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My Journey - May 2010 Empty My Journey - May 2010

Post  ChasingSanity on Fri May 14, 2010 4:30 am

Interjecting on Monday, May 10th, 2010
I got my meds, finished the work on my bike then worked with Cynthia to remove the poison ivy in her back yard, her neighbors back yard and the neighbor beyond that. I did not know poison ivy is so pervasive – it really travels. I went with Cynthia to a few thrift stores. In one thrift store I bought a large laptop shoulder bag to upgrade the smallest saddle bag I have. With the change in bags I re-evaluated my belongings; I took everything out of each of the four saddle bags and two other bags. I let go of many things that did not weigh much or take up much room. Cynthia and I talked and ran last minute errands, I slept the night away then rode out.

Saturday, May 8th, 2010
I rode west on 63rd street then 350 then 50. There was a pond called lake I was told to ride around and did. That us when I got to 50. I rode on 50 until I got tired of being in the sun and stopped in to a convenience store. I indulged and had a Snickers candy bar along with a large cup of coffee. The coffee was not nearly as good as I hoped. But the man and woman that talked with em were superb. After talking as long as we could justify, we parted ways. I followed the highway sign south on 131 to Holden. That road is much less traveled than highway 50.

When I got to Holden, I went to the police station and asked about a place to free-camp. Officially, no such unless I go back sic miles, the way I came then down a dirt road to Holden Lake. Yeah... I asked about free WIFI. They said “Godfathers Pizza: on the southeast edge of town. I went there. Sure enough, Godfather's Pizza in Holden has free WIFI. I asked Kaylee at the cash register if she knew anyplace I could camp for free nearby to the east or south. Jaymes, from the kitchen and Essie setting up were called in for reinforcements. “Where are you going to?” I went back outside and got my map. “Windsor” by way of Highway 2. “Go east until you get to “O”then south. “O” goes through, right? Yes”. Away I went, racing against the fading daylight. I went what seamed like a long was, did I miss it? I turned south at the first opportunity and wend town a ways there. Daylight was fading faster.

I got to a lushly forested crevasse between two lands. Looking both ways, nobody in sight. I tucked myself in (safe!), got out of sight as quickly as possible and threw down my tarp, sleeping pad and sleeping bag. I woke at 22:35, 0:55, 3:18 and 4:09. '4:09 + an hour is close to dawn in May, right? There would be light soon, yes?' I got up and started packing.

I was on the road as the first colors leaked into the horizon. A ways on down the road, I saw in a barn yard what could be a place for me to sit and have breakfast. What a luxury; to sit on something other than ground. I both my crunchy peanut butter and my blackberry preserves were almost gone. (I bought that peanut butter for the larger size jar so I could transfer the really good Smucker's Natural peanut butter in a heavy, delicate glass jar into a plastic jar.) But my food stamps were not ready for another 10 days. Something good would happen, somehow.

My phone rang with an unknown caller. I did not answer, letting it go to voice-mail. It was one of the couch surf people, Norma, telling me I could stay at her place for the night. I called back. “My expectations of getting there today or tomorrow were a bit optimistic; I've barely made it through Holden.” OK, you get here when you get here.

I rode on. I was only 20 miles away from Windsor, where the Katy Trail goes into Columbia. I should be on a beautiful trail, without cars in 2 hours. As the sun rose, the winds got stronger. By 8 or 9 AM the winds were strong enough for me to try hitchhiking. About 10 AM I got a ride from a guy pulling a flatbed trailer behind his full size pickup truck. A flatbed trailer is my fantasy ride. I can push or pick up my bike onto the flatbed without much effort and there just has to be enough room to lay my bike down away from everything else so I know nothing fell off my bike.

He was going into the next town, which he thought was several miles away. Chilhowee was only a mile away from where my 'fantasy ride' picked me up. I hitchhiked for a while with no luck then pushed my bike for a couple miles, riding on the downhills. I went back to hitchhiking after a few hours. There just were not enough cars on this country road to hitchhike effectively. A few hours later a guy going all the way into Windsor. At my request, he dropped me off at the grocery store which he told me was only a few hundred feet away from Katy Trail.

I bought tortillas at the small town grocery store hoping I was getting small town prices and I paid with real money because my food stamps were not going to renew for several days. I really need to make at least $100 to pay for my passport. Any more money would go towards dreams – inner tubes, Dr Bronners multi-purpose soap, the smaller, lighter, newer netbook or some other essential item. But the passport is the only show-stopper, it is the only reason I am still on this side of the USA / Canadian border. That is, unless I find a paying job lasting more than a month.

Enough ruminations, I got onto the Katy Trail. It was a little hectic riding through town, working my way through traffic but the wind was not directly against me. The trail was level and clean, without anything that I had to dodge. In less than a mile, I left Windsor and it's traffic behind. The trail canopied by trees that vroke the wind and made it much cooler. It was bliss. Soon enough the trees thinned out to prarie but I was even further away from traffic.

