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Messages - grace

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1
All you need is a sober rider


Our time in NOLA was spent riding to various destinations, many of which had alcohol as their primary draw


and Heaven Forbid I don't take my share of heat for this - I was the one who should have reined in my excess earlier; as it is I took too long and my bad.




And it's not like we were riding around buzzed... we restrained ourselves until we were parked for the night and then explored our limits.

We headed toward Baton Rouge after enjoying our last morning in NOLA together.








We took the levee trail as far as we could that day.


Life in the fast lane


guaranteed to blow your mind.











We met this guy from China somewhere along the way - first touring cyclist I've seen on the road since I left NYC mid-September - good to make your acquaintance, sir.




We were 15 miles from Baton Rouge and Sharon's foot was bothering her and lo and behold a road angel flagged me down and put us up!


Home for tonight and if garages could talk...


actually, I'm glad they don't but there was mercy shown that evening. :nod





2
Will there be any bartenders up there in Heaven?
Will the pubs never close, will the glass never drain
No more D.T.'s and no shakes
And no horrors
Very next morning you feel right as rain

O God loves a drunk, the lowest of men
With the dogs in the street and the pigs in the pen
But a drunk's only trying to get free of his body
And soar like an eagle high up there in heaven
His shouts and his curses are just hymns and praises
To kick-start his mind now and then
O God loves a drunk, come raise up your glasses, amen

Does God really care for your life in the suburbs
A dull little life of dull little things
And bring up the babies to be just like Daddy
And maybe you'll be there when He gives out wings



I can't speak for Sharon but as one of those types who tends to look for divine meaning in things (it seems to increasingly happen I find it but I could be wrong) I remain pumped about how things are going in my life; consider:

Early September of 2015 I hit bottom, practically speaking from the standpoint of habitual drunkenness, and started attending AA meetings. I'd tried to moderate my drinking many times but now recognize I didn't have a problem, I was the problem.

Fast forward to summer 16 when a gal I dated in COS told me about warmshowers and within minutes of signing up my education about bicycle travel began; after hosting 75ish riders I wanted to give it a go so in February 2017 I posted a companions wanted notice and received many responses.

Sharon's was the last and best, given what I knew then: an incredibly independent woman who'd overcome a sucky childhood to find her niche in the world and live her life on her terms. She told me once she 'always got her way' and I now believe that is true, almost all of the time.

We agreed I'd navigate us across the Southern USof A and she'd introduce me to Mexico as she's been several times, though never on a bicycle.

And we rode together spending the first three days (we were delayed by one as she missed her initial flight here because of being drunk the night before) together in NOLA getting to know each other and enjoying the vibes.





Like I told her: I hope that our riding together, whatever that is, can serve some higher purpose, whatever that might be.






A sign from God about the two oldsters at the hostel? ;)












This turned out to be a big deal: Sharon has a bunion on her left foot which can be aggravated by her wearing high heels and when she was partying in Vancouver she did - it was a problem for her the entire time we rode together

requiring short days and many stops to accommodate her pain.

She was a trooper, though, in many ways: using my material she made an orthotic


which she said helped.











So to sum: two problem drinker types, both having their Excite-O-Meters pegged due to the circumstance find each other in New Orleans and lubricate the event with too much wine...


live and learn, or not.

We enjoyed the overwhelming majority of our time together until our different dreams diverged.

4
The Sharon Post

Oh my little pretty one, pretty one
When you gonna give me some time, Sharona
When you make my motor run, my motor run
Gun it coming off the line, Sharona

Come a little closer huh, ah will ya huh
Close enough to look in my eyes, Sharona
Keeping it a mystery gets to me



Dear Ms. B.,

In retrospect I guess I had my expectations so high no mere mortal could have met them (but I like to dream we can transcend mere mortality so why not set 'em high?) and in your defense neither one of us knew each other in any truly informed way - we had to flesh things out, best we could, and we did.


We could have done much better (me in particular... sigh) and your point is belatedly taken: I was 'enabling' you.


