Flat Ocean of Corn & The Real America

"If I rest, I rust." That was the motto on a key.

After biking for 19 consecutive days with only one rest day (forced upon by the rain storm), I took a day off on Friday, June 28th, in Bowling Green, Ohio. Once you relax, you seem to need a lot more relaxation.

Stayed with the wonderful new friend Karen and Bill, both were Christian ministers, among many other inspiring works. They showed me around town -- very much a college town, and brought me to the coffee shop where young students and the liberals gather. "If you blow up that coffee shop, you would kill all the progressives in town." In that coffee shop, I could imagine myself to be back in the Pioneer Valley of Western MA. People even have the same stickers on their water bottle.


The Police Asked, "Are You on Facebook?"

Reporting to you from a family backyard in Painesville, Ohio!

Painesville is not only painless, but has a good sense of humor. I arrived in this little down outside of Cleveland, along Lake Erie, having biked a solid 60 miles in scorching heat. Knocked on a few doors to ask for permission to camp, and one alert neighbor called the police.


Operation Sisyphus and Ivory Tower

As of 6/15, I have been on the road for an entire week. Now, I am in the comfortable and welcoming home of a college friend in Ithaca, NY.

The parents treated me so kindly: they even made real rice, cooked the right way! Such thoughtful and cultured people. You can always tell by the way people cook rice. They offered me the guest room, with a king-sized bed and its own bathroom. Haven't slept on a bed for a week. Didn't want to get up. The mother Wendy showed me around Cornell, and the town of Ithaca. What a different world compared to its surrounding area!


Oneonta, New York

Showered, sheltered and fed!

Yesterday, 6/13, was pouring rain in the Catskill Mountains. The Wood family kindly let me stay in their house for another day, and sleep on their couch. They took me grocery shopping, and showed me the town, and the damage that a hurricane did two years ago. 

Today, biked a solid 60 miles, with lots of hill climbing. Like this one -- I had to push my bike up a continuous hill for more than a mile. But the butt appreciates a break from the seat.


From the Rolling Hills of Catskill Mountains

You are getting the report from the rolling hills of the Catskill Mountains, New York State.

I thought I was done climbing after the Berkshires. Well, beyond mountains there are mountains, as the Chinese saying goes.

Here are some photo updates:


First Three Days

You are getting the report from Hudson, NY!

Today, after biking 45 miles in the rain, half of the time uphill, and asking six places for permission to camp, including the county sheriff (I asked if the prison has an extra bed. They warned me that I might get what I wish for.), I am finally settled down at the back yard of a very generous family in Hudson. I used a garden hose to wash off, in my bike shorts. Don't know what the neighbors thought about the half naked young man showering with a garden hose. 

The past few days has spared no internet or cell signal for updates. So here is a quick report back!


Being a Beginner & Rehabilitation

It it great to be a beginner. It brings us back to the ground. It reminds us that there are always things we don't know, no matter how good we have become at some other things.

It gives me more headache to plan and shop for food than to write a paper or give a speech. I am more clueless in the supermarket than at a professional conference or a board room. Now I understand why Mao sent the "intellectual youths" to the countryside to be "re-educated." This bike trip, even before the first mile, has been a sobering re-education.

It is embarrassing to admit, but here are a few "first" for me in the past few days:


Getting On The Road

It's been two weeks since graduation. Life seems to have gotten busier, with back-to-back travels (LA, San Fran, NYC, Boston), moving, and trying to hit the road soon.

I am now across the street from Hampshire College, making final preparations for the bike trip heading west to San Francisco. Only now has the enormity of the challenge sunk in. It is a similar feeling as when I first arrived in the US four years ago: starting all over, again. Nothing from the past matters here, because it is a different game.

I didn't really know what I was signing up for when I decided to bike across the country by myself. And this is part of the fun. I know I must get on the road, because one could spend the entire summer doing research and practice, and still feel under-prepared. Things will work itself out.