Wednesday, July 22, 2015

New host for the blog

So I had a friend demand a new set up for the blog, I will be moving my blog over to his server. let me know if which you prefer. For now here is the the link to the new blog!
Love to all of you

The Real Journey Begins

Today I leave the oakland area. The last few days have been spent with a good friend making pizza and other delicious foods while enjoying a relaxing moment where I wasn't sick. There are moments I have to remind myself this is an adventure and not just a journey. I am feeling stronger and better and ready for whatever the road might bring me.
The ride into oakland was a bit rough with a decent head wind taking Shirley's trailer and making it into a kite. There is only one thing you can do in a headwind and that is keep pedaling, the moment you stop pedaling your bike stops and each time gets harder to start. So you put your head down and turn the crank.
Getting out of San Jose required stopping a couple of times to chat and smoke blunts with folks on the street. It was ridiculous and wonderful, I was stopped multiple times to smoke and by the time I was riding across the bay I felt like I was flying. This might be disconcerting or maybe even offensive to some, but meh I'll admit it I smoke weed with strangers.
From there I preceded north, I got a little lost, but not really as I knew the general direction I needed to go eventually I found myself in familiar territory and kept headin north.
By the time the sun was setting I was still about 10 miles out of oakland and I have to admit I was feeling a bit defeated. My friend offered to pick me up and I took the offer, especially because he lives up a pretty decent hill that may have just killed me by the time I got to it. It was also a sunset worth stopping and enjoying. There are moments we just have to stop and watch in awe as the sky gets painted by the sun and I have never been one to pass on a good sunset. We bought a six pack and preceded to get drunk, which didn't take much for me at that point. The next day I was happy to sleep in, after the head wind my body was feeling stiff and sore. My friend and I got breakfast and toured around the Berkley hills for a bit. Later that night I made us pizza from scratch, first time making a dough without a recipe. It turned out pretty damn good I have to say. I had planned on leaving the next day but ended up kickin around too much and eventually decided it'd be best to take one more day of ease and relaxation. My friend and I did a bit of art, took a walk through a creepy old cemetery and tooled around his area of Berkeley.
 Today I am on my way north again. Back to pedaling down the open road. I have stopped at a little cafe just before getting out of oakland, from here I head north up towards Napa Valley then north east from there up to Leggett California, home of the drive through tree where my father and I spent his 50th birthday 13 years and a couple of days ago. I am excited to get into the redwoods, weather looks just fine, if not a bit warm which I will take, rather be warm than too cold right now as I know I will have plenty of cold days ahead of me. This should take me a few days so it may be a minute until I post again, but I will try and get a post in between here and Leggett.

This is a short post but I figured I should keep up with posting to keep in the habit of it. I hope all of your days are amazing blessings, love and always alohas.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Sometimes you just have one of those days.

