After two months of daily updates I missed one on Monday, but I’m still alive don’t worry. At the moment I’m stationary as I await a replacement bracket for my handlebar bag which got trashed in that crash two weeks ago. I specified the wrong address on the first attempt to ship it ( I made the phone call only minutes after pulling myself off the asphalt) and the second attempt to ship it has been stymied by circumstance. Three day shipping from last Thursday is now estimated to take a week, and so here I find myself in Naples waiting for a few days before I can continue onward. The progress of the trip has been very stilted as of late; hurry up and wait. This is not a good place for waiting: Florida is a bit dull. It’s flat. The sun shines. I sweat and spend profusely. Strip malls stretch for an eternity outside every community. There’s a lot of potential for nautical adventure but lacking a boat I’m not finding much to capture my imagination. But! I have a few days to reflect and reorient my journey. Continue reading “Wherein Chris Turns North”
By my reckoning I’ll reach Key West mid next week. It’s about 250 miles, but Im taking another rest day in Miami, so I won’t actually be moving South again until Monday. Then it’s three days until we’re at the end of the road, the Southern most point, the place I promised myself months ago, Key West. I don’t know what I’ll do when I get there. Write postcards to all the nice people who have hosted me. Drink some fruity cocktails. Consume pie(s). Honestly, I don’t intend to stay for more than a day or two as its not that large. I still need to find lodging, but most of the hosts down that way request that you not bother them too much so I’m respecting that. Can you imagine how many gross cyclists descend on that place in the Winter?
Editor’s Note: I meant to finish this entry a long time ago. Got a lot of catching up to do.
Florida. Here at last. A while back a meteorologist designed a year long road trip across North America that maximized the likelihood of 70 degree weather on each day of the year. I saw this and thought Heck, that’s what I intend to do!. This optimized road trip starts in Southern Texas and eventually heads in a Northerly direction. The time spent in each location is variable, with nearly three months spent in the Southeastern corner of Texas before even reaching Austin. Well, the math may be right, but the answer is not particularly palatable. Fortunately, I have a lot of luck and El Nino has been my side, so my random walk across the Atlantic coast has been a balmy one. Today is a bit of an exception, so I bring you stories from the road! Continue reading “Wherein Chris Grapples with the Concept of Rumspringa”
It’s been so long I hardly know where to start! Most of the intervening time since Columbia has been wet and windy, and so I started to think about how my adventure compares to seafaring in times of olde. So much of my journey depends on the quality of the wind: a tailwind brings smiles and an easy day, a headwind has nearly locked me onto a barrier island unable to head to the mainland. The wind picks up and I adjust my rigging, getting low in the saddle to avoid it, or sitting up to slow things down. When the weather gets stormy I either batten down the hatches and weather it out or you find a port and hunker down. At night I lay in my tent staring intently at maps and charting a course for my next port of call. It’s all very exciting when you think of it that way. I’m on a bike exploring distant lands and their cultures, untouched yet by folks such as me. What makes this place different from where I’ve been before? What can the natives teach me? If I were to wash ashore here with no recollection of where I should be, how would I figure out where I was?
Measured in time or miles, the interim between Rumspringa updates has grown too long. Time to slow the journey and find a library where I can plead for public internet access. Some place with a modern browser featuring incognito mode so that I can safely share all my precious Rumspringa credentials and launch codes. I try to do this every four or five days to occupy myself while my body recharges as I’m no good at sitting still without a diversion. Although I’m much stronger than I was at the beginning it’s important to rest proactively, and I’d rather do this inside a library than in a random patch of unclaimed forest along a county road. At this particular library computation must be performed in hour intervals so I’m doing my best to quickly conjure five dollar words and commit them to page. Commit them to bits? Continue reading “Wherein Chris Travels Through the Heart of the Carolinas”
I write to you from Morrisville where Jim and I, A-Team of somatosensory neural interfaces, have been reunited once more! Jim and I go way back to when I cluelessly wandered through the University of Pittsburgh campus 8 years ago on a self guided tour. Jim offered to show me his lab, and soon after I became a full time member. We worked on solving the same problems, and so our boss, Doug, called me “new-Jim” or “little-Jim”. Now, Ameya is the new Chris, is the new Jim.
Jim may actually be directly responsible for this trip. On a ride along the Monongahela bike trail several years ago one us that suggested that we ought to bike from Pittsburgh to D.C. for a Society of Neuroscience conference. We were able to con our friend and coworker Matt to come with us too. It was my first honest to goodness camping and bike touring experience! We ended up pulling two centuries and two 80 mile days to get to D.C. in time. On the first night, and my first time setting up a tent, I neglected to stake the fly and created a personal sauna which Eagle scout Jim thought was hilarious. Matt’s rear derailleur fell victim to a particularly vicious stick just as we hit the D.C. suburbs. Upon arriving at our hotel our mentor, Doug, rewarded us all with Stone IPAs and I spent the better part of the following week sleeping.
In Pittsburgh (and probably DC) this trip is not unusual and perhaps even a rite of passage. Folks ride the Great Allegheny Passage and C&O Towpath and come back changed and so it was with me.
Finally, a library with guest computer privileges! I haven’t touched a keyboard in two weeks, which is because I’ve been houseless since then. Years of computer work have turned the humble keyboard into an appendage of sorts and I was really hurting without one. It’s also really exciting to see this blog on the big screen now that it has been populated with stories and pictures. Like my bike I intended this space to be colorful, to get me through the cold dark Winter, and also filled with happy stories. It’s rewarding to see it come together, which is in large part because I’ve been avoiding keyboards.
Every mile I’ve ridden has helped me escape all the nonsense that’s been bouncing around inside my head. It must have been a day or two ago when I realized I wasn’t thinking any negative thoughts. I was just in the moment, riding. Heading towards something, rather than escaping something. Or maybe I was heading nowhere. It didn’t matter, I was happy, REALLY happy just to be where I was. Continue reading “Wherein Chris Decides People Were Wrong About New Jersey”
NYC was a blur. I limped in on the MTA and rolled my bike to a dedicated bike valet in Hell’s Kitchen. For $5 NYC Velo will store your bike for 24 hours in a storage space that only they can access which is exactly what I needed. Leaving the bike unattended in a big city is just not what I want to deal with, not when it has nearly all of my Earthly possessions haphazardly strapped to the frame.
Relaxed first day; windy, warm and flat the whole way. Looks like I failed to entice anyone on WarmShowers to host me tonight but I found a place to stealth camp. Theres a lot of interesting vegetarian food in the city so tonight is a lazy night. Best to take advantage of it now while I still have the opportunity. Forecast for the next week looks favorable, so life is good. Excited to be on my way at long last!