Five miles away from town I realized my rear tire was not at full pressure. Maybe that guy's truck created a small leak? But the 'Slime' I have in the tires should fix the leak. I pumped it up with... Oh, while I was in Kansas City I used some of the money I made at the auctions to buy the bicycle pump I like most; a Leyzne HP micro floor drive mini-pump from REI.

I got another mile before noticing my leak was not fixed by the Slime. The Slime could be clogging the valve or the leak could be in a bad place like in the valve stem or the Slime itself could be expended. There are probably more “OR's” I don't know about but the fact is My flat required another inner tube. I thought anxiously of the leaky inner tubes I left with Cynthia in Kansas City. (Inner tubes have multiple uses; huge rubber bands, durable cushioning, etc. I went to the nearest shady spot and got to work.

In a few minutes this guy came riding up on his bicycle. He offered to help, I put him to work holding the bike, wheel, pumping and telling me about himself. I forgot his name and did not send me an email... yet.

Saturday, May 22th, 2010
Wow, it's only been 12 days since I updated this blog?! Well, that mystery guy still has a mystery name. He told me there was a storm coming. (Good to know - time to keep an eye out for shelter from the rain.)

Many years ago, when I was hitchhiking after getting out of the Air Force, I got caught in a rain storm overnight and woke up to find out everything in my backpack, everything I owned, had sat in a 6 inch puddle of water for hours. It was heavy, it stank of mold and mildew two days later when I got to a friends house and washed the clothes. I had to trash most of it - most of everything I owned then was garbage from being wet for a couple days. Lesson learned.

This mystery bicyclist (I am so bad remembering names) said my bike would be a lightening rod out in the middle of nowhere on the Katy Trail. I thought that was a bit of an exaggeration but... He said he would give me a ride from Green Ridge to Sedalia, the next big, well bigger, town on the trail. We got to Green Ridge, shared our snacks, talked and packed our stuff into his car. We talked. He said he would give me a ride even further, to Boonville. We talked. He said he would give me a ride to New Franklin. We talked. He said he would give me a ride to Rochefort. We talked. He said he would give me a ride to Columbia. We talked. "Where do your (couchsurfing) friends live?" He dropped me off there. Wink Be warned, talking with me is addictive!

Norma was my first couchsurfer in Columbia. She and I expected me to get there a day later than I did, getting a ride was not part of my plan. I met her children and beau and ate leftovers. I was given a room of my own for my first night in Columbia. I called Jenni, my next couch person and arranged to stay with her the next night. Jenni said Friday, all over town, there would be free breakfasts kicking off Bike, Walk and Wheel Week. I walked into this?! Free breakfast(S) - yes, I ate several breakfasts! Very Happy - for riding a bicycle?! Breakfast foods, in America anyways, are simple, often healthy, easy to digest and cheap; my favorite!

In the morning, there was Norma's beau (what was his name? Sigh), asleep on the couch in the living room, Prince Charming. Smile I rode out to visit Jenni at the ARC. A TV van was there and a radio announcer. I waited to talk with the radio announcer as the TV van drove off. I told him a little - traveling around the world on my bike, meeting a local here in minutes to couchsurf, then talk with him more. Jenni and I ate while we talked about how, when and where to meet.

The radio announcer redirected me to a guy doing a live talk show at a restaurant. I went there, ate, met people and talked with Dave Lile. He said "You must be the bike guy they told me about." David said he could not do anything until "this" was done. I had no clue which this was this so I waited for him to have a chance to explain to me. He finished reporting the weather and started a conversation, asking what I was doing and why. I told him quickly because I knew his time was very short and precious to him. He said OK, get back to you in a minute. Then he handed me a headset and we started talking on the air. Smile I have yet to get a copy of that talk. I suspect it is gone. :/

I went to the Mayor's office and offered my services "I am riding around the world, I just happened to ride through Columbia during this Bike, Walk and Wheel week, not a clue it was here, now. They had no idea what to do with me so they sent me to the people organizing the Bike, Walk and Wheel event. They are part of Missouri Department of Transportation (MODOT)?! I walked in and met the skeleton crew - Stephen Meyers. Smile He traveled on the Lewis and Clark trail with replicated dugouts and rafts! That was only last year. I think I got close to accurate reporting what he said. Smile Amazing.