Today was a day I should have stayed in bed... It started with me waking up still hacking up green goo from my lungs. Ah no worry I thought I'll get it all out on the ride, so I loaded up miss Shirley and away we went. The first part of the ride is an uphill climb over a mountain to drop into the valley below where Oakland rests. I figured if I got over the mountains the rest of the day would be easy. So I pushed myself up the mountain. I peddled and peddled, huffed and puffed, hacked all the nasties out of my throat and then peddled some more.
I was feeling good though, while I wasn't moving fast I was definitely movin and while it was a bitch, it was making me feel better with each turn of the crank. Shirley was appreciating her little helper too, it makes for a bit different of a ride but she appreciated not having the weight all resting on her. So everything was going well, slow and tough but well. Half way up the mountain I hear a faint call "You the man!" I called back thank you, I will admit the encouragement helped and I found the ability to push harder. Then finally I crested the top of the mountain and I felt the strain in my legs ease. The breeze blew and a chill went down my spine. Ah sweet success I thought out loud to myself. Suddenly the road ended. I was baffled, what the hell? I had looked at my route and was certain I had followed it right... I hadn't. It turns out I missed a turn at the base of the mountain I had just climbed and followed the wrong road up.
To be fair the road I was looking for was not well marked, and looked more like a private driveway than a road. None the less there was only one thing I could do... but first a a bowl was in order. I parked my bike loaded up a bowl and sat back admiring my view. I was a nice view and since I had made the ride just for the view at this point I figured I might as well take it in as much as possible. Then a guy in a car drove up, hopped out of his car right in front of me and began peeing. No attempt to hide himself or anything, and it is not like he did not see me. No I rather think he was enjoying his exhibitionist moment. With my moment ruined I hopped on my bike and headed back down the hill.
The ride down was so lovely, I took my time, let the cool air rush over me and thought about the fact that at the bottom of this mountain is the right road over the mountain. I was starting to question my day entirely and by the time I finally made it down to the turn off, which I still almost missed, but only because I was caught up in the moment, I turned and began back up the hill. At this point I was mostly down the mountain I had just spent half of my day riding up and the road I was supposed to be on started off with a real nice climb. My legs decided it was a nope moment. So I decided to say fuck the day turned around and headed down the mountain and back to the beach. It was a solid decision. while riding down a small heard of deer joined me for a second, I saw a red tail hawk and picked some delicious blackberries. When I finally made it to the beach I stripped down and dove straight into the cold waters of the pacific. Sweet relief.
I am back at my friends now drinking a beer and thinking about the debacle of the day. Trying to focus on the positives... One being the trailer worked out great, holds all my shit well and moves along with ease. Other positives are at least I got the work out, and became comfortable riding with the trailer. I mean it is all an adventure and sometimes we have to have those days where we make some pretty silly mistakes. At least it was a beautiful day and a beautiful ride. I hope all of your days were just as magnificent, and hopefully not as trying!

