I knew my ride was over the second I opened my eyes, not only was my knee killing me but now so was my back that had been on the mend since day one. I can’t say the feelings going through my mind but I was in a very bad place, A place I rarely visit. I made a cup of coffee using the microwave at the hostile and something clicked in my brain.
How far have I fallen from my pre dawn shivering coffee routine. Screw on the stove fuel, assemble the who unit, pour and icy stream of water pulled from the memory of the previous day and light a match. With a proof that little bit of pre dawn light and heat would get my core going. I would stretch and take deep breaths while I waited for my dark and thick morning brew, now I’m using a fucking microwave. In disgust I took my lazy cup of coffee and found my little Tin topped perch, just like my tin shed in Hawaii. I smoked a ciggi and had a deep conversation with my other half, Stormy.
I wondered if I went really slow if I couldn’t just make it to the end of town, maybe I could walk up the big hills steepest parts and coast to Canon beach, there is a bus there if it proved to be too much, I would ride slower than I ever have and stop and stretch every mile if I had to, it was only 27 miles with three progressively bigger hill climbs. Would it work, even one more day would make the pain worth it but reality chimed in, your body is talking to you, quit now or you will suffer this injury again for years to come.
And just like that I threw in the towel and quit my tour. The only question is what to do next, where to go and how to get there. One thing I knew for sure is that the only way I could afford to get out of here was to hitchhike. I packed my things and decided to ride the bus to Canon beach where it would be easier to hitch out of town. All packed up I I mounted my trusty steed, shifted into second gear and slowly pushed my way to defeat. I was miles past the bus stop before I realized it and heading south, my legs gently turning nursing my wound.
Two hours and 15 miles later I found myself sitting at the edge of a long uphill tunnel with a left hand bend. There was no way I could ride this between the heavy Saturday traffic. I was rested as I had just spend a bit of time on the side of the road fixing a flat, the biggest tragedy was that I had just aired up to 100 psi at a service station so now I would be riding on under pressured tires with a headwind. I took off my helmet and turned on my little flashing light. When there was a break in traffic I hit the flasher button and rode as hard as my knee would let me, smack dab in the middle of that mother fucking tunnel I got another flat, cars bearing down on me horns honking and the roar of engines revving all echoing through the tunnel and my brain. I got off the bike and did the only thing I could, I walked the rest of the way with my heart in my throat.
27 miles later and a very sore knee I had successfully finished the hardest and easiest day of this journey. I popped a few Advil, slammed a bunch of water and ate like I had never eaten before, I’m so fucking hungry and I can’t satisfy the pangs. I made the first day of my new journey, sitting in my tent listening to the dirt bag diary I can’t help but wonder if I can make the next 48 miles, there is no place between here and there…
I may not be able to live as a cycle tourist any more but that doesn’t mean I can’t lollygag around on my Brompton for a bit and see where she takes me. I know my knee won’t push up the steepest hills and my hunger pangs will chase me like the devil but none of this matters, I’m out here following a simple dream, one fueled by Todds blog at Clever cycles and his journey down the coast, his knee is fucked also. By chance I met a young girl, Lucy; when I was perving on her bike, she is good friends with Leal Wilcox one of my favorite cyclists she is part of the dynamic dou that create gypsy by trade, the single best blog on the planet and one I devour on the odd occasion I have the time.
In the morning I will ride if my body permits it and if it doesn’t I’ll grab my Nikon and play tourist, snap pictures make sand castles and take a long hot free shower and an even longer nap. I’m craving beef flavored cup of noodles, it’s my weekly hot meal but the grocery store that’s holds my treasure is 38 miles down the road this morsel will have to be earned and I have plenty to keep me alive until I can ride again and that I’m learning is what this journey is about, riding my bike, the thing I did as a child that geve me my first sense of freedom and mobility, the thing I have done my whole life and the part I’ve played as role model for eight years since I started my boycott of cars.
The mileage has been hard earned a few of them easy but there is a simple joy and the freedom of knowing there are no shackles in my life, I’m not moving backwards my destiny is that way and that’s the way I’m headed, at least for today because that’s all my body can guarantee me, tomorrow may be an entirely different journey but a journey none the less.