15 years ago my host was sweet and well meaning. I've fallen into this habit many a time myself where I care too much on someone else's behalf. I try to catch myself before I have too many feelings. I hate to put someone in an awkward position of not wanting the wonderful help and guidance I am giving them... because I know everything... right?
Originally Posted March 06, 2007
Del Rio: a day of rest - 0 miles
I started my rest day in Del Rio with a navel orange and cream cheese bagel. Ann took me over to the high school. She felt very assured that this would be easy. Sitting in the HR office picking at the paperwork, I would disagree. Perhaps I did it to humor my host. I didn't even have all the information I needed. We came back to the apartment and I sank into the couch. I watch Gilmore Girls while Ann napped. I think it was the episode where Rori has an affair with a married man then leaves for Europe with her grandmother. Ann woke and walked to work for four hours tutoring fourth graders. I made phone calls, went to the library, and generally relaxed. I told Ann that I'd be leaving in the morning. She seemed to think I should still apply. She left for the library and came back with a copy of the FAFSA and a road trip guide to dining. She's not insistent at all... You can't fault her for being encouraging. We made elbow noodles, venison patties, and corn for dinner. It was Worcestershire good.
Amongst the Small Curds
Last night, as I've gotten in the habit of doing, I sent the pictures I was going to use as reference photos to my iPad. I went out to my art desk and grabbed a snack of cottage cheese and spritzed my palette. I was looking at the thorns in the pictures. Those could be interesting to paint... but it is 10pm on a Friday night and I'd like to go to bed. The thorns will take too long. So I looked back at my hand holding the tub of cottage cheese. Small curd. My words came back to me and I decided to do a quick sketch of the cottage cheese tub. Now I will forever associate cottage cheese with the moment Jon and I split ways. I stayed with Ann in Del Rio for a day of rest and he continued east.
I pursued internet access while Jon dialed Australia. I came out to eat my cottage cheese. Amongst the small curds, there was Ann. Ann teaches in the school district here and invited me to stay at her apartment. She went about her business inside. Jon was unfortunately distraught about something back home and I told him I'd be staying with Ann. I took the opportunity to split ways.
Originally Posted March 05, 2007
Del Rio - 33.78 miles
I keep forgetting to write about the man I met who worked at the Marathon Coffee Shop. He is related to Bill Wyant who is in the administration of the South Kitsap School District(the district I grew up in). He is also related to Mike Wyant who was in band. I can't quite peg him but I have my suspicions. The muffins were wonderful at the cafe.
I packed up this morning with the intention of eating a peanut butter and jelly sandwich today. After passing over the Amistad Reservoir and stopping at Lakeside Sports to have a clinking checked out, I bought the ingredients. H.E.B. is the name of the non-Walmart option in Del Rio. Apparently they are all over Texas. Next stop: public library Internet access. But let me back track.
We met Joe at breakfast. Joe is an Oregonian riding from Phoenix to Austin. We chatted with him over mini-pies and rolled all the way to Del Rio with him. While I was getting my clink checked out, (nice folks at the bike shop by the way) Joe moved on to the library. By the time Jon and I caught up, he was gone. I pursued internet access while Jon dialed Australia. I came out to eat my cottage cheese. Amongst the small curds, there was Ann. Ann teaches in the school district here and invited me to stay at her apartment. She went about her business inside. Jon was unfortunately distraught about something back home and I told him I'd be staying with Ann. I took the opportunity to split ways. We hugged and promised to swap pictures when we had the chance. I tried to send him off in the direction of Brackettville. Then there was one.
Ann noted that there was a shortage of math teachers here. They need subs. So tomorrow I'll go down to the high school and see if this is true. We walked through the historic part of town to the Episcopal church for the monthly women's dinner. Good ladies. Good lasagna and chocolate cake. Ann took me to do laundry at her Lonnie's apartment. With the load washing, we went to a friends house on the reservoir. She's a quilter. The Russian woman had an impressive studio. It included an excellent selection of quilts and a quilting machine. It was time for her to head to bed and time for the clothes to go in the dryer. I sat "reading" a German yachting magazine while my zippers clinked around the barrel. Now to sleep on the hide-a-bed.
10.2 Ave - 24.8 max - 1334.8 odo - 3:17:42 time
I suspect the goats I saw 15 years ago were Boer Goats, but I don't know my goats.
Originally Posted March 04, 2007
Comstock - 30.82 miles
The local mechanic/beer fan picked up the phone and asked, "what are you wearing?" I think he was talking to a friend because now they're talking about boat motors. Plus on speakerphone he/she didn't sound too feminine. To be fair he likes to fish. His buddy, Martin, calls again.
"What are you wearing now?"
This is Comstock. We're staying on the lawn of the baptist church. The neighborhood is quiet and the birds sing. Country music plays on the TV. The church is currently without Pastor.
the canyon at my back
touching through the tint
rainbow reflected in reflector
blackness up between the pebbles
like lint between my toes
1301.0 odo - 9.3 ave - 27.7 max - 3:17:55 time
I saw the picture I took of the cut outs on the way to Langtry, TX and it reminded me of a verse I'd read recently during Advent. I googled and the clicky box produced some results from Isaiah 40: 3-5.
A voice cries out:
The way we have shaped our landscape and built infrastructure to make it easier to cross vast deserts and climb jagged mountains is impressive. Without this work done preparing the way, I wouldn't have crossed the country.
I don't feel that this is one of those Bible passages meant to be taken literally and I am not the Lord. So the preparation wasn't done specifically for me. However, the Lord works through us. What good came out of my journey? I wasn't riding for a cause. Did it prepare me for the life ahead of me?