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

The Crank Starts Turning

Well after a day in San Francisco hangin with my cousin helping her get her furniture up and put together and running some errands to get Shirley road ready the day finally came to start the real adventure. I woke up Sunday morning with Shirley already ready to go, she was itchin to get movin so we said goodbye to my cousin and began our way out of the city. Before we could leave though we had to meet up with a friend I had met on my last major tour from Flagstaff to New Orleans. A friend I made in Austin Texas had moved out to San Francisco a few years back, giving me the opportunity to meet him again on another bike trip. It was delightful to see a familiar face and made the beginning of my journey more pleasant. The first leg of the trip led me south from the city down to Santa Cruz to bug an old friend.
So let's talk about the first day of riding a bicycle. As you know I was leaving from San Francisco, and while I thought I was in good shape, I was nowhere prepared to face the hills of San Fran. First days of tours are always filled with jitters and a bit of nervousness as you launch into the unknown. Even though I have ridden this route before you can never be sure what the road has in store for you. You lump that in with spirit crushing hills and you have a recipe that will break you like a twig and I will admit I broke myself this first day. There are moments before you reach your breaking point where you curse yourself for being such an ass as to propose riding a bicycle any amount of distance. You think "fuck this, why I am I fucking doing this?" Your legs are already screaming for mercy as you look up to another daunting hill. Suddenly though your mind releases all of those thoughts, your legs begin to warm up and your breathing slows. Yes you get high, and as you crest that hill you see the ocean and mountains, you see all the adventure you have in front of you and you remember why you are doing this. A smile creeps across your face, for a moment and then you start back up another hill.
After I broke myself and came through to the other side I managed to pedal about 40 miles. The ride should have been only 30 or so, but I was detoured because of a bridge closure and ended up not making it to Half Moon Bay as I had hoped that first day. However I found myself on a lovely bike path and though most folks were not that friendly, I smiled and said Aloha to all of them as I pedaled my way south. As night began to fall I found a lovely little produce stand with fresh local veggies and fruits all for a very reasonable price and set out to find a good place to camp for the night. I ended up underneath a forest of eucalyptus with a reservoir just below me. I may have not made it to the ocean as I had hoped, but where I ended up was perfectly lovely.  My dinner consisted of a half pound of pasta, a golden beat, a carrot, some mushrooms, all mixed with my special seasoning mix and a handful of nutritional yeast, topped of course with a fresh delicious avocado. You would think all of this would leave one full, but you'd be wrong. So I also ate some Wasa crackers and sardines. I know most people have an aversion to sardines, but they hold a special place in my heart, especially over Wasa crackers with a sprinkle of hot sauce.
As I let my food settle into my belly I laid back up stared up into the trees, eucalyptus trees have a certain charm to them, their smooth bark broken by ribbons of the older bark flaking off looking almost like spanish moss in the fading light. I soon drifted off into a deep sleep. Suddenly I heard a car come to a screeching halt, I shot up and looked towards the road as a cop car spins around 180 degrees onto the dirt pull out and then whips back and peals out the way it had just come. I wasn't sure at first if all that had actually happened, but as the dust finally made its way to me I was reassured I was not dreaming. It had nothing to do with me though so I settled back into my sleeping bag and drifted back to sleep. Next I hear a scratching and pulling sound... Someones trying to get to my food in my panniers. I grab a stick next to me and swing it towards my bike. The scratching and clawing does stop. So I shout "Hey you, get out of here!" The scratching doesn't stop. At this point, as much as I don't want to I know I have to get up out of my coziness and investigate the brave little soul who was so determined to get to my food.
As I stood up and walked over to my bike, which was not not far from where I was sleeping, I heard the critter move back a bit, but he definitely did not run away. So I grabbed my flashlight and turned it on, there standing in front of me was a tiny little fox, not afraid, not backing down. I looked at my bag to see what he had been so interested in, it was my peanuts. He had managed to open the zipper on my pannier, and had almost slipped the bag of peanuts out the hole. I pushed the part of the bag he had managed to get out back in and zipped up pannier. The whole time I had noticed the fox hadn't moved. I shined my light back on him and there he stood, still just a few feet away looking at me intently. I picked up a stick and threw it in his general direction, he hopped back a little bit but stayed strong. So I grabbed another stick and yelled "Bad fox go away fox!" and threw the other stick at him, he moved a little further back and then made it seem he was going to leave. So I settled back into my sleeping bag. Twenty minutes later I hear the scratching again. I flip on the light and sure enough there he is again, SO I shine the light and sling another stick his way, I hear him scurry off, but I knew he would be back, so I rigged up a little noise maker for his next visit. Using a stick, a spoon and a well placed pot I set it up so when he came back he'd get a nice loud welcome. Another twenty minutes went by and suddenly I hear *Bang* *Crash* stumble stumble and scatter. That was the last I heard of my fox friend that night.

