Last Entry of Exodus Stage One

The final ride in Santa Barbara.
When I was a kid, man, shit was great. I took naps and fell out of trees and made friends with everyone and rode bikes and crapped in my pants and everything was new and exciting.

And then my mind got kidnapped and the world reached back and bitch-slapped me, and people I trusted told me what was bad and what was stupid and what was gross and what I was absolutely not supposed to say or do.

Then, when I learned that I had to do, or own, very particular stuff in order for people to like me or for me to fit in and for me to feel ok about myself, things got even worse.

Hang in there. You never know.

Date: 12.28.11
Location: San Luis Obispo, CA
Travel Day/Ride Day

Complete aside: I may have said "what an ass" about 20 times today. And I've just come to the conclusion that it's because just about any woman looks fantastic in yoga pants because they are slimming and about as next to naked as you can get.

There, I said it. And California is the most yoga-pants crazy as I have seen.

If you love her, pump her up.

Date: 12.26.11
Location: Monterey, CA

Before I left on this trip I read a bunch of blogs about other people doing some cool things and biking across the world to raise money for whatever or walking across Africa to solve the human condition and I thought I was a little selfish to just be driving and biking for my own sweet pleasure.

I thought maybe I needed a purpose or people would just think I was mucking about all selfish-like and the truth is I discovered that I can do quite a bit of good by just wandering around and bumping into shit. I haven't raised any money for anything I care about, but I think I've done enough to satisfy my need to "be the change you want to see in the world."

I'm just spreading some happiness, at the very least, with no intent or grand plan on how to go about it. When I picked up the derailleur hanger today from the Wilier dealer I felt a great sense of "fuck yeah."

Sonoma pulls up its pants and holds me.

Spotted in Sonoma.
Even the most beautiful women in the world can look a little rough in the morning. And now I'm sure that the other day I caught Sonoma hungover, tired, and still in it's pajamas.

But in the span of 12 hours everything changed. All of it. It presented me with the nicest christmas gift I could have asked for; a make-up session with the bike shop (see 12.22 post).

After I posted the entry, I wrote an email to Jake, the owner, with a link to it. I just thought he would like to know. Eh, maybe I was still seeing red and I wanted to vent.

But the rest is pretty amazing, and I think, a pretty cool little Christmas story.

Sonoma shows the dark side of its many moons

Date: 12.22.11
Location: Sonoma, CA
Ride Day

Alright, so I dont like to poo poo a place after only 24 hours and I was tempted to do this earlier, but I thought I might have some dinner first and a couple of glasses of wine before I started talking shit. So that's in arrears, the wine and the food that is...

What's still way up front of the brain is that Sonoma didn't show me a very good side today. Last night started and ended quite well, with a solo dinner at the bar with my tender "Joe", at the Grist Mill Bar and Grill. It was just me, the chef (who looked like Buddy Hackett) and Joe. I let the chef choose my courses, and Joe had some pretty interesting stories about hitchhiking back and forth across the country in the early 80's. We talked about how you couldn't do that anymore, as I killed a bottle of 2008 Stemmler Pinot Noir.

Today, eh, not so much.

I've been dying for a ride lately. I had high hopes. After all, a nice bike ride through wine country does sound pretty fucking awesome, even to people who don't ride bikes. But hate to say sucked. Worst ride of the trip, perhaps in years. The kind of ride that makes me want to never get on my bike again in this area. But I will.

I feel though that maybe I just got a tour of a really really beautiful house on a rainy, cold, foggy day. No way anyone is buying that house on that kind of day.

Now, the weather was perfect. 64 and sunny. But the people, and the condition of the roads, the steepness of the grades, and the potholes and the rocks in the road and the bumpy terrain; they were like a sideways, frigid rain and with a wind that is so cold that you cant even catch your breath. Not that, obviously, just like that.

So I'm struggling up these 15%+ grades and don't have my biggest gear, which I probably should have made bigger by getting a 12/29 in the rear, but I stuck with the 11/25, because I think I am superman. Plus, my rear derailleur is attached only by my skewer, and I couldn't get it to sit just right, which is why I can only get to my 23. I'm two teeth from where I want to be.

