Thursday, July 24, 2008

It's Over!

It's not quite over - depending on how you look at it. I'm typing this in the bus station in Montreal. The cycling and rolling around are finished. I'll be in Philly again whenever this bus comes and takes me there.

After Tim Horton's I went to the big nice library to see if I could dry my shit out. The library didn't open until 1pm, but there was a large several-story open area with a few adjoining non library related offices. I took great liberties and hung my sleeping bag, air mattress and bivy sack over a railing to dry. I plugged in all my electronics to charge. I sat around taking up a whole lot of space, drying. I had my socks out drying on a chair. After some hours of reading and using the internet when the library opened, my stuff was kinda dry. My sleeping bag still had some dampness, but it was all basically sleepable again.

The rain stopped and the day started looking much better. I scoped out possible sleeping spots for later. I'd contacted a couple people in town from couchsurfing.com, but I never tend to expect anything with last minute requests like mine.

I tried to drink two beers at a bar before getting some food. I was hungry as hell and hadn't eaten since muffin o'clock in the morning. Somehow 2 beers became 4, then a big coke-dealing jackass of an indian dude bought me another, and I had another after that. Then I ate a cheeseburger and some poutine (cheese & gravy on fries) and decided that I was done with Val d'Or. I rocketed away while the sun was still going down, headed toward Matagami. I managed to apply for a job as a bicycle mechanic on the way out. They didn't have many repairs, but I think if they did I'd be hired. One guy there remembered me from last year.

Toward dark and not-so-many miles from town, I set up camp. I found a spot behind some trees after pulling off onto a dirt road for awhile. I got situated in the bivy sack, and a few minutes later was laying there really freaked out at the sound and presence of one billion mosquitos. They flooded my head-area netting, and I pushed down deeper into the bivy sack. The humming of all those little wings was a little scary. I had a vision of myself tucked deep in my bivy sack, one hundred miles from anyone or anything in either direction, swarmed by even more mosquitos than this, then hearing a bear or some shit and not being able to see enough or move fast enough. An unacceptable situation. There needs to be a more reasonable way to prove how big my dick is. Amongst the mosquitos, I knew the trip was coming to an end. To be fair, I probably just picked a bad spot. A particularly mosquito infested one. I know and don't care. Time to go.

Time to end the trip - and time to escape this horrible droning of tiny wings! I got ready in my mind, I psyched myself into movement. I made a to do list, planning the fastest possible exodus; no time for real packing. I needed to put my beer in my pocket, jump into my shoes, stuff my jacket and rain gear into the bivy, ball it all up and strap it on top of my bags, then roll. In my mind: "beer! shoes! stuff it! strap it! go!" I completed this mission, and it really wasn't as bad as I make it out. I was fine. Not too many bites. Who cares. Still - the trip was done. I know the quitting feeling well, and when that feeling strikes I can't psych myself around it. I walk out of the job, I skip school, I take a bus from Val d'Or to Philly. It all has that same feeling. It's Over! The feeling is good.

I escaped the mosquito situation and flew back to town. I was giving my pedals the business, going fast. No pacing myself now. Back in Val d'Or, I sat on a bench and drank my big beer. Then I heard a band playing in a bar across the street. They were covering Pink Floyd. Boom, I was there. The bar had only micro brews. The band played only covers. I had two pints of beer before getting to the flavor that I was actually trying order. A fine-assed IPA. The previous beer took the night's prize though. It was a dark beer with a strong taste of espresso and chocolate. Best beer ever. I would sit at a bar and drink that stuff forever. Ideally, every other beer would be a Hop Devil. In a perfect world...

... I wouldn't have had so many beers that I fell into some dirt and didn't know where I was when I woke up. I got dirt all over myself. Some really soft, sandy, hilarious dirt that can't just be brushed off. I took in my surroundings and remembered where I was. I climbed up a rock and looked around. I rode to the bus station and got a ticket to ride.

I'm sitting in the bus station in Montreal, my left side still covered in dirt. I haven't changed my clothing or taken a shower in over a week. I don't think I smell that bad, honestly. It's 7:09pm, so you can assume my location and approximate doings at 7:21pm. Proofreading? (7/25: Proofreading the 7/24 post...)

3 comments:

Ivana said...

Who are you, and what did you do with Chris Harne?
Being one of those who doesn't really know you and took you up on the invitation to the world to stay tuned, I admit it took me a while to understand what happened. At first I thought 'too much been there done that, not enough DEET'. In the middle of a ride and at a library myself, I looked back at the June 24th post (the plan) then clicked on the link for James Bay Road. I GET IT. Although some of the 700 people in Nemaska would probably have rather liked you, the Most remote longest road in North America w/o services, for 3-4 days, after all you've gone through - potentially really unwise. (The purpose of your trip I think you mentioned restoring faith, in human nature - mission accomplished?)

I'm Chris Harne said...

Hey Ivana -
Yeah, mission definitely accomplished. More accurately, I just had a good romp. That's how I think of it, and the best words I can come up with. Good romp. Definitely restored my faith in humans. What I got out of the trip was different from what I expected, but much better. It was a learning experience about bicycle touring, sure. The best part was the meeting of people, and the reconnection to people I haven't seen in a long time. The ride up the coast was the part of the trip that grabbed my heart, then I kinda lost the feeling of excitement. The Quebec portion felt more like a strange addendum. When I was tired of it and realized I could do whatever I wanted - I bailed. I was gone for one month. Good romp. Amazing memories. I have $0 cash now. I have new perspective once again, and I love life vigorously.

I'm Chris Harne said...

Oh - Ivana - what's your email again? I think I misplaced that (along with everything else I've ever owned.)

I'm chrisharne@gmail(.com)