Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Toward New Haven, CT

I was tired when I got up behind the bushes in the park. I talked briefly to a dog walker lady who may or may not have suspected that I had been sleeping 5 minutes ago, 30 yards away. She told me where coffee was.

I gave up coffee and soda, and learned to not be missing it so much. Now I'm fucking up and drinking both, and I need to re-quit. Not hard. However: noted for the record. My spine is made out of a Snickers bar, and riding in the sun has weakened it substantially.

These cue sheets in this section could use some work. I got super lost over and over. Street signs are missing, my GPS still lacks proper info (the truly serious culprit), and the directions seem needlessly convoluted. Don't give me ten half-theoretical streets to avoid ten cars. I'm a man. But when I'm forced to backtrack for miles and miles, I cry like a baby. When the directions don't screw up, I pick up the slack. I surprise myself. When I know where I'm going, everything is great. I'm cycling with directional confidence about 50% of the time. There is much room for improvement. This makes me think about gear, and what I would upgrade, trade, leave behind. GPS tops the list. I can't wait until I'm in an area that my GPS is familiar with - but regardless, we will be parting ways after this trip. As for my XO laptop - it's good for attention, but my fingers aren't exactly dancing with agility atop this keyboard. And other drawbacks: ignored so I can now focus on the positive.

I saw the work of a superhero today! I was getting really pissy about the cue sheets. They told me specifically that the signs I needed to follow existed, but I needed to "PAY ATTENTION." Well fucking guess what? Just when I needed divine intervention, I got it. A saintly genius stencil-painted 'ECG' pine tree shaped arrows on the road, where no amount of signs or directions would help me. I want to know who took the initiative. It probably saved my entire day through this exceptionally ruthless stretch. Thank you, person. I love you, and I will kiss you, and HELL YES. Dude - for real, thanks.


I have an admission to make. I am not very good at preparing for things. I goofed up, got annoyed, passed the blame. The reason my GPS doesn't have street level information for entire states is because I didn't put it there. I remembered putting all of New England and Quebec on there, but that's not what happened. The GPS only has maps downloaded for the states that Nat and I actually went through last June. So I've got Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York. I will have nothing I need again until Quebec. I'm feeling kinda dumb about that. The good news is that since GPS's are so much better now, I'll probably end up getting a new one regardless. Read: I'm gonna go ahead and do what I'm kind of against. Read: I'm gonna upgrade out of convenience rather than necessity or ultimate function. I'm also going to shut myself up about it, and enjoy my new GPS. Whenever I get it. Read: not soon enough.

Bicycles. I rode and rode and rode one. I was spos'd to only go about 40 miles to get to New Haven, CT. I'm not there yet, and I've already gone over 60. Getting lost and backtracking sucks bad. I saw a beach shower and stopped at some beach. It was Gulf Beach in Milford Connecticut. I was all set to get to washing, but decided to check one thing first. Confirmed. Shower didn't work. I talked to my folks. From this I gathered that I will be able to visit my Aunt Gerry tomorrow - due to close proximity with where I'm goin - and also I should stay in a motel. My feelings on that are 'nah.' Plain and simple 'nah.' But that leaves my situation at very dirty and tired with no real idea where to sleep. Fortunately, that's kinda the point. Seems weird, but hi.

Good news strikes in the form of words and outcomes. Though the shower was a bust, the snack line was a different story. I asked a guy, Joe, if he was from around here. Then: camping? No. But I continued to rattle on about the virtues of the East Coast Greenway and what an awesome deal it is, and he invited me to stay in his empty house which he's not using.

At 7:21pm, I'm sitting by the snack bar with Joe looking out at an island. It's a bird sanctuary, accessible by sand bar at low tide. My parents told me about it on the phone when they looked up my location. Now Joe told me about it too. I met Joe at his place right around the corner from the park. I got dinner, a Harpoon IPA, a shower. Then I met him again at location #2. It's a house he's selling a couple blocks away. It's empty, spotless, smells like new, right next to the ocean. I'm sitting on my air mattress typing this in it. I'm leaving tomorrow to figure out how to get to my aunt's.

Lesson learned: when I open my mouth and speak like an enthusiastic person, good things sometimes happen.

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