Sunday, May 29, 2011

Down for anything. Berea is Kentucky at it's best.

I started the day with oats and coffee. I think that's what it takes to feel great and start riding. There are too many variables to be sure. Correlation is not causation, but I have a feeling I've found my power-breakfast. Further experimentation probably couldn't hurt. My alcohol stove is great.

The morning became warm, and I decided to listen to some percussive gritty vocals casually bouncing up to a crying soprano. I put some Sizzla through my headphones. As I cranked quickly through miles of rolling shady roads, I understood just what he was talking about. Jah, love, marijuana, and peace. He's right. That's all we need. Everything was roses. All of my senses were filled beautifully - the planets were all in line. Then I missed a turn.

I missed a turn at a crucial point, and rode right over a mountain before I knew that something was definitely wrong. Backtracking took me down a few rungs. I said 'fuck' literally hundreds of times as sweat poured into my eyes. Why? Why does this only seem to happen when I have an inviting destination and I want to meet someone by a certain time? It seems to be the case.

I got back on track, and proceeded to grind out the remaining distance unhappily. I finally convinced myself to quit being a pussy, because I was even starting to annoy myself. I arrived in Berea beat up and shell-shocked enough to amuse Jeff, who was sitting in the air conditioned coffee shop looking distinctly calm and gathered. It didn't look like he needed to beat anybody up to get there.

My Couchsurfing guy, Ben, was already hanging out in the coffee shop. I introduced myself, and pretty soon we were on bicycles heading for his home. That's when the page turned, and everything started looking up.

There was a party at an intentional community called "Egret's Cove," where Ben is building an earth bag house. One of the community residents just had a book about leaves published, and the gathering was a celebration. I got to see the earth bag house, which is much nicer than it sounds. It looks like a huge concrete igloo. There's plenty of space, it's well insulated, and it's incredibly sturdy. I saw a frame and straw bale house as well, and it's similarly unique and impressive. A large Army tent made another home, and as communities go, this is the best I've seen. Everyone is living well within their means. Finding an easy sustainable way of living is the focus. Plus, they're in the woods - but on the outskirts of an absolutely wonderful town. The reservoir - a big lake - is across the street. That's where we went boating.

Ben, me, Ben's girlfriend Saxon, and her friend Kate all took some boats out for a cruise around the clean water of the reservoir. Poke boats. They're kayak-like. Maybe they're just kayaks. In any case, paddling around was more fun than expected. And swimming felt great. I was starving, but I figured I could go a little longer without passing out. Science says so.

Then there was a plan agreed upon. We'd eat, leave, and go to a party two hours away. The activity level was impressive. I was tired, but I'm also determined to be DFA. I'm borrowing this acronym, but I'm using it to it's full intent and potential. I'm down for anything. Bring it.

We ate delicious food from tables full of potluck options. We got in Saxon's car. We got camping gear. We got on the road.

It wasn't a large gathering, but never do I mind. There was some Maker's Mark being passed around in a hot tub, and everyone ended up naked. If I'm not naked in some water at least a few times every summer, then I know that something needs to be adjusted. Eventually, I introduced Quizmo, which quickly devolved into nonsense and silliness. Which is basically the whole point of the game. I got a side spot on the commodious bed, and slept well for what felt like about 45 seconds.

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