Monday, July 7, 2008

25 mile lazy-fest

Talk about not going very far. That's what I'm going to do right now: I didn't go very far. I woke up and had that nice breakfast that I already talked about - two eggs, toast and hashbrowns - and set out.

I was a little slow and groggy, but in a great mood. I stopped at a general store in Hampton, CT and asked the man sitting on the porch if he knew where I could find a library. He pointed. The building directly across the street was a library. This guy told me that he and his wife own Rivendell bicycles (the Atlantis) and he asked questions about the low-key awesome setup on my bicycle. We geeked around for a slightly awkward couple minutes. I explained using a 4th hand tool and an old cable to squinch the housing under the grips for the bar end shifters. I love this setup. I was happy someone noticed and could appreciate what it's all about.

I went to the library. They closed at noon and I sat on a rocking chair on the porch for a long time. Eventually I made it back across to the general store and bought a beer. I am fully aware that this makes no sense, but that's what I did. I was looking for a bathroom, and there wasn't one. I felt a little awkward not buying something, and I wasn't thirsty, so I got a pint. I'm like that sometimes. I admit, a lot. I buy shit like that a lot.

I wanted to find more chairs to sit around in, but I wanted a sandwich to eat while I was doing that. Before accomplishing any of this, I needed a bathroom. This was a sparse area, and the closest thing to a toilet I could find was one of those awful pit latrines at a camp site. I didn't want my one beer to get warm, so I sat at the picnic table and drank it and listened to the Pixies. I was already having a champion of a lazy day, and this slowed it down one more notch. I thought it might be great to sit around reading and wandering around on foot until a later hour when a fire might be appropriate. Should I stay and pay $14? Screw it, I don't wanna go anywhere.

I called Nat and asked him to sign into my email and see if he could contact Eric with the East Coast Greenway. I'd been in brief contact with Eric when I asked some random question in January - probably about cue sheets. He saw my Truck House blog, and said it was an awesome idea. He said that if I was following the route, I would have a place to stay in Providence RI.
If I drank more beer and stayed put, I could still easily make it to Providence the following day. Decision made. Nat contacted Eric. I figured if that works out; great.

I rode my bicycle out to get beer and potato salad. I ate potato salad and drank a Harpoon IPA. With my day's work now finished, I leaned up my bicycle and wandered around on some trails. I hauled a huge pine log up to my site, put on my bathing suit, and hopped in a lake. The lake was my shower. It wasn't the cleanest lake I've ever seen, but there was a beach with swimmers - so that's how it rolls. I wanted to feel less greasy, gritty and salty. I accomplished this, and went back to my campsite to read.

When the sun looked like it was going to calm down, I had a beer. I got a 6 of Busch. Big mistake. A bum in Key West told me that Busch is the choice of alcoholic bums who don't stop drinking, but want to prevent themselves from becoming too rowdy. That's not what I need. For cheap, I would prefer the Mickey's can with the UFC fighters. You don't want rowdy bums to get their hands on those cans. I, however, just want an economical choice, with kitsch if possible. This is where arithmetic is employed to calculate the best drunk-per-dollar scenario, comparing alcohol content, volume, and price. Trying even slightly, Busch is eliminated in the early rounds of cooler-window shopping. Rookie mistake.

At 7:21pm, I was scrawling my thoughts in a notebook. I'm not typing all that here. Here's part of it:
"I think I appear to be a reasonable facsimile of who I want to be."
"I'm a tomato. I like myself in sandwiches, but wouldn't advise a reckless hungry bite."
"I won't deny an affinity for cheeseburgers, but I want to convince you that I just know better."
"Life is not a choose your own adventure book with multiple outcomes read straight through."

I literally rode about 25 miles. My fire wasn't anything special. I didn't go nuts about it because I planned to turn in early. Hank - across the campground - seemed to take pity on me. My fire was mostly just smoke around 9pm. My fire was this way by design, but he made me feel bad, so I accepted a huge pile of pickets torn from some demolished fence. Hank also gave me two ham and cheese sandwiches on kaiser rolls, three cokes, and a plate of Doritos. Solo cyclers with tiny tents and weak smoky fires bring out compassion in Hank. I built up a hell of a scorcher to show that I appreciated his goodwill. Nobody ever showed up to take my $14.

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