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Old 05-23-2013, 06:55 PM   #46
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Hills for Hobbits:

Last night after eating I came back and put on the swim suit and headed down to the pool for a bit of a float. * I thought and did some aggressive stretching, and tried to avoid having any of my wet skin be out of the water in the too-cold air of the *pool room. * I wish they had a hot tub, but alas, it is so warm all the time in Minnesota that they do not need hot tubs. *I can see why old people exercise in pools. * It totally turns you into superman, or superman with *bad joints anyway. * I toweled of fast after exiting the pool and went upstairs to a hot shower, a big bowl of microwave popcorn, and the end of last week's episode of Game of Thrones.

Sleep interlude:

When I wake the sun is bright and the sky is clear of all clouds. *Yea and verily. * But I am not a complete fool. * I fell for this yesterday, and *I am pretty sure the day will not end before I have to negotiate a detour through very deep silicate sand while snow falls around me, and the third SS Panzer division fires shells onto the landscape around me. *I go anyway. **

My intended destination is Madison, Wisconcin, Via Iowa. * I like the way that sounds. * Via Iowa. *The ride out of Minnesota and into Wisconsin is really very lovely. * They have some aggressive hills here that actually serve the purpose of creating the illusion of being in mountans. *I took the Hobbit Habitat award away from the Dakotas and planted it here. * These are hills for hobbits. * It has the same lush green lawnlike grass that the Dakotas did,but the hills give this area the edge. * It really is beautiful. * It is also cold. *The day started at 42 degrees F. * It stayed in the mid forties for many hours, but I remained fairly warm. * Rain and wind make things much worse.

Green grass and many kinds of trees provide support for red barn after red barn. * The land looks very productive, and I would say so even were it not for all the buildings screaming, "people are producing shit here!" *

Just out of Decora, Iowa I hit some lovely twisties through these super hills, fast and curvy as these things should be. * I see a long train on the left. * This forms one wall for very long way while the other wall is solid rock, straight up at the side of the road. * The train is parked, and it is long. * I do not know if it is car storage or a waiting load. * A few miles down the road I encounter another train. * It seems to be moving slowly in the direction I am travelling, but I cannot be entirely sure. * It seems like an optical illusion. * I slow down enough that I can see that yes the train is moving. * Very odd.

Just afte that I swing around a curve and see a very wide riverr on my left. * I think, "That cannot be the Missisippi." * But it turns out it was. * I had no idea it ran this far north, but of course, it must. * Where does all the water come from if not. * Hell, it must have feeders in Canada.

I stop to fuel up somewhere around here and decide to check to see where Milwaukee is. *The wife likes it, and we had tentatively planned to have her fly out here to meet me. * But last time we spoke about it, I decided not to have her come, because of the expense and that at that point I was planning to drive hard today and blow past Chicago to set myself up to hit Michigan before returning to Chicago on Friday night to stay with my in-laws. *The last two difficult days convincee me I do not want to push that hard. *Hence I am near Milwaukee, and I decide to push on to there. *I feel bad now about not having Lori come, but my plans changed.

The rest of the ride was just grinding it out. * There was a row of farms with white windmills in the background with green grass and blue sky full of puffy clouds adding to the effect. * There was an SUV that got pissed when I made a questionable maneuver to hit the exit I needed. * There was the drive of four miles off the highway to get gas, which rather annoyed me. *The town was charming as hell though.

I get to Milwaukee, and try to pick a hotel. *I want to stay downtown to experience what I can of the place, but these large city hotels have a different audience from the dives on small-town America, and they charge a lot more. * The first one has no place for me to stop and check for room availability, so I stop at a corner and pick another on the ipad. * This one is good. * Of course it is a bit expensive, but I take it. * I lift weights for a very short time. * I take a 45-minute nap, and then I go to dinner.

I go to a steakhouse near the hotel. * Ordinarily I never go to steak houses for the simple reason that if *you can spend the money on good meat it is child's play to make steak as good or better than what you can have served to you in the hyper-lame steakhouse format. **


Before I go in I try to walk around the area a bit, but the wind is really quite cold. * What I see of this city I really like though. * I add it to my list of places to which I should return with the wife in the belly of a metal beast. *I love the old buildings mixed with the modern ones trying to fit in with the them laid down by the past. * It seems a lot like Denver, but older and with more varied texture.

I eat an expensive but somewhat lame steak dinner and step out into the fading day. * There are large white birds with black extremities cavorting amongst the tall buildings. * I see them playing around a 15 story white brick building that I am sure has been gazing out on the future dead for twice as long as I have been alive and probably more. *One of the birds comes close enough to confirm they are sea gulls. * I have never seen them so beautiful. * What the hell are they doing? * They cannot be hunting so high amongst the buildings. * They really must be playing, flying for the pure hell of it. * Perhaps it is a mating ritual. * I do not know. * It seems that sometimes animals do expend energy for the pure pleasure of the thing, and now seems as good a time as any. * It is a moment and it is mine.

