Thursday, July 28, 2011

The Coastal Challenge

I woke up feeling mildly like shit. The tent gained stuffiness quickly. There was no shade to protect it from the rising sun. I managed to steal an extra hour of sleep, but too soon it was necessary to pack up slowly and move along.

I rolled slowly. I made it a few blocks to... McDonalds. I filled my waterbottles with ice and water, and found myself compelled to get an Egg McMuffin meal. I guess after beating myself up with whiskey at night, I decided to knock myself around a little bit first thing in the morning too. I sat in a corner and watched chaos hold its breath. A surreal and strange cast of characters rotated through the doors. I reminded myself that to the casual observer, I was the strange one here. Profound. It's hard to imagine that McDonalds made an effort to serve better coffee. They might as well give those dice another roll...

I had a long day of mostly climbing with almost no resources along the route. I found myself at my end destination with only a few sips of water. I'd been rationing sips for several hours. At the National Forest campground there was a note. It was an apology for there being no potable water. Asking price? $12. Fuck off twice.

Fortunately, I only had a little bit more climbing before a long descent into a valley. I was ten miles from a town. Halfway down the mountain, I stopped to gawk at a huge model of a covered wagon. I asked a couple to take my picture with it, and a minute later they were giving me a half gallon of cold water and apologizing that it was three days old. I drank a bottle right there and another on the descent.

I made it to water, and continued on the route. I felt fine, and there was enough sun to let me still be a little picky about camping spots. I got to the town of John Day and found my spot along the river. I set up my tent in tall grass by the clear river. I couldn't be seen from the road, but someone might spot me from a walking path. I doubted it mattered in any case. I didn't have a signed note from the sheriff, but aside from that, the spot looked plenty low key and reasonably legit. Done.

I dunked myself in the river. I rinsed the salt and sweat out of my clothes in the cold water while I was at it.

Expense-wise, I did well today. After the strange McDonalds splurge, I didn't buy anything else. I decided to challenge myself. From this point - for at least awhile - I will try not to spend more than $5 per day. If I could stick to that budget, I would consider myself a superhero. $10 is more realistic and easy. It still shows relative discipline, but it's an easier amount to work with. But this is a challenge, and technically I think it's possible. I have a small stockpile of food that will help.

Booze. Last night got haywire with the pouring. When I sat up and looked at the bottle, the way I felt made plenty of sense. I challenged myself to a sober day today. If that could last to the coast it would be as amazing - or more - than spending only $5-$10 per day. I'm not beating myself up about any of it. This is my trip and my life to enjoy. But - it does not escape my thinking that cutting out drinking will make me ride better. If today's 80 miles are any indication, I don't need any help. But I wouldn't mind feeling even greater.

I read a book on the Kindle. As the light faded enough to make the activity too difficult, I quit. Except for waking up when a few deer wandered close to my tent, I slept well.

Expense Report:
$4.29  -  McDonald's breakfast

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