Stephen gave me some awesome bicycle maps showing amount of travel and shoulders on or not on each road in 2 counties. WOW! The maps were more detailed than the free car road map MODOT had. In a roadside store, the car map would cost me and the bike map would not exist. Stephen made a pot of coffee to share with me and told me which way he would go to get to Omaha - my best guess which way I was going after Kirksville. He said go to Macon and take highway 36 to St. Joseph then north. Priceless.
Stephen told me the contact person in his office, GetAbout was... I am terrible with names :/ but I remember our talk. This guy got on the phone with the lady at the public relations company handling the Bike, Walk and Wheel event. Neither one of them saw much of a way to tie me into the event on such short notice; it took a long time to plan and it was mostly over. Smile We tried and I had a definitive answer to my query, from the experts no less. Smile

I went to the library, found out where bike shops were located around town and visited a few. CycleExtreme and Klunk were nearby and I got a map of them with the other bike shops listed. I went to both and talked with the people there. NO help for me but fun visiting. Smile Next to Klunk was a computer shop that is an authorized dealer for ASUS. The ASUS EEE PC 1005HAG is my dream computer. I asked about sponsoring me. No can do. I keep asking computer shops for sponsorship options but they are too small with too little profit margin and the computer shops that are big enough have very elusive bosses authorized to make sponsorship decisions. I keep trying.

I went back to the library and contacted the next couchsurfer, Emily. She needed to talk it over with her roommate (who owns the house) but she had some food for me and could run me around town, sights and grocery. Cool. Smile Time for restocking supplies! Emily dropped me off back at the library and my bike. Oh, I forgot to mention - I lost my bike lock getting to the Katy Trail and discovered the loss at Norma's house. Emily loaned me her locking bike cable.

At the library, I worked on how to get to Jenni's house. I find I am challenged by verbal directions too - can't seem to remember them either. That did not USED to be a problem... Sigh, I need an upgrade: CPU, memory, peripherals, the works... but that might mean I lose my sexy, sleek, gangly, rakish looks? Such decisions!

I made it to Jenni's house, met her partner, Jess and was given a tour of their house including dogs, cats and my bed(room). Yes, another room all for me! Jenni had a full itinerary of things for her to do the next few days, some of which I was invited to. Smile It turned out she also had some work I could help with - renovating the basement. Yes! I could help someone. Smile This was a good thing because I was working up a lot of karmic debt going to restaurants, bars, more restaurants, comedy shows, more restaurants... I like home cooking best but anything beats what I carry with me, survives my travels and can afford - peanut butter, honey and preserves on corn and wheat tortillas, apples and cheese. Yes, that's it. I don't even bother praying for a gourmet chef on a bicycle. Praying for a biking girlfriend, other biking companions, better bike, better laptop, better tent, sponsors, gainful employment and a wind at my back keeps me pretty busy. Wink One of the places we went to was the Farmer's Market where I asked about work on farms, more on that later.

Jen, one of their friends, came over one day. Jenni, Jess and Jen at the same small table, imagine my name challenged brain smoking at the strain. Smile Jen became an unofficial couch for me, I forget exactly how that happened.

I strayed with Jenni for a few days longer than expected and she eventually had to kick me out, her brother was coming to visit. Jen was all for hosting me. She called up her husband, Tom and asked; no problem, no hesitation. Tom has a delightful smile. He is not exactly obsessed with Siren salamanders but his dogs are named Lacer and Tina. I sure will miss them. I stayed a few days with them. I found out my food stamps had run out, got more and asked Jen and Tom (her cell #, his is Tom and Jen) to call me and forward the card when it arrived.

When at the Farmer's Market in Columbia, I met Mark, the president of the market. He was one of the people I gave calling card to. Mark called me with two possible farms to work on - a guy who got sick just before planting season and Dan Nelson, owner of Danjo Farms. He had no work until the ground dried up some - it had been raining for days. I know. Sad So, when I rode on to Kirksville and saw Danjo Farms, at the same time I was looking for a place to stop and eat lunch, I stopped in to visit the farm. I was grinning at the idea of coming in on my bicycle, waiting for him to finish with a customer then asking him "how's the weather been treating you". I asked the man and woman at the first house where Danjo Farms was, "at the bottom of the hill, turn right into the driveway and go to the end."

A young man came out to greet me, I looked at what they had to sell, asked about the farm and finally admitted I had talked with Dan already about work - could I talk with him? He said his mom (Jo) and dad (Dan) were taking a nap. I asked how long that might last, shared my homemade hummus and a loaf of bread with him and asked was there anything I could help him with in the meantime? He suggested we harvest and clean a few vegetables then went inside before we got started.

Mom says you can have a loaf or two of the loaves of dessert bread then you better go. I got the feeling they thought I was trying to weasel my way onto the farm even though I knew there was no work and even though I did not know where the farm was until I rode past the sign. I rode out the driveway then turned around and said sorry for the misunderstanding, all I was doing was hoping to meet with Dan, take a look around the farm and eat lunch. I was upset and rode off.