I have a very short distance to Chicago tomorrow, so I will rise late and try to enjoy the city in the morning until noon or so. * Then I will ride to see Mary, Mike, and Sherry.
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Old 05-24-2013, 05:25 AM   #47
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Via Chicago:

"The wind blew me back via Chicago in the middle of the night. *All without fight at the crush of veils and starlight." * I love thatt song. *It is right in the range I can sing, that is when I can recall the *words that make up this particular example of Wilco's sinister nonsense.

I am sitting in the lobby that happened to intersect with this particular when going through motions.

I am so very weary of the Doug thing that flits and flaps like a festering moth around the eternal sunshine of a spotless mind. * The sunshine is never quite hot enough to incinerate the fucking thing.

Life is frequently very much about the going through of motions.

I am one tenth of the way there.

I am two tenths of the way there.

I am half way there.

Here I am.

Hurray me!
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Old 05-25-2013, 05:23 PM   #48
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Close Call:

I woke up early even though I had no reason to do so. * I felt ok at that point even though I over indulged last night. * I went down to the lobby to have some coffee and read a bit. *Then I realize I did not really feel that well, so I went back to bed for a couple hours. *Then I decided to ge going.

I loaded up my stuff on a luggage cart and headed to the garage to load the bike. * I came out the door and the bike was gone. * I think they towed it and I stand there trying to figure out what to do. * A surly black guy sitting in a truck asks me what is up, and I tell him I think they towed my bike. * He says, "Your bike is over on the other side of that wall." * I had just forgotten where I parked it. *But I did find a 25 dollar ticket on it as bikes are not allowed in this parking garage. *Why? *I wonder.

I drive to the exit where I try to pay the attendant. * The woman who supervises the place came over and told me where I was supposed to park, and points out that they do not allow bikes, because the barriers sense metal and will not sense bikes and can close and injure you. * I told her that I had seen another garage that had a sign that said motofcycles were not allowed but that I had looked for the sign and had not seen it. * She points to the lettering on the barrier and the lettering on the supports of the cieling that both say no motorcycles allowed. * They could not have been more obvious if they had carved the words into a bat and tatooed them to my forehead through blunt-force trauma. * How the hell did my brain edit that out when I came in. * They did not make me pay the ticket.

I drove around the city a bit and went down to the water to take some pictures, but there was no place to park conveniently so I just left.

On I94 heading south I was riding along when traffic suddenly slowed drastically in a work zone. * A red SUV in the lane to my left (Yes Tom it was the driver, I know) was not paying attention and had no possibility of stopping in time to avoid hitting the van in front of him at probably 40 mph or so. *The driver braked briefly, and then did a hard swerve to the right into my lane barely avoiding a nasty crash. Had I been about four car lengths down the road, his maneuver would have been very unfortunate for me.

I rode south until about 12:30*and then stopped for coffee and to buy a couple of bottles of wine. * I continued on to Mary's house, which I found after going to the wrong place, and I am now writing this and will soon get ready for dinner with Sherry and Mike and their family.

I may need to find a clinic to get some antibiotics as the burn on my chest may be gettting infected, but I will wait a bit. * I likely will not start super early, and that is ok, as I want to time my arrival in Portland Maine to Monday rather than Sunday as it looks like the rain will be clearing out by Monday, and I would like to stay dry.
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Old 05-25-2013, 05:24 PM   #49
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Where will I be when I am thinking of now?

I crossed over 10,000 miles today. *It is taking at least a minor toll. *Most of the symptoms of the cold are gone, but the cough is hanging around. *The jury is still out on the chest burn, but it does hurt a bit. *

With all that in mind, my plan for today was to make it 300-400 miles. *Part of the reason I am moving intentionally slower as it is raining for the next two days in Maine, and I am fairly eager to avoid any more rain riding. I picked a town and moved out after Mary made me breakfast of two eggs. *I watched jack work himself into the typical frenzy of excitement at the prospect of bio-interaction with a tree. *I snapped a shot of the painting I gave Mary a couple years ago to remember how it looks in the frame she chose. *Here it is:



It was a nice day, although a bit overcast. *I drive on Illinois roads thinking about roads in Washington and North Dakota. *I wonder where I will be when I am thinking of now. * And that is as Zen as I am willing to become on this trip.

I do not want to burn the battery on the ipad, so I memorize the freeways I need, but I still manage to miss the turn and drive deeper and deeper into the entrails of Chicago. *After about 50 stop lights, absolutely none of which were green in my favor, I decided that it was stupid to waste this time and do something clever. * I check the ipad. * ...turns out the freeway is about a mile south of me. * I suppress my inclination to flog myself for riding 20 mph along the side of a freeway for who the hell knows how long, and just go to the freeway.

