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Thursday, July 30, 2009

Watermelon Men, Latest Craze, Green Meat

To be honest, I probably talk louder and longer than the Watermelon Men in this clip, but when I do allow them to get a word in, they cut it up with each other well. Perhaps my yapping serves to explain some of the details of the tour I've not really fleshed out on the blog thus far. If not that, my most avid reader (and mother) will enjoy the sound of my voice.


Remember T-shirt shops? At least one still exists in West Helena, Arkansas. I went in looking for postcards, found none, but stayed for the charm and novelty. They made me this shirt. While I waited, I spoke with the owner about her business and the local economy. That's her daughter in the photo.


This is Andre. He works at a nutritional supplements store in Seminole, Oklahoma and speaks with an opinion, a sense of humor, and a fabulous accent. Bayla asks the questions this time, so you don't have to listen to my mouth flapping for a third time.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Bill, an Arkansas Can Man

IMG_1202This is Bill. He's retired, and says he has a permit to collect cans. There's no deposit to claim in Arkansas; he says he does it "to get away from the old laday, mainly."

Monday, July 27, 2009


When riding in a group, choosing to stop is normally a democratic process:

"There's Judy! Does anybody need water?"

"Gas station! Bathroom anyone?"

but, when a thrift store shows up:
"Slowing...Thrift store left! THRIFT STORE! TURNING LEFT!"

I even have a whole flickr set dedicated to thrift stops.

At one store, Allison couldn't help but pick up a banjo, and even played a little.

There was a bunch of cool stuff to see there. We even chatted with the owner a bit.

By the way, Allison has a blog. It's listed in the sidebar, and it's called Allison Rides Bikes.

Also, if you do the iTunes thing, you can subscribe to the blog as a podcast. This will be the last of the musical podcasts from the backlog. Next will be Andre, Harrell, or Watermelon Men. Or maybe Bill.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

aural stimulation

The good folks at the Digital Duck shipped my MacBook to Dallas, which has finally afforded me the opportunity to edit audio recordings from my phone. I have a bit of a backlog, and will try to put them all up ASAP. If I'm doing this right, you might be able to subscribe in iTunes. Some of them are conversations with colorful locals. This one is a song.

This is Wally. He’s a short-order chef at a drugstore/diner in Wynnewood, Texas. The guitar is a Silvertone he bought broken at a garage sale. After Matt pulled it off the wall, they chatted for a bit, and then he played us a new classic called "65-pound dime."

He told me that, when his daughter graduates from college, he wants to walk across America.

Monday, July 20, 2009


As the ride reaches its halfway point, things are beginning to gel. Many of us have adjusted to waking early to don stretchy fabric, load our luggage in the truck, wolf down some morning calories, and hit the road at dawn.

Some days, I'm up on the tailgate with my pannier before Red The Driver...Some days, like today, I'm scrambling to get a bowl of cereal in me before the vehicles rumble off.

I have sorted out some photos into subsets, though. Click the photo to blow it up, click the link for the set:

Colorful locals


Kids being cool

Fun at thrift stores


Monday, July 13, 2009


Some other flickr streams from the southern route to enjoy. Many of them actually brought real cameras:
(Especially this one, this one and this one.)
(I'm partial to these.)

Sleepless in 'sippi

Chad, Katie, and Allison breakfasting on the tail of the truck.

Kept awake at the campsite by snoring, humidity, laundry, mosquitoes, thunder, lightning. Ended up leaving the tent for the safety of the truck when a crazy storm hit around 3:30. May have snoozed for 15 or so, but never REM'd. Sagging today for my sanity and under advisement from the NWS of penny-size hail.
Eight of us are actually braving the weather, while the other 15 are spread among the truck, two vans, and the film crew's RV.

1:42 p.m. update:
had fun BSing in the van all morning. Arrived at camp to find a muddy mess. Helped set up one tent, then jumped back in the van to nap en route to the local library.

Enjoying being in a clean, well-lit place.


Sunday, July 12, 2009


Volunteered to sweep today. To stay behind the old dudes, I'm reluctantly breakfasting at my least favorite chain restaurant. Hint: its spokesman is a clown. I almost gave the cashier a brain hemorrage when I asked whether I should get the combo or just order a sandwich and coffee. But at least there's wifi.

Rode just shy of 100 miles yesterday. It was especially brutal because the whole team went out to karaoke the night before. About six of us rode in the vans, or "sagged it." I wanted to, but I had sagged just five days before, and also feel a strange obligation to the bicycle, as if I'd be letting it down; leaving it in the stable whilst the other steeds gallop across the countryside. Plus, I wanted to take a bunch of pictures.


A rundown service station, driven out of business by a corporate giant.


Glad I didn't go into the automotive business.


Inside The Sparerib, a proper southern BBQ joint. Be sure to click through to the full size of this one; there are magic-eye posters of the space shuttle and a stealth bomber. Will upload a conversation Chad had with the owner soon.


Rode with a bungie cord yesterday. This was a Good Idea, as this is what the rear rack looked like when I reached the hotel.


The Haul. Clockwise from top-left: today's breakfast, free 1000-piece picture-puzzle from leathery old lady's yard sale, huntsman's camo "KOOL-PAK," Nike sportshirt (marked at $2, paid $1), JC Penney "ROUND-UP" cowboy shirt, roadscored plastic fir tree branch (my motivational mascot for the all-uphill, 30-mile final leg of the ride), gel pens for writing my url on the 42 Below bisiness cards (their site still isn't up), and nail clippers found--still packaged--on the side of the road. Not pictured: American flag pin, which I will wear daily to show cycling and patriotism are not mutually exclusive.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

The Devil Wears Dickies

This is Bennett. He's a really nice guy, but he's also a demon from hell. He'll regularly do 80 mile days in around five hours. I like to call him Big Ring Bennett, because he's never shifted out of his largest chainring in the 1000-odd miles we've done so far; he just stands up and stomps. He's riding a Pinarello with Campy components, but he's used to winning alleycats on a fix in SF.

This is what I see for hours on days I want to go fast.

If you want to go fast, get behind him and try to hold on. I've tried to get in front of him and pull to make it fair in terms of drafting, but he just jumps back out in front. "I like to be able to see the road," he'll say.

Oh yeah, and he smokes us all in sneakers. 

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Free ride/wild horses

Free ride/wild horses from Brian VanFleet on Vimeo.

Flmed by Brian from Tampa, FL two days ago. Watch the whole thing. AMAZING.

Map Quest

As I mentioned before, it's difficult to blog from the iPhone, so I've been focusing on flickr. One fun bonus: since the Apple device has GPS, all the photos are geo-tagged, and can be viewed on a map:

Follow me across 'murica!

Friday, July 3, 2009

i miss my garage

Flipping through the iPhone, deleting pics to make room, I saw this.
My heart may have caught in my throat for a minute.