Friday, April 30, 2010

What a long strange trip it's been!

Whew! Been a while since my previous post. Today is May 1st. Very early May 1st, 2:16am. I have five other people sleeping in my apartment right now. My childhood friend came to visit with her 4 kids. All fantastic kids with terrific energy. Tomorrow we are going to start off the day at the Brooklyn Banks. The world famous NY skate spot. I used to go there over 20 years ago as a kid. Luke the oldest is 16 and wants to tear it up. Then it's off to Long Island to my Godson's Communion.

Yesterday, which was just hours ago was my last day at Hastens. My three month bike journey with my friend Rich, AKA: RVK/Route Boy(Pronounced with a Jamacian accent to sound like Rude Boy) Came up with that today after he showed me the first few days of our route. Don't know what kind of sentence that was right there. But anyways the adventure begins in exactly 9 days. Going to meet at Mud on 9th street and 2nd ave and begin from there. It's a special East Village haunt for both of us. The milk I just bought expires on May 9th. It was symbolic at the time.

So if you have a bike and want to cruise up the west side hwy to the George Washington Bridge with us, please do. Whatever, just a good meeting spot to start the expedition. If you don't have a bike and you would like to be there, show up.

What a whirlwind this past couple of weeks. This has been quite an undertaking. Just saying your going to do something like this. Then giving it a voice. Literally telling people about the idea and then following through with it has been wild. Again, it all started a while back in conversation. Then a text was sent last month. Now only weeks later it's crunch time.

Getting the bike and all the gear. It's all about researching and then trial and error. Figuring out what to take and what to do with the rest of your life that you are leaving behind for three months. Then mapping out the route and wondering about how it will all unfold. Along with every other thought and emotion that you can imagine. Asking yourself, am I really going to do this? Do I really want to do this? What the fuck was I thinking? This sounded like a good idea and it was fun to talk about and here it is.

Just going to pack up and pack it in and ready to begin. Get on the two wheeled monster and figure it all out as we get down the road one mile at a time. This bike is ridiculous. Getting heavier and heavier by the day. As well as wider. But like Rich says, "The thing rides like the Cadilac of bikes."

I've got all my bags for the bike. As well as a GPS system. Going to be key to stay on the right track and not make any wrong turns with unnecessary miles. Now this week I have to make a few more purchases. Have to pick up a tent, sleeping bag and some more bike wear. Need the padded shorts for the long days on the saddle. Speaking of which I picked up a classic Brooks hand crafted all leather saddle with springs called the Special Flyer. If you haven't heard of them you've been living under a rock and I suggest you climb out and buy a bike and get a Brooks saddle. Just a suggestion! Check out the video on their website if you care too. I really dig old school handcrafted things like this. Not a cheap saddle by any means but a worth while investment for you biggest contact point.

They say there's where you should invest in the bike. The contact points. The seat, your shoes/pedals, tires and the handle bars. Yesterday I just had some new tires put on as well. Schwalbe (Pronounced SCHWALBY) Marathon XR's. On all three sides of the tire there is Kevlar. Helps to prevent flats. If I can avoid problems like that, again another worthwhile investment for this once in a lifetime opportunity. My shoes I picked up a few weeks ago. I purchased some Keen sandals that have clipless pedals. Clipless means that you shoe and pedal clip together. This way you get maximum use out of every movement. They seem to be a great fit for this trip. They are open, waterproof and supposedly odor and fungus free. If it's cold wear socks. If it's hot and sunny just put on my feet with some sunscreen. The handle bars have a padded tape on them and seem pretty comfortable. I'm prolly going to pick up some gloves as well. Just have to shop around a little bit for those.

Also going to purchase a solar powered IPhone charger. A company called Solio makes them. May be days camping with no electricity and I want to blog and stay in touch with the outside world. My phone may not work everywhere. But the GPS should.

I figure I'd throw some logistical and bike information into the blog. This is a cross country bike trip. There is a ton of helpful info on the web about bike touring. From blogs that others have kept during there trips. Which discuss everything from equipment to places to stay and routes and on and on. I don't know what more I can read.

