Thursday, March 31, 2011

Good times bad times, and all the crazy in between.

Alohas, so it has been a few days since I last posted... I had written a good deal the other day only to lose it to the Internet on my iPod crashing. So here I go again. The last few days of Texas were spent locked in conversation with people. It started in Drevers at a country store with the two folks that were there, it was a good conversation on politics and the world. The next conversation was at a picnic are on the side of the highway with a very intelligent and interesting gentleman from Liberty. That conversation consisted mostly of life and fun and the wild experiences we had had. I ended up being locked in that conversation for a fee hours. Then I finished the day with a conversation with a fellow traveler who was driving out west, this conversation condisted mostly of the spiritual, and the goodness that is in our world.
After all of that I finally made to Louisiana! It was so sweet to cross the river and see the "Welcome to Louisiana" sign. I was on a great high note and then suddenly things turned a little sour. I was riding down the i10 when I got pulled over by a cop. This is the ensuing conversation.
"you can't ride on the interstate."
"oh? I am sorry, where can I ride?"
"you are lucky I just ran into a guy doing the same thing..."
He then began to describe the route I needed to take, which was a very long detour and added about twenty miles onto my ride that day and a total of about 50 miles to my entire ride. He then proceeded to do the good cop turned asshole thing. I do not know why cops feel the need to inform you of how nice they are being, but I know I was being completely respectful of him and trying to be understanding. This didn't stop him...
"you know it's illegal to ride a bike on the interstate."
"I did not know that, but I really appreciate you informing me." mind you there were no signs informing of this...
"I could write you a ticket right now..."
"I understand and appreciate your kindness." what else did he want? I half expected him to say 'this information aint free boy... Pucker up." But luckily he didnt, I thanked him, shook his hand and then walked off the interstate and continued on my way.
I ended up not making it very far after that because I had to backtrack a good deal. The next day a rash that had appeared was getting worse. I made the tough decision that I needed to get to a hospital. Luckily I wasn't far from Lake Charles, the only problem was that the quickest way to the city was over the interstate. So I rode up to the bridge and thumbed a ride across. I was picked up bya couple who were traveling around the east coast. They were kind enough to drive me all the way to a hospital.
Even though the hospital was not full at all it still ended up taking four hours. Which left me little time to move on, besides which the cream I was given required me to take a shower and such. Plus I needed to wash all my clothes. So I found a hotel with laundry. The next day weather started to roll in, so I found another cheap hotel to stay. It was definitely a cheap hotel...
At about 3:30 in the morning there was a knock at my door. I was very tired but went to figure outwho was there. When I opened the door I was greeted by a very used up looking prostitute. It was a little creepy, but I was in no mood to deal with it so before she could say anything I just shut the door in her face.
The next day it was still raining so I stayed one more night. I hung out with a nice girl who I had met my first day in Lake Charles, and spent most of the day playing music. Today I will be headed out again. Which I need to get to. So until the next chance I get to update... Much love and alohas!

Friday, March 25, 2011

SXSW craziness, sayin goodbyes to Houston and back to the open road

So since I last updated I have had some fun experiences... First Gene took me to see cirque du soleil 'Ovo' which was incredible of course. Then shortly after that he took me to see KISS perform at the rodeo, that was interesting. At least I can say I saw kiss live, even if they were all old and washed up. Luckily the concert only lasted about 45 minutes, which is all gene simmons can handle at this point! All through this time was still recovering from the poison oak... The next day I woke up and the poison oak was mostly gone, however it was now time for SXSW... How could I resist going being so close? Besides Gene had offered me a ride. So I went back to Austin.
SXSW was amazing, a sight worth seeing. Music everywhere, in every bar, restaurant, hotel and even on the streets of downtown. I was overwhelmed. So many people, many of them trying way too hard, packing every nook and cranny of space in Austin. I got to see lots and lots of great music performed, it was wonderful. My favorite parts were the street performances, they were all quite unique and genuinely fun. I also saw great performances by Black Angel, IAMDynamite, The Wreckards, and the Ben Miller Band to name just a few... So much fun. My only issue was it was centered mostly in bars and around drinking, which meant a lot of douchebags were running around. I ended up having to break up a couple of fights and just having to deal with adenoids screaming obsenities everywhere. Oh well I still managed to meet a lot of amazing people. Many of whom were introduced to me by Gene who basically knows everyone from what I can tell.
After south by, we headed back to Houston. I started to get everything packed up and ready to go. It took me a few days to finally leave but I eventually managed to get back on my bike... It was hard to leave and it definitely left my heart a little heavy for all the great people I met there but it feels good to be back on the road. I am riding more and more into the swamp lands and it is wonderful. So beautiful and green with flowers coming up everywhere welcoming the spring season. I have just a few days of riding so I should be to the farm soon, we shall see. I will update more later, much love and alohas