Within sight off the driveway a sheriff pulled me over. I eyed him suspiciously but asked politely and with an open mind, 'what's up?' 'Someone in the area saw me riding around acting suspiciously and thought I might have stolen something. Do you mind if I take a look at your things and can I see your ID?' Go ahead, I told him how and why I came to be there. Another sheriff pulled up after we were done. They talked while I rode away feeling even more strongly something strange was going on here and I did not want to be part of it. I worked hard to get my scowl buried peacefully in the past.

When I got within sight of Kirksville late in the afternoon, I ate for the first time that day. I called Rick using his business card and left a message. I think it was Saturday. That was the first time I noticed "World's Foremost Authority on Wild Turkey Taxidermy." I rolled into town wondering were to go. At the first intersection, a woman in a minivan asked me where was I going, what was I doing? Smile I love telling my story. It's fun giving people something to get excited about. I told, one of the three ladies in the car gave me a few dollars. One of them said I am calling K___ (radio/TV?)! I asked were was a good place to eat and visit with Rick. Ponderosa, right across the street.

I got to Ponderosa and waited. And waited some more. I wondered if he was going to show and called him again expressing my concern. Finally, I noticed I had been calling his business phone... Foot in mouth when you got size 14 feet... Embarassed

Rick was great fun to talk with, very laid back and plain-speaking yet polite. He showed me where Truman State University was but it was dead - Spring break? He dropped me off next to the toilets at the park where I should be able to camp and free WIFI was a few blocks away.

It was getting dark but I knew how to get back, where things were I went for the WIFI, on the way I saw a radio station and my rear tire blew out in their parking lot. I saw a hardware store open, went in that direction, went into the auto parts store on my side of the street and asked where I could get a bicycle tire. Wal-Mart was just up the street. There went the little bit of money Jen gave me. Sad

"Just up the street" meant something different to me, pushing my bike uphill with 150 pounds of stuff on it, than it did to them, driving their car. Wal-Mart was only about .75 mile away. I explained my situation to the guy in the paint department, next to the bicycles, then asked if I could buy one inner tube and get another for free. He called for a manager. A guy buying paint said I should go visit Dancing Rabbit and Sandhill, both near Rutledge. They are near here?! I heard about them from Micah back in Ponder, TX.! Suspect He gave me instructions involving crossing a bridge then turning into a hay field at the top of the hill. Steve showed up, I gave him my card, told him my situation, asked if I could buy the one and get the other free then asked if they install the inner tube I buy? Yes, I could get one inner tube free. !! No, they don't put them on but you can use the car tire install tools. I think: compressed air with a gauge, no hand-pumping. Ahh, the life. Smile I met the guys in the tire department. They got a dose of my story. Smile Adam helped me.

I carefully put one inner tube, making sure not to pinch, nick or puncture the tube during install, pushed the tire all the way around to make sure the inner tube was free and well-distributed then saw it bulge through a hole in the tire. OOP! I needed a new tire too! This is going to be embarrassing. I asked Adam his name so I could use him as a witness to Steve.

I asked Steve if I could buy the $15 tire with my remaining $11 and change. Steve gave me the tire. That did not hurt as much as I thought. I must have traded more of my pride for humbleness on this road than I thought. I put the brand new tire on, watched the brand new inner tube bulge beyond the rim... I better release pressure! BANG! My face was a few inches away when it blew. The blast ricocheted off the three Wal-Mart walls. I laughed in shock.

It had gotten dark long ago, I was tired and I suspected the Wal-Mart tire was not fitting on my fancy wheel. I needed sleep, light and probably, better quality tires. I called the police to ask if I could camp for free at the park on Baltimore, just south of Wal-Mart. No but we can give you a room for the night. I can't ride there - my back tire is out of commission. We'll send an officer. OK, I am outside, where the car tires get put on.

Officer Bill Puryear came by, I told him my situation. Officer Puryear is SWAT, he's also squat; very dense and low to the ground. Great guy. He got my ID card, checked for warrants. Yes, that is what the police do almost every time I talk with them. I look strange, they are doing their job. I am happy to know I still don't have any warrants out for my arrest. He, a police officer, could not drive me to Budget Host, the motel Salvation Army was paying for, on the other side of town. Besides, my tall bike with all my stuff would never fit in a police car; they have too much of their own gear. We figured out how to get me and all my stuff there anyways. Naturally, all the street level rooms were occupied.

I signed in, put everything in the room, cleaned up, scraped the cover and pillows off the bed and fell asleep. In the morning I went to the motel office ans asked where I might find a bicycle tire, other than Wal-Mart, in town. Who at the university could I contact? Also, this is Sunday, nothing is open except churches, I need another free night before I go anywhere. Do you have a number to call Salvation Army? The lady working at the motel office said call the police - they got you the room in the first place. I called the police, got them working on possibilities then took the phone book up to my room (out of her way) and started calling churches asking them for a free night at the Budget Host motel. I was up to Ekklesia, telling a real person, not an answering machine, my situation when the motel lady knocked on my door - Salvation Army gave you another room.

