keeping sane and dry

May 5th, 2013

Day 11

Another day another mile, or few… I am thankful to wake up to a dry world around me, the skies have turned from dark to light grey and I think I even see a sliver of blue.  I pack and get out of this sketchy little spot behind the fire station with “no trespassing” signs posted.  I spend a beautiful morning of windy roads, tiny towns, lakes, rivers, forests and farms.

During all the boring parts of the ride I’ve been starting to develop characters to keep sane.  One is an impersonation of the hill-billiest Oklahoman sharing stupid observations.  For example, he notes that two different towns claim to have the first Baptist Church and concludes that someone must be lying.  He’s convinced it is Plainsville because he has a bad gut feeling about the people of Greenfield and swears Plainsville was founded first anyway.  The other is a 23 year old rich kid bad ass drugee Londoner who took some psychedelics and during an epiphany decided it would be “fuckin’ mad” to fly to California, buy a travel motor bike and go across America.  The entire time he complains that all there is to see is shit countryside no different than the UK so he might as well be back there where there is at least some ketamine to be found.  He’s tried in vain to buy drugs from the locals here but they can’t even understand him let alone find him anything.

I know these are stupid, silly characters but I don’t think of them, they sort of come out, like sweat.  I sweat when I’m too hot and create entertainment when my mind is idle.  The day continues, I silently check out the scenery, think about whatever and am occasionally  interrupted by one of these characters that I don’t seem to control at this point.

Towards the end of the day it starts raining, not hard but a good steady rain that soaks my shoes and gloves, the only non-waterproof clothing I have.  I stop at the first gas station I can, which doesn’t come soon enough.  I try in vain to dry my socks under the hand dryer in the bathroom then go wait under an awning and talk with my mom a bit on the phone.  It’s nice talking to her but after disconnecting from the warm dry world of home, I’m back in my reality.

It is wet, getting closer to dark and I have no idea where to sleep.  I see an old man get out out of a white pick up truck who makes eye contact with me and he looks either sad or angry.  I smile and he instantly lights up.  Right away I beckon him over and ask if he knows of a place around here where I could pitch my tent without any trouble.  After a while of thinking and me further explaining my situation he tells me of a place under a bridge where people usually fish.  He explains in detail how to get there and then we talk for the next hour and a half or so.  Well, mostly he talks and I listen half-heartedly waiting to get going to that spot before dark.  The man seems like ha hasn’t talked to anyone in months and won’t let me go.  I feel for him and wonder if he has his own characters that he makes up in his head, or does he just prey on people in need of directions to keep his sanity. I finally have to strongly insist that I leave before it gets too dark.

I start the engine while he is still talking and sincerely thank him for the suggestion and take off into what has now dwindled down to a light drizzle.  I find the fishing spot easily with his directions but am shocked to see how intense of an overgrown, muddy, steep incline the way down to under the bridge is.  It is getting very close to sunset and I don’t really have much of a choice.

troll camping

I walk up and down the slope a couple times and plan out my path before I tackle the slip-n-slide slope with the bike.  It ends up going smoothly and I am glad to have been extra careful.  The ground here is muddy but at least I will be dry.  I sleep the closest that I’ve yet been to the highway, literally five feet beneath each loud car.  Nobody knows I’m down here except of course the old man, I hope he doesn’t come down here and try to talk  my head off in the middle of the night…