I have to say that I really loved the spectacle of the Chicago skyline. * The citty is massively wide. * I have been to Chicago itself twice before I think,, maybe three times. * But I have never been outside of it, excpet for a Christmas trip with my wife, and we took the train out that time I think, so I have never seen much of the country side of the city-scape from a distance. * The area I stayed was truly lovely, and after washing clothes and a nap, Mary and I headed over to Mike and Sherry's place for dinner. **

It was a beautiful day and evening. * A bit chill perhaps, but it was sunny. * Mike showed me his latest conctruction project after making sure "the raccoon" was absent. * It is a very large counter/holder of the egg grille-sink-storage area. *Mike has mad construction skills. * He will not starve when shit falls apart, assuming people need carpentry I mean. *

I tell my stamina to fuck off and down three margaritas before helpin them drink the Chateauneuf Du Pape that I brought. *Mike had prepared steak, stuffed tomatoes, and the sweetest sweet potato I have ever tasted. *We all had our wit on display, of course, and the conversation was fun. * It is interesting to see the children of people you have known since before they were born, and to realize that they have developed the art of conversation since you last saw them. * Amber seems to have an implicit understanding of the "Yes and ..." *construct of improvisational comedy. * I listen to Adam Carolla a lot, and he used to do improv, and the primary rule is, "Yes, and..." * I think "Yes, but also..." * Is ok, but going with, and trying to find the next thing to say about, the point previously raised really is one of the good conversational strategies. * I concluded this about three months ago. * You can ask the wife. *We have talked about it. * Seriously. *Anyway, as I was trying to say, Amber can hold her place in a fast-moving conversation. * I am sure whatever natural skills she has were augmented by sparring with Mike and with Sherry. **

Anyhow, I seem to have wandered away from the now. * I mean the then. * Sigh.

I hit the interstate past Chicago. * I already mentioned that I was impressed, but still I spend a bit of time remembering bodies falling from the WTC as I gaze at the Sears Tower. * The road turns to a toll road. *It is a serious pain in the ass to deal with tolls that require actually stopping and conducting a transaction. * And I have to do this about ten times as each state wants its cut. *People of *the northeat, listen to me. * You know the problem of having to have actual human beings sit in the middle of the freeway and collect fares? * That problem has been SOLVED. * Denver's toll roads run automatically using photograph techology. * You don't even need to put down your beer. * *There may be good reasons that Illinois, Indiana, and Ohio have not implemented this, but I would love to hear them.

After Chicago I come in to Indiana. * Off to the left on the lake I see a large collection of black factories, the legendary dark satannic mills. * Nah, I guess those were in England, but still. *I generally like factories as I am rather a fan of the fruits of civilization, and I have a deep awe for the will and determination to which these things are monuments. * Men do amazing things. * Even so, I think the world would be a nasty place were it paved in these things. * Now if they could only *figure out how to run a fucking toll road. * Sorry. *I am still bitter. *Oddly I ride past a sign from an attourney saying what number to call if you have mesothelioma. * ...lovely. * I hack up phlegm in reflexive sympathy.

I blip up into Michigan and ride the edge of the state to Sturgis, Michigan. * At some point on this road a deer runs across the road at maximum deer velocity about a quarter of a mile in front of me. * Whip smart quick my brain concludes there might be deer around here. * I slow and start actually looking for deer, but the forest crouds the road, so it would be easy to not see them. * I spend the obligatory amount of time worrying about getting killed by a deer, but there is not much I can do about it. * I suppose I could collapse weeping on the side of the road and beg for mercy at the hands of passers by. *That seems a bit umanly. *What I decided to do was to ride on so that I could get to my *destination and being inconsistently using verb tenses in an over-long ride report.

I was pretty tired today for some reason. *I stopped and slept for about ten minutes under an inviting tree in Michigan. * I stopped again briefly to close my eyes a couple hours later in Ohio too. * I hope I am not this tired tomorrow. * I need to hit 500 miles tomorrow if I can.

It is odd how much of the last week and a half has been spent in utter boredome or in serious discomfort of a sort. * I have never been in an isolation tank, but this feels like an analogue of what I imagine that is. * Oddly, you are so constantly barraged by stimulation, that I think your brain really cranks up the bar and starts editing shit on a massive scale. * ...kind of opposite to what it does in an isolation tank. * And oddly the brain gets so good at editing out all of the noise of the landscape that you find yourself bored while being immersed in information, some of which will kill you if you aren't careful. *Yes, you get bored. * More than once during this trip I find myself intentionally chanting nonsense mile after mile to help maintain the determination to keep moving. *Sometimes I amuse myself, but it is often very puerile. *I fought with this a lot today, and frankly it started to annoy me. * I kept telling myself to think something productive or to think about the landscape, but my brain insists on trying to invent lyrics to the "Fatal Dradle" *song.

I am in Elyria Ohio, in the effluvia of Cleveland. *I am sitting in a bar called Rubins eating breaded, deep-fried saurkraut and writing. * It took a ridiculous amount of time trying to find the restaurant, because Apple Maps is functionally retarded. *Oh, and could all you hotels do what Adam Carolla says and standardize the goddamned faucets in your bathrooms. * Seriously, I have seem some idiotic shit on this trip. * Everybody just go to Chris' house and copy the faucet in the shower in his guest bath. * You can independently set the temperature from the volume of water. * Simple. * Brilliant. * Do. * It. *Now.

So anyway... * *I guess 500 miles tomorrow if I can. * Uless I hit rain. * Rain equals stop.
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Old 05-26-2013, 07:14 PM   #50
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Psychosis

Done tonight with whiskey and coffee.

