It’s not an adventure till something goes wrong

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Through the narrow gap of my tunnel vision I feel like a loser, a failure and perhaps in the very near future a quitter.  Talking to my bunk mate I’m told my journey is amazing a dream come true and also to frightening to ever partake on their own terms.  Perception is something that has always intrigued me beyond words. Grab a bunch of shit and see what happens, that’s what it do.

Around the world by brompton

Well, at least that’s my perception of what I do but the reality of my perception is that I always have too much which means on some level I am prepared, or at least I on some level attempted to prepare.  My new friend admits dreams of doing what I doing but also needs specific dates, locations, and all the answers up front to all things potentially encountered.  We live at exact opposite ends of the spectrum but we are not really that different…

My comfort factor is found being in a full blown fucking typhoon with a death grip on the tent I’m trying to set up. One slip and it’s gone as is my small safety net.  Their comfort level is a reservation through the Internet that may not book correctly leaving them in a strange new place needing to find a suitable hotel to sleep for the night.  Both equal adventures and mis adventures depending on the perspective of the person living it.

I remember when in was sixteen, we had stolen my friends parents car and driven to La Misssion in Mexico coming back across the border and hell yes we were smuggling all sorts of contraband there was some hold up in the customs car lane, we just sat there for like 10’minutes going nowhere, then there were a bunch of strange dudes around the car, I was pulled through the window smashed against the car while all sorts of confusion whet on in Spanish, they had confused us for smugglers which in fact we may have been on a pathetic high school level.  They let us go apologized and then for good measure pulled out the inspection cone banged it on our hood and told us to pull into border inspections.  I drove foreward. Climbed out the window and grabbed the cone and sped off into America, no big deal, that’s how my brain is programmed. My friend was freaking the hell out the whole time and did all the way home.  We were both doing the exact same thing but while  my brain was in nuclear reactor fun zone his fun meter had been pegged from the first moment.

I’m still sitting here in my big rocker in front of the wood stove, my knee is killing me and I’m faced with making a decision.  I’m guessing that not unlike all the decisions I make there will be a bit of pain, lots of fun and somewhere in between sunrise and sunset I’ll be there second guessing my logic or complete lack of it when it comes to my decision process.  One thing I know for sure is that there will be no morning alarm, commute or itinerarary.  This journey still is about less which will always in one form or another grant more which is what I want these days, more or less that is.

Wounded knee = lay day

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Who makes the rules? I was up as usual an hour before dawn and feeling like a million bucks.  Shity cup of instant coffee in hand, soaking wet tent rolled up Brompty packed up and on the road before 8:00am. My knee has been giving me indicators but I couldn’t exactly locate the pain, today that is no longer an issue.  My IT band is jacked, this is the reason I gave up ultra running but it’s never been an issue on the bike.

Cycling with logging trucks

By 10:00am I was crippled to the point I could barely walk and even standing was an issue.  I’m taking a lay day but miss the road already, it’s my routine and as routine as it is I love it, always seeing new things and never knowing where I will be sleeping, a new dawn every day, living a good life is quite addicting.  I’m sitting In a rocker overlooking some River and in mucho paino, yes I am fluent in Spanish.  Sipping on a nice tin cup of whiskey I’m bummed at what my future may hold for me, I want to ride on.

Minimalist cycling gear

today will be a day to go through all my gear and scrutinize every gram.  I have two full days of snacks with the next very hilly hundred miles showing one camp ground, I’m not even sure I can make it to Canon Beach but I won’t know if I don’t try.  If the trip is off I don’t know where I’ll go or what I’ll do but Fish Bay is too stormy for my comefort and Bellingham has no slip for me so Sookie sits and waits, as far as winter goes so who knows where I’ll hang my helmet.

Minimalist gear brompton

My gear is already a bare minimum, I don’t have any street clothing, just bare bones riding clothing, I find it really funny when every girl I talk too can’t help but to sneak in flustered peeks at Mr Winky. Riding clothes are the greatest till you dismount.  My Vouri cycling tights have not come off since the sun went away and in conjunction with my Terry skirt keep my lower half happy at all times.  My helmet is so comfy I rarely take it off and while I have one too may upper layers I can’t bear to drop any of them.  Two synthetic tee shirts, a Patagonia R1, my fleece wind stopper vest and an old super cushy, squishy and light fleece jacket, all very old.  My new Precip rain jacket works well but is always clammy.

Brompton

My biggest tragedy was losing my tiny Swiss Army knife, it was a Greatful  Dead rainbow edition and I loved it beyond compare, it weighed less than an ounce and I used it daily.  I’m not using my tItanium cook kit as I’ve failed at every meal but can’t bear to let it go as it robbed me of many fun nuggets.  I have regretfully sent my uke off to be cared for till I can manage it, the road is just too nasty to bring such a fine instrument and it was a nightmare to carry across the state of Washington but a goldmine in the evenings.  I’m still holding onto my 4 lb Nikon mostly because my iPad is dying but if I find a way into an iPhone 5 or 6 I’m jettisoning both the camera and I pad which will put me in a much better place, God I love Craig’s list.  I can shop and browse items a few days down the trail and actually have been trying to sell my Nikon as I ride.  I have an old iPhone 4 and I should have brought that and left the bug guns home, live and learn.

Pika t bag

I am learning and finding out I’m living quite minimally compared to most cyclists but still have food in my bag from day one, I brought way too much stuff.  My big delema is to dump my unused long undies, they are medium weight and so far just a what if worst cast senery thing, more fear but it’s been really cold and getting colder and 8 wet hours in the saddle begs for warmth but so far I’ve been keeping my Terry skirt cleanish and dry for those emergencys and it’s great for roadside or laundry mat quick changes, a real game changer in the adventure travel realm for me.  At some point I plan on writing about all my gear and how it’s working but so far I’ve had bigger fish to fry.

I’m not sure what day it is but it’s cold and blustery, a few snow flakes actually found me this morning. I’m still in my rocking chair but ready for another hot shower and some gear shifting.  You never know what you will find out here but it’s all good, even the bad has good in it if you can stop take a deep breath and find it.  My next post may be from Hawaii but that decision will be made from the other side of the tunnel and there are many more to navigate on my trusty Brompton…

Cape Dissaopintment to Fort Stevens state park

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Miles 358

Today 28

Oregon

life is little more than a series of snapshots in time surrounded by all the planning and preparing that is more or less how we choose to spend our life’s units, say a waster of our valuable time here while we wait for the next big moment in time.  Birth, turning 16 then 18 then 21, we retire sometime after 65 and then wait to die, hopefully in a warm comfy space. It’s those brief moments and how we experience them that dictate our life’s worth when measured by our own standards.

living in the present is the hardest thing for most of us as the miles of life pedal on by.  I’ve been so fucking scared of this bridge and for good reason.  I literally got vertigo straight into the 4.2 miles ride.  I tired to breath deeply sit upright and relax And find love in the sheer terror I was experiencing but who are we fucking kidding, my first logging truck hit before I was 100′ into the journey, I was purely and truly scared fucking shitless the whole time. To ad insult to injury there is a giant fucking steep incline at the end and then a tight crazy bombing downhill.  For the entire portion of this bridge I was in the middle of the biggest panic attack I’ve ever had, my heart hurt and I was dizzy, I was also smiling from ear to ear and screaming at the top of my lungs every time a car or truck almost clipped me.  My biggest fear was being hit and flying over the edge where I would break every bone on impact with the water and then die a bitter death by drowning while the giant sharks tore me from limb to limb.  If you think I’m being mello dramatic it’s because you have haven’t ridden across this bridge and certainly not  with double vision.  This ride would be a big enough challange without  fucked up vision but the way I see just makes it that much more difficult.

So I survived the bridge and I’m sitting in a coffee shop in a big comfy chair and taking the rest of the day off, my camp is 5 or 10 miles from here, I’m out of food, fuel and I’m getting two fucking beers to celebrate tonight.  My success hasn’t  come without pain and my left IT band is starting to nag me out of nowhere. I’ve been doing everything I can to nurse it today but it’s getting worse… Had I known there was a second bridge I wouldn’t have wasted half the day screwing around in Astoria looking for a good tattoo parlor.  Fucking cross wind on that second bridge really got my goat.

I arrive at camp and for the first time since leaving on this journey Im surrounded by cyclists, some riding all the way to lands end others spanning the country.  Two girls from Quebec and another guy also from Quebec, i try and decipher thier broken French while they talk of sailing the St Laurence on a steel schooner.  A couple from England, many from Canada and two Brazilian girls.  I’m the only American  we make a huge fire and laugh and talk about this and that.  Starting the fire with gas, one of the cyclists literally caught his entire body on fire, I put him out with minor burns and it was worth laughing about later but at the time quite a scene.  For the first time in my journey I feel like a real touring cyclist, I’ve found my tribe, we smoke the peace pipe and each person, each and every one of us now hardened cyclists tells our best scare story of the journey.

Never in my life have I felt more in place, surrounded by my people and wondering if I can’t just ride forever.  Of course with victory there is defeat and I wake up crippled, my IT band is fucked and so is my journey.  It takes two hours to ride 18 miles to where I find refuge, hand over most of my cash and throw a latte in for good measure, my ride may be over, I can barely walk a single step :(…

Center Bay to Cape Dissapointment

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Total miles 325

mikes 40

Salvatiion 

Salvation comes in many forms, for me today it was in the form of a McDonals and a bike shop, although we all know that salvation comes at a price.  Pedaling away with fully loaded tires, a Can of fosters beer and more instant coffee so I can drink cold coffee in the mornings until I find a fuel replacement life was good.

Touring on a brompton

Ive grown bored with the senery here in Washington which is good because tomorrow I will cross into Oregon and that’s where the trail really begins. WA was was a walk in the park compared to the challange of Oregon and it pretty much crushed me, I’m curious to see how I adapt in my new state. I’m only nine days into this journey and the road has sucked up half my budget so with a little creative financing and hopefully ten days to get as far south as I can and then I will pack up Brompty and hitchhike to wherever seems like a good place to regroup, save  few bucks and get back to wherever I leave off so I can make my way south again.  As short of a span as ten days may seem, I can’t even remember the person or place I left just 9’days ago, so much has happened I could never write about any of it but eventually my story will find its way to words.  Today was as easy as it was difficult, my legs are tired as am I of carrying my extra burden which I hope to dump,off somewhere soon.  The Oregon coast is one of many challanges and big hills constantly.

Touring food

i finished my ride in Long Beach, a wonderful town with everything but a coffee shop.  I’ve been tearing out the pages of my very old guide book and it’s close to half the weight and thickness I left with.  When my chance comes I going to become a gram weenie and dump everything I can to lighten my load for the next ten days.  Not sure why I brought a passport and the titanium pot is light but I don’t use it as I’ve failed at every cooked meal other than coffee so that was more wasted money.

Touring brompton

its funny how I get by in life with so little but every year when I make a bone headed trip like this one, I bring every thing but the kitchen sponge even though I fresh off the last trip where I used little to nothing.  I guess I’m just like the guys pulling the 50′ motor homes thinking they can’t leave anything behind.  I saw my first bear just after dawn, some elk but still no Sasquach.  It gets eerie on some of the quiet stretches listening to all the bump in the woods and wondering what is out there watching you.

my Vouri ramming tights and Terry skirt are still at the top of my hero list as are many other things but keeping my iPad charged is a challange so I will save my gear reviews for another time and place.

 

Twin harbors to bay center

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Total miles 285

mileage 54

ciggies smoked 13

money spent over 50 bucks and worth every penny, who knew that there was a thing called chocolate milk? Haven’t had a hot meal yet but that’s about to change

Not much to write about, the day started with cold coffee and lots of rain. A relatively easy 54 ish miles and now I just dropped 35 bucks for a chocolate milk and commercial camp site as the state one was closed and way too creepy to poach. Raymond was freakish as in every girl and there were many was young and beautiful beyond words, I had to drag my self out of the coffee shop as all the girls kept wanting one more story, it’s not easy being Stormy 😉

Touring in a brompton image

Sammy the stonner tried her her best to get this all in one shot and gave me my first good luck kiss of the day, it wouldn’t be my last, not by a long shot…for some reason I have been getting good luck kisses everywhere I go.  I guess my smile tells a story my tired soul can’t.

Brompton touring

im trying to slow down and it’s making the riding much easier but I have to say at mile 50 and my last hill climb with a warm beer and ciggi on my mind I was in 5th gear standing hammering the pedals like lance Armstrong only I wasn’t jacked on roids…

Brompton touring

Twin harbors was a great camp ground and the rangers are all cyclists and had lots of good info  I would suggest starting this ride from here and heading south.

Brompton set up

The Brompton is an absolute touring machine, she has never let me down and each day it keeps getting better.  I do or may need to sidetrack to Portland for new tires or I may just trust that the one I have will hold. I do need a pump but that just may turn up at a local bike shop and my seat??? Yep, not so much love for it.  All and all this has been one of the most amazing experiences of my life.

  1. notes, I’m stinky a bit sore, really stinky and happy as hell.  I’m bummed it’s costing so much but so is the nature of the world and if I have to side track to work for a few chain links so be it.  I’m starting to relax a bit but today a truck pulling a trailer tried to pass as car and came within 9″ of hitting me head on, what a complete fucking asshole, I don’t even think he saw me but why would he, I was on the side of the road he shouldn’t have been.  I’m glad I started from where I did but I wouldn’t do it again, Washington is a bad state for cyclists and that’s the way it is.  I have to cross that 4.2 mile bridge in a few days, no shoulder and I’m as scared as I am excited.  If you only had one week and about 250 bucks I can’t imagine a better way than a blue collar bicycle tour.

