Life update, 2010

November 15, 2010

One year ago today, I finished my bicycle adventure across the country. It seems like so much longer ago than that, as agreed on by a friend recently, who was pretty sure it has been two years since I finished. I feel like in most ways, I am the same person I was before I started the trip, when I was ready for an upheaval in my life and finally took the plunge after years of putting such an upheaval off. I wanted the trip to give me new insights, to expand my horizons, to travel and push myself. But I also wanted something to change. At the finish line, I wanted to think, what’s next, and have the answer.

But I did not have any real answers. I only had decisions to make. I think that is what I learned the most from the trip: that as long as I am open to the ideas, I can adjust to any situation. I had believed that about myself, but only really understood it as true when I put it to the test of really being outside my comfort zone. I decided that no matter what decisions I make now in my life, I can change them if need be. Life is short enough to not mull over my choices. I can choose to do something now, and if it does not work out, I can choose something different. I have control in that sense. The loss of control only comes from making excuses as I had done in the past, of locking myself into something I don’t really want under the impression that it is what’s best for me.

I have unattached myself from the idea that what I do next in life could limit me in some way, that it would mean I have chosen a path which I am locked in to follow. That is what has been stopping me in the past – unable to decide my next steps in life due to the belief that I would not be able to live life to the fullest if I gave in to just one interest of many. But the trip has helped me see that any experience is what you make of it. And by the time I ended my trip thinking this way, no more was I under the impression that I had to do anything. I did not have to have a job that would give me great pay and benefits if it meant I had to sacrifice my creativity, or my interests. I did not have to live anywhere for very long: I could try something out and if it clicked, I could stay, if not, I could leave.

I decided to move to Athens, Ohio after a little time spent in San Diego with my gracious and wonderful hosts Sam and Fred. I would have been just as happy there with them, but I chose not to stay. Knowing that I always have the option to return has been my saving grace. I chose instead to visit with Jarrid, whom I met on the trip, instead, and to find out if it would be worthwhile to see where that could take me.

It has not always been so easy, this past year. Being unemployed is different than being on a trip after choosing to be unemployed. Granted, I can be totally fine not having employment: I am a person who keeps busy and finds plenty to do. I found organizations to volunteer with, I audited a college course, I got a lot of fiction writing done. But being somewhere new only knowing one person who does not know very many people was challenging, more so than I expected. It should not have been surprising, because I went through the same thing when I first moved to Philadelphia, difference this time is the one person I know is someone I really like. But not having income and staying with someone who has little income makes things a little more challenging. If you will remember, all my belongings came with my across the country. I had to buy clothes and all those things again. In fact, in San Digeo, which was nice and warm, I bought a winter coat because going back east late November requires such attire.

There were many days early on where my resolve was dissolved: that is to say, I was not able to keep my generally sunny attitude. Part of my overall depression was due to only feeling like I had one real friend in a new place, part of it was not finding a job, and part of it was a deep sadness that my trip was indeed finished. I felt in many ways like I had rushed it, like I could have taken more back roads, could have stayed longer in some places. I longed for the days I could just wake up and feel the way I did when I was alone, pedaling for hours, not sure what was coming next but not nervous, or scared, not the way real life operates. I was mostly mad at myself for not applying everything that was true when I was on my trip to my current situation. I firmly believe that people are in control of their feelings, and their situations, and all the excuses that we make are roadblocks to our own happiness, our own understandings of personal success. That I could not seem to follow my own advice was the most depressing thing of all.

I still struggle with it. I didn’t have as much problem with it before my trip, but I also didn’t take quite as many risks. I have had many small adventures to get me to where I am today, and those adventures have shaped me. I will continue to have little adventures, which will not compare to the trip I had in scope, perhaps, but will continue to shape me.

I am satisfied with my current quality of life. The community of people here is eclectic, though you do have to do a little digging to find these pockets of really awesome folks. I work at a worker-owned cooperative restaurant, who use local and organic food, and it is a great place to work. I volunteer on an organic farm near my house who donate their yeild to those in need, and the farmers are such a good group of people. I also volunteer for a local PFLAG chapter, and am considering taking a board member position on the Ohio Bicycle Federation.

I had plans for school, and have temporarily taken them off the table to pursue other interests which are meaningful to me in a way that perhaps school will not be to me at least right now. I am researching a book I would like to write which is related to my trip in some ways, but quite separate from it in most. It is more about the state of America sociologically/culturally as related to the economic, political, and educational structures among others. I think writing this book will help me sort through some of my own dissatisfactions and shine the light for me on topics I know much less about to assist my own path in life.

