I’m off to Auburn for the weekend to see Wakefield and Sara. They got me tickets to the game… should be a good time.
After getting back from the west coast, I got extremely antsy and tired of being home, so I took off last Thursday and made my way up the coast. On Thursday night I hit UGA and hung out with Brittany and Brooke, two friends from high school. We met up with some of their friends form UGA and went out downtown to a few different places, none of which I remember the name. One made espresso beer however.
On Friday morning I woke up, got some lunch, and kept heading north on I-85 up to Charlotte to see some friends from college and a buddy from high school. We went to one of their condos in downtown Charlotte, and hung out there for a while. (Note: While there, Grey chased Jason around with a knife, Jason had a wet suit on, his fake tooth out, and at one point had a revolver strapped to his hip.) Kyle, Trawick, Scott and I went out to Tilt and waited for one of their friends who apparently could get free drinks, but this never happened, so we left. We then went to Ri Ra’s where we hung out on the porch and ran into way too many Elon people who I never wanted to see again in my life. (If you are offended by this comment, then it wasn’t you I never wanted to see again. It was someone else.) Couple rounds of shots later and we headed to what Trawick deems the “Lighthouse of Charlotte.” Dixie’s Tavern it was. Way too expensive though, and not enough fun to make it worth it. On the upside, we ran into a few former ZTA’s who we ended up with back at their pool until 5am. All in all, a good night.
Saturday came around and I went further up I-85 to Richmond, where I met up with Kerley, Everett, Deflaun, Alice and T-Cobb (and her sister). Saw Kerley’s house for the first time, and then Alice and T-Cobb’s new apartment. Pregame, then out to the bar. We hit up the Metro Grill and had a blast. It was the first time I had seen them since they went to Europe. The night ended with a 4am push-up contest.
On Sunday i just headed to UVA, about an hour away and met up with my brother. We got dinner, saw a movie, and crashed early becaus ehe had class on Monday and i had to drive all the way back to Atlanta. I stopped in Greensboro and ate lunch with the guys at Bluezoom, (and Anne!) and caught up with them. It seemed to just be me talking about Burning Man, but whatever.
Now I am just working on the deck that I am building on the back of our house, and getting ready to go to Auburn on Friday to see Chris and Sara.
Jesus these posts are boring now… I need to get back on the road…
After 3 weeks on the west coast, 36+ hours on a bus, two transcontinental flights, and over 450 miles of biking… I am back in Atlanta. I am not quite the same person I was when I left. I have met more people in the past few weeks than I can even imagine, and have become friends with some that will last forever.
Biking the coast with Jason was an incredible way to finish up the summer, and even though it cost more than I had planned, it is something I would do again in a second. I got to know him better then ever, and after starting off college with him as my roommate, this was the perfect end.
We both hit our lows and realized that we could keep going, even if it meant eating Raman and beans for dinner. The highs were the most natural, endorphin powered highs I have ever felt. After struggling uphill for hours, the feeling of cresting the top with an endless view of the Pacific Ocean rimmed by jagged cliffs covered in rolling fog is one that I will never forget. The silent pause at the top was always followed by a rush as we tipped our bikes forward and pointed the front wheel down, racing towards the bottom at up to 50 mph.
Once we made it out of the mountains, we had a few days of nice, flat, country biking before we hit the cities. City biking is dangerous, stressful, and bumpy. But it is also interesting because of how many people you run into. (Literally, only once, and he hit me.)
Right now I am struggling to acclimate back into real life. I am only in town for a month, so it is a strange feeling. Until yesterday I had not driven a car in almost a month, and had only ridden in one twice. I can go to the store and buy whatever I want right now, which is a strange feeling. I have to make a decent amount of money soon, and I am trying to sell my car. All of which take time, and a different kind of energy than I am used to. I have found that I began regulating my time to living in the most basic sense. When biking, it was all about water, food, energy, and where are we staying, how do we get there. In the middle of the desert at Burningman, it was water, shade, water, food. Don’t move to much during the day or you will get heat stroke. My body went from 8,000+ calories a day while biking to less than 1500 in the heat. Now that I am back, I slept for 13 hours last night, and woke up feeling a little lost, as if I should have something to physically occupy my time all day. Downtime is not something I am used to.