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Old 05-27-2013, 07:29 PM   #51
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Silent Running.

I woke up at 4 am with a bunch of different philosophical threads running though my head. *I was thinking that I really had to add these to the trip report, but the light of day convinced me otherwise. *They probably are of no general interest.

I decided to get up at 4:30 am. * I knew that the transit through Vermont, and New Hampshire, and Maine would be slow, and I wanted to be as far south toward NYC as I could by the end of the day. *So I got up before sunrise and packed and waited for it to become light enough to ride. * My main light is out, so I only have the high beam now. **

The route out of johnstown *went through country side that would make maidens moist. * Or at least I presume. * What the hell do I know about maidly moistness. * It was bucolic with velvet grass, trees, charming cottages, small rivers, gnomes, unicorns, and all that shit. * I rode through the village of Amsterdam and judged it a pale comparison to its namesake, but still soothing and satisfying all its ownself.

Every open body of water for quite some time had tendrils of mist rising from it. * I used to see this on the Kitsap Peninsula when I would go to work back in 1983, and I still love it. *It does soothe me, but it is not likely to break through my growing depression.

It is generally cold outside, but the forecast looks good, and I planned my arrival from three days ago accordingly. *It does get colder than at any other point during the trip on the ride over mountains in Verrmont. * It drops to about 37 F. *But it is dry, so it is fairly manageble for the half an hour or so it is that cold.

I could not distinguish between north-eastern New York, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine in a proper double-blind test, although Maine did seem to have the feeling of ocean somewhere with the sea breeze coming in.

The mountains and twisties of NY, Vermont, and NH were really nice and satisfying. * It had clearly rained last night and there was dampness in places, but the road was largely dry, which gave me some confidence, since the BMW was flashing the warning that it was below 38 degrees and ice might be present. * It was not and the long, long twisty ride was one of the best of the trip since highway 1 or the Ozarks. * It was marred a bit by a long delay for some sort of memorial day ceremony in some village. * Cops were directing traffic and it took me about half an hour to get through the line. * I was right, the first part of the day was very slow mileage-wise.

I had to spend a lot of time navigating, because I cannot leave the ipad on all day without destroying the battery, so when I know where I am going I shut it off, *and then stop and check when I am not sure.

I arrive in Maine and spend some time touring one of the towns, Dover I think, a bit, since I will not ride here for long.

Then I head south to Rhode Island. *I stay on the interstate and do not grant it the opportunity to distinguish itself. * Sorry Rhode Island. *Oh, right, Mass is before that. * I blew through there pretty fast too, since I have visited more than once.

At some place in the ride, probably New Hampshire I stopped and slept for ten minutes under a tree at a health center. * At a gas station, a local says, "Nice day for a ride." * I say something like, well it is drier than yesterday." * He replies, "And the day befoah that and the day befoah that." * I was tempted ot ask him if I could get there from here, but I didn't want to appear rude.

Conneticut and New York began to get really strange on the freeway. * First the traffic was mega-heavy after Boston, and after it collapsed to two lanes south, the traffic patterns got very strange. * Traffic would be sailing along at 80 mph, and then it would suddenly stop dead. *Freeways do this sometimes, but I have never seen what happened on these freeways. * It kept happeining. * 80 mph to 0 mph *then very slowly back to 80 for a long time. * Over and over. * It must have happende 20 times or so.

At some point I pass a sign saying something about Pez factory visitor center, and I wonder if I can get an Anne Boylen Pez dispenser.

I weary of the traffic and decide to stop somewhere near Norwalk, Conneticut. * I wanted to go farther, but I just cannot take it. * I have been riding for almost 12 hours. * I am so tired I almost drop the bike during a tight turn as I fight with the iPad to show me the way to a hotel. * It keeps routing me the wrong way. * Eventually I get to the Hotel. * They have a restaurant. * I shower and go down to drink and eat. * I have an extremely good mozzarela and tomato salad that puts to shame the shitty one I had last night.

I need to research places to take shots of the NY skyline on the Jersey Shore.*

Silent Running? * Yeah, well a bloody-minded part of me wants to go below the sonar. *To hide under thermoclines and give the evil eye to dolphins that may reveal my position. * If I do not post for a night or two, perahps others will begin to wonder where I am as much as I do. *I want so much to no longer be part of my thoughts. * Let it be me thought by someone better. * Please let me lay silent 'til thought by someone good.
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Old 05-28-2013, 02:09 PM   #52
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Sleep young traveler, Sleep.
After 13 hours and 700+ miles in holiday traffic yesterday, I wasn't sure I ever want to get back in the saddle. But today is a new and brighter day.

Travel Safe, when you can!
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Old 05-28-2013, 05:46 PM   #53
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Quote:
Originally Posted by timbercat View Post
Sleep young traveler, Sleep.
After 13 hours and 700+ miles in holiday traffic yesterday, I wasn't sure I ever want to get back in the saddle. But today is a new and brighter day.

