Saturday, September 25, 2010

My Blog was Stolen!

When the bike was stolen, so was my literal voice concerning this blog. My thought patterns went from thinking about fun things to write about to "what blog." That's what it seems like to me. Maybe it was all those hours on my Brooks Saddle and being able to think about what I wanted to write about that helped.

Almost at the end of this chapter of the journey. Sitting at my hotel in San Diego. Gonna fly out of here the middle of this week and head back to NYC. My buddy John who has been following along with the journey this whole summer told me he felt like he was left hanging. It's true! Going from writing a few blogs per week to nil!

I must say it has been an unforgettable journey for me. Over 5000 thousand miles of bicycling. Countless new friends along the way. So many small towns and big that I may have never seen if it were not for this trip. Met and hung out with so many old friends along the way as well. Most of them with their kids. I love Kids! Especially here in San Diego and all of Cali. It's sick, like 7 of my friends also have 2 year olds.

Now I'm kind of decompressing and chilling in SD. Ate at my favorite Mexican Joints. Drank some of my favorite coffee here. Driving around the old neighborhood and hit the beach a few times. Feels good to be here for a minute. Doesn't feel like home though. Got my fill of poker too. May be a few more sessions before I depart. I just love to play poker. '

One funny thing that has happened my whole journey has been the weather. It's uncanny how many times this summer I heard people say over and over again how good the weather was. Every single place I visited people remarked that it was the best weather they had all summer. Including today while swimming and trying to paddle board behind the Marine Room in La Jolla. My buddy Mike Wilson who is a school teacher and had the luxury to be at the beach about 30-40 times this summer said it was the best day he's had and it's late September. In Alaska and many other states and cities I heard the same thing. Even at Burning Man this year was supposedly the best weather they ever had. It's reminds me of all the Padre's games I've ever been too. They never lost a game that I attended. If you want nice weather I have to come to your city. Oops....Mike W changed his last name to Starr. That's pretty cool I think. His grandfathers name was Starr. So him and his whole family changed their names. Now they are Mike Starr, Shea Starr(Which is what I used to call her anyways...Sheaster), Kai Starr and Miley Starr.

What's Next? I'm not sure just yet. There are plenty of ideas rolling around in my head though. First off I need to have my achilles looked at by a few professionals. It is still very painful and inflamed. Once I find out what needs to be done with that I can plan ahead. Definitley planning on going to Brazil very soon. This wander lust is no where near gone. That has been with me forever and will always be. When your traveling and staying at Hostels and hitting cool cities you meet people from all over the world and folks who are pretty well traveled. That just breeds ideas and fantasies of far off places that you need to experince. That's the way it is for me anyways.

Then I think about this injury I suffered over 2 months ago in Idaho. Here we go, a turtle aka tortoise. Follow me here. They are known for moving very slowy. Now think about my injury. This turtle saving injury slowed me down tremendously. My friend Casey pointed out how I tore this.(Tortoise/TORETHIS) They sound pretty similiar. Also what helped cause the accident in the first place was the turtle trying to escape my clutches. The clutches that were trying to get him to safety. I had the turtle in my right hand when it started to piss on me. Then It started scratching at my fingers to be free. Can't help me think about times in my life I was clawing and scratching to be on my own. I've never pissed on anyone but I definitely tried to ignore help. When the turtle started doing those things I extended my arm to get him as far away from me as possible. What if I never stopped to help the poor thing? There is definitley some symbolism going on there. Don't have it all figured out but it's there.

My bike being stolen is a whole other ball of wax. What if? Some many questions can be asked. A friend of mine in NY said to me, "you never could have been hurt on your bike if you were still riding." This is something we'll never know. Sure I could have went right back to Portland and bought a bike and continued the trip. It just didn't feel like the right thing to do after meditating on it. Sure I do want to take that ride down the coast still. That will just have to wait for now. The coolest part is that I did make it across the country. That is a hell of an accomplishment. I did go to Alaska and meet some amazing people and have one of the best times of my life. Then I did come back down and bike with my friend Casey for a few weeks before going to Burning Man. That is something that came to me a few days into the trip.

Rich and I had originally planned on biking from NY to Astoria, OR. As soon as my wheels started rolling my head started spinning with ideas. One of those was to go to Burning Man. I've been wanting to go for over ten years and I had the time money and would be in the right vacinity as well. Boy that first misty cold morning we left NYC I remember getting over the George Washington Bridge saying to myself, "I don't fucking know if I can do this." It was the first day I had road my bike with all my gear. It was cold and it was all a mental game from there on out. One of the best days of my trip was getting to Burlington, WA with Lee & Luke from Ashville and finally seeing the West Coast.

Then it was in Yellowstone that I met three kids biking West to East. They were from the Northwest and told me about the ferry from Bellingham. When I thought to myself that I was way ahead of schedule and have only three states I've never been too. One of those being Alaska. Fuck it, why not? Started checking out schedules and made the decision to go up there. Kind of the way most of the trip went. Very "Organic", free and fun. Watch out North Dakota and Minnesota, your next. Then I will have been to all fifty states, pretty nifty HUH?