Of course what set me off when you said that was your awareness of the 12 Step vernacular and an apparent obliviousness to the need to accept your own role in situations, but it would:

us alcoholic mind types can be extremely slow on the uptake and unwilling to take ownership of our behavior.

Anyway - please know I remain a better man for having spent a couple weeks with you; remember that first night at the hostel, before our excesses poisoned our time together? 'Life is a gradual release from ignorance'.



I hope the gloves continued to serve you well and you can keep the speedometer dealie; when the weather warms up I'll mail that sauce I bought at that restaurant as I reckon it would freeze en route to your place in Canada.


From the bottom of my heart - thanks so very much for your trust me in and I regret not meeting your expectations.

But we had our moments, yes?















5
I'll be gone five hundred miles when the day is done


Next morning Diana (dee ahna) is astounded at portion sizes Stateside and I'm the beneficiary, getting to finish what she couldn't eat.




She's an avid traveler and just starting work on her website www.englandnotes.com so she took lots of pics.


And she's TALL - Sharon (about whom more soon) told me she's 178 cm but I look up at Diana - they grow these Germans big these days.


We had a great time seeing some sights and getting to know each other a bit - two strangers passing time together and when I'm in Leipzig reckon there's a place to stay.



This was a movie set for NCIS that morning and Diana was tickled pink to get video of when they were filming.


India House Hostel which I highly recommend.








We rode the ferry to Algiers Point as she was stoked about being on the mighty Mississippi; I got to use the USofA school trick of M ISS ISS IPPI to put into her mind how to spell it.


So wow, just WOW: another day making a dream come true with a new friend... and the weather ain't bad at all.



Next up is Sharon Leigh of rural Canada who I've yet to meet... the tension mounts. :nod

6
Nobody asks to be born
Nobody wishes to die
Everybody whiles away the interim time
Sworn to rise from the ruins by and by

The engines are droning with progress
The pistons are pounding out time
And it's you and me caught in this juggernaut jaunt
Left to rise from the ruins down the line

We will roll like an old Chevrolet
The road to ruin is something to see
Hang on to the wheel
For the highway to hell needs chauffers
For the powers that be

Go and tell all your friends and relations
Go and say what ain't easy to say
Go and give them some hope
That we might rock this boat
And rise from the ruins one day

Ever try to carry water in a basket
Ever try to carry fire in your hand
Ever try to take on the weight of the everyday freight
Til you find that you're too weak to stand

Why so pale and wan, fond lover
Why so downcast and desperately sad

We can walk, we can talk
We ain't yet pillars of salt
And we will rise from the ruins while we can





After arriving in Macon and visiting the Cemetery I saw some other things; one of the big deals in this neck of the woods are the Allman Brothers - Gregg is buried elsewhere and his grave is enough of a draw I reckon its impact can be measured numerically by TPTB.

I rode to the Big House


and the guy in charge told me a tour was $15 so I cheaply reveled in the atmospheric vibes and dreamed of what I might obtain if I sought inspiration elsewhere.



I visited a library then found my home for that night at a Methodist church on a main drag


and slept very well. Next morning a fringe benefit presented itself when I wheezingly hauled s/he up the stairs sucking mucho wind - what a great start to a nippy morning!


Before leaving Macon I went back to the Cemetery and prayed to a Saint... first time for everything. I cried a few tears, bucked up recognizing I was on the right side of the dirt and rode north grateful to be one guy who is blessed enough to be aware of John Mark Heard.

I stopped at a McDonald's for wifi and coffee and Joe showed up a few minutes later pretty much setting the place alight with the power of his personality - he walked in singing and engaging everyone with the joy and confidence of someone who isn't afraid to mix it up and to blazes with critics; it was interesting watching the staid white folks in the place look at him out of the corner of their eyes.


So I chatted him and Karen up and learned he'd been on America's Got Talent and that show would air in a few weeks - greatest country singer, EVUH!


What a treat to meet folks like that. :nod

Heading toward Atlanta it was a good day for scavenging: two hitchhikers and a hat and other stuff.