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Poison Ivy and my Beautiful World

Aloha everyone! I last left off in Houston and sure as Shirley I am still there. Why you ask? Well let me tell you  a little story. It all starts on my last bicycle trip I took across the country with my father. We had managed to make it to California without much issue, besides my father's constant flat tires. About a third of the way down the coast of California, a rash appeared on my lower back, a few days prier having taken a poop in the woods. It turned out to be poison ivy, and since I was riding a bike sweating and pumping blood it quickly spread from my lower back to my neck and was nearing my mouth. So I had to go into an urgent care facility and get put on steroids which lasted the rest of the trip.
Fast forward eight and a half years, I found myself in Chappell Hill Texas, camping on the side of the road. I was having a hard time finding a place to camp and when  I finally did I was tired and just wanting to set up camp and make dinner. I paid little attention to the plants around me and started clearing out an area for my tent. I didn't notice until a bit later that a couple of the plants I was stepping on looked a bit like poison oak. I had nothing I could do at this point, my tent was set up and I was already eating dinner, "Oh well, maybe it isn't poison oak" I thought. I just went to sleep. A few days later sure enough it was poison oak and having touched myself in a couple of precarious places, mainly around my eye I couldn't risk leaving. If I did leave I ran the risk of it spreading and getting worse just like on my last bike trip. So I am still here in Houston, probably will be for a couple more days until this hopefully clears up on its own. But as of now all I want to do is scratch my skin off and call it over.
However, being stuck in Houston has turned out to be very good. I had mentioned my couchsurfing host in my previous post. I would like to emphasize here how awesome he has been. He is a truly kind hearted and genuine person. One of those people who is friends with everyone even if he is meeting you for the first time. He has been extremely nice to me and very helpful, and I am truly grateful to have landed on his couch. All of his friends have been very welcoming and kind and everything I have experienced here has been absolutely wonderful.
This trip has brought me to so many beautiful places and has introduced me to so many beautiful people. It has been a humbling experience. There are not enough words in the english language to describe the wonderful things I have experiences. Our world is amazing, the people in it are still beautiful and all have something amazing to contribute. I know I say this a lot, but I keep being reminded of it every day and I cannot help but share it. I rode out into this world on a whim and a big cloud of dreams and ideas and have been so graciously met that I am overwhelmed with love and appreciation from every side. I want to thank everyone who has taken me in, helped me, or even just smiled at me when I smiled at them. Every single one of you have made this trip what it is. It is all of you who make me look forward to continuing and seeing more. It is now become a bit of an obsession to continue to explore and meet new wonderful people.
I love you all truly and hope that at some point some of you will join me on my quest. If only for a day, I encourage you to come out and ride with me. I will help arrange a bicycle for you if you need one, just let me know you are coming. Thank you all again, and I look forward to seeing you all on this trip, whenever and wherever I may run into you, even if it is right where you live, just keep a couch open for me!
I will probably post again once I start underway to Louisiana, which will hopefully be soon!
ALOHAS my brothers and sister, and my mother and father. I love you.

