Saturday, June 13, 2009

The journey begins...

After one last taste of the incredible apple toast that my fabulous warmshowers host, Carol, provided, I packed up the bike and headed out to begin my journey down to DC. [WS is a site that connects touring cyclists to kind hosts -cyclists themselves- willing to offer a yard to set up a tent in, possibly a couch or use of the kitchen and yes, a warmshower] Well , I only made it 5 miles as I decided to take advantage of a beautiful weekend day in the city to do some outreach and hung out at the Charles River Festival in Cambridge where I handed out postcards and answered peoples questions about Climate Ride. Enjoying the wondrous day, meeting some great people and perhaps a touch of trepidation kept me from leaving Boston until about 4:00 in the afternoon.

I got lost about a dozen times leaving the city, but was encouraged by the thumbs up gestures and "nice jobs" being shouted out of car windows. Wow, this could be pretty cool. It was also interesting to see much of the Boston Marathon route (backwards) without a single screaming Wellsley girl or kid handing out orange slices.

Several hours later, as darkness threatened, I found out that there was a campground, errr, state forest a few miles ahead that would be a good place to throw up the tent for the night. Apparently it's a good place for mosquitoes to flourish as well, as I was immediatly 'welcomed' to the area with ferocity. After getting into pants and a long sleeve shirt, I erected my shelter to the glow of my flashlight and tried to prepare as best I could for the impending rains.

And come they did. All night and all of the next morning. For the record, the Weather Channel's idea of "light showers" is slightly different than mine. Mental note made.

So here I was at one of those "what the hellll am I doing?" moments as I crouched, soaked and shivering, underneath a sign trying to figure out what to do. Wait for the rains to let up or try and get to a legitimate shelter somewhere up the road. In the end, I found a brief break in the rain and made it to the greatest sight these eyes have ever seen - a "Friendlys" restaurant in Webster, MA. As if the "Sizzling Sunrise" breakfast and 4 0r 5 cups of coffee weren't enough, a couple that I had talked to for a bit, stopped by the table on their way out to wish me well and left me a coupon for $2 off breakfast and a "donation to the cause." I was stunned. And warmed. And lifted. The rains slowed, then stopped and though, the hills in NE Connecticut were brutal, it turned out to be a great day.

I once read in somebody's blog that if you want to hate the US, read the newspaper everyday. If you want to love the US, ride your bike across it. Here I am, on only the second day of this journey, and I think I get it. More to come on this topic another day.

1 comment:

Bailey said...

You know you've got a place to stay when you hit Baltimore, buddy.