We arrived in Inverness sleepy, confused, and desperate for a strong cup of coffee. Neil left me leaning against the wall of the train station while he found the bathrooms.
I found a comfortable spot and parked myself and all the luggage. As I loitered, I noticed two good-looking men eying me and as they started walking towards me, I wondered if this pair could be our mountain bike guides.
The taller of the two leaned forward and said “Are you called Heather?” I grinned and exclaimed yes! You must be from H&I! They introduced themselves as Euan and Kevin, owner/operator and poet extraordinaire, and admitted that my pile of DAKINE luggage gave me away as a potential biker.
Neil came back from the bathroom to see me with the two men, and Euan brightly explained that they thought they’d just “pick up on your wife” while he was away.
I immediately liked them.
They helped us get our luggage to the van, which we would later come to call a second home for the week, and we drove to a local bed and breakfast to pick up the other couple on the trip, who had gotten in the previous night.
They were Clark and Tina, another set of Americans, from South Dakota. Slightly older than us but not by much, and just as excited by the week to come. We’d later learn how very different we all were, but for that day, and really the extent of the trip, everyone put their differences aside and had a great time. It seemed to be a theme, of this surprising sort of family.
We got Clark and Tina loaded, and much to Neil and I’s relief, drove to a local coffee shop to have a sit down, go over the itinerary, and generally get to know one another.
We both ordered the biggest cappuccinos we could get. I decided that day that in spite of my nerves, I knew this trip would be amazing. Also that coffee is the elixir of life.