Monday, June 13, 2011

Day 15

June 6, 2011

Day 15 was a rest day at Humbug Mountain State Park. The closest town was 6 miles away, so I just hung around camp, writing blogs, reading, eating, and relaxing.

Around 11am, I went over to a campsite where I had seen some bikers earlier that morning. Anybody riding their bike long distance is worth meeting and I had nothing better to do. It was a man and a woman who looked like they were in their 50s. They were riding down to LA and they seemed a bit weird to me. They both had bulgey eyes and they just talked and talked. The man's chain had broken the day before, so he had to walk and cruise several miles to get to the site. They also mentioned how their favorite time to ride was after 10pm! Wow, that's weird. Less traffic, they said. Alrighty. They were packing up as I was meeting them, getting ready to walk and cruise to the nearest town to get a new chain. Since they were enjoying talking, I let them continue. They told me that they used to live in Portland, but the man's mom was cruel to him. She stole his car, belittled him, and was married to a jerk of a man. Finally he told his mom that he was tired of it all and was moving to LA to meet his sister whom he had never met and would get there by bike. I looked at the stuff they had. They had blankets, big pillows, a kid-carrying bike trailer stuffed with things from home. "So is all this everything you own?" Yep. They told me about some of the people they've met along the way. Some called them crazy, some were very helpful and gave them food, but overall, they've enjoyed riding their bikes so far. They were really excited to get to LA, because they really really wanted to get on the Ellen Show for having come so far just to get to her show. So if you watch Ellen and you see two people going by the pseudonyms Mason and Molly, that's them.

I said goodbye and headed back to eat lunch. After lunch I went to pay for the second night I'd be spending there and saw a mom and a son roll up to the pay booth. They're heading north to Portland to go watch the other son play in the racketball nationals. They are from Loveland, CO—the first Coloradans I've met on my tour so far!

Back at the hiker/biker campsite, I met August and Sydney. They were friendly when I went to meet them, but they kept to themselves for the rest of the evening (which is a bit odd at the hiker/biker sites). There's typically a really strong community among cyclists at the sites. We always meet each other and sometimes spend a lot of the evening together. It's really cool, especially when you're riding alone.

Later on, a man rode in with white plastic buckets hanging off his bike rack and he had a backpack on. It's really awesome to see the creative ways people go touring on a very very low budget. While he was chatting with The Mom, I overheard him say that he was from Alaska...I had to meet him. So I did. His name is Alton and he's an Inupiaq native (Eskimo) and he's lived in Anchorage off and on for a lot of his life. He told us all about his 4 sons and, without prompting, revealed the struggles they've had as a family with 2 mothers and teenage rebellion and whatnot. “What do you do for a living?” asked The Mom. “'s kind of a taboo profession. But I farm marijuana.” Turns out, he's going down to San Francisco for a marijuana farming convention and decided the bicycle would be his transportation of choice. Alton was a very nice man and, as I'm writing this blog 5 days later, I've seen him several times along the road since we met at Humbug Mountain. We always stop and chat for a bit.

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