Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Bicycle Shops, budget concerns, and Butte couchsurfing.

I extracted money from the ATM. My balance on the receipt gave me an "ahh, fuck" moment. I have $648 in the bank, and $202 in my wallet. I immediately blew $8 on coffee and a breakfast that wasn't worth it. To further humiliate myself, I decided to leave my phone in the cafe where I was charging it. And the hashbrowns sucked.

I took a bicycle ride to Butte Montana. It was a ride on which I rode a bicycle. There was wind and hills. At one point, Plow United made me ride fast. It was a ride - just like every other day.

I got to Butte and realized that my phone was absent. I was astonished to discover that a cool head came naturally. I was amazed that I didn't need to talk myself down or suffer a panic attack. I said "welp." That's it. "Welp."

I went to a bicycle store and explained my situation. They were good people, and they let me use their internest. They also said I could use their phones and their address as a relay point. I figured I could convince the cafe to mail me my precious Droid. All I needed was the phone number of the couchsurfing host who I was planning to stay with. Dots were being connected.

I turned the bicycle shop into my office, which was great because the Tour de France was playing on a big screen in my office. I had the shop's contact info on a business card, and the proprietor was Rob Leipheimer. After a few minutes in the office using the computer, Rob walked in and introduced himself.

"Any relation?" I asked. There was a pause, and I added "to Levi... Leipheimer?" I was sure there probably wasn't, but the question sort of begged to be asked.

"Yeah, he's my brother" said Rob. "These are his jerseys." He held up a ball of jerseys.

For a moment, I thought he was being fecicious. In that split second I almost took offence, but then I realized that there was a strong family resemblence. Interesting! Levi Leipheimer is a pro cycling name; 26th or something in the Tour right now. Rob asked if I followed Levi, and I said that I did inasmuch as I follow pro cycling. (Which is not much, but I'm a bicycle nut, so I kind of follow anything and everything related to bicycles).

Rob gave me a water bottle from the shop with a sort of care package inside - Shammy cream, Aleve, an Action Wipe, and some Hammer Gel. All of it is mostly for the spandex-wearing type of crowd, but I can make use of it all (except maybe the chamouix butter). What a great shop! I didn't spend a dollar the entire time I was there, and nobody was concerned about that. They went beyond what they needed to in order to help me feel comfortable and get my phone back.

I sorted out the phone issue. The lady at the cafe got me the number of my couchsurfing host. (The number was on my phone and nowhere else.) I had to slowly walk her through the ins and outs of operating a Droid X2, but she got the swing of it after some patient coaching. Then she was kind enough to ship it to me before 4pm so it would arrive next-day.

After sorting out business at the bicycle shop and consulting with my couchsurfing host, I went to the park. Some extremely strung-out looking ladies were standing nearly sideways. They were 50-somethings pulling cans out of the trash. They pulled everything out of the trash cans, took whatever cans they could find, then put the trash back in. They didn't say so, but it was for drugs. We didn't talk about that, but we chatted for a few minutes about the can-collecting portion of the business. People are alright.

I made some PBJs and read some of a couple books. When it was time, I went to the couchsurfing house. A few people live there. They're a few years younger. I had a quick shower, and was able to wash my riding clothes.

They all drink and smoke pot. We had a great time getting horsey-sauced. They're the traveling sort of gypsy-type who know what 'Rainbow Family' means. One guy was making hemp jewelry for sale or trade. He was the guy who also knew some websites with music better than I've heard before. Some re-mix mashup shit. "Love-step" was the new genre he mentioned. Hoooboy! This guy humbly claimed to "just love great beats.. you know?" My iPod has some great stuff - but these beats could massage your ears from the first listen.

I'm watching my money a little more. The expenditures didn't get too wacky today.

Expense Report:
$8.00  -  breakfast, coffee, tip
$7.60  -  beer chip-in, pretzels, more beer
=$15.60 total

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