Wednesday, July 9, 2008

To Dylan's in Worcester MA

I don't want to lie, downplay, or beat around the bush. Today was fucking rough. The sun and humidity murdered me. I could not remain un-lost for one minute. I got incredibly confused with the directions over and over. Every time I stopped to wonder what the hell I was doing, sweat would pour into my eyes. I wanted to be in Worcester MA with enough time to hang out with my friend Dylan before he left for work, so instead of doing the smart thing and hiding in the shade and pouring water on my head - I plugged on like a robotic cyclist. To be completely honest, I don't think I've ever cursed more about routes and bicycling. That means a lot. I was cussing a completely rare amount. The sun turned my brain to soup. I got scorched, and felt disgusting.

Getting lost with such incredible frequency drives me crazy. Part of me thinks that maybe I really am a strange case, and somehow I am weirdly actually the most incompetent direction follower ever to live. I think that this is partially true. I'm not good. I'm real bad. But I think the directions are also more circuitous than I would prefer. I don't actually just think this - I would prefer some kind of more obvious shit going on. I'm looking - I just don't see these fucking street signs. With difficult directions, and a nearly useless GPS, I'm fucked. Plain and simple. I enjoy riding a bicycle hard for hours; I have a blast - but the second I have no idea where I am or where I'm going, the euphoria vanishes and gets replaced with frustration. Strong frustration. Part of this frustration is due to the fact that I feel like getting lost is so avoidable most of the time.

I love the idea of the East Coast Greenway, but I'm not ready for these directions. I can't hang. The spray painted road markings ended in Connecticut. Now it's just too problematic. Distances and directions need to be fixed, and better explained. I want to help - and will - but not while my primary objective is to get to the far north. Not right now. I don't want to look a gift horse in the mouth, but I'll put a gift horse on ice. I called home. Mom is overnight-mailing one of my books to Nick's house, where I'm staying on Thursday. It's called "Bicycling the Atlantic Coast." Nick lives in Beverly; the book has directions directly through Beverly MA. I'm worried that my directional stupidity is going to keep me down, but I remain optimistic. The book more or less gives directions from campsite to campsite, and is a slow jaunt up the coast to Bangor Maine. I'm going to need maps and internets to figure out the rest. I have a killer Quebec map, but will need the same for Maine and New Brunswick. We'll see about how that all works out. Oh yeah: fuck this fucking GPS, and fuck fucking getting fucking lost every fucking-ass second. That was mild, but approaching the truth. Moving on.

I got tired and sun-torched, and tapped out at a Wendy's somewhere Worcester-ish, and called Dylan. Dylan is a friend who I met 100 years ago when his band toured through Newark Delaware, and my band played with them. He's a good guy with a similar outlook on things, and is the kind of guy you can call while on a bicycle trip to have a place to stay. That's more evidence that Dylan is a good kind of guy. When I called him and explained my location, he said he could just pick me up - he was already driving around doing errands. Fifteen minutes later, I was outta there - extremely happy to quit for the day. Sun killed me.

Me and Dylan talked about adventuring ideas, and dumpster diving, and what-all we've both been up to. He has a huge cache of Odwalla juices filling his× fridge and freezer. From the dumpster of a distributor. Hundreds and hundreds of dollars in shelf-value. Delicious. His girlfriend Emily is leaving tomorrow to hitchhike with another guy out to a Crimethinc gathering in Wisconsin, or a state that touches it. This information serves to paint a clearer picture of what type of people these are, and why I like them so much. Dylan is saving up for adventure. He has a book called Working Your Way Around the World - and by his own words, he's restless. And still working on music projects. That's more paint, and more details. Hopefully I'm around next time he needs a place to stay in Philly. August.


Unknown said...

I don't know how much youre set on the whole specific trip necessary idea (and some people are quite set on it), but i find the easiest way to avoid getting lost is to not be going anywhere in particular. It's all the good of meeting people and hanging out and relaxing and none of the bad of getting lost since you have no goal other than enjoying the experience. It's something to think about anyway, especially when youre letting something like making yourself unhappy by setting harsh goals and ridiculous rules for yourself

Anonymous said...


Pixy Stoneskipper said...

Thanks for the comments. Try not to read too much into my frustration. This isn't something I'm unfamiliar with (strong quick frustration). I'm just trying to be honest about it, rather than gloss over what is a true part of this trip. I'm not going to ride around without direction. I'm just not into it.

Between the times of frustration, I'm having an absolutely batshit time. And the frustration is not keeping me from meeting awesome people all over. I'm not missing out on any of the amazing parts of a great bicycle tour - I'm just trying to describe another layer of it that I assume gets skipped or dulled down in accounts of other's adventures. I'm not proud of it; I'm not hiding it.

I'm learning. Future trips will be better for it. I still like this one.

Anonymous said...

Besides, people who aren't going anywhere in particular can be quite annoying.

Dude, I put oil in my rear disk brakes. So much for my intellectual resources. I think waiting for this grant for the watershed work is causing system overload. I've had this bike 2 years. Someone finally gave it a healthy shot of degreaser and I put it back together. Purists say boo to that but least I can stop now.