And I am happy in my relationship, even though this is my first adult relationship and I still have a lot to learn about maintaining good communication and the like. My partner is supportive, and intelligent, and always full of useful solutions to problems. He is worth every annoyance to me, and apparently I’m worth every annoyance to him, like all the things of his I break, or the fact that even though I rode my bicycle across the country, I’m pretty terrible about maintaining my bicycle now and forget to pump up my tires regularly now that I have a road bike.

Yes, it’s true. I have since bought a road bike. I still have my Antoinette, but I’m not sure if I should hang on to her for sentimental reasons, or give her to someone who does not have a bicycle. I have decided after all the money I’ve put into her since the bike trip, and the money I need to put into her again, it feels like I’m putting money into a clunker. There is nothing wrong with the frame of the bike, it just seems that I wear through parts on her faster than other people who also ride their bikes all the time. And she is heavy. This summer, I got a really good deal on a Specialized Dolce from 2004 that seems to be a better investment. It is such a nice bike. I might be able to rig Antoinette for one more winter, but I think after that I will retire her to someone else who will find great joy riding Athens’ excellent bike path, flat terrain that will make Antoinette extremely happy. Poor girl has never liked climbing hills.

I think I’m in a good place here, and now feel like I can make it work no matter where I go, since we both know we have a limited amount of time here. It took me about four months to feel settled here, after I finally got a good job I enjoy and met good people to share experiences with. I also feel like now I’m a much better writer after spending so much time during my unemployment that I am becoming more serious about trying to get published. No bites yet, but I am more certain with every story I write that I will be able to. A better writing group would help tremendously, though I have not found one here.

My bike trip is with me everyday. At least once a week, I am transported to one space in time during those 78 days and whether it was good or bad, I am happy. I am happy that I went the length to do it, and hope that I will get to do something like it again, this time with Jarrid. It would be wonderful to explore someplace together, to learn a little more than we knew before about life before we strapped panniers on our racks, filled up our water bottles, and peddled into headwinds and flew down hills to our hearts content.

I’ll let you know when that happens. Any thoughts, comments, and suggestions are appreciated. For now, enjoy life, listen to music, love people, and keep on peddlin’.

Section of the Hocking-Adena Bikeway in April

Part of the farm I volunteer for

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The cooperative restaurant I work at

Sam and I woke up before our alarm was to go off, and we made an effort to get up. It was cold enough to see our breath, which I guess was credited to the elevation. The water that had covered my tent had frosted over. We packed and went to eat at the hot spring spa/hotel/restaurant in town. We ate pretty tasty breakfast food, and warmed up with some coffee.

We had about another thousand feet to climb today, which was not so bad. No headwind, and the terrain was changing more, and I started to really feel like I was in California. The view from our road on historic route 80 was really nice. I was also glad that Sam had chosen this route, and that directions were one less thing I would have to worry about as I finished this last leg of the trip. It’s nice to feel lazy sometimes.

We stopped for lunch at a touristy little diner in Pine Valley, which was a  cute town full of pine trees, and saw how late it was getting. We had thought we might try to get to San Diego today, but at this hour, it was clear we would be getting there after dark. Since Sam lives there, and our destination was her house, it made sense to do this. So off we went, chugging up some small hills, and then sailing down the mountain.

At a stop sign, there was a man in bright yellow who was flagging us down. He was a cyclist, and we had seen him earlier coming down the hill we had been climbing. He handed me a gold coin to welcome me to San Diego. Robert did not have to be told that this was the destination like everyone else had. Of course, we still had a few hours of biking left, but that was it. He told me it was his dream to tour like we had, and we encouraged him to make that dream come true. It is a pretty good dream to have, and it can be accomplished anytime, anyway, if you want it to. If this girl can do it, any person on this planet can. Seriously. Robert was the first person to congratulate me for making it, and it felt pretty good, I must say.

We rode through the small towns Sam said people refer to as bed towns, because the people who live there sleep there but commute to San Diego for work. We had the strange company of two young skateboarders who were on the road with us. They were pretty brazen about playing chicken a little with cars as it was beginning to darken. Sam said she liked them because they were alerting the drivers on the road, which made them more attentive by the time they saw us. They were only riding down the hill for a few miles, so they would have quite the climb when they were at the bottom. They should ride a bike instead.