Travel Safe, when you can!
Damn dude, I am not sure I could do 700 outside of Texas. 500 really taxes me.
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Old 05-29-2013, 06:28 PM   #54
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Creep *of the Week:

What the hell happened today? *Hold on, let me collect my thoughts. * I woke up in Kentucky I think. *I remember a lovely Caprese salad the night before. *No no, that was the night before. * I told Lori about it last night. * I remember. * Oh yes, it was Ruby Tuesday with the diminutive blonde waitress with the southern drawl. * She attempted to feing interest in my story, and actually probably was within the limits it deserves.

Anyhow, it was Harrisonburg into which I fell from dreamsape into wakefullness. *Or Wakekhalffullness or whatever. *I got up and packed slowly and put flag labels on my pannier. * I wanted to 600 miles today, but I *was not in a crashing hurry as I would steal time from the time zone lords today and suddenly become an hour younger but just as wise. *So I had time to burn.

I took the time to get two prepackaged boiled eggs at the continental breakfast. * It took me exactly .33 eons to peel the wretched things. * I ate what remained.

I rode through part of Harrisonburg on the way out. * There is this little compact square with a large old building in the middle and what is essentially a round about around it, but like all *european and old looking.

The grass seems pretty yellow in this state, and at times very long; seriusly lush grass. *I ride through mountains in Western West Virginia and Kentucky today. * I have the road mostly to myself for a very long time. *When I started it was actually 70 degrees out, but it dropped into the mid 50s in the mountains. * But it was nice. * I kept the electric jacket on but not plugged in for most of the eary day.

Lots of green. * Lots of red buildings. * At one place on the road I looked to my left and see a very green and fairly steep hill going to a good height before returning to the state of mountain proper, and on this hill I see a trailer court. * The trailers are parallels to the road I am an and there are probably four rows of them. * Very very odd. * Only later did I wonder about the roads into such a court.

My first view of Kentucky was, oddly, a large mass of factories on a river. * Refineries I think from the look. *They are both immensely beautiful as engines of human life and somewhat ugly as grimy intrusions. * But hell, were it not for the factories the landscape would all just blend in anyway.

Ok, now I am going to steal a routine that Dave Dameshek does on Adam Carolla's' podcast. *The routine is "Creep of the Week" * He starts out by singing the theme for the bit to the tune of Darth Vaders theme in Star Wars. *"Creep creep creep creep of the week. *He or she is the creep of the week." *Then he begins to describe various nominees. *In my case I have only one:

I came up behind about five cars that were behind this semi. * The semi had his emergency blinkers on and was moving about ten miles an hour on the twisties. *Fine, whatever. * I pass a few of the intervening cars and wait. *Soon we come over the summit if this particular mountainette, and there is a long long glorious passing lane free of cars. *Of course the semi proceeds slowly to let all the people he has been holding hostage pass. *Right? * Right? *Wrong. * I speeds way up his trailer slewing around a bit on the road. * So anybody who cannot accelerate fast enough to pass him ends up crawling along behind him at the next rise. *I did not happen to fit in that category, but I had to hit 90 mph to get by the miscreant.

What douchebag academy did this cretin attend to hone such sophisticated methods of assholery. *You, inconsiderate Semi guy are the CREEP OF THE WEEK! * Taste the Blaster! * Pew Pew.

Those last bits, too, were invented by Dave Dameshek, and I love it when he does it, but I stole it to relate the story about this jerk.

Now look. * I *am no hero when it comes to being rigorously non-assholish. * But Jesus. * Tonight as I was walking to dinner, this skinny black-haired girl who was probably good looking too (It is hard for 53-year-old eyes to tell from much distance) was walking perpendicular to my path and intersected it. *She turned to walk in the same direction I *was walking but about ten feet in front of me. *I though,"Sigh, I am not going to walk half a mile ten feet behind this chick." *Why not? * Well, because I run this simulation of her in my mind and come up with, "why is this guy following me." * I am sure she is not thinking that, but I do not want to be responsible for that feeling, so I turn around and spend more time than needed to take a picture of the Hotel in which I am staying. * This lets her get way in front and I feel better about the whole thing.

Now why the fuck do I care what she is thinking? *Why not just walk and to hell with what my imaginings of her thoughts are? * Well, that is just the way I am wired. *What I want to know is how is someone wired who would deliberately put people in potential jeaopardy in order to make sure that they crawl behind him on the next hill. * Very. *Fucking. *Strange.

But I do get by and get to ride some more fun twisties. * Eventually I hit the interstate headed to Lexington. * *Interstate now and time for the long grind. * At Lexington I have to decide am I going to head south into lower western Kentucky as I had thought or do I shoot strait across Indiana to Missouri and preserve the possibility of being home on Friday? * I choose the latter and aim for Louiseville and Saint Louis.

At one point in Kentucky I came over a hill and was stunned at the view of rolling hills of yellow green grass dotted with trees. * A sky full of busy but relatively non threatening clouds added textural drama and all but covered the powder blue of the sky behing. * But enough showed through that you knew this was a celebration, a command to procreate rather than a sky of a vengeful god. * *It was like a pastel post card, or like a hand colored stereopticon image of a place that, can you actually convince yourself exists, you are sure did so hundreds of millions of miles behind us in space and an age ago in time.

