Friday, May 6, 2011

Time to Ride

I'm flying to Maine tomorrow morning (May 7) to begin my 6000 mile cycling extravaganza. Portland is still seeing below-freezing rainy nights, so I'll be starting the enterprise with a sprint inland to get out of the coastal chill.

Most of the mental and physical toughness I acquired on last summer's tour has devolved to squishy sloth and depression. With undergrad further alienating me every semester, this experience seems pretty essential to hardening myself up so I might survive my senior year's drudgery. I can't wait to trade in entitled PhDs' arbitrarity for weather and elevation change as my main source of suffering.

A rough version of the route is embedded.

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Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Doing it again

I'm going from Maine to Washington, then turning 480 degrees and back to Las Vegas starting mid-May 2011. I invite you to join me. I'll even train you (though I won't pay your way).

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

The Lifeless Horsie

Well, I finished my journey. This blog ceased to get updated after I made it to the West because the West was too fun a time for me to be caught before a computer.

Total Mileage: 2873.6
Longest ride: 108mi (rode overnight)
Weirdest person stayed with: Herman the Doomsaying German
Oldest/shittiest/most poorly-sized touring bike encountered: mine
State list and overall difficulty rating (chronological order):
Louisiana - 1
Mississippi - 8
Alabama - 8
Tennessee - 6
Kentucky - 5
Illinois - 3
Missouri - 10
Kansas - 4
Colorado - 7
Utah - 9
Nevada - 3

Note that this country and its inhabitants improve significantly west of the Colorado border. Also I got hit by an 18-wheeler. Best photo of the trip below.


Saturday, June 5, 2010

Easy Ride

I've come a long way since the last entry here. From Huntsville, Christopher and I have trekked up through Tennessee, Kentucky, and Illinois to our present location in Missouri.

The North is a much friendlier place than I had become accustomed to at the beginning of this thing. On June 3, a young man pulled his car over alongside us as we rode and offered to buy us food. We accepted, and he found us about a mile up the road with food and drink.

The most exciting part of the quest so far has been our night in Cairo, IL, one of our nation's few explorable ghost towns. Most of this city, which once held 15,000, is unlocked and abandoned. Some unfortunates still remain, surviving on government check or employment 75 miles away, but anything peripheral to the highway has been left at entropy's mercy. A couple restaurants still remain, a trickle of highway traffic their life support, situated alongside rotting motels with doors ajar and vines growing through the ancient tiling.

Christopher and I spent our night here in a folk-punk label's commune/coffee shop, the living space of which is an old Knights of Columbus ballroom. Friendly collectivists.

Historic downtown

This morning we're in Piedmont, MO, writing from the public library. We've been here a couple of days, as I picked up my first round of food poisoning ever from a local chinese joint. I'm 20 years old today, so I suppose I have to ride like a man from here on! Tomorrow we meet our third.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Hot and Putrid

The south is a scary place. Make a Wrong Turn and you wind up in some nasty territory full of mean-muggin and angry zealots. When you've seen more than 3 churches since the last gas station, it's time to bring that moving average up a couple miles per hour.

The scariest thing about the south is how uncomfortable your existence makes the hilldwellers. From afar (or from their comically old, ridiculously huge pickups) they project either a glare or a honk and "YEE-HAW!" in some attempt to intimidate; catch them alone and it becomes obvious they're terrified of the outsider. Stumbling over his words, the hick will tell you to be careful, for nobody cares about cyclists in this part of the country (except for him). Every one of them says this. That their rudeness is caused by terror isn't much of a comfort.

I survived without injury the solo leg of my journey and met up with partner 1, Christopher. We're going to ride about 10 days, starting tomorrow, to meet Zach and maybe a unicyclist in Ellington, MO. Also, Christopher's aunt cooks the best food I have ever tasted.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

fuck weather

Flooding nearly washed my car away as I was showering in preparation to leave. Looks like this will be a fun first day.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Bicycle Fury

I loaded up and piled all my stuff onto the bike for the first time today. It's fucking heavy. Here's the Enterprise in its fully-armed glory:

...and Captain Jean-Luc Picard himself posed for the shot! I promise he only looks like a rapist.