Last night was freezing. I placed some rocks next to the fire and threw them into my sleeping bag to stay warm. It worked out pretty well and the evening was somewhat more tolerable. I woke up a little later than normal and noticed a gathering of construction workers burying the same pile of debris I acquired the wood from last night. They had a lot of questions but didn’t ask any. Blank stares were all I got so I just biked on.
The day’s ride was pretty boring. Until I got to the McDonald’s in Blythe (By the way, I go to McDonalds so often because they have wi-fi. I wish I didn’t have to go there, but they stay open later than the library and it’s just too cold to stand outside of the library to try and pick up a signal.) There I met a guy named Monty who offered me a place to sleep in Quartzsite, AZ. I would have loved to stay with him, but I really wanted to spend one more night in California. I don’t know when I’ll be in this beautiful state again, so I just want to savor it for one more night. Honestly, leaving California is turning out to be a much more emotional process than I anticipated. I really enjoy it out here, but I set a goal for myself to cycle around the country and to compromise that by remaining here permanently would always leave me constantly wondering what could have been. Although, it seems that conundrum comes up often when we are forced to make a difficult life decision. Flirting with the idea of ‘what if’ is natural, I believe, however a fixation on these hypothetical questions can become hazardous to one’s mind state. We made the decision. Wondering what could have been removes us from the present and hinders our ability to truly embrace and appreciate our surroundings. I don’t know why I’m writing this. I’ll get back to reality.
I also didn’t stay with Monty because I contacted a host through WarmShowers to stay with a man and his family in Blythe. His name is Wayne and he owns a Bait and Tackle shop. So that’s where spent the evening. Showering there was immensely appreciated. Especially since I haven’t had one since leaving Los Angeles. Gross I know, but the desert doesn’t really hand you soap and a towel when you enter it. I should also mention that I saw a cycle tourist in that McDonalds whom I met a couple months back in Santa Barbara. He was cycling for the American Cancer Society and unfortunately had his bicycle stolen. A new one was donated to him, but he still lost everything else on it (camera, cell phone, laptop, etc.). I felt sorry for him and we traded some food. He seemed pretty confident that he’ll be able to reach Massachusetts with his rig, but I am skeptical. We parted ways and I spent some time thinking about how devastating it would be if someone stole my bike. That bike is my life. Everything I need to survive can fit on that bike. That’s another startling realization I had. Possessions offer a very small percentage of satisfaction. Less is more, or whatever lazy cliché you want to throw in there.
Anyway, I arrived at the Bait shop to meet Liz, Mark, Robbie, Brody, and a few other guys. I was shown to my room and offered a beer. I forgot how great civilization is. After cleaning myself up, I chatted with everyone while standing around the fire. Last night I had a fire alone. Tonight I am sharing a fire with a few other people. Both are gratifying. Eventually everyone goes to bed, but I stay up with Mark and we discuss various earthly matters. I had a healthy conversation with Mark about the impact/importance of Peter Mark Roget, the current status of America’s education system, and Law school. I learned a great deal from Mark.
Later on I worked on my bike. I realized how disturbing my neglect of my bicycle was tonight. I have not oiled the chain since I left L.A. That type of thing is supposed to be done every 100 miles. I finally had a warm space to focus on my bicycle in this room behind the bait shop. I finally cleaned and oiled the chain. Upon further inspection of the brakes I noticed that the rear right break pad was rubbing against the rim. This had slowed me down significantly on this trip and caused me to apply more energy pedaling. A simple Two minute repair will now allow me to cycle more efficiently. Respect and take care of the things in your life you value most and they will take care of you in return. I learned this idea a long time ago, but the act of applying it to my life is still something I am working on. Carelessness is a plague I struggle to alleviate myself from.
I get to sleep on a mattress for the first time on this trip home!
Also that dog in the photo (Raleigh) knows how take money from people and go to the cash register at the bait shop to but sticks of cheese. You can’t make that kind of stuff up.
Total Ascent: 510