I’ve been re-absorbed by daily life. It’s funny, since now I have a slightly new perspective from all the travel and have not embraced the workaholic life. The new patterns in time have opened up my creativity. I continue to sew projects and learn a lot from each one.
Some old habits have tried to creep back in, such as record collecting, but I continue to abstain from coffee. It’s great to catch up with all the changes in the lives around me that I missed.
Before departing in March, I found a vintage accordion at a yard sale. I have always been fascinated by them, so I bought it, knowing full well that it would become another project. I recently disassembled it and found the issues that will need correcting if I’m to begin learning this instrument. It’s not too intimidating, but it is not an easy thing to find parts for. Wish me luck.
I’ve settled back into summer life nicely. I could get used to this carefree unemployed bit. I have been staying busy though, house projects and creative projects taking up most of my time. I’ve been cycling too. In addition, I will be returning to work soon, boo.
I have dedicated myself to improving my sewing skills. I’m interested in making bags for bicycles, which can be a jigsaw puzzle when you add pockets and straps etc. The first real project is a replacement saddle bag for the one I blew out on my trip. I disassembled it, from which I created a pattern, cut all the pieces (in more interesting colors), and stitched them back together. Aside from a few puckers, it is pretty nice. I need to work on binding seams.
Another project that I’ve begun is learning to grow and bake sourdough whole grain bread. I made two batches already, which were fairly good, but not great by any means. As tempting as it is to make all the exciting ryes and challahs and potato loaves, I’m sticking to whole wheat until my skill improves.
Anyhoo, I’m back to work soon, so it will be nice to feel like I’m contributing to society again😁.
I spent two days in Rock Springs at a motel 6 in preparation to depart. I rounded up a box on day 1 and visited some thrift shops, picked up a couple books for the bus. “The Demolished Man” by Alfred Bester, “The Thief and the Dogs” by Naguib Mahfouz, and “The Singer Guide to Sewing” are my new reading projects. All batteries charged and it was time to get on the bus.
Well, I got as far as Kansas City before bailing on the Greyhound. Undercover police started searching the bus at the station and our entire schedule was blown. I was resigned to dealing with the 60 hour ride home, but now there was no knowing how much longer the ride might take. I caught a Lyft to the airport and rented a car instead.
It was very strange seeing the trip rewind so fast after having spent months getting there. The conveniences that are normal today amaze me. Need food? easy. Need to rest? easy. Need help on the roadside? easy. I don’t want the good old days, things are pretty good here and now.
I stopped near Atlanta to visit some friends, then headed home the next day. Florida’s heat and humidity were like a nice blanket, I was home again.
There is a pin in the map of Wyoming where I hope to return and see what I couldn’t this time. I also need to spend some significant time exploring more of Missouri (and Arkansas), New Mexico, and Western Colorado. This really long bike ride changed how I think about distance and time and showed me the scope of this country and the variety of its people. Thanks for following along, it’s been good to write things down as I rode. I doubt that I would remember the same details that I documented. I intend to carry on writing, though the daily subjects might be more mundane in comparison, at least until I return to Wyoming.
South of Lander is the Shoshone National Forest and Sinks Canyon. I decided the ride up and through these areas on my way out. The climb from the Canton was a really good long stretch, but not too steep, and quite scenic. I took my time and enjoyed the dirt roads for 43ish miles on my way to Atlantic City, WY.
I stayed the night at Wild Bill’s Lodge. A b&b style place for cycle tourists and through hikers on the continental divide route. Bill and his wife Carmella were very sweet and generous
Next day was a long one, 90 dull highway miles across the basin to Rock Springs. This ended up being my farthest ride on the pugsley to date, and it was a bit of a chore. It was also quite hot.
Upon arrival in Rock Springs, I got a hotel room and enjoyed relaxing for the rest of the evening. The ride was over, I was heading home.
I took the day off in Lander. It’s a cool town with a bit of history in the outdoorsy world. There are a number of backpacking stores, a city park that allows free camping, the NOLS (national outdoor leadership school) Rocky mountain office and campus, and strong support of the trans-america bike trail. I relaxed all day and bought a few books, The Sisters Brothers, by Patrick Dewitt, and The Elephant Vanishes, by Haruki Murakami. I also considered my next step.
I wasn’t very excited about cycling any farther. I think road weariness and homesickness had set in. I told myself before leaving on this trip that when the fun ran out, it was time to head home. So I set out a plan to make my egress.
I was only about two days riding time from the nearest greyhound station. I figured that I’d give myself one more day of fun mountain riding, then roll into Rock Springs, WY where I can get all my gear packed up for the trip home. I bought a ticket for the 4th of July, when the rates were cheapest😁.
The adventure continues! I look forward to seeing friends and family back home soon. More blog posts of the grand finale (Greyhound bus rides are always adventures).
I’ve made a life changing, and very difficult decision. It may be the toughest one that I’ve made in years, I’m going to quit drinking coffee. It’s not the worst habit but it’s not a very good one. Though I think it may be tougher than quitting smoking, which I’ve done 3 times 🙂 I hope it will help with my figity, unfocused, and non-stop behavior. Also, it will hopefully curb that rare ( I think) occasion when I turn into a jerk. Though I may become a bit of a jerk as I go through some withdrawals.
