Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Bike Trip Tuesday

Folks, I am going to take a brief break from Trini Tuesday. I have enjoyed posting about Trinidad and sharing about a place I love and it's culture, history, and people. I am feeling a bit stale in generating new material though. There are several people who have been reading me for most of my blogging days. I have also picked up quite a few new readers recently and I appreciate all of you and the positive feedback when you've really enjoyed a TT post. Feel free to dig around the archives for Trini Tuesday material if you want. I'll be back with more when I feel I have something worthwhile to share or time to dig into a few of the things I'd like to share about but will require more research.

In the interim I am going to bore you to tears regale you with utter nonsense fascinating stories about a bicycle trip I took from Pennsylvania to California during 1987. I was inspired to share this because of a post Gawpo did which mentioned of the booming metropolis of Wagontire, Oregon (population 2). After I commented that I had been there and told him when and why he said I HAD to post about it. Since I am such the lazy blogger agreeable and obliging sort you all get to suffer enjoy.



Now, let's back up. I said I was part of a bicycle trip that was nearly from coast to coast. Don't start congratulating me yet. There were 11 of us but I did not pedal for the 4000+ miles of the trip. Are you kidding me? Do I look sick in the head to you? Wait, don't answer that. No, I was the driver of the support vehicle (a Chevy Citation). It was my job to pack the belongings of 11 people into the car every day. I managed to do it well enough to still see out the back window, thank you very much. I also did all the cooking and laundering for said group as well as find lodging for us each night. May I just say, 9 people pedalling for 70 miles a day can eat like you wouldn't believe. They can also make some tremendously ripe laundry.



I was the youngest person in the group, age 18. The oldest was Pete, 28. He had done such a trip one time before and so was a very valuable member of the group. There were 6 of us from the same college in central Pennsylvania and 5 folks that we hooked up with through one of our local group members. The other 5 were from Texas, Iowa, New York, England, and Colorado. I still have no idea how they all connected. In our local group we had a fellow from Paraguay who was my co-driver of the Little Citation That Could. Mr. Lime was also among the local group. We were 4 women and 7 men. It was quite the collection of personalities I might add and living together in such unusual circumstances made for some very interesting dynamics from time to time. The only person among us who never seemed to get annoyed by living in close quarters with such a big and diverse crew was Del. I suspect it had something to do with him being the 11th of 17 children in his family of Iowa hog farmers. He was absolutely the most easygoing fellow you could ever hope to meet.

Since we all had agreed on this harebrained idea of pedalling bicycles for over 4000 miles we also agreed to do it for some purpose bigger than the sheer entertainment value of wedging one's own seat onto a tiny bit of metal, vinyl and alleged padding materials. We decided to use it as a fundraiser for charitable causes. Each of us found as many sponsors as we could to donate anywhere between 1/4 cent and $.01 per mile. Doing so, we were able to raise about $6000 for an aid group that worked with widows and orphans in Bangladesh after a series of floods devastated that country and for a couple training to go work among the needy. Every cent went to those causes and we funded our own travel expenses.

It did, however become apparent that expenses were somewhat underestimated and in addition to being the chief cook,bottle washer, driver and laundress extraordinaire I was now assigned the task of begging for lodging each night. This generally entailed finding a phone book or the first church entering a town and requesting to camp in their yard or sleep in their building. I protested this arrangement since I had budgeted for campgrounds myself since that was my understanding. The group poopooed that. I pleaded to have them allow me find public parks and such. No, go beg to the churches. I was nonplussed by this arrangement, to say the least. It would not be the last time I got assigned an unpleasant task against my wishes. I had lots of opportunities to learn a lot of flexibility and hone my pathetic soul facial expression. I think if I had known I'd be knocking on doors and asking for housing each night I never would have said yes to the driver's job but if I had said no I would have missed out on a tremendous chance to see so much of my own country and get a heck of an education on human nature and group dynamics.

26 comments:

S said...

FIRST

S said...

OK wow, that mustve been so much fun.
When my sister was 19, she and her bf took a train from Los Angeles to Seattle, then rode their bikes home....they thought that going South was easier..psychologically downhill so to speak.
They had just their panniers, no support group, and yes, my sister was a 105 pound machine who could eat 4000 calories a day on that bike trip!
Im glad you took that jog other wise you would have miss Wagonwheel Oregon or whatever its called...

