Once upon a time, I had a solid group of friends and family around me on a regular basis. I saw the same folks, more or less, each day of my life. It was nice – it’s a great feeling of security. It’s comfortable.
Nowadays, however, (more…)
I stood saying goodbye on the windblasted deck, as the engines sluggishly turned over and began to push us out to sea. The railing vibrated gently as the gulf between the ship and the dock became wider. I was leaving a piece of myself behind; cutting off and pushing away. Committing another sad sayonara.
A dull melancholy sank itself upon me, as the lighthouse slipped farther and farther away. I’ve always loved Ireland, but never really knew anything about it. Now I’ve got a reason to love it, and it wasn’t easy leaving.
I heard they were building a motorway through an important historical site, the Hill of Tara, the seat of the ancient Irish Kings, just northwest of Dublin. I also heard there was a group of protesters camped up there doing an ongoing solidarity vigil and keeping a sacred fire going. I thought, “Now that sounds like my kind of place,” (more…)
By the time I was ready to get back on the road, Dawn was ready to come with me! I tried telling her how tough it would be, how cold and how wet… what an introduction to bike touring: winter in Ireland. (more…)
The rain did not improve. If anything, it was more frequent in Ireland. I’m pretty used to it by now, but it’s not all that comfortable. Campsites are soaked; wet ground, wet wood. I’d get done with a day of cycling, set up camp, and all I’d want is a hot cup of tea, a sweet steaming mug to take off the chill and sooth my aching muscles… but everything is so wet that it takes me forty-five mintues to start a fire with a tea candle and a windblock. Taking breaks in the pouring rain. Wishing I could take a photograph in the rain. I rued the day I gave up my little campstove for its weight – just for that cup of tea, aah. (more…)
The rain really started to fall when I arrived in Wales. The old fellas on the stoop don’t seem to notice, though, unless there’s a tourist there to joke with. “Fine Welsh weather,” was always my response: “Why would I come to Wales to see sunny weather? That’s not the real Wales, now is it?” And the misty summer rain, rolling like folds of grey wool over the hilltops, really was a fine sight to see. The dripping branches and sodden moss of the forest was a magical product of such a wet environment. Rainy weather – it’s just something you have to get used to. (more…)
I left Windsworth on a Tuesday afternoon, after packing up, accepting Caroline’s offer of a cantelope, Nairn’s organic oat n fruit biscuits, and organic peanut butter to take away, and helping with the sheep one last time. The sun was shining, and the local Cornish metaphysical weather forecast called for heat and security. (more…)
In Myrtle Beach, South Carolina(a super affluent area), I was sitting outside the public library having lunch, when a grey-haired woman in running spandex stopped to talk. She asked the usual questions about my bike tour, and then asked one I’d never heard before: “How are you doing physically?” (more…)
VIRGINIA BEACH and CAROLINA
It was like leaving home, after eight weeks in Norfolk. I stayed up late packing, organizing, and staring groggily at internet maps. In the morning I stumbled to Fair Grounds for one last momentous cup of joe, and to meet my good friend Berry one momentous last time. I gave Diana, my barrista, a goodbye hug and gave her a collage I had made, and Berry and I took some photos for posterity. He gave me an apple, and orange, a crystal(“Bury it in the ground for three days, to attune it to yourself. You’ll know what it’s for then.”), and a copy of Khalil Gibran’s “The Prophet,” complete with an uplifting personal dedication. No rough goodbyes there; Berry’s nothing but solid.
I got all the gear together, and Cheryl helped me carry it downstairs to my awaiting steed. Nathan was asleep but I woke him up to shake his hand. I hugged Jason goodbye, but I missed saying goodbye to crazy Mark Loi, the most chauvinist feminist I’ve ever met. Must’ve taken his hangover to his army job at the crack of dawn, as usual. (more…)
Ah, my soul sighs – back on the road. I left Richmond on a chilly November day, after a few weeks of downtime, ready to hit the docks in Norfolk to find a freighter or sailboat that I can hitch a ride with. I was so ready to be back on the road (more…)