The next morning I awoke sore but feeling so good. I made up some breakfast which was oatmeal and apple slices and of course a ripe banana and then packed up Shirley. My morning ride started with a 4 mile hill winding up over the mountains that separated me from Half Moon Bay. I took my time just turning the crank on an easy gear at an easy pace, I was in no rush. Suddenly a red tail hawk swooped across about five feet from me. He perched just on the other side of the road as if showing off how easy the hill was for him. As I crested the hill I could see all the way down to Half Moon. I opened up my breaks and let myself glide all the way down. The cool breeze sending slight shivers down my spine, I am sure the smile on my face was visible by ever car passing me. I pulled into a gas station to fill up my water bottles and saw a payphone. If any of you followed my previous tour you know that I did not carry a phone with me and depended on pay phones to call family, which I quickly learned very few payphones still exist in this world. Sure enough at this gas station there was a payphone, and while I have a phone I thought about my previous trip and the exhaustible times I spent looking for a payphone. This payphone was different though, it had a sign above it that lifted "free calls" the first of which of course being "receive god's blessing". I could not resist I dialed *3 and sure enough the call went through to a gentleman on the other line.
"Hello and what can I do for you today?"
"Uh hello, I was curious about the daily blessing..."
"Well yes, do you have anything in particular to pray for?"
"Well I guess I am on a bike trip across the country."
"Oh my goodness, oh my, really? Wow, yes we can pray for that!"
He then proceeded to recite a prayer which I must say for being on the fly was really quite lovely. He incorporated everything one could hope for in an adventure, praying I meet good people along the way, praying my bicycle stays strong and working, praying I stay safe and healthy. I was actually quite touched by the experience I must say, just knowing something like that existed. I thanked him and after a brief a little conversation eventually went about my day. Having received my daily blessing I decided it was time to baptize my self in the cold salty ocean. I b-lined it for the beach and leaving Shirley in a place she wouldn't get too sandy and sprinted for the water. I ran in and as the cold water reached my knees I remember I was still wearing spandex underneath the shorts. Right before a big wave was about to overtake my waist I hightailed it out of the water, found a secluded place to drop my shorts and removed the spandex. Not free from any possible agitation or potential chaffing I sprinted back into the water and fell back. The cold was a shock but the salt water a blessing. I hung out on the beach awhile and let my feel sink into the sand. It was still rather chilly out but the sand was holding the warmth from the little bits of sun that was managing to peak through the fog.
I eventually gathered up my stuff, slipped back to the secluded area to put my riding shorts back on and hopped back on Shirley. The day was long and mostly uneventful. As I settled into a rhythm I let most of the world around me slip away just listening to the road and enjoying everything around me. I pedaled for awhile until my legs were ready for a rest, I pulled over off the road and found a grassy field over looking the ocean. I sat back and just took in the scenery made a couple of phone calls, texted a couple of folks, I even closed my eyes for a few minutes, then once my legs were rested I hopped back on the bike and started pedaling along down the road. At this point I had drank through most of my water and was hoping to come across a gas station or something of the like at some point, but nothing was presenting itself. I road further and further until finally I decided I needed to just go ahead and pull over to one of the farm houses and ask to fill up my water bottles. I spot a house not far off the road and ride over to it. Of course the place is abandoned, probably had been for awhile. Which I have to admit, while common sight in New Mexico and Texas I really did not expect it on the pacific coast in California. A part of my thought about squatting there for the night, there was some old berry vines which fresh black berries, a bit of overgrown gardens that I am sure if I poked around enough I'd find some goodies. I truly thought about it but thought I should check the time, so I reached for my phone when suddenly I realized I didn't have my phone.
I had left my phone at the place I took my break, which was now a solid 7 miles behind me. I thought about what I could do, I decided before hopping on the bike I would try hitching back, clearly I wasn't homeless and just needed some help, someone would have to help me right? I parked my bike at the abandoned house and went up to the road and started thumbing it. A good amount of time passed and no one was even remotely interested in giving me a ride, so I thought well there isn't much other option. I unloaded my bicycle and hopped on it. I rode back the 7 miles of coast line, going up and down the hills I had already passed until I finally made it back to my break point, sure enough there was the phone sitting right where I left it. I made sure it was in my pocket and then road back to the farm house to gather my gear.
After reloading the bike and making my way back to the road I pedaled a little further till I saw a hand made sign that read "Brewery", my mouth began to water. I decided then and there if that sign was real I was getting a beer. Sure enough I came across the Highway 1 brewery, I hopped off the bike immediately ordered a beer. The gent behind the bar gave me the bicycle tour discount making the beer just that much sweeter. I finished my beer and saddled back up for the last part of the ride to Santa Cruz.
I stopped once more at Stanton Farms, a lovely little farm just north of Davenport with fresh berries and pies and an advertised 10% bike tour discount (how could I resist?). I finally rolled into Santa Cruz around 5:30. I called my friend and she told me she would pick me up, but that gave me a minute to dip my aching feet into the cool water. I was later fed a most delicious dinner and able to take a nice hot shower. I will tell you there is nothing more satisfying than that hot shower.
I will be here in Santa Cruz for a couple of days in search of a trailer. With the instruments I have brought as well as computer I have decided it would be best to have a trailer to get some of the weight off my bike. SO I will be looking to invest in one as soon as I locate the right one. We'll see.
Thanks for reading and stay tuned!

