I woke up realizing that I would have to leave Savannah and I would have to leave Miranda. Yet another cool city I failed to fully explore. And a budding friendship I failed to further explore. We sat on her front porch as she smoked a cigarette and we shared a few last words. I wished it would never stop burning. There was a bird chirping somewhere. Probably. We decided to swap addresses. It’s tough having a pen pal when it’s a one sided affair. So that can be added to the list of things that excite me when thinking of home. The closer I get, the longer that list becomes. Funny how that works.
“I hope you find what you’re looking for” Was the last thing she said to me. “I hope we both do” would have been the cool response. Instead I stammered out some unintelligible babble and nearly fell off my bike in the process. The only thing Suave on me is soap scum. Get it? Cause like there’s a soap brand called suave. If you have to explain the joke, it’s not funny. And this guy thinks he can make people laugh. Ha! That’s a joke!
Ok self-deprecation aside. As I was leaving Savannah, I ran into some crust punks named Willow and Emily. Willow was a bike messenger from NYC and was roaming the country looking for the same thing we’re all looking for. Emily included. He needed some help with a flat tire on his bike, and I quickly offered a hand. They’re good people those Crusties. Well most of them are. I’m so interested in that lifestyle so I interrogated them a bit. Apparently trying to hop freights in America is a difficult art form. That doesn’t come as much of a surprise. I really want to try it. Me thinks I will once I lose the bike. Just to see how far I can go until some rail yard security guard beats me to a pulp. Willow made it sound like a dream. Well, a dream until some rail yard security guard beat him to a pulp. I went my way and they theirs. Sometimes it’s nice not being the only smelly weirdo in a new city.
I rode and rode. Nothing exciting happened really. Once the sun started to set, I decided to finish off the day. Flatland is over and done with for the next two weeks or so, I’ll finally be back in the mountains. It really is a nice break from the monotony or long rides, but requires a little more effort. I forgot how much of a pain lugging all the gear up a hill was, but I never forgot the thrill of zooming down one.
So I ended up in a town called Millen. Picture in your mind a small town in east central Georgia. I bet you’re seeing a couple of confederate flags blowing in the wind. Maybe a slack jawed guy in flannel chewing on some straw. A cute little town hall built around half dilapidated trailers. Yeah that’s pretty much Millen. An innocuous town. One of those “you leave us be and there’ll be no problems kinda town.” So I left it be. For the most part. I sat down on the steps of the library to cook my dinner and charge my GPS. A man walking his dog noticed me, approached me, and asked me what I was doing. He was obviously uncomfortable and suspicious of my presence. The dog was not. I told him my spiel in the politest of manners and he replied with a robotic “I understand”. Five minutes later I have a spotlight shining in my eyes from a cop car. “I.D. please.” It never stops. You know how it goes. The cop was actually kind of nice and told me some guy reported me. He told me I could camp out by the library but to watch my stuff as things tend to disappear in this town. All I could think about was that guy calling the cops on me. Ugh, I mean I know I’ve engaged in copious amounts of criminal activity, but to have someone call the cops on you when all you’re trying to do is eat a simple meal is, well it’s a al bummer. Jabrone. That’s the only word that can describe that guy. Well that and concerned citizen, but I like jabrone more.
The library didn’t open until 10:30 am. I needed water and a place to change my clothes. The town’s Dollar General seemed to be the only place open so I walked in and asked to use the bathroom. After sizing me up for a moment, the brassy female employee declared, “You can’t use the bathroom to change.”
“Ok, well can I use the bathroom to go to the bathroom?”
“Yeah, but you can’t change in there.”
“How does that make any sense?” I asked.
“And you can’t fill those water bottles up neither.”
Is this really happening right now? I don’t have the patience to tolerate this interaction. “Are you conscious of the absurd logic of your statement?” I asked.
“What does absurd mean?”
Without responding I just turned around and walked out of the store. The only way this day can be salvaged is if I remove myself entirely from the human race for a day. So that is what I did.
It seems so unattainable east of the Mississippi River, but there are still places where you are totally immersed in nature. And I don’t just mean away from civilization. I mean completely detached from it. There are no automobile motors in the distance, or an airplane in the sky. Or really any evidence of a man made creation. Just a simple dirt path. Nothing mechanized. Nothing trampled. Just birds chirping, a tranquil creek, and a gentle breeze. If you’re lucky enough to find yourself in this position, stop. Close your eyes and place your hands on the ground. If you concentrate hard enough, you can feel the earth’s heartbeat. And yes, I actually do believe that.
For some reason I used to be an opponent of dirt roads. I think a paved road lets you know you safe. Paved roads lead to civilizations. Unpaved roads lead to mystery. I decided to ride on unpaved roads. There’s a fantastic quality to total immersion in nature.
Oh I also wandered into an abandoned house. There were no people in it this time. Just old clothes and the feeling of a home that once harbored loving memories.
Lastly, as the night dwindled down I rode past a cow pasture. On the other side of the pasture were small holding tanks for baby cows. I don’t know much about the process, but my educated guess was veal. It was pretty awful locking eyes with a baby cow that only had about two feet of space to walk around. I kinda knew where my food came from before leaving for this trip. Now though, I’ve seen it all. I still eat meat though. It’s just going to be a little tougher to eat veal again.
Sometimes people good. Sometimes people bad.
Sometimes nature good. Sometimes nature bad.
Total Ascent: 1517 ft.
Total Ascent: 1506 ft.