We got into the San Diego area well after dark, and I was following Sam’s lead. She had taken this route when she had done some training rides, so even though it was dark, she had a pretty good idea of where to go. We did more climbing, as that is the nature of San Diego. It didn’t really feel like I had really arrived, since it was dark and I had no real knowledge of orientation. But it did feel different anyway.

We pulled into Sam’s sometime around nine Pacific time. She lives in a nice little neighborhood, which Sam says is actually considered a less nice neighborhood by many native San Diegans. She said it is because we have lower standards coming from Philadelphia. Oh. Palm trees make everything look really nice.

We were both very tired. Her husband, Fred, was still at work, but had been nice enough to make a pizza for us. Solved our problem of what to eat since we did not feel like making anything.

I have to say, this is it. The end of the trip. At this time, I still am not sure that I feel like that is true. When I wake up in the morning, I will want to get on my bicycle. Not that I can’t still do that, but it is no longer the same. My life feels like it will take some adjusting to not be on my bike day in and day out. I look forward to my next trip, which I have not decided where or when that will be. If I had the funds to keep going, I would. But now is not the time.

Now, I have a little more vacation. Sam and Fred will let me bum around here for a bit because they are awesome friends. After that, I must get back to being a functioning human in the world again. It has its own merits, but this way of life is difficult to peel away from.

Thank you for coming along this trip with me. Thank you for all the guidance and assistance and support to make this solo trip a group effort. I am a different person now than I was at the start, to be sure. I would not have been able to have this experience without all of you, sincerely. My memories of each person who helped me and friends and family who encouraged me are solidified in my mind forever. I have a deep respect for this country that I will carry with me for the rest of my life, and I encourage each person to have as many adventures as possible to know what that can really mean. If you can, do it while riding a bicycle.

If nothing else, just ride a bike, modified if you have special needs, whenever you can and as far as you can.

Total ridden bicycle miles from Pennsylvania to California (not including lost miles) = 3,163
Total vehicular miles to assist me across the country = 183
Total trip miles on my route = 3,346


Sam and I woke up and she watched me putz around. I warned her that I am slow in the morning, and she didn’t seem to mind as I would start one thing and got distracted by something else before I finished the first thing. That’s my usual.

It was slow moving. The headwinds were mild, thankfully, only coming on strong once in a while. We went about twenty miles to Ocotillo, and then the elevation climbing began. We had a total of 4,000 feet to go. We talked and rode side-by-side, and did not worry about how far we would get. My only hurry had been to meet her, and now that I had, that was all the hurrying I needed.

When we would stop, people of course asked us how far we had come. Sam said, “I feel like a fraud,” when I answered for both of us. Whatever, Sam. She biked last year from Philadelphia to Texas with her husband, so she is no fraud. Also, it is easier to let people think we toured together the whole way – less explaining to do.

Once the elevation climbing began, we slowed down quite a bit. It is nice to have a conversational pace and have someone to talk to during the day’s ride. My bike, Antoinette, does not make the best conversationalist. She looks mature, but has the mental capacity of a twelve year old, and there is only so much we can talk about on account of that factor. She also has a really lame sense of humor, but don’t tell her I said that. I laugh at all her jokes to make her feel better. Sam’s sense of humor and conversation, however, are much more appreciable, and makes climbing seem less noticeable.

We thought we might try camping tonight at the Cleveland National Forrest, but by the time we reached Jacumba (pronounced Ha-cumba), it seemed like a better idea to stay there, since we were not sure how far we would need to go before we would get to the forest. The first building in town was, to our happy surprise, a Youth Center. Seemed like a good place to ask about a place to camp. The director in the center offered to let us into the church yard to camp. We had a nice spot on the lawn, which I know my tent appreciated. It has been some time since I have not camped on dusty hard ground.

We cooked a heavenly meal – polenta with tomato sauce and goat cheese, which Sam had brought with her. She has good taste. It was a real treat.

Sam and I fell asleep sometime around nine, I think. We woke up when we heard the sound of water. It was not raining, so we figured it was a sprinkler, hopefully in a nearby yard. But after some time, the water came down in torrents on us. It was hard to sleep through. Then, we realized the water was actually coming at us from the side, so Sam got pretty wet. My tent is good in the rain, but seems to be less waterproof when it comes to lawn sprinklers. Not to mention it was a chilly night. We had a good laugh about it, but it make for a relatively restless sleep.

I thought I had woken up relatively early, as the sun was just beginning to rise, but by the time I packed up and got to the grocery store to stock up on some items, it was already after eight. The grocery store was a real find. It was a whole store that had expired items from other grocery stores, it seemed, and so everything was super discounted. The best thing about this was that almost everything I purchased was organic. I was in heaven! Also, I love that I can purchase avocados and pomegranates on the cheap. Back east, these items are a fortune.

