Little trip up North

I started a wee little trip a couple of weeks ago. On a whim again, and not much planned. I figured to start in Lake Placid and climb Whiteface, which a friend told me I should climb, so I did. From there, I went east to Middlebury (VT) for no particular reason, then North Conway (NH) to ride the Kancamagus Highway, then to Portland (ME) and then Portsmouth (NH) and now I’m in Gloucester (MA). And I’m sick. For the first time in about three years I am sick and it’s fucking horrible. I think I overdid it.

Wait, why such a short trip? You usually go longer and the locales are…uh, cooler.

I know, it’s because I have a girlfriend now. She is very real and I like this girl very much and she makes me not want to be away from her for very long. I’ve always said that traveling for me was only going to be satisfying unless it wasn’t. And I’ll tell you that this trip has been kind of flavorless outside of the biking bits.  Now I would love for her to travel with me, but she’s not been on a bike (although she is a voracious runner and yoga-er) so good seeds there and we will see. If she picks it up, great, if not, great.

Make your rights more right.

What a glorious day; maybe the finest of this summer.  I had hoped only to comment on how glorious it was, and that's still the plan, but with one caveat; I learned immediately after dismounting my bike this evening that my college housemate had passed away in his sleep. That's all the details I could glean from my friends. Yesterday he was picking blueberries with his family and then he just went to sleep and did not see the morning. 

Can't be. Crazy. Unfair. Too soon. Not him. I don't understand. Once past those thoughts, my own sense of vulnerability backhands me hard, and I take good account of how it makes me feel, because I want to remember it. Because I know that this feeling passes with time, and I want to remind myself, over and over again, of the certain emotions it puts onto the field.

Shut Up Brain

Location: West Chester, PA (Home)
I know that you know that cycling is therapy. I somehow slipped into a bit of a coma the last couple of days, maybe it's just re-adjustment and maybe I'm tired or maybe I just have to realize that every once in a while my testosterone levels slip and I have my man-flow. For whatever reason, I did not feel like waking up the last few days. The therapy is failing me.

I dip into many wells of inspiration when I feel like this. I start a couple of books, see how far they get me. I throw some useless shit in the garbage. I go to bed early or I stay up late scouting a possible long term stay in Italy for the next trip. I watch movies, but they disappoint, in general. I don't read movie reviews because I find most people who write reviews to be pretty specifically pissed off about something other than the movie, and I don't like being guided by stupid, angry people. So picking a movie is lottery fare.

Give It Away Now

Location: West Chester, PA

I left New Zealand. Spent a week in Maui. Maui without a girlfriend/lover/wife/fill-in-the-blank is like turkey with no gravy. Unreal moist turkey with just the right amount of salt, but still, the gravy makes it. I needed that week as a book end though. I had Pina Colada's and cheeseburgers and rode almost everyday and saw whales, plowed through two books, and had my fill of steel guitars and tiki torches. 

What I was most excited to come home to though, was a brand new Ridley Excalibur bike courtesy of Michelin tires. You might remember that I entered a video contest back in October to win a $7,000 (plus or minus) bike that I was going to give to charity if I won.

Zed's Dead Baby

Date: March 26th, 2013    Location: Whangarei, New Zealand

Even the hottest water seems cold after a while. Yes, people do get sick of sunsets. Yes, beautiful things and happy times, they all fade in vibrance, given time. Its not you, it's science. Science has shown that, in the long run, losing $20 out of your wallet is no more substantially life-changing that winning millions in the lottery. It is also scientifically proven that "getting there" is often more than half the fun, as the anticipation of a goal is consistently more gratifying than it's achievement.

So what? Is nothing worth it then?

The Sum Up

Date: March 25th, 2013   Location: Whangarei, New Zealand

Wow, I have not updated in a while. Got one percolating though, for the whole week now.
But I should give a sum-up.
Rented a quad bike on 90 miles beach.
Drove to KeriKeri, spent two nights there on a farm (pictures). Went for a ride, wasn't feeling it.
Drove to Russell. Planned one night, spent three. Gorgeous little town. Just my speed. Ate at sunset every single night at the Duke of Marlborough. Lots of green lipped mussels and oysters and lots of books to choose from. I read "The Book of Knowledge,", volumes G and F, written in 1970.
Went for two rides there. Discovered the most beautiful piece of road pavement I've come across in NZ. One ride was a little over 80K and over 7,000vft. I felt out of my body the whole time (more later on this.)
Drove to Whangarei, where I am now. Planning on ride tomorrow and then it's a plane to Maui on the 28th. Finally got hotel booked. Keeping my fingers crossed. Since I waited so long, there wasn't much to choose from.