Sylvia state park to Twin harbors

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Brompton flat tiretotal miles 232

miles 32

ciggis smoked as many as I could

money spent 19 bucks

Brompton touring

By 5:00am everything I possess in the world is soaking wet, im talking it couldn’t be wetter if it was underwater.  Im not sure what to do, I’ve never tried to break camp that is underwater.  Not sure what I expected sleeping in a rainforest but I have honestly never seen it rain that hard in my life and I lived in the wettest spot on the planet earth.  It would rain even harder later in the day. But not until just after I made camp and did my best to clean and dry the tent a bit

Brompton touring

i packed up my muddy soaking wet tent and all my belongings heading for the sanctuary of the closest coffee shop I could find. My Vouri running tights are amazing, just call me Dr spandex but I’m never taking these things off, in part with my Terry thermal skirt they are amazing, warm and I can cycle in them all day, the comefort factor is through the roof and I love the camo print.

Brompton bike tour

this day would start on a freeway in the driving rain, torrent winds and five fucking flat tires.  I should stop right now and try and explain what this is like but it’s unexplainable.  I’m on the side of the Fwy, cars flying by and many of them honking at me, I’m covered in mud as the driving rain blinds me, everything is so muddy I can’t function, it’s so loud I can’t listen for the second hole I missed after the first one was patched and all put back together.  I would get 4 of these, I’m almost out of patches and then the 5th riding into Aberdeen, some of the punctures were huge, in Aberdeen in a last ditch effort to save patches I replaced the tube, the rain and mud are giving me some issues and I may side track into Portland for my first real service in over 2000 miles and newer stronger tires, it’s amazingly crippling when you flat out on a fully loaded bike, you can’t even walk the thing.  So to make a short story longit took me 11 hours to make 32 miles.

Brompton touringim way over my budget, my world is soaked and I’m at my breaking point, it wasn’t until I was in the shower this morning trying to warm my fridigid bones that I realized I forgot my towel in the tent, my shoes were too close as was my front bag and so my my shoes squeak with water as I walk and even my food is wet.  I put soaking wet clothing back on for a very fridigid ride to find a laundry mat and food.  It’s day 7 and I’m taking the day off to rest, eat and regroup.

Brompton touring

so far the first week has been very challanging, amazing and beautiful and more than I ever could have imagined both good and bad.  Money is going way too fast so the trip will be cut short but either way I’m out here today and have been able to meet each challange with a smile, even when I’m having a super rough time of it I’m reminded of the mind numbing alternative that I would be facing if I wasn’t out here getting my ass handed to me around every corner.  I’m super excited to get to Portland were I wouldn’t mind spending the winter although I’m not sure we’re the best place to bus in from is, I’ll cross that bridge once I’ve crossed the bridge, unless I can hitchhike across that is, I fucking hate  bridges and the one at Astoria has zero shoulder and is 2 fucking miles long.

Notes, I’m warm and dry but more rain is on the way, I’m still starving as I haven’t found good fatty food I can afford in this town but I’m headed to the store soon.  Finding a laundry mat could be made into a good scene from the Big Lebowski with a John Goodman character who treated me like a three year old continually insulting my intelligence and reprimanding me to read a fucking sign until I explained that I didn’t have a phone, the directions on the locked door clearly said to cal… I rang the bell not having a phone. Once he realized I didn’t have a phone and was doing things in the direct military protocol he was very nice till it asked the code to the shit infested restrooms, he told me if I saw the code he would have to kill me and harder the punch pad with his life. I’m still weak, tired and hungry but at least I’m dry, baby steps…

Potlatch state park to lake Sylvia state park

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Total mikes 165

miles 46

ciggis smoked 11

money spent 36

My first hot meal in 5 days

My first hot meal in 5 days

I’ve spent the last two hours singing songs about my vagina, I used to be a man but 150 miles of this miserable seat have ground me down from a rooster to a hen, I’m convinced I’ll never have sex again, not even with myself 🙁 Riding along side of the freeway I’m in pure heaven as traffic whizzes by me at 80 plus miles an hour.  The lanes are wide and littered with tire poppers, the on and off ramps are tough and scary to negotiate but I’m almost relaxed for the first time since leaving Lopez. I meet my first two southbound cyclists on the road, there have been a few in camp but very few and not  a single cycle tourist since leaving.  They are cute and bubbly and delightful. I also learn that there is a thing called a map and most cyclists are following it, it’s made by adventure cycling and I don’t have it.  I just have a guide book that was last printed in 2005.

Cycling the pacific coast

i wake up on a bed of nails, literally, my camp is all rocks and I didn’t sleep a wink, listening to the huge trucks driving by the hwy side campground.  Honestly I’m scared, more scared than I have ever been, I’m rattled by yesterday’s riding and have much more of it today.  Cranky and sleepy I break camp and hit the road.  Once you start pedaling it’s go time, my first logging truck arrives at the exact second the shoulder vanishes.  Today will be up hill all day.  A flat on the side of the freeway has me walking Brompty with a ciggi hanging out of my mouth looking for a place that isn’t deadly to change a flat.

Brompton touring

My Brompton tool fits inside my frame and is a work of art, my flat is fixed in 10 munutes but my legs have cramped with 17 miles left to go. I won’t be making the 74 miles to Westport today.  Hopelessly lost I struggle into strong head winds, I’m sore everywhere and all I want is the coffee shop I’m now sitting in resting my tired bones.

Cycling the pacific coast

notes, today was without a doubt the second most dangerous day of my life but it opened into a beautiful ramble through slow time forgotten valleys, a now defunct nuclear reactor caught my interest as did all of the small towns where every single store was out of buisiness.  Still no bike shop but lots of gun stores, this is trump county.  Looks like rain tomorrow and I will finally reach the coast.

Terry cycling skirt

Current, I’m sitting in a coffee shop soaked to the bone, I’m near my breaking point, today will be a rest day while I regroup…

Port Townsend to Dosewallips state oark

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Ciggis smoked 11

Miles 36

Money spent 17.53

Bicycle touring on a brompton

Heroes and villains, my Nikon is seriously starting to piss me off.  It’s so heavy and bulky, I had a chance to drop it off in port Townsend and I wish I did.  The uke is also a hero and a villain, it’s hard to carry and dangerously swings around.  I’m not sure what to do but both may get jettisoned soon, I hate the thought of not having the uke as it has brought much joy but it’s dangerous and when the rain comes and it will it will be difficult to care for.

Brompton

I’m sitting just passed the pass of mount walker, I’m crushed after 30 miles, mostly up hill.  I pull off on to the side of the road to rest my body and my brain.  The logging trucks showed up with a vengeance and they are frightening as hell as are the Q-tips in thier 40′ motor homes dragging a car behind.  The shoulder all but disappeared in many places and the the bridges have none, my load is still to heavy and it makes the Brompton unsafe at speeds.

Bicycle touring brompton

I start singing to the traffic as it hurtles by at break neck spends on the windy mountian top, a cyclist rides by and I admire her well earned spandex covered tush and keep playing.  A few minutes later and she is riding back up the other side of the road, I put the uke down, we call across a freeway of traffic, I have a new riding partner for the rest of the day but she is not on tour and continues where I leave off with an invitation and a place to stay in the opposite direction I am headed.

Today started late last night when I got a text from my brother, he was in Port Townsend, I was with a friend and it was late so I caught up before dawn and tracked him down.  I called from the front desk phone, wake up you lazy so and so Hog Waaloop. We have breakfast in the lobby lots of coffee and he sends me off with a bag of Fritos and three bananas.

I don’t know why every day starts with a huge fucking hill but it does and I would spend today completly lost battling big hills and contemplating why I’m doing this.  I’ve been asked so many times and still don’t have an answer.  I’m not sure why everybody feels the need to tell me I’m going to die out here but it’s well over 50 people now who have sent me pre maturely off to the grave.  I don’t want to die, that’s why I’m doing this, to live.  The freedom and time with no clocks, no schedules and nothing but my eyes and ears and all my senses on full overload.

The days are mine and they are hard earned as they should be, there are very few cyclists on this stretch and I understand why, the traffic is crazy scary.  I live in each moment and think about everything in the world from my pink socks to red necks and wonder why they all drive such shitty trucks, I’ve never seen a red neck in a banging new ford and I wonder why?

My day starts at 8:15 and by 100pm my ass announces that the days is done, cold beer in hand and lots of good no cook food I’m pretty happy and already stinky again.  I’m headed south but not committed to continuing south, east sounds fun also and when I ditch my my extra cargo I think the riding will be that much better and faster.  I still am learning to climb out of the saddle with the new front bag and while I’m sore and very tired I feel good, no I feel great.

im the only person in this creepy campground roadside and the constant barrage of traffic irritates me.  This is a rest stop thT locals use as a sex pit,  get me out of here

Dosewallips state park to Potlatch

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Total mileage 119.5 seems like more 🙂

miles 36

ciggis smoked 12

money spent 31 and I’m way over my damn budget 🙁

Touring on a brompton

today has been the day from Hellas the single most dangerous of my life. I woke up to a soaking wet world, uphill straight off the bat and the most dangerous road of my life, if today had been day one I would have quit this journey sold Brompty and gotten a job at McDonalds, although I’m still desperately searching for one for breakfast.

Bike touring on a brompton

The guide book scared the shit out of me as I read it’s words. It said 16 miles of dangerous roads, that was total bs.  24 miles of hell on wheels and again I’m questioning why I am here and what I’m doing.  Today was not fun in any manner as huge logging truck, dump,trucks and crazy driver whizzed by litteraly inches from me.

Brompton bike tour

Im going to take this moment to pull out the cripple card, with my double vision and dyslexia this journey is just plain fucking stupid.  I see two of everything but the one on the right is what’s really on the left and obviously the one on the other side doesn’t belong there either.

Bike touring bromptonThere was almost no shoulder with a three foot trench at the edge, I had vertigo the whloe time and with my overstuffed load the bike is still awkward in these very challenging situations.  I wanted to take a picture but was too fucking scared to stop.  Also way too many bridges and crowned roads on blind curves that are one of the most dangerous parts of cycling.  For twenty straight hilly miles I pedaled like is was being chased by the devil.  I have never in my life been this scared or shaken up, this shit sucks but I’m hoping it’s well behind me.

Brompton bike tour 2016

Its cold as fuck today, my hands and toes numb the whole day riding in the wet pacific north west mist.  Pulling out of my hell ride , chilled to the bone I spotted a small shop.  I walked in shivering and trembling and had to beg the guy to brew me a cup of coffee.  Stretching outside, the smell of burning wood, the cry of many eagles me the low overhanging mist was as beautiful as anything in the world.  You can’t just drive up and witness this kind of emotion.  What I experienced was heaven on earth, thousands of memories flooded me from a lifetime of road trips.  This is what I live for, this brief moment in time.

The  next four miles are very emotional, tears of joy stream down my cheeks, I find a post office, my front bag is 24.12 still to much.  I hate to do it but I commit to sending away my still unused Nikon and my uke, it’s just not safe.  A big iPhone would be perfect but with my iPad it takes too much effort to unpack and tke snap shots so I don’t.

Im sitting In a warm, no hot coffee shop.  My fingers and toes are burning, the girl that helps me is cute and sweet and a joy to be around.  My comfy leather chair squeaks as I squirm around trying to find the right angle for my road weary ass, I’m spent but there are many more miles today, I want to live right here in this chair, I’m never leaving this spot.  Somewhere on some un named traffic infested hill I crossed my first hundred miles, this trip just started and I’m already past ten percent of the journey.  I need to learn to slow down, we all do.

Deception Pass to Port Townsend

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Ciggis smoked 10

miles  34

cost 36.00

Touring on a brompton

Heros and villains, my bike grips are for sure the heroes as is my Terry mankilt.  The big villain is my bike seat which was replaced with a newer Brompton seat and now I’m desperate to replace this seat again with something not Brompton.  Imagine being reamed and tortured analy, this is what this seat is like as was its predecessor. I’m in no small amount of pain but unlike yesterday where I was crushed, I feel good and could drop another 20 or more miles if I didn’t have dinner plans in Port Townsend.

Touring on a brompton

The thing about your first day is it will never be the same after that.  The freedom and exileration of finally being free, the pain of finally being out on the road and the sheer beauty of your new surrounds.  Everything will continue to change and with each new experience so will you.

Cycling the pacific coast

Day one ended with a complet meal fail, that heavy shit I brought was rotten and I was too crushed to to anything other than go to bet stinky, sweaty and tired.  A little girl on tour brought me a chocolate chip cookie, it was the best cookie I have ever had.

Touring on my Brompton

I have six speeds, by 8:00 am I had used all of them.  The dry crackle of rubber and dirt fiollow me down a lonely patch of single track and I make my way around a hill it’s way too early to climb.  Deception Pass camp ground is a shit hole with fighter jets blasting overhead well into the night.  Everytime I fall asleep I’m woken by the sound of afterburners. I can’t get out early enough. One cup of coffee and I’m on the road, it’s up hill the whole fucking way, quads burning, granny gear churning, I’m so sick of being so worn out.  I figure it will take at least a week for my body to recover from the summer and another to build back up into cycling shape.  I didn’t spend one second training or preparing in any way shape or form for this ride.

I make it to oak harbor, I shouldn’t be this tired but I am, all I want is coffee and Mc donalds, I want it on this side of the street because I’m too tired to cross to the other.  It’s way too early in the trip to be fantasizing about spandex but my balls really hurt.  I see an Arby’s then Taco hell then lots of fast food stores and another Arby’s, are there really two or am I actually riding this slow.  I see a sign for a Starbucks but it’s out of buisiness, the whole strip mall is.  On the edge of town I pay 7 bucks for a cup of coffee and some form of  strawerry fruit thing.  There is a plastic cup separating the gornola  from the yogurt but I’m too stupid or tired or both to figure this out its 9:54 am

The barrage of high speed traffic is a constant assault on the mind, huge trucks blast by at 50 mph, not only do they not winded the gap but they cross the little white line into my already too small of space, I hate cars and thier selfish drivers, after 8 years of being careless I make a vow that I will never again own one.

ive been climbing for over half an hour, this hill seems endless but I find myself shifting out of granny into my second gear, then my third and 4th, I’m finding my legs.  Then smell of rancid fruit and horse shit make me smile, this is really real and I’m here, after yesterday I was very afraid of today but by 11:40 I’m on the ferry to Port Towmsend.  I’ve crushed this day and even though it was only a short 30 miles, that’s pretty close to what I’m hoping for the whole trip, I’m trying to go slow and really take it all in.

i stink like fuck and need a good shower and to do a bit of laundry, I’m digging riding in my running shorts but spent half of the day fantasizing about spandex, or a new seat or both, neither are in the budget but the fantasies keep me going, spirits are very high but I’m tired and want a cold beer and slice of pizza, first a shower is in order.