I got going and jumped back on the interstate. Yuma is the very last town in Arizona, so I was almost in California before I even left. I felt like I had been in Arizona for a very long time, so when I saw the sign welcoming me to Cali, I was relieved. Not that Arizona was a terrible place at all, I don’t want to give that impression. I was ready to move on.
I took an exit about six miles from Yuma, as a sign informed me bicycles were now prohibited. I checked at the gas station to see about an alternate route, but the clerks looked confused. They did, however, point me to the highway patrol office. I made my way over there and an officer there told me which way to go. I informed him that on my gps, it looked like the road he was telling me about ended. He assured me it did not, it would take me straight to where I was headed, Holtville. I would have to jump on the interstate as well, and he let me know where that was acceptable.

I followed his advice, and the road he told me about was on the other side of the highway, even though he let me know it would be on my side. I took it, as there was no other road. I took it until it ended. Yes, my gps was correct. That road stopped and became a sand pit. That whole area was designated for OHV’s, which stands for Off-road Highway Vehicles, or sand dune buggies. The road was not rideable anymore. Thanks, highway patrol! There was a Border Patrol jeep coming towards me, so I flagged him down. He told me that there was also another road I could get onto on the other side of the highway, but I would have to walk about two miles ahead through the sand and climb some sand dunes up to the overpass. I should have taken my chances on the interstate!

As I pushed my bike, and made up a delightful song about how much fun it is to push one hundred pounds of bike through the sand. It had a catchy refrain.  In my head, there were OHV’s riding around me in synchronized circles to the song, so it was like I had my own nice little musical number going. Then, I saw a break. I had walked about a mile and was nearer to the interstate, and I could see a sign from where I was that said “No Median Crossing.” That sign told me that is was possible to cross the median, it was just not allowed. So I climbed up and sure enough, there was an open spot. I ran across, hoping I did not appear like an illegal immigrant to the many border patrol vehicles that I saw pass.

Whew. I took the first exit I saw, and saw another Frontage-type road. It said it was “closed,” but I could see nothing up ahead that would make me understand why. It was in terrible condition, so I figured that is why it was closed.  So, should I try to go back on the interstate, where I know I am not allowed, or take my chances with a potential closed road? Potential closed road seemed like a better bet. I could always get back on the interstate, I reasoned.

About eight miles down this very bumpy road, I could see the construction that was happening. There was no longer a road. Twice today, my road ended. There was no other way for me to go except back, and I didn’t feel like it. The headwind was pretty bad today, and I’d already battled to get this far. So, I leaned my bike against a big piece of machinery and stood out so I would be visible to the workers.

A few trucks went by without paying me any mind, but then a woman stopped. I told her my story, and she said she would ride beside me through the construction, about two miles. I thanked her and went to get my bike, but was pretty certain I would have to walk much of it, from the looks of the terrain. Then, another vehicle stopped and I heard her tell him what was up, and he said he would drive me through instead. That was certainly preferable.

This man, Scott, hauled my bike in the back of his truck and took me first to get some fresh water, and then through the construction zone. It turned out Scott had also escorted Marvin, the other cycle tourist I had met a few days ago. That made me feel better, knowing I was not the only one. Scott had lived in Alaska prior to moving to Yuma. He was going to take his wife on a really long vacation to Alaska once this construction project was over to make up for all the time he spent away from her. Swell guy!

I was back on the bumpy path in the right direction, and not far now from my meeting spot with my traveling companion. I rode for about an hour and thought I saw another cyclist up ahead. Nah, I thought. Maybe it is a mirage. But as I got closer, I could see that it was, indeed, a cyclist. Could it be? Yes, it was – Sam! Samantha, my travel companion to San Diego from here on out. Hurray! She had figured I would be on this road, and had pedaled out to meet me. We had the road to ourselves, so we chatted and got caught up. She said she thought I was a mirage as well. “How was the ride from San Diego?” I asked. “Completely uneventful,” she responded. But not so. She had climbed up the mountain, and now she was going to climb up the other way with me. Sounds pretty eventful to me!

Sam and I decided to keep going and see how far we could get. With the headwind, that meant that we got to El Centro, which is where she had stayed the previous evening. We stayed in a cheap motel room in town, and ate really boring Chinese food for dinner. I felt like a real tourist.