So I am trying to climb this ridiculous mountain which raises 1400vft in the first 4 miles in my second to largest gear. On a banana and a bagel and two cups of coffee.

It occurs to me that I know that in St. Helena there is a bike shop by the same name and they are also a Wilier dealer (the brand of my bike) and maybe I'll stop in and see if they have a Wilier hanger that will fit. And if not, maybe they could throw it on the stand and get it to sit right so I get my last gear for the way back.

I go ten miles out of the planned route to visit this store.

Here's why I had to pause before writing this. Because my assessment of that bike store in St. Helena that goes by the town name is, well, allow me to poo poo on it hard.

Three, extremely morbid mechanics who do not raise their heads when I come in, do not talk to one another the entire time I am there, and do not talk to me while I am there, with one exception(later).

So I walk in and by know you know I'm a pretty convivial dude. In fact, my bag is trying to leave a little conviviality residue on everyone I meet.

But this place is a morgue, and there is no coming back from the dead. I really try, but every time I get the energy-suck hand in my face.

Main dude, bulky guy in his fifties maybe, asks me if he can help me. Yeah, I hope he can. I got this problem and I'm traveling across country and do you have a hanger for me.


Ok, you think maybe then you can do me a brotherly favor and stick this up on your stand and see if you can get me into my last gear. I'm suffering a bit. You guys have some serious mountains around here. Beautiful, but steep. I smile when I say this.

If I touch your bike then I'm not liable.

Um, Ok. I appreciate it.

He gets it on the stand. The other mechanics are eerily silent. One fixes a girls trike. One fixes a flat. One eats porridge.

Its not your hanger, he says. It's your cable.

Well maybe, I say, but the hanger the main issue. See, these really nice guys in Vegas made one from scratch for me out of, actually, I don't know what, puppies and hooker sweat. My original one snapped in two, but this one works pretty well if I can get it tight.

It's your cable, he says, and then he adjusts it. Its goes into my big gear.

He takes the bike off the stand and gives it back to me, and I say, because the air is super heavy and I'm actually a bit scared, I say, thank you so much, I will come back and spend some money here as payback. I'll stop in tomorrow. Hey, I say, seeing a jersey I like, do you have bibs that match that jersey?


Umm, ok. Well thanks very much. I really appreciate it. He nods. I say thanks again, and remember there are four dudes in here, I get nothing back. Not a single word.

And on the way out, I see a newer model of the exact bike I have. It has the exact hanger I need attached to it. I say to one of the mechanics: Hey, you don't this hanger would fit my bike? It looks exactly the same.

He (pointing at the manager) said it wasn't your hanger. It was your cable. It wasn't my cable, well it maybe was my cable because my hanger isn't really a hanger. It's just a piece of medal that thinks it's a hanger. Doesn't even have screws.

I don't know, says the mechanic, he said it was your cable.

So then the manager guy comes back and take a look at it and says "If I gave you that one, I would have to charge you for it."

No. Shit.

I say "Well, maybe here's how we can make this work. I pay you for that one and you take this one, just so you can still display the bike, and then I'll see if I can buy you another one and have it overnighted. I'd be willing to do that just to get my bike fixed and safe." (That's me suggesting I pay for two hangers plus the shipping.)

He looks at me and says "I can get one. I'm a dealer" and then he has himself a nice hearty self-satisfied smirk and chuckle. "Plus I can't sell this bike if I give you the hanger."

And I say "Well, do you think you'll sell this bike in the next couple of days? I mean, how often do you guys sell out your Wilier frames?" And I meant this in genuine interest. Trust me, people do not just walk in out of the blue and buy $7,000 bikes.

"I could sell today." He points to the only customer in the store. "That guy could buy it."

I personally guarantee you that bike will still be there in a month, and I'm being really optimistic on his behalf.

And at this I have had enough. "Hey, look man. I was just trying to get my bike fixed. Your a bike shop and a Wilier dealer. I thought you could help but maybe I just caught you guys at a bad time or something. I'm just trying to figure out a way that I don't die on a descent. But I'm getting a lot of opposition, and.." and then I trail off.

I will say I left with my day ruined. I can't help it. It's a serious character flaw that I don't have a defense against the energy suck. I tried and I tried to let it go but I could not. I try to be the change I want to see in this world, and the world fart bombs me.