I was impressed. *So much so that I wrote the previous paragraph first tonight so that I would not forgett to include it.

The grind was very long, *but I felt oddly well through it. * I blew into a rest area briefly and jumped off the bike and lay in shaded grass for about 5 minutes doing forece REM. * It is very odd how well this works to make sleepy urges go away. * I have been doing this for years and it really works for me.
I do end up going 600 miles today, so that is my high score. *It was way easier than many days on this trip that were much shorter.

I narrowly avoid my first ticket as I decide to slow down to something reasonable, just before a state trooper turns into a median slot.

I gained my hour *back. * I get a room that I again pay more for than I would like. * Then I try not to follow a girl as I wald to dinner that is made a bit less pleasant by a plethora of men who have showed up at the bar of this restaurant to speak with each other about matters urgent. *Many years ago some chiick told me I was a misanthrope. * She was right.
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Old 05-30-2013, 09:07 PM   #55
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A few of my favorite things.

I seriously just had to look up where I was last night. * I don't think I ever even realized it was in Indiana. wo I guess that is one of the states I have hit more than once. *I was thinking just grind out Missouri and get into Nebraska, so I was in distraction mode and listened to like six hours of podcasts. *Adam Carolla just mesmerizes me. *Yeah, a lot of it is kind of childish, but the man has a very quick wit. * But the states got somewhat short shrift of my attention. *Grind it baby. *Get home.

As I rode into St Louis, I saw the arch. * I so wished there were a convenient place to photograph it with the city as backdrop, and there probably is, but I did not want to find it on this side of the river. * I did leave the freeway and rode to its base. * Hell, I always thought this think was on the ocen, that St Louis must be on the gulf coast somewhere. * Heh. * It looked really unique and beautiful with the earth tone city intervening in front of storm clouds. * Dammnt, rain. *The arch is way cool. * It may not be worth a vistit to the city, but if there is another reason to go there, I would like to find that spot to photograph the stupid thing well.

It did not rain much in St Louis and it stayed cinsistenly pretty warm.

But the temperature slowly dropped as I rode across Missouri, comparing this part with the small tab of it I rode through in the first days of my trip. * So another state I have hit twice. *I stopped to put on my sweat-shirt as I was getting kind of cold. * At the "gas station" I stopped, none of the pumps were working. * It was also something else, like a fireworks stand or something. * I jest. * Anyway a pretty blonde who must have worked there exchanged a few relevant observations of how much rain sucks on a bike. *People who ride are always so deperate to communicate to you the fact that they ride as well. *Ah well. * I rode on.

Traffic was really heavy 50 miles or so out of Kansas City. *Maybe it was only 25 miles. *I don't know. *Anyway I suddenly noticed that the sky was getting rather sinister. * One section of cloud seemed serrated, * Mist was descending rapidly from it, maybe rain, so fast it was as if the sky was clawing at the earth. *Behind this was an intense blue gray that bade ill. *Oh, and lighting. * This was a storm not the slow agonizing drizzles I suffered through in north and south dakota. *This was more like what we had riding into New Orleans. * I got slammed by a shot of huge drops, and I feard the sort of gully washer that Denver gets. *I have been in rain in Colorado so bad that I could not see well even with window washers on full. *On a bike that would be suicide. *

I stopped and put on my rain jacket. *I kept going. *This rain got pretty bad. * I was fast and heavy. *I had left the damned vents on my pants open, so my legs were instantly wet. *The collar of the rain jacket must have been ill aranged, because my torso also got wet. *It never got below 60, and was mostly about 65 through this storm, so I never actually shivered, but I probably came close.

The bad thing was that the mist from this rain was really bad. * I am not sure what was causing it, but it was almost like riding through a light fog while it was raining really hard. *It became very challenging to see. *I rode with my eyes deliberately held very wide open and trying to include the edges of the retinas in motion detection by moving my head around a bit. * I focused on brake lights on the vehicle in front of me and rode on thinking about how this situation really was not quite the thing. *I was thinking how stupid this was, but it never got to the point of pulling over, besides it was to the point that I kind of felt just doing what I was doing right then was probably the only vaguely safe course of action I could pursue. *I had, of course, turned on the hazard lights to increase my visibility. *Somehow it all ended well.

I am fortunate the rain eventually did slack. * It rained for quite awhile, but the worst of it could not have been for more than a half hour. * I actually was quite concerned I might have to negotiate the mazes in Kansas City with the rain coming down like that, but it slacked off a lot before I got there and I nodded at *Kansas City's handsome grace sitting there on its proud little hill. * Fucking bitch.

After that it became about picking a place to drink. *I wanted to get close to 600 miles, so I ended up choosing Nebraska City in Nebraska. *The hotel situation here is grim. * There are only three or four that I found on yelp, which seems a small number for a city as large as this seems. *And they all seemed to have something wrong with them. * I would have snatched at the Best Western, but there was no acceptable restaurant within miles. *I went into the town proper and the places there also had no acceptable restaurants right near them. *I eventually grabbed a room in a place that has a sports bar about half a mile away.