Georgia drivers get the award for most courteous and most reckless - I appreciate how many moved well into the oncoming traffic lane to give me room but (and I hate to criticize but FACK) many of them stayed in the left lane for a LONG time; once the oncoming traffic had to head for the shoulder. :eek

This video gives you an idea what these rural two lanes are like; no big trucks now but it's a busy highway and your imagination is adequate to the task.


I'd lined up a warmshowers host in Atlanta for Sunday but the weather forecast said a cold front was blowing through and I decided after enjoying the unwitting hospitality of another church


to head out early the next morning to get to ATL that Saturday afternoon.

I usually avoid riding when it's dark but this was a worthwhile exception and LED lights are your safety friends.

The pic doesn't do it justice but when you roll through this little town early on a Saturday just before Halloween it looks for all the world like that park is full of life, and not so much.


Weird, early in the morning.

Then I took a break and turned around and saw what I just about missed.


as I headed to my destination for a couple of days.


Courtney and Vlad are two very interesting people who were exceptionally kind to a geezer riding his bicycle around - they took me in, fed me like royalty even though their lives were busy that day hosting an open house (they'd only recently moved to the neighborhood they're in).


Vlad was brave enough to share the bolt/boilt/bold/biled boiled peanuts I brought as a housewarming gift ;)


and they aren't half bad; Courtney punted and doesn't know what a delicacy she missed.

Yeah, yeah I know... someone's in your space


but know they're pleased to enjoy your company.

Next morning I was very grateful for a roof over my head


and stayed hunkered and warm inside and out getting to know this family better - it's going to be fun to watch this young couple as IMNSHO they have life pretty much figgered out at an early age. Thanks very much and hopefully our paths will cross again.


Next day I rode early to the train station and heard a furriner talking so I chatted her up.




and those few moments turned into a wonderful train ride to NOLA with a very excellent traveling companion and big plans for All Saints Day - have I mentioned life is good here in moron world?

Home for the next few nights (after I escort Diana to her digs): the Way Cool India House Hostel.





7
Tip Of My Tongue


Yeshayah 57:1-2 Orthodox Jewish Bible (OJB)

57 The tzaddik perisheth, and no ish layeth it to lev; and anshei chesed are taken away, none considering that the tzaddik is taken away from the ra’ah (evil, calamity) to come.
2 He shall enter into shalom; they shall rest in their mishkevot (couches, i.e., tombs), each one walking in his nekhochah (uprightness, integrity, honesty).


There's an oasis in the heat of the day




There's a fire in the chill of night
A turnabout in circumstance makes each a hell in its own right



I've been boxed-in in the lowlands, in the canyons that think
I've been pushed to the brink of the precipice and dared not to blink
I've been confounded in the whirlwind of what-ifs and dreams
I've been burned by the turning of the wind back upon my own flames

Knock the scales from my eyes
Knock the words from my lungs
I want to cry out
It's on the tip of my tongue



I've seen through the walls of this kingdom of dust
Felt the crucial revelation
But the broad streets of the heart and the day-to-day meet
at a blind intersection



I don't want to be lonely, I don't want to feel pain
I don't want to draw straws with the sons of Cain
You can take it as a prayer if you'll remember my name
You can take it as the penance of a profane saint

Knock the scales from my eyes
Knock the words from my lungs
I want to cry out
It's on the tip of my tongue

There's an oasis in the heat of the day
There's fire in the chill of night
And when I know them both, I'll know your love -
I will feel it in the twilight

As circumstance comes crashing through my walls like a train
Or like a chorus from the mountains of the ocean floor
Like the wind-burst of birdwings taking flight in a hard rain
Or like a mad dog on the far side of Dante's Door


Some guy nearby Mark might have known; when I went to the Cemetery office to locate the grave the gal said since she's been there (she knew Mark's family who, and who knew, had a headstone business) no one else had asked where he was.


My guess is cannon fodder in Vietnam... anyway: RIP, young man.

8
Stoking a fire in Irwinton for fun and profit

http://www.looseatthegoose.com

Hi, Donna! I loved my time there, Judy said hi and keep up the good work.