Monday, March 7, 2011

From Hempstead to Houston

Alohas everybody! So since I last left off I have made my way into Houston. I woke up in a place called Chappel Hill Texas on Friday morning and made my way down the road to a Burger King with free wifi. Burger Kings do not always have wifi but with luck this one did. I hung out there for a bit and was able to talk with my parents through the glorious technology of Facetime. It is wonderful being able to talk face to face with my parents even though they are half way across the world in the country of Laos. It was a bad connection though and we were only able to talk for a short while. After leaving there I made my way to Hempstead. About 5 miles out of Hempstead I quickly realized that I was probably not going to be able to camp that night because the road had now turned more into a freeway and there was nothing but civilization all the way to Houston. So while I could have made it to Houston by pedaling, that meant I would have been there past dark which would have left me struggling to find a place to stay, as well riding through a large city at night. So I decided it would be best to stick out my thumb.
Within 30 minutes of doing so a small SUV pulled over and this gentleman named Chuck offered me a ride. He was a really nice guy and we spent the whole ride chatting about traveling and camping. He was a bit of an old hippie himself with an American Flag bandana and all. He gave me a bit of smoke and drove me to the outskirts of Houston. When he dropped me off he even gave me $13. My luck with people has been so wonderful and I cannot thank him enough for the ride and the money he gave me. This world continues to show me how beautiful it is and that the people living in it are still wonderful.
Like I said he dropped me off on the outskirts of Houston about 20 miles from downtown. Unfortunately for me I didn't bother to pay much attention to this. I rode a while till I started to get into the city and found a Starbucks. I decided I should spend a bit of time looking for a place to stay so I stopped and started searching for a couchsurfing host. About an hour later it dawned on me that I had no idea where any of these people lived, and even more so I really had no idea exactly where I was. That is when I decided to check my map and see where I was. To my somewhat alarmed surprise I was still 15 miles from downtown, where most of the hosts lived. It was now getting close to five in the evening which left me but an hour and a half to make my way to downtown before it got dark. So I quickly packed back up and headed out as fast as possible. I wasn't exactly sure how to get to the downtown area so I decided to ask people. Unfortunately this being Texas where no one really knows where they are, it took a bit of time to find someone who was quite certain how to get to downtown from where I was. Multiple people had told me many different ways, many of which would have led me in the wrong direction, hence why I asked so many people. Finally when I found the one person who was sure I headed back out.
I got about 2 miles from downtown and checked again for a couchsurfing host. I had written about 15 people when I finally wrote a gentleman named Gene. He was the only one to reply and luckily he was not far from where I was. It ended up being fate again as while riding to his house my tire went flat. So I went to pump it up and I noticed my pump had broken some time during the day. An important little piece had fallen off which left me stranded. So I found a payphone and called Gene to see if by chance he might be able to pick me up. Sure enough he was  and even had a truck to do so! Thank goodness otherwise it would have been a very long and difficult walk with my bike.
Gene picked me up at the gas station I had stopped at. Then afterwords he treated me to dinner. We talked about my travels and then went to a bar. I let my inner social butterfly go free for a bit and I roamed around talking with a bunch of different people. By the end of the night I had already made quite a few friends.
The next day Gene took me around to a couple of bike shops in order to find a new tire, since the one I had was clearly broken and causing my tires to go flat and also a new pump, since that was now broken as well. After that we went to lunch we eventually went looking for what he called the President Heads, I was curious and sure enough they were exactly that. Big giant heads of previous presidents made from a plaster by the side of the freeway. He then mentioned that supposedly the artists studio was somewhere close by and so we went looking for it. Sure enough we found it and there were even more president heads. Lots of them in fact, as well as tall sculptures of the Beatles. It was interesting and a little weird but provided for some good picture taking. Later that night he took me to see his friends bands perform. The first band was alright, not really my style of music being hard rock but not shabby. The next band was a Tool cover band called Toology. While I am not the  biggest fan of Tool they were actually quite good. Plus it is always funny to watch Tool fans, many of them get very into the music.
The next day Gene and I went to brunch with one of his friends and then ended up running into more of his friends at the restaurant, he knows quite a few people to say the least. They were all really nice and very interested in my travels. Like I have made mention before it is always nice to meet people and it is something that I cherish very much while on this trip alone.
On a quick little side note I have started working on a story, the first real creative piece I have started in a loooonnng time. While looking for couchsurfing hosts on Friday I happened on a woman's profile whose description coincidentally fit with the story I am writing. In a sort of weird way, being a strong believer that everything happens for a reason, I contacted her and asked if she would like to get together so I might pick her brain a little. I am thinking that she might have some sort of insight into my story, or something to contribute so I meeting up with her today at lunch to discuss it. We will see what comes of it, and go from there. I have opted to hang out in Houston a little longer because of this so New Orleans will have to wait.
I have talked with the farm though and they are still expecting me which is good and I am still really looking forward to that opportunity. Until then though I am going to enjoy another night in Houston and go from there! That is about all I have right now. I love you all, alohas.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