Saturday, July 11, 2015

The first 36 hours were a dozy.

The time has come and we are on the road, and oh what an adventure it has already been. It begins with a uhaul... We will start out in Bisbee as that is truly where the adventure began. I found myself knee deep in almost finished projects and time running down. I spent my last day in Bisbee working frantically to finish the projects and with enough time to get myself packed, Shirley loaded into Penelope and drive to Phoenix. Everything was going smooth, despite being a hard day of work, I managed to finish the projects, get packed and on the road. That's when the first hiccup happened.
If any of you have driven from the border north you are aware there are border stops, not just the ones at the border, but stops beyond the border, miles beyond the border. Well I have one I normally go through, specifically because they rarely have a drug dog on site. Well this night was not my lucky night, well not entirely... The dog immediately alerted the officers to my vehicle. My heart stopped and I thought "ah shit, and there goes my trip". The officer with the dog asked me to pull over and get out of the car. I obliged, I will have to admit I did have weed, however the officer mentioned they were not looking for "personal amounts". So I figured just be charming and respectful and everything would work out. Sure enough officer friendly and his trusty sidekick locate a roach in small stone pipe I made, a small jar of marijuana in my bag and a glass marijuana pipe. He then ditched the dog began to search my whole vehicle including all of my bags, he found nothing else and looked me over.
I was wearing a skirt that was as dirty as I could make it, a shirt that had lost all of its buttons and of course a cowboy hat.
"You're an artist aren't ya?" he asked.
"Yes sir" I responded with my typical smile and wink.
"Alright, well I'm going to reward my dog for this, then I'm going to have to take the weed, and then I will let you go." The officer took the dog and pointed to all the goodies he had found and gave the dog a toy. "Well Imma let you go now, but if I catch you again I am gonna have to call the locals."
"No worries brother, you won't be seeing me for awhile!" I hopped in my truck and drove away as fast as I could before he could change his mind. Heart racing now I continued my drive. Made a pit stop in Tucson and then finally got into phoenix at 12:30am.
By 4:30 the next morning I was up and putting all of my shit together, and drinking much needed coffee. My uncle dropped off the uhaul, I loaded Shirley into the box truck and were on the road by 7. Smooooth sailing all the way to LA as I passed bleak dehydrated desert lands screaming for water and listened to the AM radio. Then LA happened. It was 1:30 when I made it into the LA area, of course I hit traffic. So here I am riding  bumper to bumper in a giant box with aggressive California drivers all around me. Suddenly the car in front of me decides to change lanes, bad timing, he immediately drives into the path of an oncoming car. Luckily I saw this coming a mile away and had already started to apply my breaks. I manage to avoid the accident but the car in front of the guy was not as lucky. I get out make sure everyone is alright give my information to the woman who was hit and then got back in the uhaul and drove up to the next bumper. We continue on until I hear smash. A car a few lanes over had just been rear-ended. I wasn't stopping this time, I just wanted to get out of there. A few miles later the person behind me decides to try his luck at merging lanes, smash. I was well over it, my knuckles were white, my eyes were popping. Finally I could see the end in sight as I made my way into the mountains. Ah sweet relief, I flipped through the AM found myself a sweet old timey station and cruised north up through the mountains in my box. The drive was beautiful, the gas prices were ungodly. I decided it would be better to hold my breath and hope the truck made it down the mountain before needing more gas. I lucked out, the truck cruised down the mountain and with just enough gas to spare got me to a loves where the gas was almost an entire dollar cheaper. Woot!
I slipped in next to a pump hopped out and went to pay, I had left the door open but the wind decided it should be closed. Unfortunately I had left the keys in the cab, and the door just happened to be locked. I let my head drop against the window. Though again lucky enough, it was at a loves and sure as shit there was a gentleman there with a lockout kit.  In just a few minutes he jimmied the door open and I was back on my way. This time nothing could stop me, I was determined, no stops, no distractions.
By 10 o'clock I could finally see the bay bridge! Oh sweet heavens yes. I flipped through the AM radio one more time and found myself a station with nothing but Hindi music straight from Ballywood. I turned up the radio and jammed out as I sat in bay bridge traffic. As I made across the bridge I found myself enthralled by the music, and so much into it that I quickly passed my turn. That's alright I thought, I can find my way back. SO I took the next exit. I of course immediately got lost. I had been in san fran before, but it was night and I was turned around. I opened my computer which had directions on it and a map, but it died. I knew where I needed to be but not exactly how I to get there. Finally I found myself at Castro and Market, and from there knew I could find my way. I finally pulled up to my sweet Cousin's house, found a parking lot and crashed harder than one could imagine.
Today has been a day helping my cousin put together furniture, run errands and of course get old Shirley ready for the road. Tomorrow the riding begins with a short trip probably to half moon bay, then a little further to Santa Cruz before heading up to oakland and beyond. If this adventure is anything like the first couple of days it should be a wonderfully crazy experience. Love and alohas to you all.

Your Captain,
Colorblind Carl

Oh to be free again

After many months in a storage shed only being ridden occasionally, Shirley (the surly) was getting a little anxious, and I will admit my feet were itching too. There was no getting around it, the time had come to ride out into the great unknown again and see what the world is up to.
This time around the adventure is leading us north. Starting in San Francisco, tooling around northern california and heading up to Portland where we will meet up with one of my best buds. From there we will scoot along east towards Yellowstone. Everything after that is going east and south as long as I can. It is all up in the air from Yellowstone, so stay tuned and find out where the winds drive us.