Well, that fire is put out, I am still interested in coming to your church gathering and getting to know your people. I showered quickly, Dan picked me up in the church bus along with other town's people he rounded up. They have an interesting mix of formal rituals and casual ways at the Kirksville Church of Christ. They invited me to lunch at someone's house and Dan's Dogs event later on that night. During my visit at the church, my prayer for a 26" bike tire became public knowledge along with other prayers. Wayne, one of the congregation thought he knew where his bicycle was in the shed. Smile If he could find it... Other people mentioned the University as a possibility.

During lunch at the house of one of the deacon's, Wayne called with a tire for me; pick-up in town when dropping me off. Lunch was home-cooked everything; smoked BBQ pulled beef, au gratin potatoes, macaroni and cheese, salad and blackberry cobbler. I am not hungry, I was not hungry, my mouth is not watering. They sent me back to town with a huge amount of left overs. I said I'd ride my fully packed bike (with the fixed wheel) to the church for show and tell if I could. I did. After church services, came "Dan's dogs" - they got not quite burned in a fire. Honestly, I expected dog tricks, not wiener schnitzel. Smile There was all kinds of picnic food - hot dogs, potato salad, soda pop, lemonade, corn chips and desserts. Great people, helping a stranger passing through. I am touched, time and time again by the good people I meet. I expect most of my travels across the world to be filled with these and more.

I was the last one on the bus, driven back to the church to see if I could get my bike on the bus or have to ride it back the mile or two to the motel. It was a tight fit but I am motivated, talented and well-practiced. Dan helped push and steer.

I took the fully loaded bike up the stairs one stair at a time, got it inside the room and went to sleep. I showered again in the morning - it's a luxury better than chocolate to have a clean body and clothing while bike-camping. I slept and rode out in the morning.

Time to quit typing; I have been at the Macon, MO Super 8 motel for hours, drinking their coffee and crossing my legs. The sun is going down, more another day.

Sunday, May 23, 2010
I opted for going to the police and getting a room for the night. It had been days since I had a shower and it's easier and more polite to shave at a sink I somehow temporarily own. Sure enough, I missed the spot on my chin that I always seem to miss but I got it this morning.

Anyways, from Kirksville, I rode east on 11 to 15, where Baring is and asked at the senior citizen housing (the only sign of intelligent life) for directions to Dancing Rabbit. They had a vague idea where 'those hillbillies' lived and they were very confident it was nearby. The police had no idea. There are a lot of hills on 11 going to Baring so it was getting dark. Near to the 11/15 intersection is a small, abandoned shed. I pushed my way through the weeds thinking anxious thoughts about ticks in weeds as high as my waist. I set up my hammock and tried to stay out of sight until after dark. My hammock tends to slide down the pole when I sit on it. But this time it was on rafters so the height I put it at was almost too high for me to get on.

In the morning I packed up what ittle I had unpacked and headed out. I forgot which way I went but I got lost. The Carrington Family Cemetary and railroad tracks are near where I got lost. I asked people on the on the oher side of the tracks for directions. The told me something about south and the ' cross the bridge then, at the top of the hill, turn into the the field' story. Anyways, I came to anotherone of these one lane bridges, just big enough for one car, one way, to cross at a time. I went up the hill and sure enough, there were car tire tracks going across a field. The tire tracks faded out near the road and were more defined as they got further from the road. How does that happen when, I would assume, the car goes the whole length of the field, from house to road?

I saw a building, then another., then a third, closer together. Down a hill, a garden, there were people! They wore shorts, not traditional farmer or Amish/Meninnite clothing. I said hello, confirmed I was at Sandhill and then admitted, now that I got to my destination, I did not know what to do. They asked if I had talked to someone before I got there and if so, who. "A woman bicyclist on a self-supporting tour? I think she is on tour because I have not gotten a response back." was my reply. I got the feeling not getting a "Yes" to the question "Can I come over?" was not a good thing. Well, my excuses seemed pretty good to me. Smile

I sat and talked with them; Sarah and Owen for the few minutes until lunchtime. They assured me I could at least stay for lunch. {Now, some of you might be getting upset that I was not accepted immediately, with open arms. Settle down, I am a strange stranger.} Smile I met Stan, defacto leader, Gigi and Apple. Gigi seems like a shining example of modern Mediteranean business woman. Stan is a quiet, non-descript 60-ish guy. Apple is energetic and happy but focused. Sarah seems like a 25-ish American woman leaning toward practical. Owen is tall, slender and thoughtful. Everything about the Sandhill layout seems well-thought-out with a reason for being where it is. There were a couple dogs basking in the sun. Not a peep or twitch out of them, even to investigate a stranger.

