A well deserved day of rest. I’ll be in Austin Texas in 10 days!
Today we are at the El Cosmico Campground. This is the coolest place ever. I don’t see a lot of big RV’s here. It’s like the “Anti-RV Park” of all time. They specialize in renting space for tent campers, they also have available an assortment of ready made camping experiences. They have bell tents, rectangular tents, yurts, and classic/antique travel trailers (permanently installed). There are a lot of people here speaking languages other then English and Mexican. This place has got to be world famous. They have a nice outdoor kitchen and the “wash house” is outdoors. Pure charm. The pathways are lighted at night and the wash house has a huge red neon “TEXAS” sign so you can find it easily in the dark. The whole thing is just cool kitsch from start to finish.
Here’s what I plan to do on my day of rest:
- Clean my water bottles
- Clean my bike
- Tighten all the screws on the bike
- Adjust the right hood
- Dry out all my gear
- Do laundry
- Write a bit, read a bit
- Have a big steak dinner at the Saint George Hotel
- Get a door stop at the local hardware
Sadly, sometime in the last couple of days I lost Barbie’s Little Sister (BLS). I guess she got tired of of being my scout and bailed. Too bad too, because just after she decided to bail on me, Trail Boss found a “Ken” doll for her along side the road. I think they would have hit it off, he was extremely buff. I was going to introduce the two and let them both ride with me to Austin, but BLS decided to bail on me a bit too soon. Her loss.
For the record, I spend most of my free time setting up my camp, taking my camp down, eating and sleeping, and of course writing this blog. But when I’m not doing one of those things, which is pretty rare, I’m reading a book that I picked up in Silver City. The book is “A Coney Island Of The Mind,” poems by Lawrence Ferlinghetti. It’s pretty weird stuff. This is one of his earlier collections of poetry. A lot of people described him at the time as a “beat poet,” he denied that definition, but I would say, looking back, that he most likely was. His poetry is good for me. As a hack poet, novice non-poet, I find his verse inspiring both in its obtuseness, as well as its visceral reality. Lawrence was the owner of the famous City Lights bookstore in San Francisco.
Yesterday’s long ride had its challenges, I wrote about that in the previous post, but there was an added element of frustration. My extra water was contaminated and I couldn’t drink it. I carry three water bottles in cages plus three extra water bladders each holding about 60 ounces of water. Yesterday I was running with one extra bladder. When it came time to refill the water bottles from the bladder. I discovered the water in the bladder was bad. My fault for not cleaning the bladder in the morning and filling it with fresh water. I drank some of it and started to feel uncomfortable so I did the remainder of the ride dry, about 30 miles. Fortunately it wasn’t too hot yesterday.
The kick-stand on my bike is a bit too short, so I need to pick up a door stop at the hardware store so I can use it to adjust the height of the leg. This becomes a issue particularly when trying to use the kick stand on uneven ground. I really need a two-legged kick stand. This is an example of a small thing that can get into your head when you are on the road. Inconsequential, but seriously important.
Tonight I’m going to have a big steak dinner at the Saint George Hotel along with a Manhattan and an IPA.
A look back
This incident goes back to my overnight in El Paso. I was having a couple of drinks in Dillinger’s Bar. I was sitting with no one around me and writing in my journal. A young fellow sat down next to me and asked me what I was writing. He was a good looking fellow, strong, probably late 20’s. I told him I was writing a bit of this and that, some poetry, some notes about my day. I mentioned I was on a cross-country cycling tour. He became very interested at that point. He wanted to see what I was writing, so I showed him my poem about birds. He read it intently and then remarked that his generation was not doing enough to save the planet. He called himself a “Millennial” That struck me as a remarkably open statement. We kept on chatting, he wanted to know all about the cycling tour. He asked me how old I was (he had a reason for asking, which I shall reveal shortly). I told him I was 65. I thought he was going to fall off his stool. He could not get over that.
After a bit more conversation ensued about the tour, I found out the real reason he was so impressed with my age and the endurance aspect of this tour. He told me the story about how his Uncle, an El Paso police officer was killed in the line of duty. On a routine traffic stop, the motorist pulled out a semi-automatic weapon and shot his Uncle 15 times as he was approaching the car. Damien, that was my new friend’s name, was devastated telling me the story. I could tell he loved his Uncle very much. He told me his Uncle’s badge number was 4928. Damien wanted to run 49.28 miles in honor of his Uncle. I thought that was amazing. We spent a bit more time talking about his Uncle and endurance events. He suddenly got up and fetched his posse, four women that he was in the bar with. He brought them over to were I was sitting and introduced my to all of them. At that point he insisted that I go through all the details of the tour so they could hear all about it. Damien was very cool, and after I answered all their questions, he took a photo of us. It was a remarkable evening, that came literally out of nowhere.