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California - 22nd July to 10th August 2010

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Mission Improbable - The Prologue

Those who have read my Bella Italia report will have noticed that two participants, namely Kristin and myself (aka the Liberty and the Hornet), seemed drawn companionably together every time any good ride or good fun was in progress.

By the time of the 'Last Supper' I was sure I wanted to prolong this companionship, and determined to communicate this to Kristin. After a couple of abortive attempts of leaving the dinner table to have a ciggie but then being hijacked by others, at last I had a brief moment to speak what was on my mind - which came as a bolt out of the blue to Kristin. I confess by then I'd rehearsed what I was going to say into a rather stilted mangled mess, so I wasn't surprised. At least I got an "Email me!" as a reply. Phew!

I then had four days travelling back through Italy and France, while Kristin stayed another couple of days in Pisa before flying home to California. I can remember continually thinking "Kristin would like this road/view/food/beer" and having a friendly ghost of a Liberty behind or in front of me along the road.

The day after getting back I duly emailed, and had a very friendly response. After just a few exchanges and the teeniest prod from my elder son Tom, within three days I'd booked return flights to San Francisco.

Two or three emails to other folk had my accommodation and transport sorted. My new-found friends from the Italy trip came to the fore: Jess would lend me his MP3 500 for the duration, Patrick would put me up for the first night then my cousin Pauline for the next three while Kristin was enjoying a beer festival up north, and then I was to stay with Kristin for the remainder of the trip. She trusted me, and I trusted her, as explained below.

My friends knew me as "Mr Never Again" after the trials and tribulations that ended with the death of my late wife Alison in 2004. So I wasn't looking for anything further than confirming my initial thoughts that Kristin was someone whose company I just wanted to enjoy more. Kristin had let slip she'd had a pretty ghastly time over the last few years and months as well, so was also shunning the idea of any 'relationship'. We were mutually re-assured.

Eventually Life took us both by the scruffs of our necks and turned our ideas into new directions we hadn't dared to imagine - the story unfolds in the following pages. Dear reader, you are welcome to share it.

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© Jim Crowther and Kristin Gallagher 2010

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