Inside was dark, the foyer had many boots and shoes but they people had shoes on inside so I kept mine on too. They had a variety of foods laid out on a cutting block table. The flavors were strong and the food was fresh. Soup, salad, a sauce, beans, bread, and a few others I have no clue what to call are what I remember for lunch.

We sat down on the porch on a variety of sitting things. Stan and Apple defined the question – 'who are you and what are doing here?' I started answering. It was good enough. I wanted to stay the night and visit Dancing Rabbit too. They are next door (3 miles down the road) and we are going there for dinner tonight, you can probably come with. I also asked about getting my wobbly rear wheel trued - Dancing Rabbit. In the meantime, I could work with Sarah. Stan had a swarm of bees up in a tree to capture and house. Owen could help with the climbing and Apple drive the tractor with a pallet on a forklift and a ladder on top of the pallet.

That's not exactly how it happened but close. Smile I stayed on the ground, watched and held the long, aluminum ladders they decided to use. They suspended the bee house with a rope because it was too much to hold onto by hand while on the ladder. The bees were gently brushed into a bee house box and the lid closed. Apple was on the pallet closing the lid on the box and handing it down when she noticed the queen bee was on the outside of the box trying to get in. Apple (with gloves on) tried to pick up the queen without damaging her and failed. The Queen flew away! All that gentle effort, careful planning and cautious improvisation wasted! The queen flew back?! Apple got her in the box. We all split up.

I got to wear a bee suit complete with headgear and gloves, all way too small for me. I helped Stan with the bees, first all the bee houses nearby; checking on them – most of the houses were wet from all the rain in the past several days, most had ants, a few had spiders. One of the bee houses was recently occupied and the bees had done nothing to set up house keeping, how odd. We put sticks in between the top of the bee house and the lid to allow more air circulation and drying. We added... I don't know what to call them – cards, frames, starter combs to encourage the bees to make more honey. Then we took the new bee house to a different place, more secluded and set them up.

Then it was time to go to the Farmer's Market, did I want to go? Only Stan and Gigi would be staying. OK, I went. I had hardly any money but that seemed to be the flow to go with. BZ (BZ is a young man) and Chris were going too. I probably forgot to mention someone in that gaggle. We went in an orange VW minivan. Cliqueic, eh? They were all young musicians going to perform at the Farmer's Market; something like Bluegrass. BZ turned on good music but too loud for me, endure.

When we got there I did not know what to do. I sat out of the way on the steps of a monument or statue. An older couple came to sit there too. We talked and had a fine time. Their son has epilepsy and so do I. His are uncontrolled but slowed down; he has several seizures each day, all kinds. I have not had seizures for many years. I count my blessing many times each day and no seizures is just one blessing. Their son is about my age, 40-ish and he was a successful businessman with a wife, new house, new cars for each of them and then encephilitis. He thought he had the flu. But in a few days he started having seisures, as many as 50 a day, non-stop. Sad Now he lives with his parents. His seizures started 18 years ago. My heart goes out to them. ;(

They left after a while. I went to schmooze with some of the other people. One of the sellers at the market was a middle aged woman selling handmade soup and these interesting looking candles in glass. They are see-thru candles with seashells and sand halfway down. We talked for a while, she was in the military too. She gave me a zip-lock baggie of soap, I chose the one with the least smell. Great stuff for getting bike chain grease off!

I talked with an older lady knitting something. She was touted for her fine socks. Indeed, fine but beyond my miniscule funds. She knows how to spin wool though, sadly, teaching me costs even more. I don't expect anyone ot work for free. But that is about what I can afford. Smile It will all come in time. Smile

I decided I should spend some time with the Sandhill and Dancing Rabbit people at the Farmer's Market. I just did not feel part of their crowd. After a while we left. I bought two dozen eggs from the knitting lady for a dollar a dozen. Then we drove to Dancing Rabbit.

There were a lot of people at Dancing Rabbit. Tom was the guy there that trued my wheel, one of the spokes had broke, that was why it was wobbly. I enjoyed talking with the older crowd; the people running the Milkweed Merchantile Store were great fun. They gaveme a sew-on "Dancing Rabbit" patch. Smile I walked back to Sandhill, slept out on the grass on a hill, packed up, reorganized my packing, said my goodbyes and then rode out.

Possibility Alliance, east of La Plate was my next stop. But Carole, my ex-wife, had called while I was at Sandhill and told me my certified copy of my birth certificate had arrived and Jen from Columbia had told me my food stamps arrived in her mail so I was eager to get to the Macon Post Office where Jen forwarded it to. She also printed out a mapped route from Kirksville to Possibility Alliance. I used that to get me in the right area then started looking for help getting to their doorstep. Smile I got lost. Ce la vie, or at least, such is my life. I was looking for a shortcut. A farmer told me I had to go south, I took a road south (another shortcut) and got lost again. Smile The sun was coming down pretty quick. I looked for someone to point me in the right direction again.

