Day Thirty Two: Thousands of Thoughts over a 60 Mile Afternoon

Distance: 77 mi.

Song of the Day: Grateful Dead — Caution (do not stop on the tracks)

8AM: Having grown priggish from so many furnished lodgings, Lizzie and I sleep poorly, wake late and pack in a lazy grump. Bike ten miles to Waycross in a cramped, caffeine-less stupor. Head for Starbucks, now a premium establishment with rarely encountered artisan goods compared to the DQ’s and gas stations; arrive to find it’s inside Kroger’s grocery. Not to be dissuaded from real rest, we plop down in the grocery store, bicker over orders and play Who’s Crankier. Getting along perfectly cannot be expected at all times; we try to stick to genuine emotions, not be overly hostile or critical, and give each other space when it’s clearly needed.

I read about South Korea’s election, Chelsea Manning’s upcoming prison release, and the latest non-sense about Trump’s non-sense while Lizzie restocks our dry goods and Pedialite supply. 12:30 rolls around, the lax morning felt good but stewing here any longer won’t help. Time to leave.

Despite three coffees we jag groggily down interminable side roads thru Waycross; cheer up happening upon an unanticipated manicured park under a water tower. We find the on road to 84 West and set in to a 60 mile crawl across Georgian lid on Florida panhandle.

Who shutters the shutter business?

Lizzie and I drift a half-mile apart as hours of ribbon-candy road pulls us thru a sweltering mirage of past, present and future. I undramatically observe the dramatic erosion of what were so recently firm pillars daily experience. From the abounding hustle-bustle of Brooklyn’s Flatbush Avenue markets, to early pre-work mornings with white cat Nimh softly stirring from her bedside perch, to the pragmatic vendition of payments technology at work — it’s all blurred away. It’s as faded as I am, thinking anonymous thoughts in 95 degree mid day heat. As soon as I form an intention to think about the future — my future, and Lizzie’s — the foggy past spins me back, and a rush of resurfacing memories debunks any kind of pragmatism about future plans.

Living off our bikes is too fulfilling to think about the future too seriously right now.

Viewed from here, i.e. nowhere, America has grown too serious.

Since when do I listen to the Grateful Dead?

5PM: We bank off into Homersville with twenty more miles left in the day. Hanna confirms via Warm Showers that we are set to stay with her, so long as we make it to Valdosta. We stop into DQ for a snack and a vanilla soft serve dipped in chocolate, and get to know the soda dispenser’s water spigot. Lizzie springs for a cod sandwich, though none of the employees have had courage to try it; gives me the Obama “not bad” face for a review.

Some chitchat with locals and we crank up again.

7:30PM: Arrive at Hanna and Nick’s in entirely drained state. Hanna is all courtesy, we exchange travel anecdotes before devouring two salmon patties each, carrots, rice, half a box of salad; later a Stella Artois beer and many scoops of ice cream with strawberries and raspberries.

Nick’s timex watch band smashes to pieces on the dinner table; slowly but somewhat impatiently he reassembes it. He’s modest about his skill and honest about his declining eyesight, but he eventually pieces the thing back together again.

When rambling about watch bands, it becomes suddenly clear that it’s time to sleep. Until tomorrow!

Sunflower chair reminds me of the wooden chair following Jared around for 15+ years now.