Saturday, July 30, 2011

Staying cheap and colorful.

It was another cold night, but a manageable one. The cold air, combined with the fact that I'm a wuss, means that I stay covered up until the air gets reasonably warm. Starting earlier would mean less time spent baking in the sun, but it's a tough sell before 7am.

I made a lot of soggy oatmeal with a dab of jelly and some salt. I had my Folgers. I have enough food left to attempt a $0.00 spending day. Counting $5 each day means that I have an additional un-spent $1.43 in the budget. I still can't afford PBJ and bread for $6.43 at the small grocery store in town. If I can skip a day of spending, I will have $11.43 for groceries when I wake up in Sisters Oregon tomorrow morning. Thinking about this remindes me of the $1 peanut butter and $1 jelly I found in Lander Wyoming. Budget-wise, that would be quite helpful right now.

I have enough ingredients for three PBJs today. I have a packet of "Hammer Gel" I was given in Butte Montana (huckleberry flavor, naturally). I have a couple Clif Bars and plenty of Ramen. I have a packet of 20-minute rice, and a can of chili. I ought to have no worries - but the challenge remains... challenging. I guess that's the point.

I feel like I'm learning something about money and hunger. Just a slight something. Like: I have always had money, and I have never been hungry. This challenge would be simple for anybody who has ever faced adversity. It would be comfortable oppulence for a sizable segment of the population. For me there's a learning curve. I'm happy that I'm learning and I didn't fuck it up quite yet.

I sat at a picnic table. I pulled over to get water and take a break from the heat. I listened to a woman whine about being hungry while her husband ate handfuls of peanuts. Don't worry: they will soon "stop somewhere."

I continued into the heat. I pushed forcefully into a strong headwind. A discount grocery outlet made me swing a u-turn. Promising!

I entered through the automatic doors to look for the best items my $6.43 could buy. With $6.10 I exited with a boutiful bag. Bread, peanut butter, jelly, can of lentil soup, box of mac n' cheese, $0.50 ice cream cone. Boom. The jelly actually looks good - rasperry jam, in fact. The bread is the wheat bread you would expect for $1.09, and the peanut butter doesn't look like complete Alpo either. Success.

I found more great swimming in the Deschutes River. A long line of parked cars indicated that this was a popular swimming hole. I parked and walked down a narrow dusty path to the river. It was narrow, fast and deep. I removed my shoes and dove in with full riding attire.

I wrung the salt from my shirt and took a few minutes to soak. I took the opportunity to read the tattoos of the guy swimming near me. "White Power." I looked again to scan for irony. None. He was buff, shaved bald and white power seemed indeed to be his thing. I was happy to be flying my colors, too. Bright colorful heart tattoos in a ring around my puny right bicep. Love. Or at least interest, curiosity, hope or acceptance. It's important to show your colors if you have them in your heart. I won't hide myself if I can help it. I have bright colors in my heart and mind. I want to show those colors on the outside. And I don't want to grow up in the dull-normal sense.

I arrived in Sisters approaching a low-level delirium. I was not impressed to see that the city park charges money. I won't pay to be proximate to pointless campfires and errant guffaws. I turned back to go into town. Some mountain cyclists on Ellsworths pointed me toward the trailheads outside of town. I also asked at the fire department. I had an idea of where I could camp for free, so I filled my bottles and headed in that direction.

I got a nice piece of ground that looked safe and sound. I set up my tent and juggled food and cooking items. My tent is spacious, and I've gotten in the habit of setting it up with all the amenities and gear you might find in the average mansion. It takes a lot of rifling around and sorting, but I can really make a tent a home these days. I cooked on the front porch.

I had a bit of whiskey. I took a couple days off, but not tonight. If I was going to abstain for longer, then carrying it around in my pannier was probably the wrong approach. No bigs. Whiskey: I had some.

My life and my future are a tug of war between comfort and frugality. I crave simplicity and autonomy, but still find comfort in typical stuff like apartments and TV. Being alone on this trip is good for my health. So is living in a van. But both of those things take dedication and a little bit more work. Bicycle trips and vandwelling both yield wonderful and unparalleled mental results. I am enriched by my experiences with both, and I am still learning.

Expense Report:
$6.10 - Bread, PBJ, lentil soup can, mac n' cheese box, ice cream cone.

1 comment:

Ryan said...

Glad to see you are updating again. I really love the blog and your insights are great. Keep it up!