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!
Day 1: Hampshire College to Chesterfield, MA. 25 miles.
The day before, 6/8, was the first time that I loaded my whole bike and gave it a test ride. So the real journey is the training. I knew that I must get on the road ASAP, or I could spend my whole summer preparing for every last little thing. Life will work itself out.
Started the journey at 11:45am, June 9th, from the house of Earl and Glenna's, across from Red Barn of Hampshire. Paid $95 in Amherst to install a front rack for bike. Could have gotten the same thing for $35 from online, but it was about time to support local business.
A beautiful day to start. Sunny, cool. Biking along designated bike lane to Northampton. Many people waved and smiled. Two people stopped by and asked me what I was up to. Upon hearing the plan, they gave me their warm support and good wishes. Very grateful for their kindness at the beginning of my trip. Meant a lot.
But only if life were that easy. Soon, I exited the Tofu Curtain. Houses along the way start to look less well maintained. No rainbow flags or anti-nuclear signs in the front yards. Trucks started to pass by me closer and closer. Then, I started to climb the Berkshires. That was brutal. I had to get off the bike and push for half of the time.
In the evening, excited to find a empty Boy Scout Camp. Sneaked in to set up tent. Have never seen so many mosquito in my life. Maybe 30 bites in one hour. My helmet wouldn't fit because the mosquito bites had enlarged my head by one size. New bites emerged faster than I could scratch old ones. First day always the hardest. But high spirit. No shower, so I used a hose with cold water to wash off the dirt and salt on body. The hose was full of ants. I am glad I flushed them out before pouring on myself.
Day 2: to Hinsdale, MA. 20 miles. Keep climbing the Berkshires. Brutal, brutal. Started to rain pretty heavily. Asked for direction at Camp Danbee, and they fed me lunch. Chowder soup. Yum. Knocked on a door, an older gentleman let me camp in his old horse barn. Very nice people. Great chat. Started to listen to the Bible. "In the beginning, God created Heaven and Earth..."
Day 3: to Hudson, NY. 45 miles. The longest ride I have ever done with a fully loaded trailer. Curious to see how the legs feel tomorrow. It rained the whole day. Sometimes, the rain stopped before I could put my rain coat on. Sometimes, it suddenly poured so hard that it was too late to put any rain gear on. Funny weather.
Enjoyed asking people if I could camp in their backyard, even if they turn me down one way or another. It puts both sides in a vulnerable position. Gets a good sampling of people, and families.
People along the way have been so nice. Very generous and supportive. But trust is hard to establish. Doing this trip, I am putting a lot of trust in others, and asking for a lot of trust from others. Both are hard. But they are always there. Thankful.
I have no clue how far I will go every day, or where I will sleep. I only know that I am having oatmeal for breakfast, peanut butter for lunch, and pasta and tuna for dinner. I am focusing on one day at a time, and let life leads the way.
More to come later in the month! Thank you all for your support!