I did not notice the mustard smell to the valley any longer, and I did not see the beautiful yellow pastures of flowers flowing amidst the brown, empty vines full of anticipation for the spring sun, or the blue sky above. I cursed and I yelled and I told Sonoma to fuck itself. Pretentious little fucker.

I saw rocks and potholes and 55mph tractor trailers and no less than 5 cyclists who came toward me and failed to respond to my friendly wave of the hand, and one guy in a white pickup who I had a few face to face words with.

It maybe wasn't until my braised lamb shank and my five tastings of red wine and my house-cured meats and my six selections of goat and milk cheeses at the "Girl and the Fig" in downtown Sonoma with my bartender Amy and her hint of brogue and her friendly smile, that I felt those things melt away a bit.

I am almost whole again. Sonoma has a few more days. I dont walk away easily.

I never got so low

a model and a puppy. no relevance
to the story. 
Date : 12.19.11
Location: Ridgecrest, CA
Travel Day: Vegas through Death Valley
Pictures: here
Video: here

So I'm in Ridgecrest, CA, which is about 80 miles south of Death Valley. The in-hotel magazine says that it's a "great little town to get off by yourself." Which I think is pretty ballsy of them to come right out and admit.

I was frickin starving, as I am at the end of most travel days, so I'm enjoying some fine steak and beans from Denny's. It's actually not bad but I'm not actually chewing it either.

Today was all drive, pictures, drive, pictures day. And I don't know how they manage to do it, but the Japanese really are everywhere besides just Japan.

To get into Death Valley, and to the lowest point in the western hemisphere, you descend a mountain pass from about 5,000ft and then it's not really tough because there are only a few roads, one that leads to Badwater (-285ft below sea level) and one that leads to the dunes. And then after that, there is one road leading back out to the west, over a gigantic ridge and back down into another valley.

Or go out the way you came. Or go north, and north is cold, and I have had enough of that.

It was a sunny day, so the views were perfect and also, quite cluttered with other people. I cant imagine what it would be like to come here in high-season, must be a train wreck.

I can tell you that Death Valley was really incredible and it's worth the visit if you ever find yourself with nothing to do in Central East California. Which, if you are in Central East California, the odds are that you are already in Death Valley.

However, the coolest part was the 70 mile drive from there to here, on a lonely desert road, with no lights, and virtually no other cars.

I can't even wrap my head around what it must have been like to come across this part of the country on horseback and crest that ridge of the Grand Canyon, or peer down into Death Valley. I have this image of two cowboys and one turning to the other and saying "god-DAMN-it, Larry! What was wrong with Austin again?"

There must have been a lot of "what the fuck?" going on. Because you still say that to yourself when you see stuff like this.

You kinda of look around to see if anyone else is seeing what your seeing and your mind is saying "are you getting this man?" Doesn't matter how many pictures you've seen of these places or how many IMAX movies you've sat through, you won't get that moment.

-285FT below sea level
Anywhere else in the US today and I would have been almost 300ft underwater. And I thought of that as I stood there thinking; there are a ton of fish on my level right now.

Still, the best part was the night drive. I had opportunities to get gas but I figured I'd be ok. I didn't count on the mountains I still had to climb to get to my hotel. When I did get to Ridgecrest, my car told me I only had 15 miles worth of gas left. Just as I planned.

And now, a video, and a few more pics to follow. For all the pics, go back to the top of the post.

i yam what i yam

mandalay bay
Date: 12.17.11
Location: Las Vegas, NV
Pictures: here

I think it was the man who can speak russian in french who said: "A real man doesn't need another man to talk to women." And I have found this to be mostly true, because I pretty much talk to anyone.

Vegas, eh, vegas is a little different. Number one, its the middle of December, so it's mostly families with kids in strollers and older people in similar devices. Secondly, well secondly, I could use a wingman here, because the girls that are here seem to be in groups of ten or more. And that's a very high percentage of gate-keepers and a lot of keys and many layers of locks.

gatekeeper deluxe.
If you don't know what I mean when i say gate-keeper, she is the one girl, and there is always one and sometimes more than one, who is the mommy of the group and doesnt want anyone talking to strangers. She is easily identifiable: (1) she will be the most sober (2) she will be smiling the least, (3) she will be the last one to introduce herself and will probably look down or away while she does this, and (4) she will want to know your "story".

