Welcome to the fourth installment of the saga of the bike trip. When this post was posted we had only been biking for a couple of days. I believe this was our second day, and it was a rough one. Ivan and I were in good spirits, but physically I was so tired.
I had done zero prep work for the trip. I hadn’t exercised in months, I had just graduated from college where the last couple of months had been spent sitting on my butt trying to write my senior Capstone (sort of like a thesis). On top of it my college boyfriend and I had broken up a couple of months before graduation. I didn’t take it well and subsequently spent most days leading up to graduation over indulging: food, sleep, tequila. Lots of tequila. (Don’t worry Grandma, I put it behind me).
The point is, that when we started the bike trip in bad physical condition and I was in that weird in-between place emotionally, where you are almost over someone, but you are not yet ready to admit it to yourself.
So the first two weeks of the bike trip, were pretty rough on my body. Everything hurt. I mean absolutely everything. Every joint, every muscle, my butt, my hands, my shoulders.
Enough little background tidbits. Here is the blog that is dated from June 24, 2011, titled “1st Casualty”:
A squirrel tried to eat my b.o.b. bag– below is a picture of some of the remaining pieces. Ok he really just ate a hole through the side in order to eat a squeeze tube of peanut butter and chocolate whey protein. So if hard waterproof plastic isn’t safe to leave food in what do we do with it? Ivan is being gallant and sleeping with my b.o.b bag in his tent. My tent is a one woman tent while Ivan’s can hold two people (or one human and all our gear). So four days into the trip and we have suffered our first gear casualty. Luckily the squirrel was considerate and chewed through at the best place possible: the bag is still fully water proof, with the help of a little duct tape, and is still fully functional.
I would like to take a moment and make a list of the people who we have encountered out here that have been willing to help us. Our first night in the wild we stopped at a fish and wildlife station to ask how much further it was to a camp ground. They told us that the camp ground we were looking for did not exist. I think the two ladies at the counter saw that I was done in and offered to let us to camp on the forest service’s property. Then in the morning they let us take showers, fill up all our water containers, and gave us each a bag of lavender cookies (mine were delicious and a squirrel thought Ivan’s were too).
The night before last we stayed at a camp ground along a river I can neither say nor spell. While we were there I ran into a woman in the bathroom. She was wearing a floral print top, reminiscent of Hawaii, and dyeing her hair. She told me that she came to this camp ground every year with her family, though now she lived most of the time in Hawaii. She then invited me and Ivan over for a cook out she was having. After watching three or four cars drive towards her camping spot we decided to meandering on down ourselves where we were greeted with beer, hot dogs, burgers, and key lime cheese cake. We also met what felt like her whole family.
Everyone was so nice and welcoming. We were offered a place to stay in Richmond when we head back that way. I sat and talked with Maria (whose full name I think was Rose Maria?). She is going into her senior year of high school; she has started looking at colleges. She is so passionate and has such great ideas. It was interesting to think back five years to what I was like then, and see where I am now. As for Maria, she is a girl–young woman–who is going to go far…I flatter myself in thinking that I see some of myself in her.
We are currently staying near Yorktown; today was a rest day and then tomorrow we will turn around and officially start the Transamerican bike route. Ivan keeps insisting that we haven’t started yet, but the hundred miles on my cyclometer and my sore butt say otherwise. We are hoping to make it back to Richmond in two days and then on to new territory after that. I am beginning to come to terms with the fact that this is what we will be doing all summer, and I am happy about it. We have met the neatest people, seen some beautiful country and history, and if anything it was worth coming out here for the fireflies. They start lighting up around 7 or 8, and it is magical. They make you think about fairies and magical flying dust. They are an emblem of the quintessential American childhood–the rosy-cheeked boy who can’t stop smiling into his mason jar that glows with captured insects. I guess that is part of the reason I am doing this: to experience the America I don’t know. I am hoping as I go along more pieces to the “Nikki’s” reasons for doing insane things puzzle” will fall into place.