I found a well-kept house with a car in the yard and cautiously approached, saying HELLO loudly. Once threatened witha shotgun, twice shy. Wink A guy pulled up behind me from the road and he looked annoyed. I held up my printed out map & he grinned. Yep, I was lost. We talked for a little bit; directions and life in general. Don Wilburn is the Superintendent of Schools for the area. I asked if there was any chance he could give me a ride back onto the road I should have stayed on. Yep, all my stuff in the back of his pickup truck and away we went. He decided on the way to get me as close as he could to my destination. That turned out to be their front door step.

One guy came out of the house, probably investigating the noise Don and I were making getting my stuff out of his truck. The guy who came out of the house sounded like the voice on the Possibility Alliance answering machine and who I talked with on the phone, an "E" sounding name, he said it again confirming he was "Ethan". Smile He said putting all my stuff on the front porch, out of the rain was good and my bike could go "over there" in the bike and tool shed. He went back inside the house. I eventually followed.

There were many people inside the house clustered around a long, wooden dining table. Ethan was singing and playing a guitar. His song was a silly, non-sensical song about the day's events; I think. All the people clustered around him were grining. He sang something about "snot", I rhymed in with "knock, knock". This was a birthday party for one of the people. One of his birthday presents was two small logs wrapped with a red bow. Strange. It turns out the birthday guy loves to work wood - the bigger log was destined to become a bowl. The next day, a farewell gathering was called for the birthday guy and his tall, regal, wise beau. Ethan explained only people who had been there a while were given farewells. I think he was telling me they barely knew meI did not feel slighted, we barely met and I was leaving in the morning.

Possibility Alliance is Ethan's baby. He is full of youthful energy, drive and determination, the eyes of a true believer. Ethan tries to be the captain of the ship and master of it's destiny but it is bigger than him. The dreams and goals of many people are tied into this commune. Ethan tries to carry the burden of responsibility for what goes on at the commune but it is bigger than he is and other people resent him trying to be the captain of their dreams and goals and claim responsibility for the fruits of their labors. How many of us are 'in the same boat'?

Sara is Ethan's wife, she was sick with a respitory infection. Sara's daughter (Ethan's too?) is about five years old. Blen does a lot of cooking and organizing who does what and when, Ethan's second in command, quiet, purposeful energy with soulful eyes.

Ironically, Emily is the bicycling woman on who is on a self-supporting bike tour, I sent a message through Couchsurfing asking her for directions and contact information to Possibility Alliance. She got the message After I left there. Emily has wild, flowing hair, she is full of mischevious energy that puts pounce in her step and flashes in her smile, laughter and eyes.

Joshua answered my plea for trading backmassages to relieve my back pain. He is on a Candida cleansing diet to make amends for living on junk food for many years. Smile Joshua is quiet and meditative with the eyes and demeanor of a monk. There were two other guys, tall, muscular new age farm boys. One asked me a lot of new questions about my journey one the second night, one worked barefoot moving the compsted soil to the new garden plot. Was it the same guy? What were their names?

They had all eaten, all that was left were the scraps. I happily ate all the leftovers. They asked and I told them about me. I handed out a few of my calling cards. I told them my plans concerning them; stay the night then travel on to Macon for my foodstamps and birth certificate. They gave me options for sleeping – almost anywhere I wanted to camp outside, beds in the barn, people sometimes sleep on the porch. I had not slept in a barn loft before.

As the light faded, some people went to bed, others stayed up. There's no set in stone schedule at Possibility Alliance; you can loaf around doing nothing or work your butt off. I am like working my butt off. I like riding with the sun; up before dawn, on the road when it is light enough to see and be seen, set up camp while I can still see well and sleep when it is dark. At least, that is a sleep schedule goal. I reach that goal on most days. Wink

The rain was coming down pretty good the next morning with predictions of raining all day. I asked if I could stay, work with them and get to know them better, until the rain let up. No problem, they were digging up composted soil, moving it and buidling a fence. I put on my rain jacket and went out to see. The mud was pretty deep, typical horse barn mud. One of the guys was working barefoot, good idea, wish I could have worked almost naked. I went back to the house and put my shoes out of the rain, mud and standing water. Some of my clothes are still dirty after washing clothes twice since then.

The mud squishing between my toes felt pretty good. Pushing the wheel barrow full of dirt around in the mud was hard work – I pushed the wheelbarrow forward and, most of the time, I was pushed back while the wheelbarrow stayed put. The rain was coming down pretty hard. Slippery mud was on the wheel barrow handles and shovels, making them hard to grip.

There was a meeting after lunch, everybody invited. The big topic was concerns over people's perceptions of what the Possibility Alliance farming commune is about and the direction the commune was taking. Blen was concerned that "we had 1200 guests or visitors last year" was becoming an obsession and becoming the classroom for other groups was becoming the mission, instead of healthy living for the people on the commune. Ethat took Blen's concerns personally; he was not doing good enough in her eyes. That floundered about for a whil, generating hurt feelings between the two and confusion among the ranks.

