Day 75 (Three Days, Four States)

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I stayed up all night truing my wheels and adjusting my breaks. I saw that my derailleur skips over a gear every now and then so I tightened that up too. The first day I left on this trip I knew how to do none of these things. I also had never spent a night in a hammock. I forgot how comfortable it was, so I decided to sleep in, despite the fact that I was in the fetal position trying to stay warm.

Just like Mississippi, Alabama is absolutely beautiful. When I envisioned the landscapes of these two states, the images I’ve seen thus far are polar opposites from my preconceived notion. It would be inappropriate to judge these states based solely on my time in the Gulf. Really the same could be said for any state I’ve visited on this trip. I’ve seen such a minute portion of what these states have to offer. However, of what I’ve seen, I can safely say it has been undeniably gorgeous. Dauphin Island was no exception to the rule. I entered the island zooming 30mph down the bridge to sights of pelicans, blue waters, and white sands. I felt like I was entering some Caribbean resort. I was actually in Alabama. It made no sense, but I wasn’t complaining. The only way to head further east from this island was to take a ferry ride across the Mobile Bay. So I paid my five, boarded the boat, and exchanged conversation with some interesting people. I also received an offer to stay with a man in Crystal River Florida. He went by Bobby, and he warned me of the narrowed vision that comes with old age. He also told me of the reluctance of elderly people to give up their drivers licenses. Basically he told me that when I reach Florida, to look out. I’ve already gotten hit on this trip. Once was enough.

As I traversed through the seaside of Alabama I felt like I was in Ocean City, M.D. Souvenir shops, ice cream parlors, and glistening beach fronts struck a nostalgic chord in me. I reminisced to myself about all the memories I shared with my family at Asssateague. I missed the past two years and I feel an imperative drive to change that streak and go this year.

As I crossed into Florida, it occurred to me that I had cycled in four states in less than three days. It also occurred to me that I am growing ever so closer to the finish line of this trip. It’s still a couple thousand miles away, but reaching Florida makes it feel all that closer. Also, about 2 miles into Florida’s coast, someone threw a Skoal tin at me from their car. It was the first time I’ve had someone hurl something at me in a while and I took a moment to stop and reflect on the action. It doesn’t really bother me that it happened. Whatever, I’ve had worse thrown at me in the form of words so a Skoal tin was nothing. But it got me thinking about Karma. When I was 17 I tried chewing tobacco for the first time. That was below the legally allotted age. So was my Karmic retribution for breaking the law having a tin hurled at me 7 years later? I don’t think the Indian religions were acknowledging the tobacco laws of New Jersey when they were formulating the concept of Karma. Hmm, so who’s to say what kind of actions are worthy of Karmic retribution? Well I guess only I am when discussing my own Karma. I’m going to stop now because this idea opens up a can of worms and I don’t feel like rambling about it. Plus, I stopped addressing the quandary about this same time on my bike when I became distracted by the luscious landscapes. Again, sitting on the bike gives me lots of time to think about this junk. Sitting on my laptop after an exhausting day of riding does not leave me in the proper mindset to further pursue these concepts. So that’s it. I’ve got to go find a place to sleep.

Katie suggested I listen to this song. I’m glad she did. The sulky tone of the music is sobering. The lyrics provoke contemplation:

We have material minds and restless hands. Longing hearts and lonely beds. But we purchase stuff and work too hard. Use our heads and fill our beds

What’ve we done

What’ve we done

And we’re left with wretched hearts and mangled minds. Concrete feet and beggars lies. But we live our lives on broken earth. We need to repair our eyes to kiss the dirt.

What’ve we done

What’ve we done

But what do you do when you’re out of touch, what do you do?
And how do you live with a conscience so caught up, how do you live?

Oh what do you do when you’re out of touch, what do you do?
And how do you live with a conscience so caught up, how do you live?

Oh what do you do when you’re out of touch, what do you do?
And how do you live with a conscience so caught up?
So caught up.

 

Stats:

Miles: 67.51

Time: 5:43:22

Calories: 2613

Total Ascent: 457 ft.

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