After a glorious shower I shared laundry with a cute sailorette I met, out unmentionables did unmentionable things in the dryer while she played the flute as I plucked my uke in the lazy afternoon sun. My day continued to awesome on every front but the rest is private.

San Juan islands to Deception Pass

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Mileage

Cigarettes smoked 15

mileage 13.5

cost 20 bucks

Bike touring on a brompton

By 9:00 am I’m in my granny gear and my quads are burning, I’m totally unprepared and loving every second of it.  I had stopped by the post office to weigh my front bag, it has a max load of 22 pounds.  After a late light of trimming, shaving and jettisoning everything I could I’m down to 26 pounds and the bike is a bit unwieldy but all and all rides like a dream.  My fucking ukulele on my back is driving me nuts and I know I’ll need to find a better way but I only 15 minutes into my journey.

Bicycle touring

The culprits are my full size Nikon and zoom lense, I had hoped to sell it an find a sweet little micro 4/3 with 35mm primary and that is still my goal but selling a camera on the road is not going to be easy.  I also have way too much food, even though I jettisoned quite a bit and three cans of beer.  I set off with exactly $750’bucks so every penny counts as does every ounce.  My medium wight long underwear are too heavy and occupy oso much space but it’s what I had.  I also had 4 now 3 little bottles of whiskey.  I had also planned on cycling the lost coast so brought a pile of spares but it’s closed due to a landslide so more shit and less money.  Then there is the bike chain.  It’s a long story but it’s in my bag and a hate to replace the one I’m using till it needs it, yes another budget thing but it’s also one more culprit.

The waves are smashing the ferry, I should have folded and brought Brompty up with me but another sign I have too much stuff to wrangle.  This is going to be a very experience with a huge learning curve of how smile I can make my cargo and my journey.  I weigh a buck sixty soaking wet, ad 35 pounds or so of gear and that puts my riding weight at damn near 200 pounds.  My goal was and is sub 180, I’ll get there for sure but not today.

My goal was for an easy first day, a chance to unwind and gilet used to having to clock, I look at my wrist a thousand times a day for no reason other than there used to be a watch there, I never realized how often I did this or how unhealthy it is.  The sun is my clock now.  Unlike just about every person who strives to have more in this world, my goal is to have less.  Just the right amount of this and that, my mind trails off to the homeless guys on rusty old beach cruisers I’d meet all over Hawaii, thier tiny day packs and the freedom it gave them.

Notes I’m crushed, the hills killed me.  I stopped to take off a layer and climbed a huge hill.  At the top a girl in her car was yelling at, you dropped something, I looked back at my seat bag and oh fuck, I left my ukulele sitting on the side of the curb at the bottom of the hill, all my money and passport were in it.  I rode like the devil and thank god it was still there.  Day one the uke has been a huge fail, it’s hard to wear on my back, constantly shifting and strangles me, the things we do for love.  Steiger off the ferry I was smacked with reality, big trucks spewing smog, narrow shoulders and many hills, the guide book says this is easy, I’m screwed.  It was a good and very hard day, tomorow I will see triple the mileage.  The front bag is way too heavy and dangerous, I’ve lightened again today and that damn camera is now heavier than ever, it’s a burden but also important till I can find a lighter one, I’ve already had many thoughts of mailing it away but I’m not ready for that yet. Deception pass camp ground is a shit hole with never ending fighter jets over head and no close water or restrooms.  I’m really tired, spirits are high but energy is very low and I’m a bit worried about tomorrow, where I’ll find the energy to cook and why I brought the things I did, much wasted money that could have been used on better no cook food, warmer clothes and the such…

Pampered

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I had forgotten how magnificent Sookies v-Berth is. I sprawled out in every direction, the way Chloe used to do and had the best nights sleep of my life. I’ve never been more torn about leaving Sookie before but if I don’t quit smoking, having the best sailboat in the world won’t matter and that’s what this journey is. A desperate attempt to quit smoking, it will be done by riding myself into submission every day and working it out of my system.

Bike touring on a brompton

Although as I sit here pecking these words I’m so worn out I can barely walk, I hobble about dizzy and tired from my long summer.  It will be a very slow start while I try and regain my strength.  My last effort as dock master was wheeling a drunken power boater to his boat, he literally couldn’t walk.  An hour later I got an emergency call and came screaming down the dock on my bike ” out of the way”. This dipshit tried to leave the marina and literally almost ran himself over after falling overboard. Lifting his dead weight out of the water was difficult, a marina full of people and only one person came to help.  Not even the guys that called would assist, fucking humans are a waste.

Travel by brompton

Sitting in my big plush bed with soft white sheets, snuggly socks and my warmies I’m as good as I’m going to get.  I packed and repacked a hundred times.  My front bag has a 22lb max load, I’m sure I’m 10 pounds over that but the road will straighten that all out.

At the very last moment I ditched one Mac and cheese meal and my down vest, this may come back to haunt me but I’m just way over my target weight.  A pound saved may seem insignificant but I’m reminded of a conversation I was having with a millionaire and a billionaire. The millionaire told me that he counts every dollar when the billionaire chimed in that he counts every cent.  Ounces equal pounds when it comes to packing light.

Im in a delicious place right now, retired for month at least and feeling very pampered in my clean clothes and soft bed.  A long hot bath may have been the last for some time as was a good shave.  All I have to do now is pick a direction and turn the pedals. But that’s will come soon enough.  Tonight I will bounce around my clean space, it’s the last bit of safety and security I will know for My journey has already begun.

PS there is no way I can describe how close I came today to saying screw it with this trip and launching Sookie fr a bitter cold winter or just grabbing my uke and jumping the first plane to Hawaii.  As of this point my packing and luggage proved to be a complete failure on my first short fully packed journey.  It’s going to be a long night if I want to make this work, I have way too much

“The very basic core of a man’s living spirit is his passion for adventure. The joy of life comes from our encounters with new experiences, and hence there is no greater joy than to have an endlessly changing horizon, for each day to have a new and different sun.”
― Christopher McCandless

Rubber tramp

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Dragging my Brompton through the thick Hawaiin mud for twelve hours straight had many thoughts going through my head, most of them were what the fuck am I doing here.  I didn’t put much thought into that journey, I just stuffed my shit in my pack and left.

Living aboard a sailboat

when I returned I hadn’t ever gone deeper than 6″ into my pack.  I never used my sleeping bag and most other items were little more than the weight of the world on my back.  I carted my shit around because I owned it, but in the end; it owned me.

Ive never been very good at preparing for things, I just dive and and see what happens.  I’m pretty much on that page right now.  Last night I stuffed a bunch of crap in my bags and it all almost fits.  Im not mentally up to the task of doing this right now due to all out exhaustion but I am doing it.  My motto is if I want something and I don’t have it, I don’t need it.  I sure many items will be donated along the way.

What I do know is that my tent works and I have a warm enough sleeping bag.  My mishmash of clothing should keep me warm and the uke will help my brain and maybe even a few new songs will come out of this.

The  whole boat thing hasn’t really been working out so in switching gears, when she sells I’m buying a flat in the city and going back to a normal life but for now nothing in my world is normal.  Tomorrow after my last day at work I get one special night in a big comfy bed with a bathtub and good music.  The following morning is when the rubber hits the road and all bets are off.  I have no idea how far I will ride or in what direction although  do usually gravitate south at this time of year.

I haven’t a single responsibility in the world so at this point I am more free than I have ever been in my life.  Just me, Brompty, my uke and the open road.  I think Larry Pardey said it best when he said ” As long as it’s fun”.  Be it a day or a year, one of the many benefits of traveling light is the ability to jump a plane, train or automobile at any point and make a B-line to a new adventure.  Going my way?

“A person does not grow from the ground like a vine or a tree, one is not part of a plot of land. Mankind has legs so it can wander.”
― Roman Payne 

Roamer

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My life isn’t a slow motion trailer for the Banff film festival. Nobody knows my name. My superpower is in my anonymity. My struggle has never earned me sponsors, royalties or endorsements.  My autograph is something that will never be asked for. My greatest achievements are the reward of surviving hypothermia, storms both on and off the sea, and the rigors of the life nomadic; a new scar with its own story to tell and fllthy grimy finger nails, salt, sweaty matted everything, Pain… My story cant  be bought or sold it has to be earned and it’s a hard way to make a living.

Sterling Hayden

I am stormy  and my life and the torture I put myself through doesn’t matter to anyone other other than me. My sore muscles, road beaten body or the few data bites my tired fingers peck out on my I pad are all I possess. My studio is in my brain and my canvas is my bleach blond brow, my tanned smile and the crows feet trailing my pale blue eyes that tell the story of a man who wondered what if I just say fuck it, give my shit to the needy and walk away.  You will never understand why I do what i do and it’s not your place to understand.  You are one of the lucky few on a planet of billions who has the fortune, or misfortune to witness to my shinanagans.

This is about the time I start to freak out.  I always say the first three days are the hardest, if you can survive those you can survive anything but what about the last three days.  I haven’t even looked into gearing up, I need to move the boat and wrap it up and still have work and one last top secret project before I leave. The clock is not my friend, but soon enough I will take off the watch that rules over each day and the sun will take its place.  My days will be ruled by feeding time, sleeping time and all of the time of day between sunrise and sunset.

Not unlike many years ago when I turned my back on everything safe that I knew in the world I’m doing it again.  Much like the gypsies who stole me and gave me my name I am a roamer and that’s what I will continue to do until I am captured.

I know all to well of the cold and wet and headwinds and all of the things that go bump in the night.  These same things that I fear as much as the long dark and lonely nights are what draw me out into the world most only read about.  In three short days I will be given parole from the prison I have willingly entered and again I will be a free man and this earth I will roam with no destination other than the present. Run Run as fast as you can, you can’t catch me I’m the gingerbread man

“The securest place is a prison cell, but there is no liberty”
― Benjamin Franklin

Bellingham

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Sitting in my crows nest with my binoculars in hand I spy a shippey yacht sailing into the harbor.  A pirate anchors under sail and I smile when I notice he is wearing a kilt, I’m not the only freak in this world that loves the freedom to roam.

Falmouth cutter 22

In two days Sookie will be in Bellingham for the winter.  I have mixed feelings about leaving her but my solo sailing days are over so into storage she will go.  I had originally planned on flipping a coin between wintering aboard and a cycle tour but I have far too many options now to let a coin decide.

The coin flip has always been good to me but when Nina emailed me that she will be back on Maui in late October I decided it’s about time I choose my own destiny rather than leaving it up to the fate of the coin.

I have all my ducks in a row and am gearing towards a warm winter, that is unless I stumble into a willing and able sailing partner but that is the farthest thing from my mind right now.  I withdrew my offer on the Bristol Channel Cutter I was hoping to sail to the Caribbean in November, it’s not my time, not yet anyways.

i have a list of projects to do on Sookie when I return and the price tag will be huge so im off in search of gainful employment and a square bed, indoor plumbing and hot water.  My mode of transportation will be by Brompton but if a warm offer for work appears I’ll jump the first jet south.

Dear Casey, I won’t be coming to Olympia…

Dear Monica, I leaving in a few days…

Dear Nina…

“There’s something really cool about knowing that your destiny is SO big that you’re not meant to share it with anyone. At least not yet.” 

― Mandy Hale,

Orgin of the ukulele low G string

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The snow was lightly falling, I had just ditched my Subaru WRX in the woods having seen a deer get hit by a car and we were starving.  I dragged the carcass into the woods and started hacking it up when a girl with big blue eyes and long curly hair exploded onto the scene.  She was wearing runners with no socks, Dolphin shorts and a thin tank top, her neck wrapped in a scarf and a stocking cap.  We were instantly a couple and would spend the next few months bouncing around between our snow cave and the car as we were both homeless.

Hiding from the cold we stopped into a music shop to look at native flutes, we both played them and it seemed like a good way to pass a few snowy hours.  I picked up a uke and started to play when the shop keeper asked me if I had ever heard of a low G string.  Sure I replied, I invented it. I pulled up a stool, started to plink at the strings and told him my story.

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Back before the turn of the century I had been trying to play somewhere over the rainbow, Israel “Iz” Kaʻanoʻi Kamakawiwoʻole’s version.  My G string was driving me nuts as I couldn’t get the sound I wanted.  I kept basing off my C string as the G wouldn’t work.  I switched from my Kamaka soprano to a new Fluke concert but I still couldn’t find the sound.  One day I was bitching to my uke instructor and asked if he would help me replace my G with a wound guitar string, eventually we fell on a D string and I had found my sound.

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Life was again perfect and I was back to hours a day trying to perfect my tunes.  One day I noticed that the all plastic fret board on my uke was wearing out due to the wound G string.  I called the fluke company and asked if they would replace the fret board and of course the answer was yes but followed with a how could you wear out the fret board, they are nearly indestructible.  I told him about my new low G but words would explain so I set down the phone and picked up the uke and played him a song.  He immediatly put Seal Beach on his list to come check out what we were up to.  Within a few months the fluke  uke company had added an option of a wood fret board with metal frets just for the new Low G and again my uke world was in harmony.

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When I ordered my new Concert Opio from the guys at the uke site I had them set it up for a Low G but string it with a high G. They went through all thier Ukes and found the sweetest tone and best head angle and then went to work perfecting my new little gem for me.  One of the greatest things about having your uke professionally set up is that a master uker has set the bar for your new uke and it will never forget the first hands that played it.  Mine is already coaxing better music out of me.