Video of the ATV rental:

I Bike WIth A Loose Horse

I came upon a horse today. He was a very curious horse, not just because he was walking along a very deserted twisty road with a broken rope still wrapped around his neck and trailing underneath his hooves, but because of the way the brown and the white on him streaked his body less like a horse and more like a zebra. And his face, which was all white, and his eyes, which were a very very light blue, gave him the appearance of an albino, if that is a trait a horse can have. I couldn’t say. 

But I have never seen a horse with such blue eyes. Both of them; steely, icy blue. 

Talk To The Donkey

Location: Paihia, New Zealand 
I included this picture because I desperately want to prove to myself that the reason that some of my posts seem to be conspicuously over-read is not because they include pictures of women (my most popular post included a picture of three hot Portuguese women), but because of it's content. Not that I give a sheepshit, but it'll be interesting to see. By the way, that's the New Zealand Olympic team. I triple checked to make sure. 

Content: I had a kind of eureka-day. After staying at a crazy insane quiet BNB in the middle of nowhere, just like I like it, and where I was the only guest and treated like a King, I drove 350km's to Paihia, way up in the Bay of Islands. It was the kind of drive to induce a heart attack, if you are on that cliff, and since there are only a couple of bad radio stations to listen to, I began making some voice memos on my phone.

No More Yanky In Wangy?

Location: Wanganui, New Zealand  Ride #: 4

It’s the quiet one that catches my attention. The one not on the map, the one not with the flowing locks and the pretty eyes and the short skirt, but the one just shadowed behind them, the bashful one with the libidinous grin that says "I know exactly what it is that you want." Those are the places, and people, that catch my eye.

Wanganui was just supposed to be a stopover between Wellington and I did not know what. Just get me a hotel there and then I’ll get on to Auckland and back to Australia, I thought. But Wanganui had beautiful secrets to tell me, and I was in the mood for listening. 

The Rare Kiwi Polylemma

Location: Waganui, NZ  Ride: here

Oh man, am I glad I decided to chill out. I was faced with a juicy polylemma. Don’t know what that is? Neither did I until I realized that I wasn’t in the dilemma I thought I was in, but one that involved too many roads to choose, none of which I found particularly appetizing, and that, my friends, is a polylemma. Look it up. 

Yesterday, all of New Zealand could go fuck itself. That what I was thinking. I was so soured after a very close call with a trucker that I was deep in struggle. I wanted, oh, I deeply wanted to let the beauty affect me, but I was so very busy upstairs thinking of everything and why they guy in the silver SUV gave me the finger, completely unprovoked, and why that trucker, with 800 meters of clear road on his right, decided to come within a foot of my head. 

This Post Is A Video

Location: Nelson, New Zealand

Since I am not quite done my rant about why I have decided to cut my New Zealand trip short by three weeks and hot-foot it back to Australia, I present the most infuriating video I have ever edited/produced/done. It could provide some evidence as to why I am going back there.

You will need two drinks to get through this one. There is a pause button on youtube, so use it if you like. And watch it in HD for fucks sake, it took me 6 hours to upload it to you in that quality.

Oh, and I thank you.

Its OK not to like paradise.

Location: Lake Taupo, NZ  Rides: here 

Since Auckland I had a shitty ride in Tauranga. I chased that with a shitty ride in Rotorua, although my hotel room did have an awesome view of the lake, shielded in the foreground nicely by a Pizza Hut.  I was also tempted by the pokies (slot machines) apparently, since my bank statement tells me so. I had meant to update with some doozies in the meanwhile, but I have been in wifi drought for three days, so those thoughts are behind me now. It took me almost two hours just to map out my ride today since I had to drive around town looking for wifi, then four times it cut out on me. I was the guy sitting outside the supermarket in the orange Ssangyong rental car cursing all of creation. 

Not Frightened Enough

Location: Auckland, NZ  Ride: 47miles, 5381vft

Shit, time is moving quickly. And also somehow slowly at the same time. I find it shocking to realize my last update was four days ago and yet my 9 hour travel saga that happened yesterday seems like weeks ago. I found New Zealand, by the way, and I rode my bike as well, so those two things I can check off, and you can stop worrying about me. 

Yesterday was interesting as it was strung together poetically by two very interesting, and chance conversations. The first one was with the Katrina, the Jersey girl who worked at the liquor store in Coogee Beach, Australia. I was at the liquor store, if you are wondering, asking for directions to the nearest church.