I'm getting sleepy, it is 2:45 in the am. But I've meaning to blog for a few weeks now. Just been overwhelmed to say the least. As excited as I am about this trip I'm also trying to get everything squared away on this end to make it as liesurely and enjoyable as possible. So much more I want say and share. Have a million great thoughts and ideas and fun interactions happening in my life right now. It's these times in life where you are stepping off a precipice, this amazing spirit and sense for adventure just exudes from your being. So I thank you for participating in this journey with me. Your time spent reading my blog along with your questions, thoughts and input are really going to help keep the pedals turning. I look forward to sharing this adventure with you and anybody else you share this with to come along for the ride.

Remember: Be yourself, everybody else is already taken.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Still Rollin'

Been a few days since the last post. Quite an adventurous week it has been. In a few hours heading out to Montauk to a customers home to diagnose a problem with an adjustable bed. Then it's back to the old neighborhood to meet my friends new baby girl. Then go to Mrs. Daltons funeral. My grandmothers best friend and a woman I knew my whole life. Then going to a Frat brothers wedding after that. So, that is a day!

This week has had plenty of ups and downs. Not only on the bike. Emotionally mostly. Started out the week with my friend from San Diego leaving town. We had a hell of a busy weekend. Then Monday evening I went and checked out a sensory deprivation tank for the first time.

Very new agey looking website when you open it up. $80 bux gets you an hour float. My birthday is Saturday, why not? So I read about and watched some stuff online and wanted to try it. My lower back was hurting and I could use and hour of solitude, peace and relaxation. It definitely did the trick. I felt like a $1000 bux when it was all over. Will I do it again, probably not. Unless it was free. Kind of expensive if you ask me. It's basically a large bath tub filled with epsom salt. So you get in and you float. Complete weightlessness. Then complete darkness and soundproof.

I was tired after the long weekend dosed off for about the first 45 minutes. Then after that I was ready to get out. But stayed the next 15 til the music came on. I tried to feel if my body had any pain anywhere. They say when your laying in the water you should be more aware of things like that. My body felt fine. Just a bit big for that tub and was ready for it to be over.

Then after that I was starved. This isn't going to be a play by play of my life, don't worry. But sometimes I'll share more than should. So I went to Rai Rai Ken. A noodle shop in the East Village. Woofed down a huge bowl of Miso Ramen. Felt like crap immediately after. I was starving cause the dude was like don't eat before the float or have any caffeine. So I waited all day to eat. Rai Rai Cleanse. Lately that soup just goes right through me. Not that night, it sat like a ton of bricks in my belly. Still don't think I've digested it. Then on top of that I had ice cream. Saw a buddy at an ice cream shop I walked by. Then I saw more people eating ice cream. So I went to Key Food and bought a pint of Ben & Jerry's chocolate ice cream. Ate the whole thing. I didn't get out of bed the next day. I was sick to my stomach and also got a headache.

That day I didn't train and had the worst thoughts going through my head. Not that my head is so clear lately. My whole world seems to have come undone. My apartment is up in the air right now. The landlord wants us out because our rent is too low. Below market value. They are taking us to court. I gave 30 days notice at work for the bike tour. My girlfriend just broke up with me because of the bike tour. My daughters mother is driving me nuts. My mother just got out of the hospital with pneumonia. And the list can still go on. But those are some pretty big things all at once.

The universe is saying "MOVE ON."

Hopefully I will hear the correct messages. Like this bike trip. This seems like the right thing to do. Get on the bike and go. Spent the day with a friend who kind of inspired this idea in my 20 years ago. His name is Jack Crabtree. He has riden across the country twice. Once at 20 and once at 40. Both times were different routes with different amounts of people. It was really good to listen to him share about his experiences. He also led bike trips every summer for 20 years with the youth group I was in called Campus Life. So he has a wealth of knowledge and miles behind him. Today he did say, "your going to have a lot of time out there all by yourself, get ready for that." Gonna be a lot of lonely days on the road out there. There's a lot of lonely days right here. Why not get out in the great wide open?

Did my three boro bike tour the other day. That was an easy one. That was on Monday before the float. Then Tuesday I was sick and depressed. Wednesday did a really nice ride up the West side hwy all the way up to the Bronx. Back down over the West Side Hwy at 181 st up to The Cloisters. Then back down over the bridge to Jersey. All in all most likely my longest day of riding yet. About 50 to 60 miles. Healthy and still feeling good. Have to gear up a little bit. New saddle and pretty much everything else. Just have the bike so far. Also looking at getting a GPS system for the trip. The Garmin 705. Turn for turn mapping for across the US.