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There’s something about guitars, they’re just so big, you know what I mean? You’re just like, ‘Ugh!’ It just seems so overwhelming. And the ukulele is, like, the opposite of overwhelming. Zooey Deschanel

My new Opio by Ko Aloha

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I ripped the entire boat apart looking for my headlamp but it was nowhere to be found.  I had an uber stealthy credit at Moosejaw due to them being awesome and me spending way too much on my new sleeping garb.  One buck was all it took to send a new headlamp and cross the last item off my list but something was missing, I had this nagging feeling that I was blowing it when it hit me, I have no way to make music each night in camp.  No excuse to pull over and sit in the shade for hours upon hours doing nothing but plucking my strings and absolutely no chick magnet.  A light bulb went off…


I pulled up my bank account and was faced with enough money for food and a camp site each night for two full months or a new uke and thirty days of living like a scrub and a bit of involuntary  dieting. A duhh, I pulled up www.ukulelesite.com and started my search.  If I had all my dreams come true I would spend the next year in Hawaii studying uke on a brand new Ko Aloha tenor with voice lessons to boot but alas I was given a greater gift of figuring out how to sing and play this gem all by myself.

Regardless of price a new uke needs to be set up and the guys at the uke site do free set up on all new Ukes and free shipping If you spend over 400 bucks and I did but I still didn’t think they would have time to get it for me before I shove off.  I ordered on a Monday afternoon or maybe it was Tuesday and they had it in my hands by the following Friday.  I didn’t know exactly what I wanted set up wise so i just turned it over to the pros and I must say even after a very long absence away and with very little talent  this thing plays like it was built for me.

I opened the package and was shocked at how beautiful my new little concert uke is, every detail down to the tuners are impossibly perfect.  It’s going to take a while to make this baby sing but I’ve been rocking out on the dock, in my camp, at work, on the beach and every place I go.  My fingers are sore and tender but they just need a few more laps around the fretboard.  To top it all off they upgraded me to a sic super plush gig bag and sent a dehumidifier along for good measure.  To put it very simply Stormy approves of the whole staff at the uke site and so should you 🙂

Ukuleles will get you through times with no money better than money will get you through time with no ukulele – anonymous

Winter

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i wake up shivering and pull on a cap and gloves, it’s dropped below 50 for the first time in a while and I’m freezing.  I curl up in a ball and the wheels start spinning I’ve got to get out of this place.

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when you have a warm dry place to seek shelter living in the 40’s isn’t the end of the world but when your living in a crumpled pile of sweat in the the damp cold of the pacific north west it’s cuts like a knife.  Im cold when it’s warm out, when other people think it’s cold I’m on the edge of hypothermia.

My fingers are cold and burning as I peck at my keyboard, the cold has zapped my battery and it keeps blinking at me another sign that I need to get the hell out of here.  I look down at my pink socks pertruding from my new kicks and wiggle my toes, they are warm and snuggly, I smile at simple pleasures.

Key West is sounding pretty delightful right about now, I wonder if I can’t find a little winter refuge there, maybe a new warm life. I take a bite of my banana and sip my coffee.

From the log of Sookie COLD…Tiny little humans run screaming down the dock, back and forth.  They are being chased by imaginary  monsters, thier tiny sea boots go clompity clomp as pink little faces scream and giggle whike they escape the imaginary beast that chases them.  My beast isn’t imaginary and it’s bearing down on me like a freight train, I call it winter…

 


 

Finding my humans

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I’m  jamin on my new uke when I hear a scratch on my hull, it’s Casey, she’s crying and hiccuping and sniffeling.  Her journey has been a long hard and lonely one and she is starting to discover what all solo sailors do, that it can be fucking lonely out there cut off from our tribe.

https://vimeo.com/ondemand/23feet

https://vimeo.com/ondemand/23feet

I’ve been been there so many times, in many ways I’m there right now. While I have many aquantences living close to the way I choose I have very few that live on the edge the way i do, it’s hard for people to understand our life and lifestyle when they are so far removed. In many ways I’m completely burned out from the last year of sailing cycle touring working and always sleeping in my damn tent but in others I recharged and ready to move on. I’m getting pretty used to chasing the seasons.

I want to invite Casey with me but I don’t and I won’t, she is too young and has to find her own journey and to make her own way.  I row out to her little boat and we have wine as I wipe away her tears, I offer to sail home with her…

Back in my life I’m only 9 fingers away from my next journey and up until she showed up I didn’t even know what it was.  My search for a community of people who live a full time existence of minimalism and simplicity while pushing every boundary of exploring thier lifes.

I used to climb but I don’t fit in to with the climbers. I was a surfer but that’s not my tribe.  Skiing and Mountian biking ruled my world for years but it’s not that either.  It’s iut there, this I know and I will continue the search for my humans, I know They will show up when the time is right, serveral of them did last night in the form of two Lyle Hess boats showing up and an offer for a place to chill in San Diego although that is many miles from where I am floating now.

“Don’t waste your time being what someone wants you to become, in order to feed their list of rules, boundaries and insecurities. Find your tribe. They will allow you to be you, while you dance in the rain.”
― Shannon L. Alder

The mystery

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Apperarantly rogue posts kept slipping through the cracks while AOH was down but for the life of me I can’t remember what they were.
My dogs are warm and dry in my new kicks ready for the next step of our journey…

“The world is full of obvious things which nobody by any chance ever observes.”
― Arthur Conan Doyle

Pink

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My great grandmother was a physic, she told me many things about my coming life the one and only time I met her.  She was on her death bed but her eyes were clear as the blue water I love sailing the most.  She told me things I would later learn about my self but at the time I thought she was crazy.


One of the things I’ve always carried with me is that she told me to surround myself in a pink cloud and would always be safe.  I’ve done this from that day foreward, sometimes it’s a self induced cloud, others it’s a pink tee or some other article of clothing.  I’ll never forget when my mom brought home a pink pair of Sperry topsiders for me, I was like, why the hell would she get me these but I loved them and to date I have always been safe, even in some of the most dangerous conditions in the world.

I was really hoping for some soft of high visibility pink kilt to wear on the cycling journey that I still have yet to commit to. But have given up as I simply couldn’t find a good fit.  I did find a great Terry thermal kilt for the cold days to go over my camo mangings but it’s a very disappointing grey, although it’s super warm and will let me change my clothes modestly right in the side of the highway. Man kilts are functional as hell when used right and the fit is perfect.

So I found these awesome pink socks to keep me safe on my journey although I’m sure the redneck idiots will have a few words but I have no issues with telling them where they can stick it.  So that’s that I have officially busted my budget and obtained everything I need except basic riding clothing tops and bottoms but for now a pair of runners and my old backpacking shirts will do. My contract ends in two weeks and that’s when the adventure will begin, I can hardly wait to see where my journey goes.

As for me, I will follow the path of the pink bunnies.” 

You can get your own pink Sperry’s by clicking right here 🙂

― Magenta Periwinkle

My new kicks 

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I’m walking home from the food store, a 12 pack in one hand and my paper bag of goodies in the other.  There is a band in the park, hippies twirl and gyrate the rhythm pulses through me.  A deer runs across the road lit with golden rays of evening.  With each passing car I try and lift my thumb but there will be no rides today.  I say a hello to a cute girl in passing, stop and turn for a second look and we are eye to eye.


She starts picking blackberrys while I drop my bag in a delicious spot of sun on the side of the road.  We share a beer and she pulls out a spliff, we share that and a meal and good conversation about the island, we share everything.  I wake up in the most comefortable bed I’ve ever slept in, silky white sheets, big pillows and it’s warm.  Breakfast is fruit and coffee.

It’s raining today and foiling my finish coat on the bow Sprite so we laze around listening to music, sitting close and giggling and this or that.  Her long hair falls across my shoulder and I don’t want to leave.  The universe is fucking with me.  She drops me off at Sookie and we say good by, no exchange of numbers, she knows where to find me.  She drives ten feet and stops the car, gets out and runs back to give me one last kiss and a giant hug. She starts talking.  ” last night was so much fun, when can we do it again?”  I reply “how about right now”, she smiles and tells me about her work.  We make plans to make plans but we make none, still no exchange and she drives off.  I have a bit of time to set up for when the sun returns.

I tuck my new and still unworn shoes away and do some organizing of food that needs to be eaten.  I’m lazy and don’t want to work on anything, I pull on a thick pair of wool socks and hope for a calm day, the wind had me running crazy all day yesterday but now it’s calm, I can smell her on me, like flowers her scent lingers and I wonder if this is a tipping point, maybe I won’t be going anywhere or doing anything.  I tuck my new pink socks into my Brompty bag, there is a story here but for now I have to go off to work…

“So many went on a quest to tame her, 

The only man to win her heart was the one 

Who was also free.” 

― Nikki Rowe

Chloe

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I bought Chloe a brand new Subaru for her first birthday, before the end of the first week she had ripped  out the steering colum to the tune of serveral thousand dollars but that was only the tip of the iceberg compared to what I paid in bribes to keep her in my divorce settlement.  I didn’t care about the house, the money or any of the personal belongings that took me a lifetime to obtain, I just wanted that fluffy little monster that made my world so frustratingly perfect.


A Brittany came running down the dock right up to me and after a good ear scratch she layed down on my foot the way Chloe used to do, I almost had a breakdown, I miss that little fucker so much words can not describe.  They say it gets easier with time, it doesn’t.  With every passing day I miss her more and more and think about her more often. For a long time I tried to block it all but I simply can’t, I miss my baby, always :(…

I miss the life I created for her and our back woods adventures together, eating road kill, living in a snow cave and section hiking the pacific crest trail.  She was the best companion a man could have.  It’s been a year since that horrible day when she went to that big fiend in the sky and I’ve been saving a special bottle a friend gave to me, for what I didn’t know but tonight I will toast my best friend with a bottle of red appropriately named Chloe, the girl who changed not only who and what I am but also how I see the world.  I have a book in me but I’m not so sure I’m ready to share our adventures with the world.

She would always eat my cooking, never said no to a few extra miles on the trail and was great for treeing a bear in my campsite if a treed bear in your camp site is what you want.  She was always up to some form of shinanigans and taught me that life is to short to follow the rules.  I’d sneak her into bars and restaurants and we would both get kicked out.  Our winter in a back country cabin snowshoeing through heavy power on a daily basis was one of the best times of my life.  She would always jump on the back of my snow shoes tripping me face first into to deep snow and then jump on my back to play.  Mornings were steam roller time when she would pounce on me and wake me up for coffe and dog chow.  

On one famous backpacking trip where all I brought were a pack of hot dogs and a sleeping bag she crawled into a dead deer carcas just before sunset. I did the best to clean her that I could but it was impossible, then the mosquitos came out in force.  We dove into my sleeping bag wet stinky dog and all and I said to her, at least it’s not raining, then the Hevens opened up, there was no place I would have rather been.  My favorite Mountian biking trail was 40 miles long and she would lap me the whole time.  We climbed every mountain, sailed all over the country and Mexico together and did the worlds best road trip.

My heart is still hurting these days but I always feel like she is close by, keeping an eye on me and reminding me that none of us will get out of this world alive.  Her daily memories remind  me to love unconditionally, play every day and to wake up with an explosion for another day and the gift of life.  I salute you Chloe, cheers my friend and thank you for teaching me that while life might not be fair it’s the greatest gift any of us could ever ask for.

I think dogs are the most amazing creatures; they give unconditional love. For me, they are the role model for being alive.

—Gilda Radner

Barefoot bandit

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I watched my little sailor girl pull her main and slowly work her way out of the harbor.  She is scared shitless but still following her dream.  I stocked her with beans and onions and a special bottle of wine and already miss her company but she promised to come back and visit before I leave.  She just turned 18, used four years of babysitting and mowing lawns money to buy a boat and is off to see the islands.


I’m a bit worried about her but she made it all the way from Olympia so I’m sure she will just keep on gunk holing her way around till it gets too cold.  Her little Ericsson is the perfect first time boat and seemed huge compared to Sookie.  I love young people because they haven’t yet learned that they are doing the impossible, or at least the thing age and experience beats out of us.  She left in June with $200.00 and a boat full of food, not a far cry from when I pushed Sookie out to find a better life in the islands.


It’s lonely and far too quiet now back on Sookie but I have much to do and every day is like Christmas as packages keep arriving and I try and sort a way to fit it all in.  So far my only option has been to reduce my food stores.  It looks like I can fit a one day emergency supply  plus the days riding food which I hope will be enough.  Should I flip my wig and ride across the southern border I will need to carry more food but less warmies, although I’m still wondering if I will ride a single mile… Either way my new warmies are stupid comfy and I love the camo print, they fit like a glove and will be the only thing between me and the elements on the cold days.  It was them or waterproof pants, I don’t have the budget or space for both, I’m quite pleased with my decision.  They look like they are see through but they are not, it’s just the awesome stealth camo.

I don’t know why the only choices in men’s athletic clothes are black and grey and fit like a sac of potatoes but it seriously pisses me off.  I was hoping to pedal off with all the colors  of the rainbow lighting me up like a billboard so all the cars could easily see me.  Clothes should be fun to wear, note to self, learn to sew so you can make your own shit!

“You all laugh at me because I’m different, I laugh at you because you’re all the same.” 

― John Davis

Me no like

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By noon I had reached my personal limit of exhaustion, weeks without a day off, Sunday is supposed to be an easy day.  The straits were throwing a tantrum which meant I had a pile of frazzled boaters, some staying some hiding but all of them having massive issues docking.  Blown furlers, boats dragging anchor and breaking waves over the entire end tie had my 15 hour day filled.