Other than the physical changes (I am tan, lean, and very bearded) I now find myself to be more outgoing than I ever have been before. People are simply people, they all have their problems, concerns, and joys. They all also want to interact with others, they just don’t know how to do it all the time. If you can make their life interesting for a second, they appreciate it. it also makes your day worthwhile. Traveling is not about places, it is about the people that make those places unique. You can find these people everywhere, even at home.
My next trip is a simple one up the East coast to see my friends again before I head to Asia.
We are now close to reno, and the bus has wireless internet via Verizon cell card, so I am typing this on on Alan’s MacBook. We have gotten to know each other a little more now, so here is a brief rundown of some of the crew. There is a couple from Israel, about 25 years old, who backpacked California and are here for a while. They are really aid back, and have some cool stories. He works for Grey Advertising. One guy is wearing a star wars shirt, and jeans covered in colored paint. He is currently finishing his last year of Harvard Law. Two people are from Germany, but never met each other before the trip started. One guy works for an ad agency in San Fran, and this is his second burn. Ethan runs the whole program, and is a really unique individual, he and his friend Alan both went to UMass and have been doing this for a year. There are about 10 others on board, but i have yet to get their stories, as we are constantly moving around and getting to know each other.
Again, More later…
So here is the crew on the bus to burningman. We are heading out and it the coolest bus I have ever seen. Hippy to the max. These are some cool people, some are a little quiet, but the others make up for it. More later!
This is the view out the window of the house I am staying in tonight in San Francisco. You know that really twisty road you always see pictures of? It is smack in the middle of it. How sweet is that?
Now posts about Burning man!
This is the guy next to me. All he talks about is the girls who are on the bus and movies. But, we have been hitting it off and laughing pretty much the whole time and I just put my earplugs in and went to sleep for a few hours. 3 more til San Francisco.
Jason: Well after 12 days and over 450 miles covered the biking has officially concluded in LA. We could have pushed on through the city to complete an 80 mile day yesterday and then really pushed it today to make up the 150 we lacked to the border (HA!) but this felt like a good time to finish. The rest of the coast would have been endless city biking, which as you all know generally only affords us significant problems. In short, city biking (with a loading down bike at least) is miserable. So we coasted the final 30 miles into Santa Monica yesterday to Eliz’s place and felt good about how far we had come. The song of the day was “Xxplosive” by Dr. Dre, in light of rollin down the PCH through LA. Veronica, you might have to explain to the others about Dre’s hood!
We just dropped our bikes off at REI to be shipped back to the east coast and Ben will be leaving tomorrow to go to burning man. Now we can relax a little and think back on the whole trip. A few things that I will take away from it.
You let go of the little things that usually drive you crazy. For one, I currently have a beard. A really nappy one with a half grown mustache. Gross, but I decided to just see how long I could stand it.
I have come to realize that getting lost is inevitable so you can either let it annoy you or just make the best of things. Often you will find a cool restaurant, shop, or bum to talk to.
When you travel on a bike (or travel in an uncommon way, removing most of the luxuries) you meet a much more diverse array of people. “Pretty cool, and a little crazy” is the easiest way to put it. That’s the kind of people we met. People in cars thought we were nuts, grown men who had done our trip before practically shed a tear sharing the experience with us, and the bums that we often camped with usually had good advice for us. A very real perspective that common travelers didn’t have. We met very few people our same age, as we figured that most either were now at work, looking for work, or back at school. We were fortunate enough to be at option D. None of the above.
I appreciate all of you taking an interest in our little adventure, your thoughts and prayers got us through some sketchy times. Thanks mom and dad for understanding, even though you probably though it was crazy to do this. In 5 years maybe we can get a group to do the east coast tour!?!? To close, as Confucius say, “Man who bike in front of car may get tired, but man who bike behind car get exhausted.”
-Ben’s wrap up to come…
Last campfire. Hotdogs for dinner, and the day on the beach. We are in Los angeles county, and will get to santa monica tomorrow.
This time I had two spares, but they were short stem, and I need long stem.. When I bought them, I told the guy I needed long stem, and he gave me one long stem and one short stem. I didn’t even think to check that both boxes were the same. We are in a city though, and there is a bike shop a mile back that Jason has gone off to get two more spare tubes…