Lord, I was born a ramblin' man
Tryin' to make a livin' and doin' the best I can
And when it's time for leavin'
I hope you'll understand
That I was born a ramblin' man


Next morning prior to leaving pirating wifi at the Dairy Queen in Swainsboro; unfortunately it didn't quite reach the Methodist church. ;)


On the way to Irwinton you'll leave the flat lands


reaching loftier heights.

I learned a long time ago when an Alabama boy told me 'squirrels are just rats with a presentation' LOL not to conflate southerners with hicks and that has served me well over the years.

Donna told me she wouldn't be there until later that evening but to make myself at home, and I did










in a wonderful place.

Donna's vision for Georgia is brilliant and should be replicated, in my rarely humble but occasionally highly accurate opinion. :)



I spent a few days finally getting the website fired up, collecting thoughts and enjoying small town Georgia








and I love it!

I guess I better... :eek ;)


http://www.maebobsdiner.com/

A German couple who had ridden from Canada were the only other guests during the four days I was there - the peace and quiet I enjoyed were priceless


and my soul says thanks again, Donna: you done good work, doing what you've done. :nod

But maybe it's time to move on... 


nummy (gulp).


Next stop: Macon, another Mecca for me.

9
Not quite all the way to Macon


I see you now and then in dreams


Next day a short ride to Swainsboro, through (a) Portal.


It's remarkable how much more you experience on a bicycle - time to see various claims to fame.


And each signpost has more meaning when you aren't hurtling past.


I met Duke who works at the grocery in Swainsboro and I need to follow up with him - the email he gave me bounced and he showed initiative in chatting me up - a small town dude with potential.

I went to the AA meeting but no offers on a place to stay so I hid in plain sight at the Methodist church.



Next stop: a hostel in Irwinton Judy recommended and as she gets around I trust her judgment.



10
Hardeeville SC to Statesboro GA


Seen the arrow on the doorpost
Saying, "This land is condemned
All the way from New Orleans
To Jerusalem."
I traveled through East Texas
Where many martyrs fell
And I know no one can sing the blues
Like Blind Willie McTell


After a down day in Hardeeville my next goal was Statesboro GA so I plugged it into the Garmin and rode away, trusting the satellites and technology and the Universe generally.








Next time I ride by Lords Cemetery Road I'll make a point of checking it out but today I'm making some miles.




Doesn't look like much but it focused my attention (no mean feat ;) ) for a moment and when I stopped to document it I realized I'd just about ridden by without noticing something cool


right out in the middle of somewhere.




I bet this guy chuckles a lot muttering 'made you look'. :)


Graduate level marketing. :nod


Looking east after climbing the first significant rise since I left Charleston


to get to Georgia.


Yupper, I'm there. ;)


I made it to Statesboro in good time and found this


and COOL! This just riding around finding stuff is a good gig.

Thanks to the folks at the golf cart shop there in town for unwittingly providing me a place to sleep for a couple of nights.


I'm getting particularly picky about where I sleep and picking up a trick or two along the way.

11
Revisited / One moron's road to recovery
« on: December 03, 2017, 06:07:30 AM »
I write this sitting in a coffee shop in downtown Austin at the end of a bicycle ride (hopping the train back to Colorado tomorrow to regroup) having postponed starting this sub-forum but reckon it's past time to 'fess up to being a recovering drunk.

For whatever reason(s) until I hit bottom a couple of years ago (ouch but the bounce has been worth it :nod) it seemed like a good idea to drink a couple of pints of vodka just about every day for a decade or so...

and NOW you get a part of the moron thing.

I have nothing against morons and don't want to condemn by association ;) but frick I was sick: diseased thinking which resulted in diseased behavior and the kind of stuff that happens, when that happens.

Anyway: I trust Mr. Thompson was right and appreciate his take on the topic.