There was an older, wiser woman at the meeting, I forgot her name but she is the greeter to outsiders, showing they are not a cult and their children are not being abused or brainwashed. She said 'We need to take a break, catch our breath and come back to this later when we are calmer and have had time to think it over.' Ethan still felt the gauntlet had been thrown down and would not let it be. I said "What I hear Blen saying is her fears, not your shortcomings. Finding peace with this is not going to happen while you are upset.' They talked about scheduling another, smaller meeting to resolve their differences. I thought they were too involved in rituals, procedures and protocols. Young children (the ones who 'play nice') know lots more about conflict resolution than adults do and they have more 'common sense'. Growing up and acting like adults is not all good, we lose a lot too.

Blen was grateful I voiced what I saw – Blen was talking about Blen, not about Ethan. I said I felt lucky; much of the time, both parties want the third one to get out of the way. Ethan told me he did not like the way things were going here, at Possiblity Alliance. I said maybe you need to bring other people in you do not have conflicts with, maybe you need to leave and go to where those other people are, maybe you need to adapt to the way things are going or change the direction the commune is going. Ethan said he started many organizations and left when they deivated from the original path and mission statement. I said maybe your role is to start things, get the ball rolling, that I find I am almost always involved with the beginning or the end of an organization, not where it is smooth sailing.

A lot of the people on... Possibility Alliance is a farm and a commune, that's a lot of name calling. Smile Anyways, several people treated me more favorably after the meeting. When I was packing up on the second morning, they held a farewell gathering for me. Smile I got to help and they showed their appreciation of my efforts. Life is good. Smile Ethan talked with me when I was almost ready to go. He was grateful for what I said to him, he sounds like he is going to leave Possibility Alliance and start another organization.

I went to Macon to pick up my food stamp card Jen mailed me AND my certified copy of my birth certificate. II was so excited; two big goals about to be crossed off the list. It started to rain lightly just before I got into Macon. I pulled into the Super 8 motel and started asking questions as I remembered them. Where is the post office? Do you have free WIFI and if so, where? Can I drink your coffee and sit here with my laptop? Are there thift shops in town and if so, where? All their answers made me happy. I also had great conversations with most of the employees. I love Super 8; free WIFI, free coffee, sometimes even free breakfast, most Super 8's that is.

Just before I was headed out to the post office, Jen called. The food stamps got returned to her hen she mailed them. She was going near Macon tomorrow and was going to hand them to me in person. I get to see her, talk and hug once more?! With the coolness!! Where to camp for the night? I started asking around. The sheriffs office said the state park would probably let me free-camp.

The state park looks so close on the map but it is 10 – 15 miles away. I headed in that direction so I could arrive before nightfall. I headed in the wrong direction. But I found a good place to camp off the side of highway 36. I took pictures. There was a herd of cattle on the other side of a fence a few feet from my camp. They were insatiably curious, or maybe expecting treats.

In the morning, I went back to the Super 8, got to meet a few more good people, checked emails, looked at maps, worked on my blog and planned my day. Jen was passing through about 11AM. I wanted to call when she was not there, then but held off. She called right after I resisted the urge. Smile "A few minutes away, don't have much time, brought you some food, where are you precisely, Ari?" Didn't even take a breath saying all that. Wink Soon after, she drove up. We talked, she said she did not have much time; her (some relative) was graduating today. But she did have time to go shopping with me at the local grocery with my new food stamp card.

She left, I got back to updating my blog until I was burnt out of updating. Time to use that 'once in a lifetime' free motel room for the night in this town. I really wanted a shower, wash some clothes in the shower and learn about the weather TV. Hours later I got all that at the Travelier motel. But their WIFI was... lame is a good word. Smile I walked around the other side if the building to the Super 8. Very Happy

In the morning, I packed up, thanked the lady in the motel office, grabbed coffee and their one cinnamon roll with nuts on top, oh, the decadence! I noticed I had ANOTHER broken spoke! That made one in Kirksville, one at Dancing Rabbit and a thrid I rode far enough onto the highway to hitchhike. I selected my perch and displayed gear advantageously, waiting with my thumb out. I target cars big enough for my bike and pickup trucks, taking into consideration passengers. I wave a salute to Truckers. The police stopped a car directly across from me, on the other side of the highway. Wink With them there, I was not going to get any bites. But, I tried anyways. They left, I waited some more. I got a ride from a guy who worked for Caterpillar equipment for 30 years. He was all set, years ago, to sail around the world but then medical conditions slowed him down and grandchildren put an end to that dream while starting another. Smile He was going all the way into St. Joseph.

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Join date : 2010-04-07

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