At the conclusion of my bike tour I did have a summer job waiting for me, but that came and went. My college closed abruptly and still greiving, I cycled off into a recession. I found the jobs that I could find. I didn't feel that the bike tour had really prepared me. I floundered. What was the point?
After 15 years of reflection, I found that the way I had to depend on strangers brought my faith in humanity to a new level. Coming up in the blog you'll see so many more times when people I didn't know took me in, took me to the doctor, and even baked me birthday cakes.
Back in the real world I've gradually lost some of that faith and trust. What I see comes through the filter of the media, my relationships, and the drudge of daily life. The worries easily overwhelm the faith. Our borders aren't safe. Our schools aren't safe. Dictators are trying to take over the world. Will I ever be able to retire?
Is the world scarier than it was 15 years ago? Or do I just know too much? How can we shape the landscape of our hearts? Lift the valleys. Lower the mountains. Flatten the ground. Restore our faith in humanity.
Originally Posted March 03, 2007
Langtry - 61.70 miles
We stopped in Dryden. It really was the only place to stop on our ride today. We watched the end of the man from snowy river with the man who ran the lone shop. I ate canned peaces and drank hot coffee. It was a welcome escape from the cold wind. It was the second movie of the day following Monster-In-Law that we'd seen on HBO at the hotel. We made it to Langtry after the "town" had closed down. We'd been delayed with another bloody nose. After about a week, I won't have one for several months. We found the community center where the map indicated we could camp. We chatted with the few RVers before setting up camp. I ate my cheese, tortillas, summer sausage, and zucchini, while Jon struggled to put together his old whisperlite. It was pre-shaker jet and the gas started to come in bursts. I decided to go visit some of the nice RVers and get out of the cold. The airstream had a commercial fisherman from the Bering Sea and Idaho. He traveled alone and he took time to form his sentences. It was refreshing for there to be silence between words. I met Ross out having a smoke. He invited me in and I chatted with him and Nadine. They are Canadian with adventurous children. After treating me to tea and cookies, they offered me their couch. I quickly accepted and here I am. It will probably only be down in the 30's, but I will be warm. Jon was typing in his tent when I went out to tell him. He seemed cozy with the Rio Grande a few hundred yards away.
1270.2 odo - 5:26:05 time - 11.3 ave - 36.7 max
What provokes people to pack up and ride their bike across the country? The reasons are insanely varied. I thought I'd see why Missy and Shane did it, but their www.missyandshane.com is a dead link. Their business card is taped to my journal and it says:
The All Around US Tour
Sanderson - 55.16 miles
I forgot to mention that we saw a hanged chicken on the road from Kent. Pictures will follow.
The night was cold. It appeared that I kept a continuous stream of thoughts while my water froze outside. Jon had a similar night of sleep and decided not to wake me as he packed up fro the Marathon Coffee Shop. I slowly gathered my wits and met up for a warm homemade blueberry muffin and coffee. The only two coffee shops on the trip that serve fair-trade organic beans are within 50 miles of each other. Now we're in Sanderson watching the Jesus tomb saga. Coming back from dinner I informed Jon that the rants about tips are quite annoying but months from now I'll reminisce about it. We met three other tourists heading to Alpine. They gave me their card. Names: Missy, Shane, and Cheney. I had my second bloody nose. The first was at a bakery in Fort Davis. The repeat of my uncontrollable and seemingly everlasting nose trauma came while riding just a few miles from Sanderson. Jon asked if I had a mouse in my nose. Today also held peccary, deer, cattle, and a fox. It was a relatively uneventful, but good day.
11.7 av - 30.1 max - 1208.5 odo - 4:41:10 time
Potential Grad Student
I was in Alpine, Texas for less than 24 hours and it really left an impression on me. It had good coffee, a small town feel, and a pair of raku kilns. It was a town I wanted to be in... if I wanted to move to Texas. At that time I really thought that I might become a grad student at Sul Ross. What we want evolves... but I never did go back to school.
Originally Posted March 01, 2007
Marathon - 34.21 miles
Today was a good day. This is not to suggest that other days are bad. I woke up and took a walk back to the library. I took a look at a few more things and did a bit of typing. Then I moved to La Trattoria. This is the first cafe I've been to on the trip that served organic fair trade coffee. I was excited. I ate a locally baked foccacia veggi sandwich with my coffee while I chatted with Molly. Molly is a grad student in the geology program at Sul Ross State University. It was just up the hill. Through conversation, I learned that they have an Masters of Art program and ceramics. At 11:30 I decided I should visit this place since I was already there. Jon and I packed up the bikes, went to the bank, and the grocery store. We saw Dom, who was down on his luck and just came from the doctors with his kids. Moving to check out I saw the bike show man again. He was at Blues last night. I chatted some more and he checked out our rigs. I rode up the hill to the university in the hopes that someone might be able to show me around in the 45 minutes I had before I was meeting Jon at an Inn down the road. Someone from the admissions office took me up to see Jim Bob the ceramics guy. They've got a nice set up and a pair of Raku kilns.
It was weird being called a potential grad student. But I like the town. It is like the Sitka of Texas if I ever feel like moving to Texas. At 2:45 we rolled out of town. For 2 hours the wind was mostly at our backs on the downhill. We made the miles to Marathon quickly. Stopping for supplies, I was now well prepared for a humus-cheese-bagel-carrot meal at the Marathon Motel and RV Park. I took a shower in one of the nicest bathrooms on the trip and joined the gathering around the fire. A couple of the RVers busted out the guitar. There was singing. For a treat, they even let me play a song. Jon seemed surprised. I haven't had much chance to sing yet on the trip. Now to sleep in my anti-tent which is set up for the first time with just the rainfly and ground sheet.
12.0 ave - 28.9 max - 1153.1 odo - 2:50:59 time