As we were falling to sleep, there was a knock on our door. I stupidly went to see who it was. Curiosity killed the cat. I opened the door, and a very drunk man was sitting in a chair in front of our room. Okay, I said, and closed the door. He commenced knocking, and even kicked in the door a little (which I noticed the next morning). Sam called the office, and they sent a security guard around. No one bothered us again.

I’m so glad Sam decided to meet me.

 

I woke up later today, which didn’t bother me because even though I have been warned that I will be headed toward gusty winds from here on out, my miles to cover today were pretty low. As I was packing, I went to my bike, which I had leaned against a nearby tree. I picked up my helmet to walk my bike closer to my gear for packing, and noticed that the straps had two identical slashes in them. The nylon had not been cut through all the way, but it was hanging on my a few threads. Those birds! I thought.

Those crows I had listened to all evening, who woke me up several times by the beak-cracking-open-the-bean-pods-of-the-trees sound. They also, apparently, had a healthy appetite for nylon. I was mad at myself, because I almost always bring my helmet into my tent vestibule overnight. Then I also noticed the birds had snapped one of my bungee cords in half. Then I panicked a bit, because I had woken up a few times and kicked at the side of my tent because they were poking around at it. My guess was that they were trying to get at the bean pod seeds on the ground around my tent, and I had to shoo them away. I get it now, Alfred Hitchcock. Birds are a real threat. No scorpions or rattlers to fear here, only the Dreaded Crow.

I checked my tent and saw no immediate damage. Straps in place, nothing else was affected. I continued to pack up and before I put my bags back on my bike, I saw a thorn in my tire. I pulled it out with closed eyes, knowing I would hear the dreaded hiss. Sure enough, I did. So, this area wants me to suffer. I patched the flat and was happy to find my mini pump filled my tube up to full capacity just fine. I packed everything up and went to the gas station.
After cleaning up, I pushed my bike down off of the curb and felt the front tire not bounce as it should. I looked down – yes, the front was flat again. I sighed and pulled out the patched tube, trying to see where the hole was. Not clear. I put in a new tube and figured I would look at the bad one later.

I got about fifteen miles before I felt the rear tire go flat on me. Here we go. I discovered this flat had been caused by a pinch flat My rim tape was wearing away and it left a hole that the tube had bubbled into enough to cause a hole. I patched the tube and temporarily patched over the rim tape hole with a bike patch. As I was putting my tube back into the wheel, I saw a tiny piece of metal sticking out of the tube in a different spot than the other flat. Of course, why not? I patched that hole as well.

Thankfully, no more flats came into play for the rest of my day. Also, I did not run into any gusty winds, which after fixing four flats (second set of thse on this trip), I would have been running really late. I got into Yuma and followed signs for a visitor’s center, but when I got there it was closed down. Boo. I went to the library and poked around for a hostel or some such thing, but was not successful. I decided to go with a spot I had passed on the way to the library, which seemed more on the outskirts of this larger city. I was happy to find that I was visible from the road where  was unless someone was really, really looking for me. This spot was especially choice because  there was a porta-potty not far that also had a working sink with soap and water on the outside. The water came out with a little rubber button I pushed with my foot. Nice!

Oh, but when I pitched my tent this evening, it was clear that the crows had done some damage to my tent after all. The floor of my tent had two very distinctly crow-like tears, and they were not small. Curses! It’s a good thing I won’t be running into rain, otherwise I’d be one unhappy camper.
As I was getting food prepared and such, I finally talked to the person I was to meet in Yuma the following day. We decided that instead of me waiting for her there, we would meet halfway between where the two of us would be at a Hot Springs area. I would have to get on and off the interstate, it seemed.

I was so filthy by the time I got out of that campsite from last light. I went to wash up for the first time really looking like a bum, with the dust film on my clothes and skin. Pigpen with bike. I rinsed off my clean clothes in addition to the dirty ones from yesterday to make myself blend into the human world a little better. It may have been my imagination, but I think the expression on some of the women’s faces that came into that fast food restaurant were the most shocked I have seen. Sorry, I don’t have time to waste waiting in a stall for every person to leave before I lather my shorts in the sink.

