It’s September of 2011, and I’m living the life of a celebrity in Boston, Massachusetts. Well, not quite a celebrity, no. But, among my circle of friends and family, I’ve proven my integrity and racked up a helluva lot of “crazy points” in everyone’s eyes. Sometimes people buy me drinks at the bar when it comes up in conversation. It’s a nice perk.

Upon returning to Massachusetts, I relegated myself to a couch and ate like a family of five for a whole week. It was one long sigh of relief and an attempt to repatriate the 20 pounds I lost during the journey. I ate everything I had been craving during the previous two months, including fresh seafood (sushi), fresh salad with ultra crisp lettuce, fettuccine alfredo with broccoli, nearly raw steak with mushroom au jus, wheat beer, and the Holy Grail of all things edible: my Grand-Poppa’s home cooking. He’s an amazing cook equaled by none. He puts the soul in “soul food”. I love you Poppa.

When I got back home, after what seemed like a lifetime on the road, I continued to ride my bicycle for approximately 10-30 miles a day in order to maintain my conditioning. However, in honesty, my continued riding was due to my unwillingness to close the book on this chapter in my life. As something that has had a profound impact on my life and who I have become, it was an experience to which I didn’t want to say “goodbye”. However, the chapter ended abruptly after an accident put my bike temporarily out of commission. While I was riding through New Hampshire, I experienced a surge of testosterone and a delusion of invincibility typical of bicyclists. Directly in my bike’s path stood an ugly bush with an arrogant defiance that warranted a harsh lesson to be administered by me and “The Law”! Instead of avoiding, I sounded a roar and drove straight into it. The bush gripped my front tire like a trap while my forward momentum propelled me like a superhero over the handlebars, only to land like a rubber mannequin on the pavement. My bike landed on top of me. Three loving grandmas responded by stopping their cars and getting out to assist me. Bleeding profusely, I forced a grin and told them I was quite alright, thanking them earnestly for being kind enough to approach me. I walked the rest of the way home, my epidermis missing in patches and my bike limping from a fractured rim.

At least a line of drivers got a show while on their way home from work.

My bicycle is now hanging up in the garage while I rebuild the rear wheel, learning how to do so as I go. Whenever I look at it, the nostalgia is overwhelming. My life on the road was that of an extremely healthy and motivated transient, saturated with new experiences every day, hour, and minute. After so much time living “off the reservation” and closer to nature, I had become feral in many ways. Always migrating, sleeping in the wilderness, eating primarily unprocessed foods, exposed to the elements, almost complete lack of alcohol or harmful substances, and constant physical exertion. I became increasingly calm and increasingly assured of myself and my ability to handle adversity. Many of the typical formalities of human society disappeared from behavior. My dreams became more vivid. My senses were very sensitive. My cognition was sparklingly clear and extensive in my foresight. It was fantastic!

Primarily, though, I miss the adventures and the friends I made along the way. Every now and then, I’ll experience something that will remind me of a certain stretch of road or a certain person I met and I’ll spend a few moments reliving those experiences.

The comfort of camping in the dense woods of West Virginia.

The dry heat and solitude of the Arizona deserts.

The cool winds and inspiring majesty of the mountains.

It’s over and I miss it. But, the experiences are everlasting and it helped me to determine my priorities in life. I’m sure of what I want to do and somewhat sure of how to do it. It also broke me free from Nietzsche’s “Eternal Re- Occurrence”, proving to myself that I am not doomed to repeat the same mistakes over and over again.

This was the first of many grand journeys. Ahhh, life. How awesome.

Be on the lookout for my bicycle touring guide. It will be available for free distribution. It’s working title is, “How To Bicycle Across America With Little or No Experience, As Told By Somebody Who Did So”.


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