God loves a drunk

There's a lot of power in that performance. :nod

12
Charleston to Beaufort SC


Nobody knows what's going to happen
Nobody knows what's going on
Nobody knows what's coming down
But it's coming down
And it happens in a moment
It happens in a moment

Do this for me
Or risk eternal agony

This is fear country



Because when I was in Baltimore my effort to follow the East Coast Greenway was a bust (it kept disappearing no matter how diligently I tried to follow the signs... story of my life :) ) I called the ECG office and talked to some gal; she told me a group had left Charleston that day and obtained a police escort to get over the bridge heading out. :eek

So I left before light to beat the traffic and who'da thunk - the bridge crossing was easy peasy and once again I conclude we live in a society where TPTB peddle fear - Michael Crichton was spot on.

(this is no reflection on the gal - she's likely doing what she's been told to do by someone who is a fear peddler which is of course the right thing to do if you're in her position)

I rode the ECG until I ran into this


where I was fortunate to find a fellow cyclist who told me how to get to the highway I needed to go the rest of the distance.

That ride was excellent: flat and a tailwind almost all the way with a decent shoulder and I maintained the best moving average I'd done so far.


I made it to Beaufort and spent the night sleeping behind a furniture place where I was disturbed only by skeeters (too lazy to set up the tent)


so the next morning when I met Judy I apologized for looking like I had some contagious crap on my face and she graciously said she hadn't noticed.

We spent that day walking around checking out some sights and having a good time together; from the time we first talked on the phone I really liked her quick laugh and lilting New England accent and in person was even better.






We went for a bicycle ride and got in more than 20 miles on a very nice path - good to ride an unloaded bicycle for a change... makes me feel like a young buck again!

I slept another night at the furniture place and next day rode out to her campsite to spend another day together.


She's lived in her tent for 3 years car camping - she lands some place, sets up house and then spend the days when she's not working as a professional writer investigating in depth the local area.

You can see for yourself: www.judygrillo.com

Home for tonight...


you note I took the time to avoid feeding any more skeeters. ;) I really like my Hilleberg Niak - simplicity itself to assemble; the concerns about ventilation are in my experience way overstated.

She drove us to Hunting Island State Park where we sat around basking in the glorious sun when we weren't walking. We were both unaware of what this is


until we found a guy taking pics of them who explained they are Leather Olives... who knew?

Hurricanes take the occasional toll here


but it comes with the territory and tends to keep the riff-raff out...

'cept me. :)


That night we enjoyed a quiet evening next to our campfire and I was reminded again how blessed I am to be able to do this little ride; just over a couple of years ago I was one sick puppy, about which more later.

Next morning when Judy rode off into the distance on her daily ride


I headed back to Beaufort and on the way to stopped at a church to worship in my own kinda way.






On that route I met Dylan who works at his father John's bike shop; his dream is to pilot big boats and I have no doubt he'll do exactly that.


One of these days I'll figger out what I want to do when I grow up. ;)


I'm a recovering drunk who is deeply appreciative of the power of the fellowship which results from us lot getting together to share our experience, strength and hope. I'd attended a meeting first night in town and when I rolled back happened by the meeting place


where I met Tom again and before I knew it he'd offered to put me up for the night! His wife was gracious and allowed him to let some ragamuffin bicycle dude sleep on the floor and I couldn't be more grateful.


I enjoyed a wonderful evening with them which happened to include a free home-cooked meal... life is good here in moron world. :nod

Next morning Tom drove me to Hardeeville to save me a few miles and I stayed there for a couple of days before heading inland.


Wow, just wow: the people you meet when you get out there and do stuff.

Thanks, Judy, and maybe we'll ride together yet.

And thanks Tom - your story about the Doctor putting an IV of straight vodka into your arm after you got busted up to keep you from dying while detoxing...

fack: that's the kind of thing that makes me appreciate being alive even more.


13

Gotta do what you can just to keep your love alive
Trying not to confuse it with what you do to survive

Running on, running on empty
Running on, running blind
Running on, running into the sun
But I'm running behind

Everyone I know, everywhere I go
People need some reason to believe
I don't know about anyone but me
If it takes all night, that'll be all right
If I can get you to smile before I leave





When the train stops in Charleston about 0630 it's dark and raining so I ride to where coffee and wifi are abundant and inexpensive, to wait for light and dry.