Having a great time in Vegas. Consciously or not I situated myself about 10 miles from the strip, because I do like to gamble. If it went to 11, that's where I would be with gambling. But I'm the smart kind of idiot; I don't expect to ever win, I don't ever try and win it back, I set a limit, and I don't gamble drunk or in a bad mood. And none of that is true.

However, I've never walked out of a casino in tears wondering how I will eat or where I will sleep, and I've never walked out wondering how I got so lucky and throwing hunnies around Dumb and Dumber style.

where i am RIGHT now.
One great thing about not being in a hotel/casino, is that I can sit here in the courtyard of the house, light up the fire, and enjoy the softer, less glitzy side of Vegas. And it has so much to offer. It's a lot like Los Angeles in some ways, kinda outdoorsy people, everyone has clean cars, plenty'o gyms and tanning salons and juice stores, and you never know where you are because it all looks the same.

Went for a ride yesterday, and in retrospect I would call it a thrill ride, and then if my mom weren't reading this, I would call it a suicide ride. I left directly from the house and rode 21 miles up Potosi Mountain, straight up about 2500ft to max out around 4100ft elevation. The sun was setting and the posted speed limit was 65, so I turned around then. Traffic was insane crazy, and my head was on a swivel the whole time.

supposed to be one piece...
On top of this, since today was clean everything day, (clothes, car, bike), the bike shop who cleaned it and tuned it told me my rear derailleur hanger was cracked and the only thing holding on my rear wheel was my skewer. Which isn't really a big deal, since I mostly ride my bike with my rear wheel attached to it, but it would have been a shocking surprise when I took off the rear wheel.

Kinda longing for those quiet rides in Marfa, Texas. I'd kill myself if I had to do them every ride, but they sure were quiet comparitively.

Gambled last night at the Mandalay, the Silverton, and the Green Valley Ranch. Ranch takes it out of those three. Walked away up, and happy.

The drive here was beautiful. I've done the same route once before, in 1995, when I moved from the east coast to Los Angeles, but I must have done it in the dark, because I would have remembered this. The last 30 miles before Vegas, coming on Route 93, is like driving through a mini Grand Canyon, and you can't help but lose your breath.

I took a wild turn off the highway to explore a bit, and came across a beautiful section of Lake Mead and also a band of wild goats. The one you see scampering off at high speed was the one who I had a little stare down with. I guess I got a little too close. He started to charge the car a little bit, and I shit you not, I barked at it.

Barking at goats will keep you safe. Pocket that one, you may need it.

Not sure where I am headed next. No place is warm except Florida and out of the country. Getting a little pressure from home to be home for Christmas. Cant seem to find a solid way to explain to people that I just don't like holidays. I'm an instant party pooper no matter what I say.

"I yam what I yam and that's all I yam, " said Popeye.

And now, goats and such.

Rubbed wrong but a drive corrects me.

Date: 12.13.11 AND 12.14.11
Location: Sedona, AZ
Ride Day (13th) Drive Day (14th)
Pictures: here
Video: here

I think the lesson to be learned from this day is that I need to add to my list of requirements for my winter home. The addition is "somewhere where other people do not go to retire."

I apologize in advance, because this post will offend some people, although that is not really a concern of mine obviously, since previous posts have done the same. But I need to say this out in public, and I'm tired of whispering it amongst like-minded friends.

Today, Sedona picked a fight with me. It was 40 degrees, windy, and rainy. I was going to ride no matter what, but I could have done without the rain. The roads sucked. The scenery was, eh. The red rocks are out of this world, but thats only about the last three miles of the ride.

I got a flat tire. I got sick halfway through as well since my stomach has not been whole for two days now. I consider two days of upset stomach to be pretty much a major score when on the road for this long and eating out 100% of the time.

But the uppercut that laid me out, and I have had enough of it, was the drivers, specifically the ones long in the tooth.

And I know there is not an nice, easy, digestible solution to this. But that's getting way ahead of myself, because the problem itself is largely being ignored. The rate of mortality for drivers between 75-84 is greater or equal to teenage drivers. After 85, that rate quadruples. And no, I am not going to provide the source of this, I'm not a goddamn journalist.

