Saturday, March 03, 2007

Condensed What I've Been Up To Post

I think I'll revive my blog. It's been a long hiatus, eh?

I realized I missed posting. It was a great way for me to get words and pictures down and in a safe place. I'm notorious for trying to keep a paper journal of my life, then burning it because I don't want someone to read what I've written. When I read what I've written on the online blog though, it jogs my memory of what I did on those days but didn't write down. Mmmmmm.....

So anyway - it's been almost a year. What have I been up to?

Two weeks before I was to go on my PCT trip, I met someone fabulous. He was tall, dark, and handsome. We had everything in common. We spent those two weeks practically glued to each other. We went to Enchanted rock, Krause Springs, and hiked along the Greenbelt. We ate spicy asian food, pigged out on real Texas barbeque, and generally had a blast. Then I left him in Texas and caught a bus to San Diego, CA. (He drove me to the bus station at 3am)

I went to the Pacific Crest Trail Annual Day Zero Kickoff Party, and just met the most incredible people, saw several kickass slideshows, went to fun presentations, and even ran into Radar! (Nice hiker we met on the AT in 2003 when I was hiking from Key West to Virginia).

I started hiking from the Mexico border. Shortly into the trip I had misgivings. The PCT was something I had always wanted to do, ever since I was little. Heck, when I was 14 and ran away from home in Vermont, I ended up hitchhiking/taking a bus there and backpacking for 6 weeks while all of Vermont was in a frantic search for me/my dead body.

Well anyhoo, I started to regret leaving this fabulous Mr. X in Austin. I had never met anyone I had shared so much in common with, somebody I could just BE with, whether tubing down the San Marcos river or reading the paper with over breakfast tacos.

So I decided to hell with the PCT, I wanted to see what would happen with this guy. The PCT wasn't going anywhere. (Well, it does...with reroutes and everything, but it's still basically the same thing :-) I hitchiked from more-or-less San Diego, back to his doorstep in Austin, TX. It took me 4 rides and 30 hours. At a CA rest stop, I even ran into one of the people I had run into out there when I had passed through earlier that year on my FL to CA bicycle trip. How cool is THAT?

So, back in Texas. I ended up moving to a really wicked cool trailer park, but only lived there for <2 months before Mr. X and I decided to move to Utah for nifty jobs. We loaded up his car with my bicycle on top, and moved out there. We lived in Loa and Moab. It was a land of many Mormons and no breakfast tacos.

The jobs sucked. The compay made promises it didn't keep. And we both missed we took a deep breath and moved back. Sort of. He had to go to a job-related conference way up north, so I waved goodbye as he drove off into the sunset with the car, and I headed south with my bicycle fully loaded, intending to move back to TX via bicycling through the 4 corners area, onward.

I made it a couple hundred miles before the snow got to me. Stupid snow...So I did what I do best-made some on the fly decision making involving Greyhound bus lines. I dropped by the station at 7am, and was told the only bus leaving left at 10:30. The only bike shop was a couple miles away, and opened at 10. To go on the bus, my bicycle needed to be safely disasembled and ensconced in a bike box, a box that could only be obtained at the bike store.

I trekked down to the store and pressed my nose to the glass, waiting for the store to open. Got the box (for free!) bought a pedal wrench to dissasemble my bike, and tried to hurridly ride back to the station while holding on to the box. HAH! No such luck. Impossible to ride and hold a big box into the wind while fighting traffic. So I politely pounced on a man with a truck who pulled into the parking lot and asked sweetly if he could give me a ride to the station. I got there with 10 minutes to go. I zipped into the office, gave the guy my credit card and started the ticket buying process while I quickly broke down my bike, stuffed it and some of my pannier contents in the box, duct taped the whole works, and had it ready to slide in the cargo compartment with 3 minutes to spare.

Then 3 days of driving across the boring expanse of middle America. I made a slight detour, blowing by Texas and going to FL to visit my mom. The Orlando station had me doing the process in reverse - dragging my bike box through the terminal, unwrapping my present, and assembling my bicycle to the amusement of onlookers. I then hopped on and rode it out to the parking lot, where my mother was waiting. Zeke the dog and Aleka the cat seemed unfazed...Zeke is used to picking me up alongside the road in strange places anyway from all my hiking trips, and Aleka is just a ditz. "OH, Heather? I didn't even notice you were gone. Say, do you have any Grey poupon? Or perhaps some high grade catnip?"

Mom and I went to Disney World to use up the last week remaining on our annual parks passes. We talked. We Ate. We bonded. We had Thanksgiving dinner. And the next day Mom and the pets dropped me off alongside the road for another adventure.

I rode my bicycle to Texas, again.

It involved a lot of coastal Florida bicycling. I (illegally) slept on a highrise boardwalk along the Atlantic ocean, watching both the sunset and rise. That night I peed in my Jetboil stove pot for lack of a better toilet facility. (It was either decend the many, many, many steps down to the beach, or walk 3/4 of a mile back to the parking lot to a "real" bathroom". Screw it, I was tired.

I also found some great campsites in newly seeded forest land, behind churches, and even in the same spot I had slept in the first time across the country. I even remembered the great radio stations I had listened to in several locales on my way across, and was able to tune in again.

I did laundry clad in only my rainsuit, while reading old copies of Watchtower. I ate roadside barbeque. I continued my quest to find the best piece of Pecan pie. I took an ocean-going ferry, and caught a wave full on in the face. I petted a multitude of random dogs.

I took a month or so, and did 1000 miles or so. I found a house. I live in it now. I work in a bakery. And that's all you get to know, until I feel like posting again. Pictures, sometime!

Who am I?

I've been thinking a lot of my former life lately. I really miss it on some levels, yet am glad I've moved on in others. You never know what you've got till it's gone, in a way.

Lately I've been talking to people about my former life - the house I built, the bike trip, growing up on the farm and in an underground house. When I was living those things, it didn't seem like anything special. Sure it was unusual and I was happy living that way, but it didn't seem THAT far from the norm.

These days I live in a metro area of more than the population of the entire state of Vermont. I live in a conventional house, not an underground one. I ride my bicycle and take public buses wherever I need to go, no van, no camper, no car. I buy my vegetables at a store instead of getting them from out back. I don't have 10 acres of land to roam on anymore, and instead, I have 23 libraries in city limits and a zillion parks/greenbelts/museums/clubs/groups within spitting distance.

It's taking some getting used to.