Word veri:
hip sus

i like it!

G-Man said...

Michelle.....
Non-plussed?
Hehehehehe...xox

ttfootball said...

so in other words you were the group bitch LOL

Hypersonic said...

Hmmmmmm.

Lime Does Wagontire! Doesn't have the same alliterative ring to it.

I am waiting with baited breath for the next installment. I'm sure these are going to be funny/uplifting/thoughtful and many, many other things that I can't be arsed to think of at the moment.

Good luck on this new endeavour.

Dan said...

He was absolutely the most easygoing fellow you could ever hope to meet.

You should have met siblings 12-17!

Great story Lime!

MyUtopia said...

Being a SAG driver is a lot of fun!

Apple said...

I doubt I would have lasted a week! Looking forward to the rest of the tale.

Ameratis said...

Ohhhh this is going to be a fun story I can tell :) Looking forward to more!

justacoolcat said...

My first two cars were Chevy Citations and and I'm suprised one could make the 4000+ mile journey.

Charles said...

WhooHoo! Roadtrip!

lecram sinun said...

OK... totally insane... but cool idea! Looking forward to the next part already. :)

RennyBA said...

What, what a multi talented biker you are! I love bike trips too, but also to cock, washing bottles and so one at the same time!?!

Btw: Guess where we have this year co-workers summer party: at Lemongrass, the Trin restaurant in Oslo! I can't promise anything, but who knows about pics and a post:-)

jillie said...

OMG...doing their dirty laundry?? You REALLY deserve some wings for that. Whew!!! Not only would I have been rubbing mentholetum UNDER my nose...I would have also been packing INTO my nose...lmao. Great story ;o))

Keyser Soze said...

Good story. Can't wait for more. I would have done any of those jobs except laundress. Er...launderer.
Wash yown stinky sox ya big babies!
I haveta go beg for lodging. Not unlike touring with a rock band on a budget actually. Except instead of begging churches it's hot babes.
Can we pleeeeeease sleep on your "floor" (while insert member of band inserts his member in you)?
Oy. The trials of a misspent youth.
Ahg, the good old days. May they never come again.

bsoholic said...

Wow!That must of been one wild experience, or more many wild experiences. Haha! Pretty cool though, not everyone can say they've camped in church grounds across the nation.

Breazy said...

I have to say that I feel sympathy for where the laundry is concerned! It sounds like a good experience though and of course , it was all for a great cause. Thanks for sharing with us!

Paul Champagne said...

This can't be the end of the story ... you must have lots of tales to tell about this trip (some of which may even be true).

airplanejayne said...

I'm glad you did it....and not me.....egads, I hate when I have to beg for stuff.....

Top cat said...

wow lime, you have done some incredible things and seen so much in your lifetime.
Great post.
tc

Mel said...

That's a pretty cool story!!
Not just anyone can say they were part of a biketour who fundraised for an aid group in Bangladesh!

Sounds like there are many "aside" stories as a result of this trip :)

SignGurl said...

You have lived life beyond your years. No wonder you are so wise.

~Tim said...

Woo-hoo road trip! Thanks for taking us along (time-shifted by 20 years or so, not that that matters).

barman said...

Wow that is fun. I started to think however. How did everyone get back home? Surely they did not ride their bikes home.

Man the laundry does not sound fun all by itself but then to have to beg too. I would hate that so much.

I sure hope there is more to this trip. It have been a wonderful trip in my head so far.

Cosima said...

At the same age, my then boyfriend and I transfered a huge Volvo station wagon from San Diego to Chicago. We saw the country, and didn't even have to pay for the gas. It was a wonderful trip.

TorAa said...

You were lucky to have the chance to such a travel experience when young. And what an experience.
I've never gone that far on bikes. My longest travel, sort of kind this, was by a 20 feet boat, with two other guys - we were 18-19, at that time. We went from Norway to Denmark, Germany, on the channels of the Netherlands, Belgium, France and up to Basel in Switzerland (To Switzerland by boat!) - then back to Germany and into DDR, jailed by the military there . before going to West Berlin and the back to Norway via Denmark. About 1500 miles.... Living really close upon each other all day and night for 75 days. Yes, an education on human nature...