I know what I see. I've been riding a bike on public roads since I was 13. I'm 39. I have a good amount of experience on this subject.

Seconds after I get home, I lose my shit. And I get it on video, and I'm keeping that one in my pocket. And I feel much better.

I have a right to be angry. I like my life the way it is, which is with all my appendages still attached.

But when I left Sedona, and I mean that exact moment, the sun came out for the first time. And I had a killer drive. Met a cyclist from Belgium and also a bobcat. Valentino at Sirius radio finally mentioned me and my trip on air, and I had a great day.

I climb a mountain and form a family band.

Location: Tucson, AZ
Date: 12.10.11
Ride Day: Mount Lemmon

Remember when I was talking about those Double D's up to the northeast of Tucson? Well, for some reason I woke up today with a banging headache, dehydrated, and hungry, and decided that it would be a good day to climb 5450 feet.

I ride with music. Used to think it was dangerous. It can be. So can a piano string.

Music in general can kick your ass into unhidden gears, and I always look to it when I need a shift in the paradigm tranny. And today, the music helped me big time. Nickelback and Prince seemed to do the trick, since Nickelback songs are mostly about angry stuff, and angry stuff is rocket fuel. And Prince, well, that Purple Rain album I could loop all day.

I was nervous, like prom night nervous, as I drove towards the start and I saw that fucker staring down at me. It was spreading it arms and beckoning me to bring it and it had not just the element of surprise, but the goliath angle as well.

So, 76 degrees at the bottom, and 40 at the top. Planned on it bit but not long enough. I wanted to stop a couple of times, but then again, finding that mean between rashness and cowardice doesn't include quitting.

Four very inquisitive deer met me at the top, and also one dude named Phil, who was coming from the other direction, and the two of us hung some serious brain on the way down. I took some genuine chances, given that the drop off on most of it was hundreds of feet into rock. And yeah, I thought of Woulter Weylandt and those images from last years Giro D'Italia.

My fingers were so cold that on the descent I couldn't tell where they were, and I couldn't tell if they were on the brakes, which is an unadvisable way to descend a mountain. I may not have been as reckless if I hadn't been able to follow Phil's line.

I got a late start because I had to force feed myself food and water so I wouldn't die on the way up, so as result, the last couple of thousand feet of descent are in my brain, and not on camera.

Oh, and when I got to the bottom, I gave that mountain the finger. The video is a wee dark, because the sky was dark, that's just science. Watch the 720P version, MUCH better.

Someone already wrote what I meant to.

Date: 12.8.11
Location: Tucson, AZ
Ride Day

Good start Tucson. A welcome basket for me and oh, hey, there's the sun up there. Haven't seen a breakfast like you since Marfa.

So I head out to tackle a couple of Tucson love mounds. She has a few. Some double DD's to the north, and some palm sized ones to the west. I go west.

It’s a bit below the 60 mark and less than 60 is much much different than less than 50. This is a very critical part of riding; getting to know just the right combo of layers of wool and spandex. So it the ¾ bibs and the arm warmers and the merino wool undervest and a jersey and full fall gloves and a skull cap.

My digs in Tucson.
And when I get out on the road and I grab a GU from my pocket, because I am pretty sure that I did not eat enough, as is usually the case, I get a pretty accurate temperature gauge from the consistency of the chocolate.

I have been eating chocolate GU exclusively on my rides for about two years now, which means about 8,000 miles which means about 500 of these little fuckers. If I have to chew it: below 50. If I can half suck and half chew it: around 55. Thick like yogurt: 60-65. Runny: 65 or above. Simple.

The scenery and downhills both get A's. The drivers fail (inconsiderate and lots of baby-boomers). The road surface, D+. The bike lanes, they are getting there. Overall, it was a great ride and there are a million things that would suck more than riding my bike so I give it a thumbs up.

I stop and take some videos and I mash this up into a little ditty that I try and upload to youtube five times. Five times because wi-fi is proving to be a sturdy opponent on the Exodus. The wi-fi at the guest house succeeds in uploading the pictures almost instantaneously, but falls asleep on me just minutes before the video is finished. Typical passive aggressive lover behavior.

