That question rolls around in my head quite a lot. Why wouldn’t it? This has to end at some point. Luckily for me, I have an overactive brain that never lets me rest.
I’m in the saddle for somewhere in the ball park of six to ten hours a day. That’s a lot of time. Here’s a little graph to help you visualize what my brain is doing during that time:
You’ll see, as pointed out by the previous pie graph, the majority of my time is spent daydreaming. There are two sides to the brain that controls the person writing this. There is the imagination side, which is romantic and optimistic. There is also a reality side, which is a little depressed and cynical. I spend a lot of time in the imagination side.
There are a series of daydreams that I frequent. They are happy places. The bike ride that I am currently on, although difficult and draining, fits into the imagination side. This is a rarity, similar to a Venn diagram, where both sides of the brain agree on something.
I thought it would be fun to give you a little insight as to what goes through my head throughout the day while I ride a bike across the country. There are a lot of little daydreams and variations, but I’ll share with you a few excerpts from my favorite. If you’ve ever seen me staring off silently, there’s a good chance this daydream was where I was.
Jason woke well rested, the air surrounding him crisp and still. His old army cot creaked and cawed as he sat up to put on his boots. The screen on his phone told him it was 6:13. He hadn’t needed an alarm since the tour. He stretched his arms and yawned as he made his way to the hot plate, which was plugged into one of the two electrical outlets in the old barn he had recently fashioned into a temporary home, to boil water for his morning coffee.
The smell of fresh coffee and wood shavings filled the old barn as he whispered “Today is a big day, Patty D.” He ran his hand along her hull, from transom to bow. Just outside of the barn, in a snow drift, sat a six pack of beer. Currency for the laborers who would help flip Patty D upright so that work could continue.
Jason named his craft after his grandmothers, Patricia and Donna. In his younger years he hadn’t given them the time and attention they deserved, and felt this was a way, although futile, to regain some of that connection. If that connected him to them more, I certainly don’t know.
The past week could only be described as monotonous. Jason cut, trimmed, sanded, and stained all of the teak slats that would cover the floors of Patty D. Each slat then placed and spaced perfectly and fastened. She was getting close.
This particular Thursday was a break from the norm. Jason was meeting with one of the Jansa boys. He called it research, but any story from a Jansa was just as fantastical and entertaining as any movie you or I have ever seen, and there was no shortage of stories. The stories where of a boy named Bill Cheslow, who readers would later find out, never existed.
It had been a month on the Mississippi when Jason anchored for the night between two cornfields, one in Iowa and the other in Illinois. He rubbed his stubbled cheek and stared into the cabin that was littered with paper. What had he gotten himself into? So many different accounts, narrated and argued by different brothers, of a person who never existed. Bill Cheslow had lived quite a life.
Jason picked up three piles of paper, three piles that all told the same story but from three different mouths. He wondered how he would pick the most accurate depiction of that particular story, when the story never happened. What is more important, how believable a story is or how entertaining? Uncorking the bottle, he splashed the last few drops from the bottle of scotch into his glass and started to type.
There you have it folks, a glimpse into my brain while I ride my bike. To answer the question that shares the title with this post, I don’t know. The most likely scenario is that I go back to Arizona and continue working. I haven’t found a way to avoid that yet.
That being said, for just the price of a new Honda Accord you can help a boy’s dream of building a boat and sailing the entirety of the Mississippi while writing a book come true. If you’d like a sponsorship packet, please call during office hours.
This has become more of an outlet for my emotions than an actual blog about bike touring. I liken my emotions on this tour to ketchup in a glass bottle. I tapped on the glass with a butter knife to get a little out, but the air pocket moved and now my plate is covered.
Now that I’ve had my fun, here are the pictures you are likely here to see:
There you have it, folks. Thanks again for reading!
It’s Just Pepper Baby!