Not so much. I still have plenty of thoughts and ideas that I want to share. I'm still on the road so technically I can blog til at least then. But that is bullshit, there are no rules! This blog has brought so much joy in my life. Nothing like hearing all the positive feedback I've gotten this summer. Still have to post a bunch of pix as well. But they have a 15 minute time limit on the computers here in the lobby of my hotel and there are folks waiting. More to come. Thanks for reading!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Quick snip-it and some pix

Article from the Daily Playa about the bike being stolen. Went out to tens of thousands. Haven't been to movitated to write but wanted to do a post. More to come. In LA having a blast in Venice seeing old friends and there new babies. Heading to Dago next week.

Some art on an RV when we were leaving.

$25 one hour massages in SF. The guy was insanely good.

Some cool artwork in an alley in SF.

No chance to flip off a bike in SF...sad!

Peacefest...kind of a boredest!

Yum...some good Indian food in inner Sunset.

Hastens in Culver City with some friends.

Cool ass bike chain chandelier at a community bike shop in LA. Can't imagine how much that thing ways.

Me! With my cool hand crafted shirt I got at the burn.

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Tuesday, September 14, 2010

So long San Fran.

I'm sitting in SFO right now. Waiting to board a flight to LA. Yes that might sound weird to some of you. Without a bike it's the best way to get around. My bike was stolen while I was at Burning Man.

It was September 1st and I was hanging out with some of the NY crew at the burn. We were going to bike to another venue around midnight. Came back to where we left the bikes and didn't see them. I had my bike locked to my friend Sue's bike. So we're looking for two bikes leaning against one another. Hmm...walking all around and can't find my bike. Some other folks we were with bikes were very close to ours. Turns out Sue's bike is laying on the ground with my clipped lock around it.

My feelings were so hurt. Here I am at this wonderful artistic energetic event in the middle of the Black Rock Desert. My stomach hurt. It felt like somebody dismembered me. That bike had become an appendage.

The other three stood there waiting for me to make a move. I surveyed the surrounding area. Criminals are dumb. They always like to return to the scene of a crime. Watch their work in progress. Not this time though. If there was a light switch to bring the daylight and then a boost up and just hover 50 or a 100 feet in the air, that would have been great. Get a birds eye view and look for the bike. Would have loved to get my bike back and impart some justice and pain on the guilty party.

What could I do but sulk at that time. Fuck Burning Man! Should have listened to Jack and never gone. That was what I was feeling. In the middle of the night in the desert. This city that was constructed in just a few weeks. Where do I begin to search for my whip? Then I started to step up my game. Replay the nights events and think like a criminal. First of all a lot of bikes go missing at BM. Most are inexpensive bikes that drunkards take to get back to their camp. This bikes lock was clipped. These thieves aren't going to be riding this bike around the playa. This bike was taken to a remote area where there is a trailer that is being loaded with stolen goods. That's what I think anyways.

Over 50,000 fun loving people and a handful of scumbags. Everybody I talked to had their own opinion. Of who stole it or what to do. So I did take some advice. Went to the radio stations and to the newspaper. Yes, BM has three radio stations and two daily newspapers. My story made front page news.

It's kind of a cool story. This guy bikes across the country only to come to BM to have his bike stolen. The camp I was at had about 100 people. One of the guys from my camp named Tom put a fund together for me. They collected just over $500. How amazing is that? A group of strangers pulling together to help out a fellow burner. My heart was really touched by that. At first my pride was against it. But if that happened to any of the folks I was camping with I would have done the same.

That night I walked back to camp looking at every bike that went by me. Made it back and told a new friend that I'd made. Had to share my pain. The next day the news spread like wild fire. Kind of hate being at the center of attention, especially for something like this.

When I went to the radio station there was another guy who had his bike stolen as well that night. The stories kept coming. His bike was also worth over $2000. My bike with all the gear it had on it was going to cost over $2000 to replace. From what I know my bike was the only one that was locked. Not that it made it any better. But there was a theft ring going on. Learned a valuable lesson if I ever go back to burning man.

This really almost ruined my adventure. It really changed the course of my trip. My plan was to head back to Portland and continue biking down the coast. Now what should I do. Could have gotten a ride back to Portland but don't really have any connections there. A few folks started offering me rides to different locations. I decided on heading to San Fran. That was going to be the next big city down the coast anyways. Had a place to stay and regroup.

Still wasn't sure if I was going to buy another bike right away and continue my tour. I contacted Surly to see if they could help a brother out. They offered a 10 to 15% discount from a local dealer. They said they would find someone in SF that would do that and call me back. Never heard from them.(Thanks Travis at Surly) So maybe I won't replace it with a Surly.

About to get on the plane. So I'll continue this later. Thanks for following along.

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