Get Me High

Location: Wollongong, Australia  Ride: here
I had a huge amount to say in this one, but after about three pages, I deleted all of it. Because I can tend towards overkill and there was just one vein to it anyway; how much I love to ride my bike. How it cures me; of headaches and hangovers, of boredom and loneliness and sadness, of anxiety and solitude. As I have said before, on my bike, I am the most excellent version of me, good ride or bad ride. 

Three pages was just way too much and after reading it over I just wanted to tell myself to shut-up and land my plane.

So, coming in hot....

The bad rides makes me dig deep into my courage basket. I have never quit a ride, not yet. I want to quit, fuck yeah I want to quit, in the worst way. Yesterday I wanted to quit at 10K. No, before that, I wanted to quit before I even got on the bike.

But it was worth it. Despite all the horrible shit that happened along the way and how many times I cursed every god damned thing and how my stomach hurt and my back hurt...I badly wanted it to end.

Still worth it.

The great rides are a reward for all the rides in between. These are the rides where you make no effort, and everything is beautiful and you could have done it twice. I don't know how that all comes together, but it does, just enough times in a month to make you keep searching for it.

Talk to a surfer, and they will explain it in terms of the perfect wave. Or a runner, who will describe the feeling of floating just above ground. Or anyone else that does something over and over and over again for just that one hour when everything aligns, or just that minute, or that second.

That high only comes to people willing to keep going when there seems absolutely no rational reason to do so.

Love What You Have. You'll Have Everything.

Location: Canberra  Rides: here
I have not been writing because I got discouraged. I have logged about 2,700 miles in the car searching for good rides downunder. I don’t forget that; that riding is primarily why I am here. I am not here to visit war memorials or buy a didgeridoo to prop against my wall once home. I am a treasure seeker; digging after that perfect riding spot. And my emotional lawn was beginning to look like I'd misplaced my bone. 

I would not have admitted it before yesterday because I didn’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings, but the riding in Australia has not really been my bag. When I say this, I am subtracting the exotic factor from my judgment, and basing it solely on a few check list items. 

The World Is My Mistress

Location: Hawley Beach, Tasmania  Rides: here  Pics: here

Mistakes often have secret treasures, not unlike the origin of penicillin, or Velcro, or how I came to Hawley House on Hawley Beach. The mistake began in Hobart, which I left only because I knew I had dwindling days and a ship to be on. It continued when I decided to listen to other people when choosing the next destination. 

It took me five hours to get there from Hobart, and Cradle Mountain is indeed, a beautiful place. But not if you want to bike. There is only one road up and, coincidentally, only one down.

Tasmania Is Not The Same as Tanzania

Location: Hobart, Tasmania  Rides: here

I saw my first Americans in three weeks today. They were in Baltimore Ravens jerseys and they came to Hobart in a big floating box. They had "done all of New Zealand" and then they would "do all of Australia" and then fly to Darwin and I guess, do Darwin. I dont know, I dont want to turn my nose up, but different strokes I guess. 

The trip here was pretty rough, in relative terms. Whenever I have a long haul I always think of Louis C.K's bit about people complaining about flying. The bit is about "everything is amazing and nobody is happy."

Fuck It. Life Is A Risk.

Location: Warrnambool, Australia  Ride: here  Pics: here

Man, my brain is full today. I just kept filling it up and it just kept not overflowing. I realized a couple of days ago, while somewhat stagnant in Adelaide, that I was getting bored. While seemingly impossible, it apparently is not. And that got me thinking as to why, and that brought me to this: I should be doing and seeing more. Just riding my bike, while my greatest joy and my primary reason for being here, is not enough to feel emotionally replete.

The Koala's Are Cops

Location: Adelaide, SA  Rides: here  

Australia is fucking expensive. In your face expensive. Rodeo-drive-we-don't-give-a-fuck-what-you-think expensive. You require examples, and I have them, about a few things. Then we can get onto some more meaty stuff about what I have been doing with myself outside of emptying my bank account.

Phoning It In From Adelaide

Location: Adelaide, Australia     Ride: here   Pics: here

Still struggling with too much to do and too much to say and not enough time to get it all down in a nice, tight format for delivery. So, this is just a straight up "what I have been up to" update, because I know you are dying to know. 

Melting in Mildura

Location: Mildura, Australia  Ride: here

It's only 8:15PM but my eyes are struggling. Today was scorchingly hot, and it drained me. I'm watching the black doves on the balcony next to me, who are watching the sunset and cleaning themselves. I drove 6 hours yesterday from Wagga to here. I went a little too far into the bush in my shorts and sneakers and thought I may have been bitten by something.

