Before I free the sails, I must send my sincerest gratitude to all of those who provided me (and Alan) with aid, encouragement, advice/experiential knowledge, patience and distraction. I hope I will be able to refrain from an intolerably dry list of names:
To the kind folks at Mountain Trails, Gene, Lydia, Arthur, Diane, and Rowdy the Dog, in Winchester, VA for special ordering things, patiently answering the same questions for weeks, organizing trips for equipment test runs, lending me personal equipment to test before making purchases, consulting, advising, distracting me with delightful IPAs from the local pub during proposed “staff meetings”, allowing me to spend almost as much time in the shop as they do; sitting, reading, knitting and entertaining my favorite Rowdy the Dog; and for providing invaluable encouragement and support. Please note that no list could adequately thank these folks.
Matthew Wikswo for his unfathomable analytical capacity, incredibly warm hearth, and for his utilization of his position of power for the greater good.
The folks at Shenandoah Bicycle Company in Harrisonburg, VA for providing service excellent enough to make the one hour shlepp for any bicycle needs. I hope they like ginger snaps.
Tim Gyovai at New World Pasta in Winchester for a mind blowing, ultra informational tour of the local pasta plant, not to mention sending us off with more pasta than we could carry.
To Mike Goff, Bob Green, Bob Peak, Maria Baker, Petar Krastev, Evgenii Zemskov for enthusiastically acting as pro bono consultants.
To Bryan and Deb Simon for their comprehensive research for our first aid needs, for sending us a box full of supplies and for cooking us a delicious dinner in their beautiful home.
To the people employed by the Fayetteville Public Library who did everything within their power and then some to obtain the multitude of obscure text I required during the research process.
To Darina at Quickstartbulgarian.net for giving me access to a great six lesson audio/visual program to help build a foundation for the Bulgarian language as well as lessons on Bulgarian culture. Aside from spending time with Bulgarian speakers, this program has been the best thing I have run across in my research of the Bulgarian language.
Adventurers and Scientists for Conservation for their important roll in the facilitation of connections between those who travel to the far corners of the earth and those who require information from paths less traveled.
To Dave and Linda Lay at Linda’s Mercantile who have been more than accepting and supportive of my transience as an employee, and who worry about me while I am gone as they would their own daughter.
To the sweet face of the manager of my personal shipping department for his infallible optimism and charm.
To his wife for her level head and brilliant problem solving skills.
To Alan, for being a pillar of infallible strength and patience; for planning, researching and organizing; for being not only willing but also excited to spend 40+ days of one-on-one time man hauling across frozen lands with one very inexperienced skier; and for being the best friend a girl could ever have.
With love, farewell.