the scientific method (for one must be scientific before all things.)
it was a terrible plan really. in a way, all dreams start off that way. there wasn't just one major problem. the whole thing had cracks.
so it's officially a month before you bike across the country and...
do you have a bike? no.
do you have anything to carry your gear? not really.
know much about bike maintenance? minimal.
ever been on a bike tour? only very kind of, once for one night on the outer banks.
know anything about the winter weather in the deep south? no.
know anyone who would be a good reference for bike touring? not really.
know where you are going to sleep at night along the way? nope.
i sent out a few emails last spring and i prefaced them all with, "this is probably a terrible plan... but... if you aren't doing anything else this winter..."
so maybe most people would chalk this one up to: 1. i'll plan for a couple years and then... or 2. i've always been interested but i just don't think... or 3. thrown it out as the life goal that i would probably never get to.
i met a lovely woman during the summer of 2002 while hiking the Appalachian trail named sunshine. before setting out to hike a 2000 mile foot trail, she had never done much backpacking and she'd never once been on an overnight camping trip. during those first few days of march, she was getting ready to spend the next six months of her life doing something she'd never done before. she told me how she'd left holland at sixteen with a guitar slung over her shoulder. she figured she could play on street corners for change. i asked if she knew how to play the guitar when she left home and she said no, but it seemed the thing to do. now that her children are grown-up, she told me it was her turn to make them nervous. that is her birthday present to herself every year, something out-of-this-world to make her kids worry a little.
there were cracks, okay holes... or gaps... chasms. canyons? to counter that, there was the sunshine theory.
i spent the month of september at home getting the next six months of my life together. i bought a new bike, a trailer, bike shoes, bike clothes, and a lot of Ziploc bags. then, on october second i started off to cross my home state with cycle north carolina. i biked 480 miles in seven days with a hilarious group of 1,100 people. after a week of long days, i spent a few days resting up and then shoved off with my traveling/biking/hiking partner katie ross. we have come 280 miles in the last seven days. (mind you, we've been resting in charleston for two days)
(my experimental tests) we have spent all but the last three days camping and cooking on a fully supported bike tour. so far, the sunshine theory seems solid. there were holes in the plan, but it has all worked out famously.
-i go to bed every night smiling... thinking wow, this is going to be a wonderful trip.
-i get up every morning to watch the sunrise over a different field or river or small town, drinking coffee and reading ee cummings out loud. (mornings are for poetry).
-i ride my bike most of the day. we've been past the coast, over mountains, down roads lined with live oaks; past soybeans, cotton, and corn.
-we've met with a few honks and one guy shouting near carolina beach, but mostly people wave and smile.
-i whistle. i sing songs. i make up my own songs. i love looking at different mailboxes.
-i've taken naps in parks and on porches, in side yards and on benches.
there are a thousand good stories.
the first letter has been a long time coming. a hard time coming.
this is more of a preface. the forward. the introduction.
there is no dream too outlandish.
(we heard a story about guys roller-blading cross-country!)
no reason not to try anything.
this bike trip is my guitar slung adventure. this is me leaving for the wilderness without knowing how to set up my tent.
there is a beautiful world out there. i hope all of your dreams come true.
ps. the scientific method (as taken from the university of rochester webpage, the department of physics and astronomy.)
1. observation and description of a phenomenon or group of phenomena.
2. formulation of an hypothesis to explain the phenomena.
3. use the hypothesis to predict the existence of other phenomena, or to predict quantitatively the results of new observations.
4. performance of experimental tests of the predictions by several independent experimenters and properly performed experiments.