I woke up crumpled in a heap of my own pitiful state lying on the dock like a piece of doggie poo.  The day started out promising, I actually obtained a cook pot and wind screen, some string, and low and behold two pairs of socks to go with my new kicks, yep this sailor now has a new pair of shoes in the mail.  I gave up on water proof pants and picked up a pair of running tights with a killer print on them to keep me warm in the cool mornings and having completely given up on a bright pink don’t run me over cover up I got a Terry thermal wrap to cover my junk.  I was feeling pretty satisfied and broke when I met a very hungry girl living in her boat.  She didn’t have enough to cover her groceries so I covered it with a bit to spare for her and now I feel like a huge pile of shit having all this new gear when I’m reminded of how many people struggle just to eat in this world.

Somewhere between her and there I dropped for the count till I was awoken by a girl on the dock with a cold beer and a hand up.  Refreshed and ready to rumble I made it back to Sookie and sanded till the sun went down.  My feet hurt so badly I can barely walk but it’s tent time and my favorite time of the day when I can pile into my little cocoon and sleep like the dead, after a great glass of J.Scott that is 🙂

“When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist.” 

― Hélder Câmara

There’s a new sheriff in town

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The VHF radio crackles to life,  the boater asks permission ” is it ok if I…” I respond, this is America, you can do anything you want.  All ears are pleased and as a local walks by he refers to the mantra I’ve been spreading since day one, “there’s a new Sherrif in town.”


Its my job to keep the kids safe, round up the lost puppies and even save a float plane here and there when the weather and currents are especially nasty.  Its appearant by the smile I wear on my face that I love what I do and I’m good at it because I love it but I’m too old for this shit.  I race up and down the dock on my flame encrusted beach cruiser ringing my bell as a warming and calling out hellos as I fly by, all day catching boats and boaters, flirting with the co-eds and hauling heavy  objects up the steep ramp for my elderly guests. I know the name of every guest and thier familys and thier dogs, all good people have dogs…

When I clock out my day isn’t ending, it’s just beginning.  I hitch into town for supplies and a fresh avacodo or banana or what ever buisiness I’m up to and then it’s back to Sookie working in circles around myself.  When the sun goes down its off to the bar for a bit of rock star treatment, free drinks and BS-ing with sailors from all over the world.  

Today among the many awesome things that happened I ran into Jessie who sailed his Falmouth cutter with his wife and four young doughters, now he sails and exquisite cape George 36.  The very first thing he did was rip out the head and teach the girls how to use a shit bucket, I actually met him right at this dock many years ago when he came sailing in with his girls diving off the side like the little sea monkeys they are and livin up the island life, it’s alway fun to run into him and all the other sailors I have met from my sailing journeys around the Salish sea.

I’m going to miss this place but I miss every place I’ve been, it’s all part of the nomadic life.  I never say good bye, I hate goodbyes, I just slip out the back door and poof, I’m gone…

“Remember, remember always, that all of us, and you and I especially, are descended from immigrants and revolutionists.” 

― Franklin D. Roosevelt

Minus one

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A quick glance at my bank account confirms that I have exactly the same amount of money that I had before I started working, a big ZERO!, but it isn’t money im after today.  Sure I’m alive and kicking, I’ve done a bit of good for the world and the yachters daughters have been keeping me in very good company.  I’m  building an arsenal of fun and while on this day I’m too broke to use the freedom it affords me I have a solid three weeks before 9/11


Serveral thousand nights in my shit freezing sleeping bag has prompted me to invest in the best sleeping bag known to man, it is so plush I can’t even use it as the day it arrived so did summer, isn’t that how it always works.   My self inflating camp pad is pretty kewl as is the tent that so far has kept me warm and dry.  On Sunday 9/11 I’ll drink my last bottle of wine, have a a good steak and when I wake up it will be decision time, splash Sookie and seek winter employment or load up Brompty and hit the road in search of winter employment, I won’t think about it till that Monday the 12th but by 9:00 I’ll be on my way.   

Being single has its advantages, not that I’ve ever been the type of person to seek out singledom but on the plus side being minus one means I don’t have some nagging bitch squawking at me to cut my hair, have a shave and get a job.  If I wasn’t single I’m guessing that rather than sitting in the hotel bar getting free drinks from the uber cute girl I met today I would be at Sears picking out a new shirt for Sunday services. But my god isn’t a statue and she doesn’t exist in a church.  

She’s out there everywhere and I always find her, on the water, in the mountians, on the road and every drop she bleeds from the sky leads from her throne on the highest montian top through the valley of Eden and into the sea which sea has created for me.  I hang out with the uber rich everyday, it’s the life I know best, they are not free, they are slaves to everything that makes the brief snapshot of thier life look like a dream but come Monday thier get out of jail free card expires and back to work they go till they are 75 and free to live the rest of thier lives as they choose.

Where ever my future takes me I know there will be times when I am super afraid.  Times when I am cold and times when I am hungry.  Freedom comes with a price and I’m willing to pay for it with a little bit of discomfort here and there.  I spent he afternoon cleaning and decking out Brompty, admiring her lines in the late glow of the setting sun and once again i wonder how I am so fortunate to be blessed with everything I need in this world and nothing I don’t….

“My life changed the day I moved beyond just wishing for things and I started earning them. That is the day I learned that we don’t get what we wish for, we get what we work for.” 

― Steve Maraboli

Burning the candle at both ends

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I’m like the walking dead, I haven’t had a day off in a month.  I’m up at 530 working on Sookie, then it’s off to work seven days a week and back to the boat till dark.  I’ve never been this burned out in my life.  Every inch of my body hurts from being run over by a boat.  My days are like running a marathon, my nights, sanctuary in my little one man tent.


Every morning I wake and I can’t move, my spine feels like it is cracked in half.  Slowly I force myself up, my knees swollen still from yesterday but morning brings coffee and the smell of teak sawdust, the rich aroma of freshly laid varnish, paint and all sorts of sealants.

Every day I swear I’m done with traditional boats, my next boat will be all plastic with metal hand rails and an aluminum toe rail and I will love it for its lack of necessary maintenance.  Each and every morning I swear this but by the pale light of the setting sun with a cool beer in my hand I inspect the days pitiful progress and I smile.  I touch Sookies bow and I proclaim my love to her.

I’m burned out on boats and sailing and living aboard, I want to be as far away from this time in my life that I can but in some deep place I know I will shed a silent tear when I walk away.  I could splash her today and spend another winter aboard  but I won’t.  I need to recharge and find a new zen.  I’ve been in a coma for over a year, my brain isn’t firing and I can’t do anything right.  My burger and fries a day that I’m alloted from the resort galley has me looking like I’m pregnant, I feel stagnant because I am, all my days blur to no purpose and I still don’t even know why.

I glance at my watch, it’s time to clock in, I glance at my calander and wonder how I can survive the next month but also know it’s nearly impossible to finish here in time, to leave before winter catches me.  I’m in a weakened  state both mentally and physically but that date keeps me focused, it’s a very small window of freedom that the road affords.  When my ride ends I’ll be broke a thousand miles from home and it will be winter, this is my freedom, my choice, my life.  I stretch and squirm and let out a morning roar.  I’m not following the path less taken, I’m making my own…

“They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.” 

― Benjamin Franklin

Impossibly perfect

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Perfect bike, perfect ass, what more could you ask for. I was chatting about my current life with some boaters when I was reminded of my youth and how at my age it’s one thing to bonk around but my new friends had responsibilities at thier age.

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I asked how old they thought I was and she said 25, I laughed as her jaw dropped, we were the same age. When asked my secret to my youth I simply replied, “good wine and organic ciggis” the truth isn’t that simple but if you want that perfect 2% body fat, muscular physique and ripping strong cardio you had when you were in your teens, find a bike you love and ride it like you stole it.

My vacation from the web has been a nice break while the digital mechanics were sorted out but I missed writing. Not much to talk about but I have a feeling that’s all going to change right about now…

“The Little Boy and the Old Man

Said the little boy, “Sometimes I drop my spoon.”
Said the old man, “I do that too.”
The little boy whispered, “I wet my pants.”
I do that too,” laughed the little old man.
Said the little boy, “I often cry.”
The old man nodded, “So do I.”
But worst of all,” said the boy, “it seems
Grown-ups don’t pay attention to me.”
And he felt the warmth of a wrinkled old hand.
I know what you mean,” said the little old man.”
― Shel Silverstein

Minimalist touring on a Brompton 

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I screwed myself again, or should I say I’ve been overly optimistic about my athletic abilities.  I’ve been banking on a smaller chain ring to give me the extra oomf to get up the big hills on my fully loaded Brompty.  It wasn’t until I took the chain off that imactually looked at my chain ring and discovered that it was a 44 already and not the 50.  Nowhere on the sales receipt did it say anything about the gearing so I just figured it was standard.


I was in optimal shape in Hawaii and still got my ass kicked, now I’m doomed.  Sure I could size down to a  39 ring buts that’s way too girly for me so I’m going to tough it out in my pink riding skirt.  The big question is do I replace my chain, carry the extra weight for when I will need to replace it, or just return it and get the  kewl tool, that fits in the frame and can fix just about everything on the bike, ok not everything but it’s sweet.

Touring on a brompton
I’m a bit miffed at the size of my new t bag, first of all in thier optimal brilliance Brompton decided to switch the awesome exterior storage pocket that is huge to the right side putting the water bottle holder on the left.  Aren’t um like 99% of humans right handed and the one percent that are left ambidexterous??? Fringing boneheads, it’s virtually deadly to get a sip of water now while on the fly.

Touring on a brompton
My new Ergon GP3 grips are the bomb, the shit foam ones left my wrists as numb as the Brompton seat leaves my manhood on the longer rides.  If it sounds like I’m complaining I’m not, I don’t expect good grips, pedals or saddle on any new bike at any price. Ok I’m totally bitching about the T bag and I’m sure it will be replaced with something that is not dumber than a sack of hammers but damn she rides nice fully loaded.

Touring on a brompton
The Relevate seat bag is kick ass and you don’t know it’s there but there is a big snafu, my fault.  You can’t lower the seat low enough to lock the frame so when transporting from bike to train, ferry or what ever it has to come off.  No big deal but not ideal for me.


That’s it and a bunch of spare parts just in case I decide to ride all the way to Panama, I’m covered. I don’t  have any days off and mornings and nights are devoted to Sookie so my first real ride will be the day I leave, if I leave and I really think I’m going to leave, unless I stay which I won’t, I don’t think, unless i do.

From the log of Sookie, bonking in Hawaii, the only easy day so far on this trip was yesterday.  I wrote these words in my journal everyday until I checked into the west wing.  

Cycling the Pacific Coast

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I’ve been afraid to say the words out loud because in my current condition I won’t even be able to pedal to the mainland but still, it’s all I can think about.  My back is fucked, my budget is shit and my gear is seriously lacking.  They say that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting diffent results.  My one way ticket to Maui and 500 bucks was a lunatic endeavor, a journey fit for a mad man.

Touring one Brompton

Well I’m much more settled now and it looks like I will be setting off for the ferry with a cool, 750 smackers.  My goal is to make it to the ferry on Lopez island. If I make it that far I will continue one mile at a time, one day at a time for as long as my back hangs in there.  If I survive the first three days I’ll figure out a way to get a sleeping bag and cook set.

I have a pile of bike shit, new gears, new grips, a front bag for Brompty and a bunch of spare parts that I will never need now that I have them.  I’ll still need a new set of tires but the ones I have will get me to Oregon at least.  I can’t be bothered to replace them now because I might not make it that far.  Brompton makes a sweet in frame tool kit and that will find its way in my frame as well.  It’s all about baby steps on this one.

I’ve met a ton of touring cyclists this summer and I’m jacked to get out on the coast and do some exploring by bike.  My seven year anniversary with living car-less is in October so I hope my body holds out long enough.to celebrate that one on the road.  My contract ends in 35 days, holly shit that’s not enough time to finish my projects on sookie and get my ride together.

I will literally walk off one of the most physically demanding jobs I have ever had and 12 hours later be on the bike heading south with no rest or transition.  If I don’t beat the cool of fall I will freeze to death long before I run out of money and succumb to starvation. My biggest point of contention is my miserable as hell bike seat.  It’s fine for up to two hours but after that it becomes a torture chamber.

If I actually do this it will be a battle of riding as slow as humanly possible so I can explore the coast to the fullest but also a race against winter and my budget.  It’s all comming together, all I have to do is commit to the insanity and take the path less pedaled.  Maybe at the end I will finally find my bit of land and build my tiny home although in this chilly morning a tent cabin in Hawaii is sounding much more appealing, I really love my simple life…

“Bicycles are almost as good as guitars for meeting girls” ~ Bob Weir, Grateful Dead

A life of privilege 

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The rain came hard trapping me in the boat, it was warm and humid, the bay a dead calm boiling with heavy drops from the heavens.but this paradise had to be earned.  A long wet windward passage and a very narrow and shallow reef lined pass had to be carefully negotiated.  The big boats had to stay outside in the outer bay but Sookie fit in snug as a bug in a rug in our private little Shangri-La


I get a series of weird questions about Sookie from my family.  I’m busy and not really paying attention, then it hits me.  I respond, what are you knuckle heads up to.  My family wants to ship Sookie south for me, my shinanagans must have finally gotten to them, or maybe they are afraid I pull a respeat and head back to Maui again.  That fucking island almost killed me as did Sherrif  John Brown but in the end I won and had one of the most amazing experiences of my life.

Let’s face it I’m an American and as such I live a privileged life.  The poorest person in America lives like a millionaire compared to much of the rest of the world, this tragedy was witnessed by my very young eyes and at one point I decided I could save the world, these these days I’m still perplexed by it all but there is very little I can do.  Instead I live my own life in search of the metaphorical bread and water that rules my world.

I’m annoyed by this offer, not that I’m not super appreciative, fuck it’s everything I want and need on a silver platter and why shouldn’t they.  Isn’t that what family is all about.  I spoiled Chloe rotten and loved it, she ate the finest food a dog could have, she got all the love and nourishment on the planet, even when I was in the middle of divorce and dumpster diving and eating road kill to survive she was still well taken care of.  I would do anything for my family without question or questioning it.