But now I am at Dirtbags Bar which is about a block away from where I am staying. And now DirtBags wireless is teasing me as well, appearing to upload the video then disappearing moments before completion.

The last time this happened, this was in Marfa, and if I could remember what video it was perhaps I could make some sort of cosmic analogy. Oh yeah, it was the Exodus Redux, which was either a fun look back at some cool moments on this trip, or a blatant self-promotion. Hmmmm.

Maybe the sylph in the sky is telling me my breeches have stretched as far as they will go. Perhaps that, or it's just that there is no internet connection that wants to snuggle tonight. I'm going with the latter.

You gotta check this out...beautiful stuff. (If you don't like burping, dont watch: its kind of an inside joke with my buddies). I didn't get the descent down the west side of Gates Pass, but a good vid of it is HERE.

I drink your milkshake.

Date: 12.6.11
Location: El Paso, TX
Ride Day through Franklin Mountains
Video: here

I once spent over a month putting together myself a nice little doomsday package. You know, shit I really needed. Entrenchment tools, water purification pellets, dried food, 6 months worth of instant coffee, an Israeli-issue gas mask, lamps, batteries, tarps, parachute cord, bungee cords, aluminum sleeping bags, and the best maybe, the thing I actually had fun with, was the tactical tomahawk.

Yeah, it was all nuts. But I didn't feel odd when I was doing it, seemed totally normal. My friend turned me on to the idea that I needed to be ready when the shit hit the fan, and I bought the whole kitchen sink.

Tried to sneak into Mexico.
Got lost. 
We all do it. Especially now that the prime buying season is in full swing. There is no shame in it, but there is maybe a moment to take a second and consider it.

Oh, I dare you to try and fight it. The TV and the billboards and the radio will all fight you right back, and that is what is called a land-war with Asia, and you don't want that on your doorstep.

The suggestion is: what are you doing with your life if you're not consuming?

When your feeling not so great on the inside, its a boost to improve the outside. Like a haircut, that makes me a new man, and stuff, just fucking stuff, that all feels good to buy and have and stock up on.

But it fades. It fades, that feeling. And maybe I bought more shit to get that feeling back. It was mostly boredom. I loved the idea of always having something on its way in the mail.

Yeah, I did walk down to my garage every once in a while to peek in at those two beautiful black beasts sitting there. My beasts. Even though one, I never drove.

So, you see why I took this Exodus...because of the meaningless shit I was doing and buying so that I could track it and wonder when it would get to me so I could rip it open then start tracking the next one. Sometimes I would only order half of what I wanted, so I could order the other half the next day. What do you call that in simple terms?

No, not bi-polar. Meaning. Purpose.

And now, I have a bit more objectivity and I see the frivolous for what it was, which was feeding seymour. And I have the conviction to start building a bottom in that pit, and to continue to fill it up with good things, like the way that woman in Austin looked when she looked at me for the first time, and the frighteningly potent rush of sitting right by that freight train, and if I could remember 25% of it, than throw in the 25% of the crap I think about when I'm riding my bike.

I could play with those toys endlessly.

AUDI has no sense of humor. 
Look, I'm not saying I dont like nice things, if you knew me well you would tell me to take this entry and shove it up my ass, because I do have nice things. I worked hard for them, and maybe I wouldn't want to go without about 40% of my things. But I am saying that I just got to thinking about it, and I noticed that the simplest moments from this trip have made me feel the most solid.

And I'm not trying to treat you like your stupid, because only highly articulate, well-formed human beings read this blog, and you ladies are very pretty and you gentlemen are handsome, but all I'm suggesting is maybe draw a picture every once in a while instead of watching TV, and see how it makes you feel.

You remember pictures, you drew them all the time when you were a kid.

My ride today:

Pale rider.

Location: Pecos, TX
Date: 11.4.11

No photos. No video. I let you down. I spent the day mostly in the hotel room. I'm tired. Something made me tired.

I slept late. I turned on the TV for the first time in 65 days. I cracked a beer at 3PM and watched football and monitored my last place in my fantasy league. I also ate fast food for the first time on this trip. I challenge any of you to spend that many days traveling in this country and say that you lasted that long.