I set out on the walk, really not looking forward to it, but not because of the walk, but because it was across a bridge for a four lane city thoroughfare not meant to be crossed easily by pedestrians. * And the place just feels kind of blighted. *But while walking along I noticed an area clearly being cleared for construction or something, but it was kind of a large cut of mud through a hill that was otherwise covered with short, sword shabed, and highly saturated green grass. *I looked across the street at some trees and decided to photograph them. * As I started to do so I realized I was looking at beauty.

There was a small group of very large trees of the type that english painters used to like to paint, large, serious trees that are intensely gnarled but decked with lavish leaves. * Behind them a bright green field receded to a line of trees much rarther away and to a blue water tower that peeked over them, and in the far back ground are the massive banks of clouds that will make tomorrow's thunder and lightning, although they are bathed in salmon and blue pastel at the moment. *It was heartbreakingly lovely, like a matte painting to be used for a genteel comedy about happy commoners living a life of bliss in a fabled English Shire. * But this is Nebraska. * Admittedly I have much Nebraska to come, but if it can hand over a scene like this to seduce my optic nerves then it has been much slandered by those who have reported to me on its lack of charms. *It is easilly one of the most beautiful things I have seen on the trip. * I used the Canon G11 to take quite a number of pictures. * I do hope that some of them are usable.

I got to my destination and had food that was not bad at all, wings and a hamburger. * I expected worse. *I will head back and sleep for the ride home tomorrow.

The title may be misleading as I do not intend to focus on my favorite things, but to list a few things I will not miss.

I will not miss being rained on.
I will not miss being slapped by wind for hours on end. *I feel battered
I will not miss sore shoulders, well sore everything really.
I will not miss an endless roadway carpeted with dead deer, and armadillo, and possum.
I will not miss the race car drivers on I95 in florida who must be goaded on by some Dayton demom of speed.
I will not miss tailgaters in New York City.
I will not miss shivering.
I will not miss exhortations to buckle my seat belt, state brags about the number of traffic deaths, and large billboards all through the south advertising adult super stores. *Not that there's anything wrong with that.
I will not miss the epic balttle between Dollar General and Family Dollar*
I will not miss the fantastically stupid toll technology that stitches the east like a badly sutured wound.
I will not miss being so tired I almost drop the bike and too tired to search for a cheaper hotel.
I will not miss the creep of the week.
I will not miss missing my wife.

Of course there will be things I do miss, but maybe I will do those tomorrow.
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Old 06-01-2013, 05:33 PM   #56
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A Long Cold Road:

Yesterday was Friday and I arrived home at around 3:30 PM.

The experience the nightt before that in Nebraska city was pleasant enough, and I had some of the best chicken wings I have ever had in the divey sports bar that I had to walk a fair distance to reach. *THey had a light bredding that had the overall effect of a dry rub, and it was fairly spicey. They were not gooey as chicken wings always are. *In the side they did serve a hot liquid sauce that let you goo them up on your terms. * It was kind of like a relationship.

I checked the weather in Kearney Nebraska and it said 74 degrees and windy. * Nebraska City was supposed to be warmer than that, but this forecast encouraged me that the day may end up being on the bearable side of unpleasant. * As usual I was completely wrong.

I believe I was underway by seven, but I am not sure. *That made it six Denver time, so I knew I could make it in the mid afternoon. * I was pushing a bit so I could get home in time to have dinner with Lori's mother and aunt who were visiting while I was gone. * Original plans probably had me spending another week on the road, but I was done and just wanted to get home.

It was certainly pleasant enough in Nebraska City, a little cold as usual. * But I did not put on the electric jacket. * For some reason I was just dead set against it. * My sweat shirt was still damp, so I did not put that on either.

But I was ok for a few hours. * Again I listened to hour after hour of podcasts to corral my mind from the boredom of another grind. *It does work pretty well. * I think that Eastern Nebraska is really quite beutiful, and not so different from the part of Indiana that it is near. *It is best when you just enter the state. * Shortly aftter that you enter the area that becomes ultra flat though still green and tree-ish. * I think that if you lived in this place, you would probably need to invest a lot of emotional energy into elaborate tree scapes and how they interact with monster storm clouds.

I remember walking back from the sports bar last night. * Back in the direction of Indiana and Missouri, in the deepening evening, there were what must have been hundreds of miles of monstrous storm clouds, the tops still white, but the lower areas all manner of greyed out purple and blue. *The bottoms could not be seen as a line of trees intervened. * But there was lightning fretting and flashing, and the whole thing has a powerful and ominous aura. *I am't surprised to learn there were tornado watches and warnings in Missouri on Friday. * I am damned glad I got through on Thursday, although the storm I did ride through was damned bad all itsownself.

Many miles into the ride, before I got to Kearney the wind got really bad. * I am sure the worst gusts must have been in the 40-50 mph range. * The day in Nebraska never warmed much above 66, and it spend a great deal of time nearer 60. * So it was cold. *It was dry so the cold was endurable, but that is what it was, endurance. * I never got quite to the point of shivering. *Had I, I probably would have put on the electric jacket, but I was determined not to unless I had to.