I came to this decision because I realized that I seek gratification through stimulation. But as any coffee drinker or cigarette smoker (or stimulant user I suppose) knows, you usually feel no better after the effect has worn off, and often a little worse.
One particular habit that I think may be related to that need for stimulation is collecting things. I am aware that I go through cycles of fascination and collecting of objects, hobbies, books, bicycle parts, video games, ideas, etc. Eventually I lose my focus to something else, but only slowly discard what accumulated.
It is all complicated by my strong desire not to be wasteful and too consumerist. I eventually decide what has to go and slowly whittle it out of my life, but wouldn’t it be better to just try to acquire only what I really know that I will use? I don’t wish to be stingy or miserly, just a bit more minimal and practical. So don’t be surprised if I start selling and giving things away.
Anyway, I’ve stopped with coffee and caffeine, and maybe you should say something if you see me eating whole chocolate bars and drinking coca-cola. Cheers!
Day one of this two day ride had me way out there. I followed the great divide route into the big basin along old uranium mining highways. These were paved for 20ish miles, but then turned into rutted sand roads. Never happy to just follow the map, I asked Google for something a little more interesting. I did lose my track once or twice, but the mountains served as a pretty reliable landmark to correct this. I felt like I was pretty far out there.
Eventually I returned to civilisation, or something resembling it. In Jeffrey City there is one place for food, though I think the liquor is what draws the locals. Service was abysmal, but the chili wasn’t bad at all. A local church serves as a cyclist hostel for trans-am riders when not serving the community, it was a good place to stay.
Next morning, I used the church kitchen to make some coffee and my routine power oatmeal. This is a concoction including: oats, mixed dry berries, a little refried beans, whey protien powder, peanut butter, and a pinch of salt. Seriously, it’s the ultimate hippie breakfast.
First thing I noticed when I started rolling, MOSQUITOS! Oh my God, so many! It’s worse here than the Okeefenokee Swamp. They are so tenacious and quick and small, if I slow down while climbing a hill, my legs are covered. I don’t know how unhealthy it is to exercise while doused in deet, but I have no choice.
I rode about 59 miles this day, mixing about 20 miles of country dirt with highway riding. It was super hot, 93° fahrenheit, which made it more taxing than it should have been. I did pass five other cycle tourists, all riding East.
Taking the next day off in Lander to rest and prepare. Mileage is up to 4,446.16
Roly-poly hillocks started my morning,then a nice smooth paved roll down into the town of Rawlins, Wy. I’ve entered the great divide basin and the red desert. This looks to be the dominant landscape of the next week of riding. Several pronghorn ran away from me as I approached, and don’t seem to be as good at leaping fences as other deer. I just read that this is the largest unfenced region in the U.S.
Today was restock and wash up day, so I stayed at an RV campground. A few more days of travel will bring me to Lander, Wyoming. Here I will take a day off and check out the local things to do.
Im thoroughly enjoying John Waters read his audiobook “Role Models”. I’ve always liked hearing his opinions and he’s full of lovely stories.
For anyone keeping track, (I almost forgot to), I’ve added 265 miles to the total, which is now 4,291.16.
No snow today, and a nice long descent to start me up. A passing truck driver told me about an interesting place up the road. This is the Brush Mountain Lodge, a hostel for passing cyclists. It’s sort of an unofficial halfway point on the great divide route. The owner Kirsten takes good care of everyone, providing food, gear, and lodging for a donation. I had some coffee with pancakes, eggs and sausage. I’d like to visit again some future day.
Afterwards the scenery was very pretty and the riding straightforward. Just a little hilly, but I was a bit sore from yesterday, so I took my time. Looking forward to a hot shower in Rawlins tomorrow afternoon.
Sidenote: I read the short story “Bartleby the Scrivener” by Herman Melville. A fantastic little tale about someone we all probably know in some way.
I was set to part ways with Wifey, and the skies got nasty. It was June 20th and a good amount of snow fell, so we made plans to stay through the weekend together. The next day, the longest day of the year, it snowed a lot!
We had a very nice time, eating at many different spots, some great, some regrettable. We watched a concert of Tommy Emmanuel and Dave Grisman jamming, I took a tour of the Moots bike factory, and checked out some gear from Big Agnes. When Monday came around, it was time for us to roll.
The Great divide route took me North. I had to choose whether to take a pass around Sand mountain, or a lower route through the town of Columbine. Of course I chose the pass. I was in for a tough time due to all the snowfall, but I wanted to have the mountain ride, and the tour divide racers were coming through that way.
Before the big climb, I stopped in Clark, CO for some fantastic corned beef and cabbage with rye bread. On the mountain route I passed a good number of racers, all of whom had been held back by the nasty weather. Some of them decided they were no longer competing since the delay had taken so long. Everyone I spoke with was super friendly, I hope they all have a great trip despite the hold up.
Eventually the difficult part of my day reached me. About 4 miles of road was deeply buried in snow. There was a good rut dug into it from all the cyclists passing, but I think this actually made it harder for me since I was going uphill in the opposite direction. I had to place the bike above me in the wheel ruts and drag the bike left handed. It took a few hours, with many breaks, and a few tumbles into the snow. I must say that I enjoyed dinner upon reaching camp.