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.
She knows me pretty well and she knows how susceptible I am to the cabin fever. If I can get her on a bike and she loves it, and she quits her job, then we are all back in business.
If not, still great. I can ride my bike anywhere and if I have someone to come home to who understands and appreciates me; then trust me, that beats being alone in anyplace in this world you could dream up.
What do you do when you aren’t biking?
I prepare to bike and I repair from the bike. Planning rides in towns you have never been to can be exhausting because you don’t want it to suck and you have no idea what you are getting yourself into. My bikes are always dirty and in need of a clean and lube. My kits are always dirty and in need of a wash.
Then I have to suss out the next location. Which, oversimplified, involves looking at a map and just…winging it. I look for mountains or national parks and I use the googleman and strava and other cycling sites. This can take hours.
Then, once I get a location, I have to scope out hotels which have to be kind of near the good biking and at least a favorable to very good rating on tripadvisor. I can’t stay in a shit hotel. I’m 41.
Sometimes, there are no hotels available near the spot I spent hours picking out, so I start again. And I have another beer.
Then, I have to figure out where to eat, which can be a real pain in the ass. Sometimes I have a hankering for something and it can’t be had. So I’ll phone it in and hit a chain restaurant, if there are any. I don’t feel pretty about it, but sometimes I just gotta.
Do you get lonely or is all just rockstar moments?
Traveling alone is rough duty. One the one hand I eat, sleep, fart, and wake when and where I want. On the other I have no one to talk to outside of the bartender, the hotel staff, and some friends by text. Sometimes homeless dudes and old drunks, like the old drunks who start at 10 in the AM, can nail a solid conversation down like you would not believe.
The biking parts, well, I prefer them alone anyway, so yes, those are mostly rockstar moments, although I would jam on having someone with me sometimes.
I skipped to the end, so can you sum it all up for me?
Do what you want until what you wanted isn’t what you want anymore and then do what you want again. Repeat as needed.
|Top of Whiteface Mountain, New York|
|Lighthouse near Portland, ME|
|Typical hotel room with shit drying everywhere, in Portsmouth NH|
|About 20 miles south of Portland, ME|