"The Coastal Challenge." It's on, baby. I am continuing to attempt spending less than $5 per day. I broke down camp and set off for the grocery store where I would try to do good.
I spent $3.29 on chili, Ramen, yogurt and a couple bananas. I took my camp mug inside and filled it with hot water from the spigot on the coffee machine. I went to a bench outside to spoon in some instant crystals. I spread out a grocery bag to make a work surface for PBJ assembly. I made a stack of sandwiches. I poured plenty of oats into my cup of yogurt. I had a banana and sat on the bench feeling like a king. So far, so good. After taking a moment to enjoy sitting, I put the stack of sandwiches into the grocery bag, wrapped and folded it all up, and put it carefully in my pannier where it will begin getting squished. I call the squished mushy sandwiches "food bombs," and I enjoy them immensely. They contain the ideal dosage of instant power.
A young girl sat on the opposite end of the bench and she wanted to talk. She cradled a gallon of milk, and she smiled when she sat down. If she wanted to talk, she could - but she was being polite and not interrupting me as a I wrote about 500 words in my notebook. I'm getting used to writing by hand again, and my scrawl is getting quicker and less tiring. Pages are pouring out, and all this hullabaloo is heavily abridged.
She was about fifteen and her shoelaces were two bright and mismatched colors. Trustworthy. We talked about traveling, and I tried to describe some logistics of Hoopty travel and give some honest thoughts about my feelings. She's gone backpacking before. Her dad let a foot traveler stay at their house for a few days last year.
A short hot ride out of town brought me into a beautiful canyon with tall rock walls on either side. The scenic road snaked beside the crystal clear John Day River. There were several reasonable places to get into the water, but soon the road turned away and it seemed like I'd missed my chance. I was sweating, hot, and in no particular hurry. I turned around and leaned my bicycle on a guard rail. I walked back about a quarter mile, and eased myself down the steep rocks to the water. The river was deep and clear. Without hesitation, I dove off a large boulder and was fully submerged without doing the whole toe temperature testing rigamarole. I believe this to be the best way to enter any body of water.
I started out again with my riding clothes completely saturated. Within a mile I was bone dry again. I continued to climb for many miles. I felt good, but the feeling didn't last. By the time I reached Mitchell Oregon, I was thoroughly exhausted and obviously dehydrated.
I was within an inch of increasing my budget or throwing it out altogether. But I limited myself to a large iced tea, and managed to stay within my self-imposed limit. I asked for confirmation and was told yes - the city park has bicycle travelers camping in it all the time. It was fine and it was free.
I sat on a pale yellow bench in the park and I was obviously warped and effected by the day. A random couple came to have a picnic, and were nice enough to offer me some salmon and cream cheese on Ritz crackers. I talked about bicycle touring and mentioned a few of the beautiful things I've seen. I refused the $5 he gave me, but didn't continue to refuse it when he insisted. Honestly, it was a pretty lousy show of refusal on my part.
I did a shitty job of cooking dinner on my alcohol stove - but even so was able to make plenty of food to stay strong and feel full.
$3.29 - chili, Ramen, yogurt and a couple bananas
$0.99 - Arizona tea