I woke up this morning and pulled three ticks off of me. One was a deer tick. Kinda forgot those things existed after living on the west side of the Mississippi for so long. I knew I had to reach a bike shop to fix my spokes so I walked over to the church that was about 100 yards from my campsite and found one 11 miles north near Tallahassee. As I was walking back to my bags/bike, which I left by the campsite, I noticed a man rummaging through my things. I sprinted towards him and soon realized that he was a police officer. After explaining the situation one of the officers said “why don’t you use couchsurfing”? I thought about it for a minute, smelled myself, and assessed that it would probably be a good idea to stay with someone tonight. So I contacted man named Richard on CS.
Before I could do all that, I had to repair the spokes in my rear wheel. So I cautiously biked the 11 miles north on a path to the shop. My suspicions were confirmed. I was sold a shoddy wheel. What this means is that I am probably going to encounter problems like this in the future, and the unfortunate aspect is that if it happens again, I won’t be able to make the repair myself because I don’t have to tools to remove that cassette. It’s a whole thing and writing about it just frustrates me more. So I rode back on the same path and acknowledged the fact that I need to lighten my load. I arrived at a post office and mailed home 7 pounds of things I didn’t need. 7 pounds of unnecessary weight has been alleviated. It may not sound like much, but trust me, it made a difference.
I was able to race to Richard’s house and he thankfully accommodated me on such short notice. Man, it feels great not smelling like old man balls. I relished in the warm water as it washed away all the accumulation of 500 miles of riding and 7 nights of camping. It’s actually kind of gross that I waited this long to clean myself, but that’s the way of the road bubs. A shower is one of those things that I believe we fail to acknowledge as being one of the most underrated and simple de-stressors around.
Once refreshed, Richard and I had a chance to talk. He regaled me with stories of his travels to Paris. We also had an in depth discussion of poetry. One name kept resurfacing and that was Arthur Rimbaud. Richard explained to me that his man at the tender age of 19 retired from writing after internationally deranging himself: “I’m now making myself as scummy as I can. Why? I want to be a poet, and I’m working at turning myself into a seer. You won’t understand any of this, and I’m almost incapable of explaining it to you. The idea is to reach the unknown by the derangement of all the senses. It involves enormous suffering, but one must be strong and be a born poet. It’s really not my fault.” Experimenting with various drugs, sexual partners, and intentional self-destruction, were the ways in which Rimbaud convinced himself he could truly encompass the human mind with poetry. He is a fascinating individual to say the least.
Speaking of fascinating individuals, Richard then showed me his studio. A craftsman by profession, Richard is a painter by heart. He also manufactures his own paints, which is something I found rather intriguing and complicated. Bits of rabbit skin are involved in the process. I’ll leave it at that. Richard has only been painting for a couple of years and already he has captured the female form, perspective, and color contrast expertly. He also built his own portable easel which he plans to take with him to New Mexico to paint for a while.
I’m really glad that police officer suggested I use couch surfing. I’m really glad I met Richard.
I talked to my mom the other day about the apparent lack of enthusiasm in my writing. I wholeheartedly agreed. This journey has been so inspiring and thought-provoking, yet I feel my creative and reflective muscles have not been exercised nearly half as much as the muscles in my legs. I’m contemplating taking a hiatus on this blog. I don’t know. I just see so many inspiring things, but have lacked the motivation to translate them into the written word. Bike or write. One or the other. Can’t have both. Well, I can have both, they’ll just be mediocre. I want to articulate more. I don’t want to waste words. Diversify ya vernacular.
Florida is pretty. Pretty boring! No it’s not. It’s just humid and riddled with mosquitos. I couldn’t live here year round. I’d rather go to a place and know I don’t want to live there than think I could. There are already too many of those places on the map. I’m looking at you Austin.
I hope this guy never stops making music:
Total Ascent: 177 ft.