycle. By the time Lewis was attending elementary school he had outgrown the hot cycle as his legs were getting too long and his knees kept hitting the handlebars! He still resisted the bicycle. His parents didn’t force the issue. They were content to put Lewis on a one wheeled trailer bike that attaches to the seat post of any traditional bike. In this manner Lewis completed his first 50 mile one day bike ride. He has since repeated this feat numerous times. Lewis was in second grade when he finally took that first solo ride on a 2 wheel bicycle without training wheels. His parents were beginning to think that a switch had been made at the hospital and they had someone else’s child. Soon Lewis was hooked on the new freedom and speed of riding his own bike, much like a duck takes to water. Unfortunately Lewis has neither the stamina nor experience to ride his own bicycle on lengthy bike rides so he will once again be more of a passenger on this upcoming adventure. Lewis will be the ‘Stoker’ situated directly behind his father, the ‘Captain’ on their cherry red tandem that hopefully will see him all the way to Washington DC.