Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Oregon is pretty. I ride bicycles.

The rooster woke me up at 4:26am. The rooster kept going until I finally gave up on sleep around 7am. It's not the first time a rooster has thwarted my efforts to sleep. The sum of sleep bits added up to maybe a spare hour if you mushed together the moments.

I ate yogurt and oats and made PBJ sandwiches. "Which way are you headed?" asked a couple cyclists on loaded bicycles. "West," I said, indicating with my spoon as they swept past, not breaking cadence. There was a moment before their trip when they clicked on their Performance Bike emails and filled their virtual shopping carts.

After the next long climb and mountain pass, I arrived in Richland, Oregon. I sat on a bench with coffee and oatmeal cookies as I experienced on of life's perfect moments. I watched an occasional car pass slowly as my mind drifted and my eyes went to the mountains surrounding the town. Butterflies passed as I sat on a surprisingly ergonomic handmade bench. I reflected that it was difficult for me to imagine life's difficulties. Only with logic could I understand that life isn't always easy. My heart could hardly believe it possible.

During the long climb out of town, I felt great. No hill or headwind could slow me down. I cruised easily putting out a strong effort as I wound my way through the canyons. Eventually the bottom fell out of feeling good, and I cursed as I was teased by many false summits. I'd used up my legs, and I was considerably slower as I reached my destination: Baker City Oregon.

I went to the bicycle shop to ask for camping tips, and was told that an empty field across from the YMCA on the end of town was a good bet.

I am waiting for a plate of Mexican food as I write these words. I am concerned to know that my bank account is at $343, and my wallet contains $110. Hmm. Will I need to borrow money from my parents? I'd much rather not, but I know the safety net exists. Clearly I'm not disciplined to any useful degree.

I went to the library, and I went to the park. For the sum of $2, I purchased a fantastic book. It's a book about "All Terrain Bicycles." It appears to be an unread copy, but it was published in 1985 when mountain bicycles were fairly fresh on the market. Conspicuously, there is no mention of suspension forks. They didn't exist yet. Delicious! This is essentially a book of pseudo-science which reads like fat tire propaganda. Delicious, indeed. Me and this book are aligned in full support of the Hoopty ATB - for the specific purposes of touring, commuting and exploring.

I laid out my large sheet of sil-nylon in the shaded grassy park. I read the pseudo-science and enjoyed looking at wonderful photos of early filet-brazed Ritcheys and lugged Miyatas with 68-degree headtube angles. I became tired. I pulled the thin nylon over me to block the cool breeze, I laid my head on my sleeping bag which was balled up in a stuff-sack, and I slept memorably well. I looked homeless, but I felt like a million bucks.

The YMCA was fine with me setting up a tent in their big empty field. I set up camp and returned to the town park to have a secret soda as a girl played cover songs on an Ovation guitar over a small PA system to a smattering of mostly-old audience members. She played with an ever-changing tempo, and I enjoyed hearing her rendition of a Katy Perry track.

I returned to the tent for way more whiskey while I tried to figure out how to post photos on my blog directly from my phone. I didn't quite figure it out.

Expense Report:
$3.60  -  bread, chocolate milk, yogurt
$3.99  -  oatmeal cookies with free coffee
$11.00 -  Mexican food for lunch
$9.40  -  Fifth of whiskey
$2.00  -  ATB book
Total: $29.99

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