I spent the next half hour in the car wondering if my heart thumping was due some spider venom making it's way to my core, or from the five coffees I had. I think the coffee trade is behind Australia's deep fascination with drowsy driving. Then there are the camera's every 100K or so, to take a picture of you, so that someone somewhere can determine if you are too sleepy to be driving. I shit you not.

Not An Hour Wasted

Location: Sydney AUS     Ride: here   Pics: here

Holy shit I had a productive day. I dont know that I have had such a productive day in many years. I was up at 6:30 AM for no reason other than my body was confused at being thrust 21 hours into the future. Maybe since I missed a whole day I felt extra inclined to do more in this one. 

First thing I did was unpack the bike.

Please Send Suncreen

Location: Honolulu, HI   Ride: here  Pics: here
Obviously, I eat out a lot, and I notice shit. Like people not talking to each other. People on their phones consistently despite the beautiful surroundings. Personally, I do spend a lot of time online but it's mostly spent keeping up this site, making videos, planning, looking for places to stay and for cool places to visit.

These people are on vacation and they are still staring at their phones. I don't get it man. They should take everyone's phone away at the airport.


Pictures: here.   Ride: here. 

Flying into Honolulu in a window seat will make you think of Pearl Harbor. If you don't, then you are heartless or not American, only the latter is excusable. Once you land, and you're not in a movie or on an Apple Vacation, you will not get lei'd. You might get screwed though, like I was, and end up one bike-in-a-box short of complete.

My bike was in Phoenix, doing who knows what. She showed up the next morning though, delivered to my hotel room door, and I didn't ask any questions. I was just glad to have her back. I reassembled her and was so excited in doing so that I over-cranked a bolt in the stem and snapped it.

Why Travel: Reason #45

Location: West Chester, PA
Only one more day until three months with the bike in Hawaii, Australia and New Zealand. I could leave this moment. But since I can't, I dug up the box of stuff from my last trip to Australia 21 years ago, and I found a bus ticket, a ticket for seat F9 at the Sydney Opera House for this guy on the 17th of November, my journal, and also $2.40 in australian coins. So, I am pretty much set in the money arena because, as you well know, $2.40 in 1991 money is worth a whole hell of a lot more now.

In 1991, at age 19, I packed a backpack and spent 10 months in Australia, Indonesia, Thailand, and Japan. Even my parents really don't remember how that happened, except for the fact that I was not happy in college. How that jumped to a one-way ticket to Australia with a couple hundred bucks escapes us all, but I have to think they might have been trying to kill me.

It was a fantastic time, as my journal recounts. It's full of scribble and poems and drawings and names with numbers attached. Some of them I can remember, but most are lost on me. Some of it is just words, like "Central Java" or times, like "2:54AM" and a date. Nothing at all to clarify why I wrote them down at all, just a timestamp on a page.

There are pages of short stories that begin with dramatic first lines like this: " Poochai could cry on demand." It's full of the people I met, the price I paid for a rented motorcycle, the three nights I spent sleeping on a park bench in Shepparton, Australia, and the girls that stole my brain and my heart if just for a while. But mostly it's chock filled with pining for my high-school sweetheart. Jesus, I was in love.

Old passport, ID, coins, and a ticket to a show. 
It's also full of some pretty good shit for a 19 year old on his own in a foreign country with no money and not knowing anyone. Specifically; it lacks all sense of fear. Everything is fun. Everything is great and beautiful and fantastic and it all smells just like a ripe rose.

When I showed up in Sydney, I got a bus and I found myself a hostel. I sold potpourri door to door for a spell. Then I amped it up and joined a traveling band of misfits who sold mass-produced art door-to-door. I would tell my victims we were a group of young American artists on tour in Australia and that it was all of our own art. I sold a ton.

We would stay in caravan parks at night and drink beer and tell stories of our day. The husband who showed up drunk and pulled a gun, the little girl who emptied her piggy bank in front of me because she wanted the painting of the two swans (which I gave to her for free.)

There were six of us, David (aussie) who was right all of the time, his girlfriend Veronique (French) who I felt I was meeting for the first time every time I spoke to her, Francois (french) who swore by matches and categorically dismissed any other method for lighting a cigarette, Brad (aussie) who wore sunglasses all of the time and would not miss a chance to tell you about his parakeet named Jesus, and then me and then Inga (german), who I fell in love with very quickly. Inga and I had the most beautiful one month together you could ever imagine.

I pick up these journals and I don't ever have to wonder why I travel.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...