Later that morning it's an easy flat ride (story of my life for the next few weeks) heading to the Oh So Nice Not So Hostel (thanks for the tip, Judy - I can barely wait to meet you!) where I decide it's time to rest up for a few days.

Parked right in the kitchen


where I spend some time meeting interesting folk from all over the world. Isabella is from Bosnia having been forced to leave by the troubles some decades back; she's traveled much and is a joy to visit with, providing some appreciated food tips. Eating well on the road isn't easy sometimes and she knows what's she's on about, nutrition wise.

I also met a couple from New Zealand who give me some inside scoop on riding there (NZ was on the short list this year but was pushed back due to family issues with a potential riding companion... maybe next winter?)

When I'm not there I'm out there riding and meeting people.


Since before visiting Robert my drive train has been making a clicking noise which is particularly maddening as it's intermittent... arrrgh.

Fortunately Eric is an experienced hand with such things has a few wrench moves later my bottom bracket is no longer getting inside my head. Thanks, dude!

My The Great Divide water bottle has gone missing and William fixes me up with a new one, gratis, and cements himself and this bicycle shop into my Cool Places To Be Hall Of Fame.


Someone I didn't get to meet, durnit.




But at least I know of him and my life is better for it.

It's even rougher than it looks




so I briefly transition to a sidewalk surfer and stumble into this place.


The owner tells me liquor has been sold at that location since inception; during Prohibition it was a speakeasy and another testimony to the maxim 'Ignorance is no excuse for the law'.



I'm not the type to have much by way of itinerary so I cruise around, looking.




Outliers need love too. ;)



Next stop: Beaufort and meeting a certain someone I've been talking to since February when, only a few hours after I posted it, she responded to my companions wanted listing.

I am stoked as this ride is this. :nod


Goosebumples rising as I write that!

I like goosebumples as they mean all is better than well. :)


14
Gear and Useful Stuff / Re: s/he is my bicycle
« on: November 22, 2017, 03:23:42 PM »
When using Amtrak, did you need to box your bike or did you just load it already assembled? I'm planning a trip for next spring and am having trouble with the logistics of getting me and the bike to point "A" to begin my trip. A U-Haul van is super expensive...a rental car is a little cheaper. Neither of those two choices always offer a one way drop off option.

Just curious on what you do.

Tony

Just roll it it on - easy peasy and only $20 extra!

And I'm told by a warmshowers host that Greyhound will let you ship your bike unpacked.

She has done :nod and I'll  explore that option in future.

15
Thanks for reading and glad you like it - it's good diversion for a mind that tends to spin... now that I have my free time back I'll try to catch up.


I came to you, when I needed a rest
You took my time, and put it to the test
I saw some things, that I never would have guessed
Feel like a railroad, I pulled a whole load behind

I was adrift on a river of pride
It seemed like such a long easy ride
You were my raft but I let you slide
I've been down but I'm coming back up again

And I'm rollin' down the open road
Where the daylight will soon be breaking
Right now I'm thinking 'bout these things that I know
But it was good time that we'd been making



Thanks again Robert for all your kindnesses - I particularly liked dining on your deck.


And our walk around D.C.




Chesterton wrote of the blinding genius that first smeared something on a rock to begin written language - another giant's shoulders.


I talked to the guy at the exhibit and asked him the question I always pose to evolutionists - what was the trigger that separated humans from the monkeys (apes don't build cathedrals)?

He said the best guess is we figured out how to eat meat - makes as much sense as anything else I've heard.





Our goodbye dinner at the train station - is it just me or does that guy look suspicious? :)


Very respectable Phlly sammiches. :nod


For $20 you can walk your bike onto the Amtrak unpacked so when you land reattach your bags and roll away - sweeeeet.


.

Note to self: in future screen potential riding companions with the basic questions you'd ask anyone you were planning on spending extended time with, like do you habitually drink to excess? If yes, does it interfere with plans you've made with others?

Shame on me for taking the little things for granted but I guess you live and learn, or you don't. :eek


My little life remains perfect, my dream intact and expanding every day.

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