I had checked out google earth the previous day, because I could check to see if there would be any places to stop at all today to replenish my water. Everyone told me there was nothing at all, and I have learned that the general population’s view of “nothing” is not always accurate. So sometimes I need to compare perception with reality, and if that means using technology than that’s what I’ll do. Sure enough, I saw that I would find a gas station in a town that was not on google’s regular map. Go figure.
In real life, there was another gas station even sooner than that one. I stopped at it and was informed that I must purchase something to use the restroom. Fair enough. I used it and when I emerged, I asked if they had any fruit. All they had was one bruised apple that cost one dollar. I bought it, and I decided that instead of complaining about how outrageous that was and this and that like I usually do, I paid the lady and hoped that I was contributing to her grandchild’s college fund or something like that.
I reached Dateland and found not only a gas station, but a Travel Center. I figured out pretty quickly why the town was named as such. I ordered their World Famous Date Shake and it was scrumptious. I highly recommend stopping if you are ever anywhere near this area. I was approached by a motorcyclist while stuffing my face with a peanut butter sandwich (which is pretty much the moment most people approach me and I tend to have to smack my lips a lot before I can answer). This was Mike, on one of his many trips, this time to Mexico to get some dental work done. He was exactly what I needed, letting me know that he also has had nothing but good experiences with people on the road. The world, he said, is a pretty good place. I know it, Mike. It sure is. Let other people continue to exist in their worldview that says otherwise if they must, but it’s just not the way it is.
Tacna was a good place to camp for the night – a tiny town with a restaurant and post office but nothing else and a secluded area to camp with a classy sunset. I meditated for a bit and listened to crows crack open the bean seed pods in the trees around me.

This morning I awoke before my alarm went off. I laid in bed until a little after six, then decided to get up. It would be light soon, and I wanted to be out of that spot before that happened. I went to a fast food joint to wash up, and then I made a grocery store stop. I had already eaten a bunch of other things. But I really wanted yogurt, as was disappointed that there was none in sight. I purchased rice pudding instead. It’s for breakfast now!

I was on my side road, route 84, by eight. This would dump out on interstate 8. I encountered a little headwind pick up that would come and go all day. It was welcome, actually, as it kept the sun from seeming too hot.

One thing that I appreciate about the interstate traveling in Arizona versus the side roads is that the interstate does not have the heavy amount of dry dirt. Even though I tend to breathe through my nose in general, it was still intense, and I needed to blow my nose frequently.

When my road ended and I was about to merge onto the intestate, I saw a gas station and crossed over to it. I ate my lunch and talked to a small gathering of people. It felt like story hour for an older crowd. The clerk was younger and nice, and offered me free bread. I would have accepted it, but I had just purchased bread, so I turned it down. Everyone was really friendly, but I got pretty tired of the one old dude who had a few screws loose who said “if I had a penny for every mile I’ve ridden on a bike, I’d be a millionaire” about twenty times.

That guy grated my nerves for other reasons, namely his sexism and so on. I’m a little tired of hearing that reaction, too. “You couldn’t get a man to go with you?” Oh, weird old man, I tried so hard, but all men everywhere were busy. They have to make the money to support me, so how can they possibly take time off for three months and go on a bike trip with me?

So here’s a rant inspired by this man. I don’t know what it is with some people who want to talk about how dangerous people are and how easy it is for a girl all by her lonesome to get killed and/or raped. A girl who is with people can be killed, a man by himself can be killed, groups of people can be killed, all very easily. Everyone is at risk of being killed all the time. If someone wanted to kill me, they were going to do it regardless of whether I am on a bike or walking down a street or what have you. For goodness sakes, if this was what was on my mind, I’d never do anything ever. So many people talk about this it exhausts me. When some people tell me “but aren’t you scared of all the dangerous people,” my automatic response is, “like yourself? Should I be afraid of you?” Usually that gets a chuckle or at least shuts them up. I have zero problem answering the dozens of questions I have been asked that are identical, because they satisfy general curiosity, but this one does get old pretty quick.

Okay, rant complete. The rest of my ride on the interstate was mostly uneventful. I am starting to get excited that I am getting closer to finishing. When I see signs that say “San Diego, 297 miles,” it becomes more real to me. I am excited, to be sure, but I go through periods of wishing that I could keep going. But, it passes. When I am done with this trip, I can start planning for my next!

Bopping to music like That One Guy, who is an amazing solo artist everyone should at least check out for a minute (every sound you hear in all his songs are all played by him), I reached Gila Bend much earlier than I thought I would. I found my camping spot without trouble, so off to the library I went. Starting to take care of real life things again means I ought to spend more time online.

I went to the spot I had decided to camp at, and did not realize I would have to push my bike through sand to get there. The ground looked pretty solid from the road when I drove by. Oh, well. Sometimes you have to work for a place to rest. I cooked some pasta with zucchini (cheaper in season!) and ate really tasty dark chocolate with orange peels. I went to bed with knowledge that life is still so good!