I flat out refused the offer with a thank you but… Seven years ago penniless, busted flat and losing the girl I loved more than worlds  of words can express I started a new journey with nothing.  That was the perfect storm of life, it’s when my eyes really started to fail, my life in shambles and I was living in a town I never chose to live in, I moved there for my ex, bought her the perfect boat and then it all ended, but I didn’t. I just flipped a switch and started a new journey.  If I let my family help me I’m a fake, a fraud, a phony, im no trustaffarian, my journey is real, it’s mine and I know the path very well.

Still it felt good just to think about, it feels good to know there are people out there who love you and want to help you.  I pay it all foreward whenever I can which is right now as I am working and it feels good to be able to share with the less fortunate.  

So I threw away my get out of jail free card, although I’ve already used it once this year.  It’s been really cold at night and getting colder, my body is broken from being run over by a yacht and my contract ends in 5 weeks, I’m a bit fearful for the immediate future but… I’m a fool for saying no but if your not willing to make the long and wet windward passage you will never make it to Shangri-la.  The biggest privilege any of us can demand in life is the privilege of choice, of action and of self reliance.  

Which would have advanced the most at the end of a month, — the boy who had made his own jackknife from the ore which he had dug and smelted, reading as much as would be necessary for this, — or the boy who had attended the lectures on metallurgy at the Institute in the mean while, and had received a Rodgers’ penknife from his father?

  — Walden

I’m not your guru

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I stare at my in box for 10 minutes, there is an email at the top, I don’t want to open it, I don’t want to know what it says.  I delete it, then I hit control alt delete and clean my entire mail, time for s fresh clean platform in my cyber cafe.  Letting go comes easy for me, sort of. Moving on, starting a new direction it’s all part of the creative process.


Tonight I’m having wine with Barbara, she is in from Europe on her parents Catalina 34.  When morning comes she will slip the lines and a whole new cycle will start for all of us.  That’s what summer in a resort is like, people always coming, always going but I’m always here, I can’t take the stagnation.  I have a pile of gear waiting for me at the post office, I’m trading my foulies for light weight rain gear, my Xtratufs for bare feet and my fancy pressed uniform for my purple man kilt.

I’m a drifter, a vagabond, a transient a dirt bag explorer, I have many names but guru or role model isn’t one of them.  I continue to turn down advertising offers mostly because advertising sucks but it’s a double edge sward.  I’m not rich by any means but I’m getting used to having a few bucks in my pocket, the freedom to buy food, and my new shelter.  This is where it all begins, the downward spiral of upper mobility.  I spend my little free time searching for a cabin in the woods or a cabana on the beach, anyplace that I can both stand up in and lay down in.  Hot water and a flush toilet, a window to peer out of.  How far I’ve come from that day surrounded by dozens of rows of executives in thier little cubicles.  Each set of rows was a group, the rows went on as far as the eyes could see.  Staring out the window at a passing summer storm I Made a break for it.  I raised my hands to the heavens and soaked in every drop of beautiful rain.  

Soaking wet I walked back to my cubicle, my home for 12 hours a day and packed my bag and walked out on my life.  Was it really that I bad? A big leather chair, heat and air conditioning, more money than should ever be earned for sitting in that big plush chair.  I had a little headset so I could crunch numbers while I chatted on the phone, my nice car in the parking lot and a beautiful coastal home next to my boat.  Now sitting on the other side of that window, that day, that life I can’t help but wonder.  Has anything changed?  Have I changed?  I could say yes but I will say no, I’m that same old person hypnotized by money and willing to trade my life for it, to chase investments and Capitol and power.

They say once you are a smoker you always are a smoker, all it takes is one drag and you are hooked again.  Money is the same way, it’s a disease, one we all want and we can never get sick enough to get better.  Living on the hard cold ground, I’m at one with my bunnies and the deer, they all know me and that I’m safe but I know myself and I’m not.  I’m not safe, not from myself and not from the world, I’m a potential nuclear explosion of consumerism and waste and greed.  A ticking time bomb willing to have what I want regardless of its cost to the planet I live on.  I buy from communists, create a market for horribly toxic chemicals that I place on my boat in the ocean that I act like I love.  My foot print is huge, I’m willing to settle and sell out.  No I’m not a leader, I’m not a role model and I’m sure as hell not your guru.

 From the log of Sookie, missing Chloe.  If you want to live a better life follow your dog, they need nothing, love everybody and are always happy, cheerful and ready to please.  Chloe was and still is my guru…

Giving up the dream

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Some things just aren’t meant to be.  By the end of the month Sookie will be all wrapped up, when I return she will be the ultimate day sailor and gunk holer, I’ve thrown in the towel on blue water sailing with her.  Life goes on and Sookie will sail on but not beyond the reach of the Salish Sea.


I’ve hit my wall, to many nights on the hard cold ground, too many days of going hungry, to many seasons of not enough progress towards my goal.  Sookie is ripe and ready for this tiny sea and that’s where she will stay.  The seasons are short here as is the crappy low paying seasonal work, living aboard during the winters can be brutal, wet and cold, I’m ready for a square  bed, hot and cold water and push button heat.  It feels good to have a few bucks in my pocket for the first time in three years.

I cashed my check, bought a small pile of food to drop at the food bank and boxed up all the things I will no longer need on Sookie, I strapped them  on the back of Brompty and delivered them over serveral trips to the free store and feel good about my long day.  Working seven days a week all by myself in a position that warrants three people has been fun but also reinforced that I’d simply rather be sailing even if it’s just my own waters.

My last day here in the islands is about 5 weeks away and then I will set off in search of a winter home, reasonable work and  a bit of warm weather.  

“We got so much food in America we’re allergic to food. Allergic to food! Hungry people ain’t allergic to shit. You think anyone in Rwanda’s got a fucking lactose intolerance?!” 
― Chris Rock

Plan B

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$6661.95, that’s the best quote I have so far for shipping Sookie from Annacortez to L.A., the first three numbers spell it all clearly and Ive completly abandoned hope of shipping the boat somewhere warm for the winter. Plan B,  I hit the pay button for bike parts and watch my meager life’s savings dissapear, I might be broke but my bug out bike is coming along slowly but surely.  


I still haven’t figured out what I want to cook with or what I’m going to sleep in but I bit the bullet and purchased a small self inflating therma rest.  My back is jacked beyond recognition from sleeping on the hard cold ground.  I haven’t had any sort of pad until a few days ago when I purchased some thin foam from the local Hardwear store, it isnt helping so I guess I’ll have to live my life hunched over form here on out.

My clothing debate is the biggest, it’s sac religious to wear spandex on a Brompton, or any time or place for that matter so Im still drawing a blank.  If my cotton man kilt wasn’t cotton it would be ideal but it’s cotton.  I have a few old shirts I can use and some rotting synthetic backpacking shit so if I can beat winter I may be ok.  It’s funny how much effort I’m putting into a trip I’m not committed to taking and a platform I at this point have no use for but its the direction my fucked up mind is going in and keeps me occupied before and after my 7 days a week of resort living.

My new gearing is in the mail as is the first waterproof jacket other than my five pound foulies that I’ve had in over five years.  It will be nice to have a shell for at least half my body.  I continue to shop discount air fare but don’t know where from or where too.  The thick fog persists but when it clears I know I will have Sookie ready and waiting and Brompty ready and waiting.  Everything from the bike can slip into my tiny mountian pack so now I have three solid platforms that I don’t have any use for.

Warm weather is all I can think about, it’s August and I spent the morning shivering… Warm, warm, warm, that’s my plan B, warm.

From the log of Sookie, I look at my olive tanned bare feet and they make me smile, this is a sign of success, bare feet.  The iron fist of winter is coming but not for me, my mistress is clear blue water, the golden rays of sunlight warming my back and a balmy wind to carry the plume of coconut that bathes my skin.  A tropical stormy is a brewing…

Girl in the buddha dress

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With the last bits of paint in my cup I give Sookie a new set of eyeballs and she is pleased.  She has always had eyes from the first time I splashed her and she always  will.  Someday I will put them high on her hull but we are still bonding and so the process continues.  Ancient maritime lore has it that if a ship has eyes she can see where she is going and will never collide. 


On again off again it seems my new windvane and my efforts to aquire it were all in vain ;). No matter, I have pleanty to keep me busy in my minimal time off and living in a resort is turning out to be quite a wonderful way to spend the summer regardless of the small squalls that come and go.  Last night all tucked in my little cocoon I slept like the dead, dreaming of sailing adventures and woke refreshed and ready to tackle another day in the yard, on the bike and with a little luck time for more research on shipping Sookie somewhere warm.  My dream would be to ship her to Ventura , then ride my bike down to meet her. 

My superstition about shipping boats is holding me back but if I do move her it will be to almost the exact place she started her life and where she was put on a trailer for her long voyage to me.  The days of summer tick by weeks at a time and now my end here is nearer than my beginnings.  I don’t expect anyone to understand my superstitions  or the way I do things but Sookie isn’t just a sailboat, she is a ship and a home and something that gives my life great meaning.  She keeps me young and strong.  As much as I hate the idea of storing her for another winter, my alternative; if I do she will be ready to rock the day I return.

For now I’m moonlighting between her and  Brompty, somehow I still make it to work everyday with a big smile, full of energy and the knowledge that there s a purpose for all this madness. Sitting in the morning sun on the deck of my resort a yachter has offered to buy me breakfast.  Steak and eggs, hot coffee and a dead calm bay as I  lounge around in my tanned bare feet wondering if there is anything such as first world problems or am I just the most fortunate human on earth. I take in a deep breath and slowly exhale, where should I begin…

I’m talking to a yachter on a 2 million dollar boat with hundreds of thousands of dollars of electronics, he is very concerned about leaving the bay on a negative 1.3 tide.  I look over my shoulder and see Beth and Cody sail in the harbor on their home built 29′ sailboat ” well if they can make it in engineless I’m sure you’ll  be fine”. 

The most beautiful girl in the world has shown up in my Marina, everytime I turn around she is there, smiling, her eyes lighter than any shade I have ever seen sparkle brighter in the sun than the diamond in her nose.  She always stands close, looking up at me with those eyes, that smile, close enough to feel like a couple.  A short flowy blue cotton sun dress drapes and perfectly outlines her soft frame and all of her curves, it has a Buddha on it, I know this dress very well and she feels like home.  More than anything I want to know her better, I flush everytime she is near, I let her go and it hurts on some deep level but I do nothing.

I help an 11 year old dock her fathers 38′ sailboat, she handles it like a pro.  The yachters come and go, friends  come and go, the days come and go.  Work is slowly progressing on Sookie but I need help if I want to finished her in time but in time for what? Indesision rules my days.  I’m in my cocoon before the sun goes down, warm enough and cozy, 5:00 Am brings a new day, where should I begin…

“There’s no advantage to hurrying through life.” -Shikamaru Nara

Any boat will do

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I’m at a stand still, I’ve hit a brick wall.  I’m challanged by my own knowledge and now finding I need to learn more about the things I thought I already knew.  I’m working with a girl to find her a perfect boat for blue water sailing, her budget is too small and she has read to many books and blogs about the perfect offshore boat written by people who have never sailed those boats they write about.


I’m taking notes, walking through another boatyard and scratching my head. Do I hate boats, have  I become some sort of eletist sailing snob?  I don’t think so, I hope not but once you’re been in the belly of the tempest you form some pretty valid opinions.  I’ve been fortunate to sail on hundreds of them, sailboats that is. A lifetime on the water front will do that to a person.  I go back to ground zero and start with the foundation. The keel, layup, rig, design.  The myth that older boats are stronger than newer ones is just that, a myth.  Newer boats are by far stronger, layed out better, at least the good ones are and will give you far fewer headaches than buying into a 50 year old sailboat based off of lore that some guy needing money wrote a book about.

Not that there aren’t good old boats, there certainly are.  I think the biggest problem is that you get what you pay for, if you buy a $3000.00 boat thats pretty much what you have in the same way as if you buy a $300,000.00 boat.  I use myself as the most classic example, I could have bought an Ericsson 27 outitted it, circumnavigated and still had money left over in my pocket for the next adventure for what I have invested in Sookie.  

My problem is that I’ve done many offshore passages in shitty old boats because that’s what I had at the time, it was great when I was 18 but I’m not 18 anymore and simply want more, once is enough.  Back to Laura and finding her boat, she challanges me in a good way, I’m learning as much as I’m teaching her.  She isn’t looking for a lake boat, or a coastal cruiser, she wants a blue water sailboat and it’s my job to find her one on her small budget, what she does with it is up to her.  I sailed the Caribbean in a 36′ costal cruiser and didn’t have a complain in the world other than the miserably challanging sailing conditions.  

Walking the docks this morning a ran into an old acquaintances sailboat, from what I’ve heard through the coconut telegraph he has kicked he cedar bucket and the world has lost a great sailor.  His boat a Coronado 25 is almost identical to my 26′ Seaquest that gave me my first solo offshore adventures.  He did lengthen the water line and add a larger rudder.  He has sailed that boat from San Diego  to Alaska  and seen every single gunk hole and harbor I between  In his stock late sixties era day sailor so I’m brought back to my drawing board, maybe any boat will do, within reason that is. 

I am reminded of a quote by David Brinkley: “A successful (wo)man is one who can lay a firm foundation with the bricks others have thrown at him (her).”

Minimalist bicycle touring

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Riding around the island I got into a chat with a girl about my bike and why the hell would I want a folding bike over a full size touring bike for cycling let alone for touring.  I didn’t really know how to answer other than this is the bike I have but also why wouldn’t I want to tour on a Brompton.  When I purchased Brompty it had nothing to do with touring, I just wanted a nice bike that was fun to ride.


Years of watching my beautiful bikes rusting In  the rain tied to the side of the boat was more than I can take.  I’ve gone though an average of a bike a year every year since giving up my car for a better life and cleaner earth, that was at least 7 years ago so I would count seven bikes.