I had already determined to take a break mid-day, and I did so in Kearney. * I stopped in a town 40 miles before that to look for a Starbucks, but apparently the demographics in smallish town USA cannot distract them from paving larger cities with the damned things. * The ipad told me that there was a coffee house in Kearney called Barista's Daily Grind. *It had 5-star reviews in yelp, so I headed there. * I had cappucino and a pastry. *The place really was nice, and I am sure I would find myself a great deal were I condemned to this frozen hell. * The coffee had som slightly sweetened whipped cream with a mild coffee bean in it. * It was really nice, rather like a kiss before coffee.

I enjoyed the coffee, but did not linger overly long.

Somewhere along the freeway is a massive arch built over the freeway that is a memorial to something or orther. *I did not bother to memorize what as I was struck by the utter ridiculousness of this bridge both two and from nowhere,, but I am probably being less generous than I should. * I thought the St Louis Arch was cool because it was both striking and unusual. * And this was unusual and at least a little striking all by itself across the freeway. * I will look up what the hell it was some time.

The latter half of Nebraska was more of torture all too common on this trip. *Heave wind and cold temperatures combined with the return of flat desert landscape to make this another get through it experience, but at least it was dry and my mind was relatively quiet despite haviing run out of interesting podcasts to distract me. * I stopped about 15 miles east of Cheyenne, because Lori had asked me to call when I was getting close. * I suspected they wanted to do some welcome thing for me, so I called and told her I would be there at 3:30. *I nailed that time despite the fact I had to stop at work and pick up some paperwork so I could get some money that my nephews requested from their 529 plans.

I managed to get in and out of the building without running into anyone who I did not particularly care to engage in conversation with for the next month. * A freind did encounter me rummaging through my desk even though I was trying to be quiet. * She was horrified that I was in the building during my sabbatical, and I assured her that it was necessary and that I shared her horror.

I got home and Lori and her mother had made a huge banner welcoming me back on the garage door. *It was very kind of them to do so. * I am sure many of the neighbors must have thought someone was coming back from Afghanistan or something.

We had a nice dinner and then I introduced them to Doctor Horrible's Singalong Blog, something I have almost an evangelical fervor to do.

It seems a suitable end to the ride report would be some sort of summation of how I feel about it. * The honest answer is that right now I cannot tell. *It was quite long and often unpleasant. *I don''t think I have a coherent conception of the whole thing yet, and it will take time to manufacture one. *I am not making any progress now, because I am distracted by the funk that has been plaguing me since North Dakota. * There are to many other issues and emotions buffeting me now. *At times in my life my brain itself becomes like a long cold road with no home to which I can ride. *I am trying to resist slipping into that mind set now.

I do want to mention some of the best things. * The early trip was gret because of the novelty and the need to get to Lori. *Fort Lauderdale was paradise, and swimming in the ocean was just the thing. Meeting Brian, Jeff, Jean-Anne, Heather and Mike was great as was staying in and making dinner in the Suite the night after. * Going to Key West was everything I expected, and Key West itself is great. * I will always remember the lightning ride into New Orleans. *New Orleans also was very pleasant. *Things got pretty rougg after that, but Highway 1 in California was very good. * I loved Death Valley. *Chris letting me stay with him helped a lot. * I did not realize I was in for some of the roughest riding in my life in the next couple of days, and being able to stay with Mary and have dinner with Mike, Sherry, Marge, and Amber was, again, probably more valuable in moderating the funk that started to invest me in Milwaukee. * Although I do have to say I want to go back to Milwaukee. * The riding throught the mountains of the northeast was every bit as lovely as Arkansas and Tenessee. *The thunder storm in Missouri was bad, but I know for a fact I will be glad I experienced it some day. * Right now I am merely surprised I survived it after looking at my back tire after getting home.

I am sitting in my back yard looking at the dramatic cloudscape over the Rocky Mountains as the day has finally calmed enough that I can sit outside as I type this. *I just watched two small black birds attacking a hawk in the sky behind my house. *The hawk would glide slowly higher as the two birds would fly in to peck at it. * One little bird was much more agressive than the other, and the less aggrressive one soon gave up. * But the other one harassed the hawk forever driving him *higher and higher and flying in to peck at the hawk's head. *I think the hawk knew that if it just kept gliding higher, the small bird would have to give up its franting flapping to keep up. * Eventually the little bird did disengage and then it could glide rather than flapping, but its glide as at a pretty steep angle, not like the flat laziness of the hawk's glide at all. * It ended up in a group of trees out in the wetlands where I am sure it is fretting about whether the experience was really all worth it.
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Old 06-01-2013, 09:59 PM   #57
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Nebraska Glory

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Old 06-01-2013, 10:37 PM   #58
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Old 06-01-2013, 11:12 PM   #59
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Old 06-02-2013, 06:33 AM   #60
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You made it. Congratulations.
Hope your body recoops quickly. I'll be passing thru Denver next Monday. Will wave a Hello. Sorry our paths didn't cross in the SE but I was a little behind your time schedule.
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