Journey to the East: 8 August 2012



Hollyhocks fall to the ground
trampled underfoot
at the festival
-Masaoka Shiki

100 days of solitude
Today was the hundredth day since I handed over the keys to my apartment in Seattle and set off: homeless and filled with wanderlust. While I, of course, always intended to cross country at that point it was a journey without much of a goal. That is to say I figured I’d ride where the whims took me and if I stuck to the route great, but if something else came up, so be it. That wasn’t really how it played out, though the first month or so was more aimless and wandering. But by Montana I was petty locked into the Northern Tier. I also was feeling a bit overly disconnected from things – something I was seeking but I had limits. Frankly I missed NPR. So thinking back to a conversation I had with Shawn of the Urban Adventure League I bought a wind up radio. I wasn’t always able to tune in NPR but I was grateful when I could. Today the handle on that radio broke – just two days before the end. So it goes.


Bar Harbor Brewing's Tasting room

I spent the day today in Bar Harbor using the excellent free Island Explorer shuttle to get around. BH rather reminds me of Friday Harbor in the San Jaun Islands – if you could get to it via a bridge. That is to say its much larger but with just thet many more pubs, coffee shops, outfitters, bookstores, ice cream shops and those that specialize in tat. Everything is just packed with tourists too (yes including myself) – the shuttle was packed, the coffee shops had lines out the door and so on. I just wanted to sit with coffee and relax with the morning news. Instead I did some errands – found the bicycle shop where I’ll ship my bicycle home from and checked out the co-op. Finally things cleared out a bit and I spent the late morning at a bakery over coffee. The rest of the day I checked out the shops, the waterfront, the Village Green and drank beer. BH brewing has a free tasting room where you get tiny samples of the beer, the stout was the hands down winner IMO. The bartender gave me a tip on what bar had the most microbrews on tap, so for lunch I went to Blaze where I had a local cask conditioned IPA and wood fired pizza. So pretty much just took it easy and enjoyed a day off the bicycle. Though by the end of the day I have to admit I began to feel a real distance between myself and all of this. Just doesn’t really seem real. Perhaps if I was riding away from it all tomorrow…

seemingly out of step
gazing out at the fog –

9 thoughts on “Journey to the East: 8 August 2012”

  1. The disconnect kind of reminds me of reading stories about solo sailors circumnavigating the globe with no contact, except maybe by radio/internet.

    Once the journey is over, it does feel a bit unreal; reminds of coming back from my WestPac cruise in ’77, and when I returned home from living in Taipei for two years, especially as time–the years–passes by. They become good memories, although maybe a bit faded, and reminders of what you’ve done and what you’re capable of doing.
    Testing your metal is a good thing.

    Anyway, your tour was quite an accomplishment in my book. The experience will serve you well in the future.


    1. Thanks Steve. Yeah this isn’t unfamiliar it occurs every tour, this one was just more extreme. And I’m not even home yet, it hasn’t really hit. Willie Wier once said at a talk of his I attended that there is a differenece when your tour is months instead of weeks. A change occurs, but you have to experience it to really understand. I’m pretty sure I grok what he was sayingt now

  2. Def a big accomplishment. That feeling of loss and aimlessness comes with the ending of things…. like working so hard on a play only to have it close in time. The end of another year of school for the boys now seems to be my biggest endings. This is Arlo’s last year at. PPE. Sad.
    MAINE though! And 100 days on a bike! Wish I had been able to see you in In.
    when are you doing a Southern tour?

    1. Thanks Col. Yes, but it’s also sort of like when you move – the road has been my home for more than three months now.

      I don’t think a southern tour is in the cards – I dealt with the heat and humidty but I didn’t love it. So going where it’s even worse doesn’t appeal. I think any major forthcoming tours would be overseas…

        1. True, but in this she meant The South, in particular Tennessee, which wouldn’t really be using the Southern Tier. Transamerica is a better candidate IMO, though obv. you’d have to work out the specifics.

  3. I hear ya on the disconnect, to an extent. When we did our tour last year, part of the point was to hit cities along with countryside, and we spent anywhere from a couple days to a full week in these cities, interacting with people. Also, travelling with April meant I always had someone to talk to. But even with all that, there were times where we felt disconnected from “real life” and “the real world”. (Not to be confused with MTV’s Real World, which is all downhill after the 3rd/SF season.)*

    As for the radio, did you pick up the Eton Scorpion? I rate it 3.5 out of a 5. It’s pretty decent, but not as well made as it should be. The handle broke on ours after a few months of constant use. And if the handle don’t go, the antenna will. Still, it was nice to listen to NPR or CBC for news. And the weather band was really useful. I will forever have the generic summer weather forecast of the Canadian Prairies burned in my head, as it never changed: “Mainly sunny. 30 percent chance of a shower. Risk of a thunderstorm. Low 11, High 25.”

    *Downhill, get it? It’s because they were in San Francisco. And it’s hilly there. Like, lots.

    1. In a way being in the cities and such just increases the alienation for me, but perhaps more on all this in a later post when I’m well and truly done.

      It is indeed an Eton, but a Red Cross branded Microlink FR160. It has solar charging too, so if I leave it out all day I can get about ten minutes of radio. Its a pretty sweet unit, but it really should have had metal on metal for the crank connection – the plastic joint just doesn’t last

      Ha, that weather forecast sounds like the ones in the Midwest. Sure the highs varied a bit but chance of a thunderstorm everyday for weeks.

      1. I can also feel alienated in cities, when I’m by myself and don’t really know anyone in town. But this tour for the most part we interacted with people we knew when we were in cities, with maybe the exceptions of Spokane and Duluth (mostly.) It is much better when you have people you know to interact with.

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