Americans have a funny way about them, Be-it sailing or backpacking or cycle touring or just going on vacation they just have to match thier home life of excess to make themselfs think they are happy.  If I wanted to match my home life I would just stay home. For what ever reason I do the things I do it’s because I want to learn about myself and have fun in the process.  Touring on a 35lb road bike with 45 lbs of gear sucks ass, I tried it and quit on the fist day.  I resized down to a small load and switched out my heavy hitter and had the best tour of my life although I stayed in hotels many of the nights I was also pulling hundred milers on my fixed gear in really challanging terrain.  

Im done with all that shit now and want an upright riding position so I can see the scenery.  A bike that is light and agile and fun as hell to ride and a minimalist load making my days in the saddle fun.  I find it hilarious when people say they want to be comefortabke so they bring tons of heavy shit.  Your whole day is spent in the saddle so that’s where you want to be comefortabke.  I’ve had days that I was so tired i literally fell over hard asleep with a beer in my hand after a grueling ride. The Brompty promotes light simple fun riding and is super easy to maintain.  My total load capacity is 43 liters which is a lot plus my tent on the back rack and hopefully a little camp pad strapped to my pika.  By the end of the trip I hope to be able to find a way to fit the tent in the T-bag and even loose the pika but that’s pretty ambitious.

Having a good small bike and good small luggage is key, you can’t take it if it won’t fit.  I’m not one of those ultrlight techno geeks, my motto is that less is more so while I keep an eye on my weight I also pretty much just leave most of the just in case items at home.  I live in the United States and can get just about anything I need in less than 24 hours but honestly when you live an ultrlight lifestyle you learn pretty quickly how little you need. I’ve long given up on trying to cinvince people I don’t need things, now I just graciously decline everytime somebody tries to give me thier ten man tent for my cycle tour or a sleeping bag that weighs more than my bike.  Why did I choose a Brompton? I didn’t  Brompty chose me…

 You can’t fit a ten pound parcel into my two pound sack.

Dome sweet home

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Holly buckets of tiny, this thing is a micro pod. 12 nights of living in a wet, spider infested hard as a rock, miserably cold hell I finally have my new second home and while I don’t know anything about it other than I fit inside, barely; I’m quite excited to torture test this thing.


I already have buyers remorse due to its size but I didn’t have time to OCD on a small, light weight tent so I did a quick scan and hit the buy now button.  At $129.00 it’s a budget buster, my choice was a new sleeping bag or a tent and seeing as I have a nice down bag that keeps me comfy down to a nippy 68 degrees I jumped the tent like a seaside strumpet.

Touring on a Brompton

At some point I’ll put together a gear list but right now my mind is the consistency of well buttered mashed potatoes.  I was pleasantly surprised that even though the north face lists it at 6×22 I measure it an easy 6×14 and it fits perfectly on my rack.

Touring on a brompton

My new Pika bag by Relevate Designs is absolutely kick ass and yes it took a months food off my table, all I can say is thank god for multi-vitimans and a new age hipster fasting craze cause this vegan is on Top Ramen for the next month easy.  The Pika holds a shit load of stuff and while I don’t understand how, it rides like a dream, I don’t even know it’s there.  If I had any children I’d sell them for a new self inflating camp pad to pack better with my uber small Brompton luggage but I’m sure I can rob an old lady or commit some other minor crimes to finish outfitting.  The sun is setting and I’ve got iced cold beers chillin in the shit bucket so I’m gonna bounce, later biatches…

 “One final paragraph of advice: do not burn yourselves out. Be as I am – a reluctant enthusiast….a part-time crusader, a half-hearted fanatic. Save the other half of yourselves and your lives for pleasure and adventure. It is not enough to fight for the land; it is even more important to enjoy it. While you can. While it’s still here. So get out there and hunt and fish and mess around with your friends, ramble out yonder and explore the forests, climb the mountains, bag the peaks, run the rivers, breathe deep of that yet sweet and lucid air, sit quietly for a while and contemplate the precious stillness, the lovely, mysterious, and awesome space. Enjoy yourselves, keep your brain in your head and your head firmly attached to the body, the body active and alive, and I promise you this much; I promise you this one sweet victory over our enemies, over those desk-bound men and women with their hearts in a safe deposit box, and their eyes hypnotized by desk calculators. I promise you this; You will outlive the bastards.” 

― Edward Abbey

A different kind of strength

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When the memory fades you can talk yourself into just about anything.  Night comes with a darkening sky, then one planet and the universe slowly opens to me, first constellations then the background blanketed by millions of stars.  I wonder how many thousands of nights I’ve layed cowboy camping staring at the same never ending clockwork of the heavens not once getting bored with my view from this tiny planet. 


I’m on my bike now climbing never ending  hills in hundred degree temperatures and monster head winds.  Sookie slices through huge breaking head seas, I’m focused searching for  deadheads, I’m in my element completely one with nature.  Back at mile marker 43 I’m seven miles from finishing my first sub 12 fifty miler, I’m crushed.  I’m carrying my best friends limp body away minutes after loosing the single best thing that has ever happened in my life, true love.  I’m signing a piece of paper relinquishing a dozen hard earned  years wasted working for money.  It’s pouring rain,  I drag my backpack through six inches of Nasty skank mud, my feet like suction cups stuck in quick sand.  I make it fifty yards and drop the pack heading  back to get the bike, I do this for 12 hours straight.  I’m 19 years old sitting in the rain crying, my life will never be the same, scar’ed for life.  I start a journey that will last more years than I’ve lived at that point.  Each star represents  a story in my quiver, there are many.

   We’re all scared it’s what we are, it’s who we are.  We aren’t just scared but we’re also scar’ed, If you are fortunate some day you will learn to love your scars both mental and physical, it’s our own personal brand. I was having a conversation the other day with a person who said they weren’t afraid of anything and made fun of me for being afraid of everything.  Of course that person had never really done anything to merit the fear that I know and speak of.  My fun meter has been pegged since birth and that bar seems to raised every day.  I woke up at the crack of dawn crawled out of my sleeping bag to have pee and when I returned and flipped the bag open there it was, a huge tarantula my new snuggle mate.  I’m beyond the point of screaming like a 12 year old girl but I wanted to, it explained the phantom creepy crawly feeling I had all night as I could swear something was in my bag with be but blew it off to itchy mosquito bites.  

From the log of Sookie, Spider Island.  I’m done with the outside; I’m moving to the city getting a nice flat furnished by ikea and the biggest tv ever made, a cell phone and a fancy pair of shoes…

Livin the dream

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It’s been a yearn now but the memory is as close as it is far away.  I’d been warned about sailing the west coast of Texada island by commercial fisherman, perhaps that’s why I chose that route, I prefer a good challange.  Ghosting into the dead calm of Blubber Bay it looked like a water bomb had gone off in Sookie.  There was more gear  on the cabin sole and berths than in the lockers from which it came, everything including myself was soaked to the bone.  A rising Gale to the south chased us the whole way but we were fortunate to have a rollicking and comfortable yet soaking wet ride finding safe heaven before the tempest arrived. 


The guide book gave a very low approval of Blubber Bay which is exactly why I went there, it was one of my favorite anchorages of the whole trip, not another boat and lots of space to explore, wrapped from head to toe in foulies, camera in hand I could of easily been the only person for hundreds of miles.  The ferry came and went, the rain came and went and as silently as I drifted in I to came and went.

Now sitting in the boatyard with a jigsaw puzzle of projects and chatting with a few passerby arm chair sailors,  they tell me I’m living the dream.  I wonder if I am, my boat a hostage to the yard, winter bearing down on me and a wasted season doing anything but sailing. Is this the dream? Or the reality of living the dream.  Its been months since I felt the magic carpet ride of Sookie.  Hard on the wind, her rail burried with a bone in her teeth and doing hull speed less than 40’degress off the wind.  She loves to sail and I love to sail her.

Her anchoring system is easier than any boat I have ever experienced.  I can tuck or shake a prefe in seconds, not minutes under any point of sail and her non overlapping head sails give me a dozen working options with a genniker for those wonderful calm days dirfrting just faster than the tide.

I check my bank account and my calander, by October I will almost have enough money saved to make a critical decision, one I’m not prepared to make.  The New York Times says we make about 35,000 decisions a day but I only have to make one.  Saddle up on Brompty and pedal south or sell her and everything I own so I can ship Sookie to Southern California for a solid year of workable weather before heading south.  I’m torn on every account except for one, I’ve decided to make either journey a solo endeavor…

From the log of Sookie, on the hard.  The path less taken can’t be found until you have completely lost all roads you already know.

Cast-away

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I’ve been huddled in a soaking mass of wet down shivering for hours, I’ve reached my breaking point.  I get up, roll the whole mess into a ball and walk the short distance to the laundry room leaving everything in a pile.  My body is in near convulsions when I reach the spa. I’ll go in naked or just jump in with all my clothes on, I’m hypothermic.  The door is locked, rat fucked.  I go to the shower and my trembling hands have me dropping quarters everywhere, my dexterity is gone, I feel like a child trying to out a square block through a round hole.


The shower comes on after what seems an eternity my clothes in a pile on the disgusting floor, the water scalds me and I jump out turning the water to a much cooler temperature.  Ten quarters lasts five minutes, round two has me picking of my piles of dropped silver and putting them in the machine with a little more ease, it will take 40 quarters, more than I have used since February to shake the chill.  If I had more with me I would use them.


I’m tired, my world is blurry, I head back to Sookie, a place I’m nearly forbidden to go and retrieve more quarters and laundry soap, make a cup of coffee and head back to wash and dry my pathetic wet mess.  My new tent is still AWOL.  I feel like a criminal sneaking around, after a long day of work I limp up to the boat to asses removing her bowsprite.  I haven’t been there ten seconds when I hear a voice, it’s the yard manager.Your not living on your boat are you? 


This is total BS I confirmed with them before hauling her that I would be on and around the boat doing little projects all summer.  Before hauling I contacted just about every yard in the Salish Sea, every one of them said I could stay aboard Sookie for the summer while working on her, everyone but the one I foolishly chose. The hotel who’s property is twelve feet from the boatyard offered to let me store Sookie there so I would have a bed and a platform to work from but the yard flat out denied my request to put Sookie on the other side of the road.  Now I feel like I have to sneak around the yard even if I want to grab a snack or do a project, the thought of wasting my summer working on the boat was bad enough but leaving the island? Impossible!


I could have anchored out but a damp lonely summer working for my freedom and getting nothing done on the boat didn’t seem any better that leaving ths islands.  I have the nicest boat in the yard and also the best maintained, my work space is spotless, I pay all my bills on time or in advance, I don’t play loud music do drugs or any single thing that could annoy them other than to simply exist.


The sun is peeking it’s head over the horizon it’s blowing like stink, thunder rumbles overhead, I’m chilly but huddled up in a comfy beach chair very happy this night if hell is all behind me.. Sitting in the lazy evening light, last night was beautiful beyond compare.  It was almost balmy, golden rays showered my world, lighting crackling in the distance as big black clouds rolled and formed into eiry looking monsters, then the first drops fell from the sky.  I’m tired, worn out and near my breaking point, or at least wondering if I have one.  I feel close now, to knowledge if in no other way knowledge of who I am and what I’m capeable of. I fantasize about sitting in a heated office with a mortgsge and debt up to my ears, a safety net against myself.  I cute little house with a white picket fence and 2.4 kids, who are fucking kidding…

“I have need of angels. Enough hell has swallowed me for too many years. But finally understand this–I have burned up one hundred thousand human lives already, from the strength of my pain.” 

― Antonin Artaud

Sling blade

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Hanging off the side of Sookie with my trusty knife in my mouth I slipped and watched it splash and spiral to the depths.  I scrambled to my feet and dove over chasing the glimmering fleck as my most prised possession spiraled out of sight into the dark murky brine.


As a child one of my fondest memories is of my first knife, it was hard earned by climbing the highest peak in the local Sierra Nevada range that backed to my house.  I remember the very first day I had it, how the bone handle fit in my hand, the shape of the blade and the feel and smell of its leather sheith. I stared transfixed at the deep red blood as it ran down my leg after I accidentally stabbed myself, it was beautiful, raw and a very bonding experience.  My father thought me how to care for the knife, it was my very first lesson in maintaining ones tools and laid the foundation for the care and feeding of every one of my very few possessions.  I don’t own manny things but what I do have is maintained to the highest of standards, always.  It’s not just pride in ownership but also a great appreciation for what this world has bestowed on me.

I literally would have starved to death without my blade in Hawaii, it’s small, über light and the sharpest blade on the planet.  It cares for me in the same mannor that I care for it, like Sookie, we take care of each other.  My blade like my boat and bike are merely an extension of who and what I am, you can tell a lot about a man by the way he wears and cares for his knife.

My lost blade was a family heirloom which sucks but more importantly I had completely restored it including a new razor sharp edge, it was to be a gift for my brothers 50th birthday.  I’m such a fucking idiot.  I already have a really nice blade and never should have been using this one but I loved it so much and thought using it on Sookie would add to its karma, whoops!

I was a bit shocked to find that the maker is still in business and ordered an exact duplicate that he can pass on when he is old and grey.  Stainless steel with a flat grind and no serrations is the only way a sailors knife should be.  Strong and almost rustproof it will need sharpening a bit more often than carbon steel but it’s all part of the process in bonding with the blade.

I waited impatiently for a whole month for delivery and now it’s in the postmasters hands, very belated but sure to put a smile on a sailors face when he opens it.  A sailor has many tools but the blade he wears on his belt is of the utmost importance. A sailor without a knife is like a fish out of water.

The tin shed

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I’ve never seen a more disgusting  array of cluttered shit in my entire life, literally.  I’m living In a pile of rabbit shit, I’ve lived in some pretty interesting places over the course of this journey.  The abandoned clam plant was the most interesting and freaky, blood pans and the constant dripping of water with just enough weldimg masks spread around to make the perfect set for a horror film, there was even a Sickle hanging on the wall for a bit of added effect.  When the wind blew which it always dit it sounded like evil from the gates of hell banging on the walls.