After my ride tonight with Rich through Brooklyn I think we might need it. I said to him I'll follow you. We headed over the Williamsburg bridge for a quick ride. He intended on going to Carnarsie, Brooklyn. He wanted to dip our tires in the Atlantic. The idea was great, but it was almost 7:30 and we were in the middle of Bushwick. It was getting dark and I have no lights on my bike. That seems like a better ride to do in the sunshine. We ended up going in a complete circle. One of the reasons I think the Garmin will be a solid investment.

That's it! Sorry to drag this on, but it's been a few days since I've blogged.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Sunday Sunday!

No biking the past two days at all. It's okay, I'll be back on tomorrow. Gonna bike uptown over the 59th street bridge thru LIC into Brooklyn and come over one of the downtown bridges. Had a friend from San Diego in town since Friday night. He's not so into biking and I d0n't want to be a bad host. That doesn't mean we didn't get plenty of exercise. Yesterday we marched in the Tartan parade. Supposedly Scots Irish or something. I don't know the difference. I just like bag pipes!

Two of my favorite sounds in the world are bag pipes and childrens laughter.

Why do Scottsman wear kilts? Because sheep can hear a zipper from a hundred feet away. Heard that one yesterday.

Not much done for the bike trip today. Yesterday I began setting up the website I'll attach this blog to. It's called The same name as the blog. But, did get a ton of walking in during the past two days. Beautiful NYC days they were. From Central Park to Fort Green Park. Today had lunch in Ft Green and went to the BrooklynFlea. An indoor/outdoor flea market in the bank building in Ft Green. The coolest part was the old bank safes in the basement and 1st floor. Huge safes with huge doors. The building is also very cool itself with some interesting vendors of wears and good assortment of foods.

Walked over the Brooklyn Bridge because the C train wasn't running to S Portland where I initially planned on ending up. C must stand for C@#$! It was a great walk with dumb tourist everywhere. People move the F@#$ out of the way. There are other people on the bridge and cyclist whizzing by. Argh, don't get me started. Another good reason I'm getting out of this city. It's all fine and dandy, but come on. Know your surroundings. Realize that there are other people that may be moving at a different pace.

Then cruised around Brooklyn Heights and over the Promenade. Most definitely one of the best views of Manhattan bar none. You can see downtown, the Statue from France and the bridge I have for sale.

So all in all two good days of plenty of walking. Which is also really good for the body. But, when hosting a friend from out of town you have to eat. So there was plenty of that too.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

April 10th

This is a cool date for me. It's a week before my Birthday. Today was my Grandmothers Birthday. One of the coolest woman I've ever known. It was the day I arrived in California 16 years ago. After driving from Atlanta for three days in my 74' Nova. So just a day that has marked some cool times for me. Today I'm heading to the Tartan Parade here in NYC. Listen to some bag pipes and hang with some Scott Irish.

One month from now will be the departure date for my next adventure. Hence the name of the blog. Long Haul Trucker is the name of the bike I'll be taking across the country. It's been a wild few weeks since this was planned. A friend and I talked about this years ago. The time and opportunity has presented itself and it's going to happen. I've wanted to do it ever since high school when my friend Jack told me about his trip.

Going to be about a three month adventure. Great time to see the country. Really see the country close up. Get away from this noisy rat race of a city. Get away from my computer and my every day routine. Great way to drop, I'm thinking about thirty pounds. All and all I'm getting more and more excited by the day. Also a little bugged out with all the planning. There are a ton of websites which have great info about everything you can think about.

It's been fun training so far. Just picked up my new bike the other day. Did a nice ride over the George Washington bridge over into Jersey. Have a lot more training to do before departure.

The idea of the blog is to share this with people in my life. Everybody I've told about this adventure gets really excited for me. Just yesterday in Ft. Green Brooklyn I walked into a bike shop and met a kid named Cassidy that worked there. He told me he did the ride back in 95'. He also met his wife on that adventure. So just talking and meeting new people is going to be the best part of all this. This is going to be a great way to say follow me for the ride. Have a great weekend!