More bike trouble... Hick kids... And genuine small town folk

Alohas... So after I made my post yesterday I continued down the road it was a beautiful day out and I was slowly making my way along when I heard a trick behind me that sounded awefully close behind me. Now when you are riding you learn to listen to cars coming behind you and you can tell for the most part where they are on the road without looking. I have gotten damn good at this and it is why I do not wear headphones while riding. Anyway back to this truck, I could hear very well that it was coming up right behind me. All the sudden the horn blares and I quickly turned my bike off the side of the road and onto the dirt. Right then a truck full of hick redneck retards zoom by a whooping and a hollering zoom past on the shoulder of the road. If I had not made the split second decision to jump off the road they would have certainly hit me.
Well after that adrenaline rush I decided to take a quick break. I eventually collected myself and hopped back of my bike. I was riding for maybe ten miles when all of the sudden I hear *clank*. That was the sound of my spoke on my front tire breaking. Seems the rattling of swerving off the road started to loosen one of the bolts that holds my front rack on. Sure enough it eventually poked out far enough to catch a spoke. It was starting to get late at this point so I decided to just make camp for the night and figure everything out in the morning.
The next morning I packed up and walked my bum bike up to the road and stuck my thumb out. It took a little while but eventually a nice old man pulled over and offered me a ride to the next town. He dropped me off at a mechanics and I went to work on my wheel. I was able to replace the spoke and true up my wheel just enough to keep moving. It is by no means perfect but it will do for now.
After I got my bike all put together I thanked the gentleman who helped me. There was one guy in particular who hung out and talked with me the whole time I was working. Nice guy who trained race horses. Any I got my bike together and hopped back on the road. A little ways down this gentleman catches up to me and hands me a couple of dollars. It was so kind I could help but tear up a little. especially having had the shitty experience the day before Ahh this world is ultimately good.
I am now facing a pretty solid headwind and the weather is supposedly going to get worse tomorrow. Oh well not much further now. Hopefully I won't have anymore serious issues. Until my next update much love and aloha.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Here we go again... A final goodbye to Austin and a beautiful hello to the road

So I finally did it. I left Austin, it was hard and I ended up staying a lot longer than I planned... But that is life I had an amazing time in Austin and met nothing but wonderful people. Before leaving I ended up spending a night on the Austin City Limits old set, playing my ukulele on the same stage as the likes of Willie nelson, ray charles, Etta James, johnny cash... Etc. It was incredible and one of the most amazing moments of my life. Then I went to a full moon party out at pace bend and then spent the night hanging out with bunches if good people and sitting in on some amazing jam sessions. I was even complimented for my uke playing and my drumming, it felt good.
With all of that going on it was hard to leave... As well when you are traveling alone it is easy to get comfortable somewhere especially when you are around good company. It is hard to take that first step out into being entirely alone again, but here I am... Back on the road all alone. I have been taking my time today... I think I got a little out of shape while in Austin! So I am thinking just take these next few days easy... I am in no rush. The original plan was to make it to new Orleans by Mardi GRAS but that is looking less like the case. Which really doesn't bother me at all, originally I was thinking I might meet up with some friends but they are no longer going. Not to mention the idea of a bunch of drunk assholes running amok throwing beads this way and that doesn't actually really appeal to me.
However I did find a wicked awesome farm to stay on, it is a certified aquaponics farm. It seems like a really interesting place and I have the opportunity to learn a lot. It should be good. We will see. Anyway it is time I keep cruising. Much love and aloha!