Don’t get me wrong I’m not complaining, not by a long shot.  I’m willing to go through anything and give up everything if I have to in order to follow my journey.  The boat, the bike, even this blog, these are all just things and things don’t matter.  I can assure you I’m not going to get a Cush book deal sitting on my ass surfing YouTube.  


My journey no matter how fucked up is authentic, even if only to me.  By day I’m the most kick ass club master in the universe and the vacationers love it and they love me because I treat each and every one like gold, even the assholes and there are many.


When I clock out I take off my neat and clean uniform, carefully roll it up and tuck it in my little bag and become a scum sucking homeless piece of shit hiding from the sheriff although a few more days of this and three hots and a cot will start sounding pretty fancy. I lay out my tiny sun shade from Sookie to cover the shit but by morning my 50 degree bag is soaked through from either the rain or heavy dew.  Cold is my constant companion but my life is quite civilized. I sip on a world class glass of wine, I have a few, chew on a nice and all natural peanut butter and jam sandwich on fancy bread and watch the sun set into the western void.

Podcasts on my little iPad keep my mind occupied while I peck out a bit of jiberish here and there, I’m twenty or thirty blogs posts behind, so much has transpired in my life in the last few weeks.  I’ll more than likely delete them all and let the cracks fill with time.  I write for the sake of writing and rarely post more than a smidge of the shit that is going on in my humble and satisfying experience.  The bay is calm and mostly empty, not many boaters this year spells the truth about the real economy in America, not the BS one you see with all the fake numbers flashing around on Wall Street, funny how fast we all forget what happens when the bankers are given free money and allowed to run rampant and unchecked.  Either way it doesn’t effect me one bit, I own my shit and have a pretty good reserve of lentils and multi vitimans. I’m content with what I have and what I don’t.  My freedom is in my complete lack of want  or needs.  

“I had to get a close-hand view of the misery and unhappiness of a man made world, before I reached the point where I could successfully revolt against it.” 

― Emmeline Pankhurst

Bug out bike

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I’m huddled under a tree with my Brompton, it’s well past midnight now, my warmth is gone.  I’m shivering but I’m used to it. A flat tire and no tools has abruptly ended my midnight insomnia induced ride, for the life of me I can’t figure out where the hell I stashed my headlamp.  I’m annoyed that I have a beautiful home only 5 miles from here but Im not allowed to lay my tired head on a soft pillow and fall asleep in a cocoon of warmth and security.  I better get used to this because with no tent, a shitty sleeping bag and only half the freedom chips I need to get to my destination unknown I’m rat fucked.


I found this set up on the Brompton website, it’s as close to what I have been searching for as I can get although mine will be close it will also be very different.
To add insult to injury it now appears that I will have to work my way down a wet and winding coast with winter chasing me the entire way, back to being a migrant worker.  Logging trucks, headwinds, a parade of half asleep Q-tips in 50′ motor homes and no shoulder to ride on.  I don’t have rain gear, cycling wear, shoes or even gloves, not exactly what I was hoping for but sure as hell better than the alternative.

I wake up colder than when I fell asleep, it’s still dark and I have a Pitt in my stomach, I’m shivering uncontrollably, it’s the middle of July.  What the hell am I getting myself into? I couldn’t stop this crazy train if I wanted to, I’m addicted to living close to the edge, waking to sunrise, every sunrise and falling asleep exhausted with my half drinken beer precariously perched in my hand.  There is not a single mile of my intended journey that won’t be wrought with danger of one sort of another but still overall it seems more desirable and  safer than commuting to a shitty job in high speed rush hour traffic.  

Am I insane? Do I live for misery? Perhaps its self induced torture feeding some subbliminal internal loathing gyre to the abys for all the days of my life that I didn’t use to the fullest extent of my ability.  It feels retarded putting money into Sookie that would be better spent on food and warm clothing, I’m beginning  to feel like I can’t keep up with myself, my insatiable hunger for life and the simple smile it puts on my face.  

Call it what you want, I’m happy to a fault, I’m good to everybody and feel 20 years younger than my damn birth certificate says.  I’m strong, fit enough and at this pace will never need viagra to open the flood gates.  Even when I’m sitting still contemplating life, testosterone surges through my veins.  Maybe I’m not trying to keep up with the joneses, maybe  I am the joneses of youth and vitality.

Im out in a flash in my mountian Hardwear kilt and my mankini, tearing  down country roads my back is in agony from being run over by a yachter. I’m testing for anything comfy and modest to ride in other than spandex, it’s pretty good so I slip off the mankini to see if it’s better, fail… Back to the original set up, it’s almost perfect but to hot, the cloth is thin but not thin enough.  Im hell bent on cycling in a pink running skort, is it any more offensive than spandex and all of its banana hammock glory?  It can’t be, can it?  It just can’t be beat for super light comfort and high visibility but I can’t find one long enough or short enough depending on where I search.  

I put clothing off for now and order a seat bag, the Pika made by Relevate designs, it’s 12 liters at its largest capacity and can shrink to 6.  I also order a PCH cycling guide even though I’m not even remotely committed to cycling anywhere. I’m building a bug out bike but for what?  My next payday Is Friday at 5:00, by 5:15 I’ll be broke again but my new front T-bag by Brompton and all my new gearing and what ever else will be in the mail, food be damned if you want shit that’s out of your means you need to scrimp, besides; I have piles of lentils stashed in the woods and a half gallon of whiskey my brother sent me for my birthday, life is good.

I won’t spend a single penny I don’t need to but I’m turning Brompty into an uber light touring machine and keeping her as simple as I can for quick hops on public transportation should the need arise to B-line it somewhere warm. My budget is ten bucks a day with enough silver left over for a one way ticket somewhere warm, anywhere as long as it has blue water and a chance of finding work.

Debt free

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All clean and smooth as a baby’s bottom I admire my little ship.  The slings left some pretty nasty stains on her hull and being hit twice this year has me needing to do a bit of cosmetic work but I need a clean pallet to start my masterpiece.  I say clean pallet but this yard is filthy, one minute after her scrub down and a car driving way too fast up the dirt road sends a plume of acidic dust in the air.


Tuesday I will pull her bowsprit for the first time in five years for a full inspection and proper paint job In between my regular job.  This will also give me a chance to inspect and varnish my well worn bow chocks.  I’m still searching for a small bronze hawse hole for my stern anchor and trying to get the nerve to install a permanate 4 gallon gas tank with a proper fill hole and vent, that will give me a 48 mile range at 4.5 knots with an extra 12 from my one gallon backup tank.  I can’t ever imagine using more than 4 gallons in a year so this would be a good upgrade and one that’s easily removeable if and when I ever build a new sculling oar and go engine-less again.

I’m still trying to figure out the best way to install my wind vane but it hasn’t arrived yet so all I have to work with are my drawings and a few mocked up pieces of wood.  Nothing will ever be done half ass on this boat so blending in a cross beam to my beautiful boomkin is slow going.  I have an amazing shipwrite on the island, if only I could get him to help me install the bases for my boom gallows.  I’m working on a good bribe to lubricate the process and get him to show up for what will take him less than an hour to do what is an Impossibility for me.  Sookies cockpit feels very exposed in large and steep seas without proper lifelines in the cockpit,  lee cloths will finish the womb and while I’ve give up on a dodger for now the spray curtains will be a huge upgrade in comefort and safety as the FC has no combing.

I have three envelopes filled with one dollar bills, it’s not a lot but  I’m feeling very wealthy these days. One of them says boat, one says bike, the one labeled food is empty but I’m well fed these days so I continue the endless cycle of filling and emptying my little envelopes as work very slowly progresses toward and unknown future.  I’m continually reminded how many of my friends have plans for my life, as of today I have none. I’m a drone now, my mind dull and clouded by the present life I have chosen.

I get an email titled Gale sail, an invitation to cross the straights on a brand new tri sail and staysail made by Carol Hasse, I want to sail more than anything but instead I will work for pennies.  I meet a couple, perhaps in thier 70’s they are dressed from head to toe in brand new travel clothes, they even wear expedition sailing boots for the one minute walk from the hotel to thier little boat that hasn’t moved since they blamed me for crashing it.  I study them intently and wonder what amazing stories they will tell thier friends  and the pictures of them smiling looking like Indiana jones.  

I’ve fought my entire life to never end up old and rich and running on emty yet here I am doing the one thing I despise more than anything on the planet.  I’ve become a psychologist studying anger and why so many people simply can’t be happy.  I don’t get to experience the root, just the present, pissed off vacationers.  I’ve decided to roll solo, my empty coffee cup tells me it’s time to start my one and only day off this week, I have much to do.  I look down at my watch, not because I want to know the time but because it’s shiny and glimmers in the sun and it makes me happy to no end, I love shiny shit.

“When you dance, your purpose is not to get to a certain place on the floor. It’s to enjoy each step along the way.” – Wayne Dyer

I’ve been around

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Not exactly exciting but a fun find on the web, Sookie had already been christened by her builder so we just gave her a splash of love and a blessing for safe travels

We slipped her into the water and slowly drifted away on a sea of time. Chloe has gone off to that big field in the sky.  Angela is due to have a baby any day, her life’s dream.  Roy sailed south in his Bristol Channel Cutter and Mathew is still building his dream Lyke Hess 26 and sailing her every chance he gets.  As for me?  I’ve been around.

Hard aground

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The old saying goes, if you haven’t been aground, you haven’t been around.  The crunching of fiberglass as it hits the reef sends chills up the spine of any sailor as his dear ship does one of the few things it should never do, touch land.


I’m so fucking bored a want to pull my hair out,  my soul was never meant to be a part of the corporate cog.  A friend pulled into my island and gave my stale mind a breather, something to chew on, then Karen and Jim stumbled around the corner and my head nearly exploded, I love these guys like no other, Jim didn’t even recognize me as I look so respectable it would even make my own mother want to puke, I was born unshaven with a rag a muffin wig, my hair is better worn wild like the wind that carries me.

I was just notified my new tent is back ordered so I may just have to start sleeping in the bar or ferry terminal, so yeah other than being land locked, bored out of my fucking mind and homeless life is  good, I get a almost free burger evey day which is what I’m living off of and it would be a really nice treat if I wasn’t vegan, don’t get me wrong, i still eat that shit but…

 Take  note children, this is what happens when you trade your life for money and put your boat on dry land, Poseidon curses you evey damn day until you do the right thing and float your boat.  

From the log of Sookie, why is it that when life is good it goes by so quickly but when it sucks ass it is like a slow painful death.  

The Windward sailor

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A seagull flying overhead asked the fish “how’s the water?”. The fish responds “what the hell is Water?” Every day of my life is an uphill battle but like the fish, it’s all I know, so in my reality it doesn’t even exist.  My sailing instructor Captian Lea started me off with long windy and wet windward passages, I figured that’s what sailing was and I loved  it, it was all I knew and so they have never bothered me.  Let’s face it, I can’t sing, I can’t dance and I can’t play and instrument but I do all three.  


Wet decks, cold spray across the bow and living in a small boat heeled well over isn’t a bad way to go if it gets you to your destination.  I’ve been working my ass of and spending nil, hoping to scrape the much needed funds to get the boat to San Carlos, or Ventura or Florida, somewhere warm, a place where I can have a full year to work on Sookie and get her ready to cross oceans.  

My accountant tells me I don’t have a snowballs chance in hell of doing it  this year so I’ve adjusted my course fallen off a bit and am settling in for a long wet winter.  I’ve applied as a charter master in the Carribean, a banker in Nevada, and a broker in Florida, I doubt I will do any of the three but I’m covering my bases.  I’m slowly coming to terms with the fact that there will be no little sailors or sailorettes in my life, I took my eye of of the ball and just like that 14 years of my life has vanished. When I adopted Chloe it wasn’t because I wanted a dog, it was because I wanted children but wasn’t sure if I was good enough of a human being and worthy of the honor of raising children.  Pretty much up until very recently I’ve held onto the belief that little tanned feet would eventually rule the decks of Sookie.

As of today I have 75 days until I have to spin the bottle and decide my winter, I’m poaching s tree house until my tiny new one man tent replaces the one I temporarily borrowed, I hope it’s better than the last but after living in a giant two man tent I think it may be a bit cramped.  My knees are blown from my job, basically I’ve been running a marathon a day, every day, I’m too old for this shit.  Two and a half months is far to long to wait for my next journey to begin but not nearly enough time to cross everything off of THE LIST. One day at a time is all I can do and should it all become too much I’ll just mount my trusty Brompty and pedal off into the sunset.  Sailing hard on the wind only sucks if you choose for it to.

“Never throughout history has a man who lived a life of ease left a name worth remembering.” 

― Theodore Roosevelt

Foot prints

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The sailors bouquet is made of paintbrushes, varnish, whipping twine and blue masking tape. I’ve got a pile of supplies that a few of my life’s units bought for me, a long list of this and that I and a few very serious decisions to make about my steering system. I dont know if I still have a heater or not but one way or another Sookie will have a heat source right after water and fire and hopefully before the winter that I have no plans of enduring arrives.

I packed up my pack, pulled the tent and nothing was left but her footprint, a sign of me having rested my weary head long enough for the outside world to change and die while beneath my bed of grass a green reminder will slowly fade away like the days of our lives. 


Sookie got a quick rinse but tomorrow she will get her first proper bath in quite some time as will I, we are both beginning to smell like yesterday’s trash.  I sail vicariously with Mary as she crosses the South Pacific on her Falmouth cutter, I am landlocked but now for the first time I am seeing all the good in having Sookie in the yard, at least for now.  I miss her cozy berth, having logged over two thousand nights in my crappy down sleeping bag I am in desperate need of a new one, the cold nights are a reminder of many things other than the simple fact that I am freezing in July.  Fall is now closer than spring, the days are noticeably shorter and it’s time to pick from my bouquet and paint some magic so I can get to the real task at hand.

From the log of Sookie, land locked.  The fog is slowly rising,  from my Perch in the boatyard I notice that Sookies compass is pointed due south, she is speaking to me.