My meal was so full of sugar and fat and nothing that it wasn't 30 minutes later that I was napping and lucid dreaming. You may not know, but since I can remember I've always had the ability to go in and out of dreams at will. I can control them, but sometimes, like today, I have many levels, like in the movie "Inception", and I had trouble telling where I was. It's not the opposite of disturbing.

I have two pages of that dream sequence in the personal journal, but I will tell you that my buddies kid was a chimpanzee in a pizza hut uniform and that it is possible to meld the personalities of three ex-girlfriends into the body of a wild pig who is capable of speech.

I spent lots of time between the weather channel and google maps and every travel site in the world trying to figure out where-to-next. Truth is, I'm a bit ragged out and I need a bike ride.

You know I hate to poo on places, because you can't just look at a river and say it doesn't have any gold running through it, but I drove around this town five times before I found a restaurant that wasn't a Sonic, or similar. And that place that I found, the place where all the cars were, that place had food that tasted like carpet.

Give me credit for eating the entire plate while swatting flies from the table and wondering why someone, anyone, just hadn't yet reached up and taken down that surveillance camera that was dangling from its electrical cord and pointed straight at the ground.

When I tell my waitress that I don't think the surveillance camera is picking up much action, she just waves her hand and I don't even get a smirk. Yeah, "put on a happy face" is a great song, but when the place is an energy suck, it's not so simple.

And when I ask the lady at the gas station, where I go to get supplies for the night, I ask her if there is a place I can go and watch the game, have a beer, you know, be around other folks.

She tells me she doesn't go to bars. That's all she says. I ask her if she knows anyone who might and if so, where might she find them if she were looking for them? And she says, maybe the Dairy Queen?

I can do this. This is a no-dance town and I'm feeling foot-loose, that's all.

Off to El Paso tomorrow. I need some mountains to stretch my legs and my brain. I'll be back. Not to Pecos, but to you.

Hey, roll that window up, I dont want this flying out.

Marfa sunset...
Location: Pecos, Texas
Travel Day: Marfa to See Above
Photos: here
Video: here

Crap. I can't believe that as incredible as Marfa was, and is, and will be, that I appeared to say nothing of Marfa in particular. And I don't think I'm doing the town a disservice by saying that there isn't much to say about it, but that there is a ton to say with/in regards to it.

Let's just say that some places, and some minutes, have a particular bouquet to them that sticks.

Marfa sunrise....
The memories that have embedded themselves right up in front of the mental bank are the ones I never gave permission.  They just parked themselves, and Marfa is sans-valet. Why are they still up there, and why so accessible?

Like the way the chestnut-haired girl smelled my freshmen year of college, the one that lived on the bottom floor only one door past the drinking fountain on the left? Like the chill on my sweaty skin on a hot night in Thailand when the oscillating fan hit me straight on?

Here's the chewy center: In 1999 I was traveling from CA to PA and I made a stop in Montana to visit an childhood friend. His name is David. Nothing special happened really, we just went fishing.

But I remember that my jeans fit me too tightly and I remember what his dogs smelled like when they nosed me awake in the morning. If you dropped me in Bozeman right now, I could guide you to where he lived and I could tell you that the back door probably still doesn't open all the way. The color of the boat was green and chrome. I remember the icy, clean water dripping from the mouth of the fish while I held it for a picture.

I have five seconds of me walking along the river behind David and his friend. That's all I have of that, but I have that crunch of my boots almost perfectly.

I have the moment right before we got into the boat and David turned to me and said "this is my office" and that the sun was shining on the mountain ridge right behind his dark hair.

SW Texas in general....
I drank a Moose Drool beer that night. Many of them, in fact. I never drank one again, but it's up there in the bank. And that steak, and the way David laughed, and we drove home drunk, and I slept on the couch, and I was a bit cold but that the blanket was heavy and wool, and that I left hungover.

The days are not long enough for me right now. Today I saw a thousand beautiful things, maybe more. I shared hundreds of words. Who knows what will still be around in ten years? I realize that's not up to me.

What I intend to remember, I hardly ever do.

And since I was feeling reflective, I did a redux that only took me like, two minutes (8 hours) to make. No biggie..............

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