May 16 ‘77
Oh, by the way, I remembered what I forgot last night. It was that I
started smoking again. One night’s sleep, and morning cigarette mouth
was enough to put the kibosh to that bad habit. I threw away the
half-a-pack of cigarettes that I still had in my shirt pocket.
Unfortunately, when I looked down at my red, raw, skin I realized that
I didn’t put enough lotion on my body yesterday. No wonder last night
it felt like I was sleeping on a bed of hot nails. I decided not to go
anywhere, at least not anywhere far. I pointed my bike toward the
ocean and twelve miles later (and $3.65 poorer) I entered a Florida
I’m presently sitting on a shaded picnic table, camped just down from
Steve. He’s also in the middle of the first week of his two-week
bicycle trip. He’s good company.
Yesterday, Darryl, Patty, Frank and I went fishing. It was my first
time fishing from the beach, and I managed to catch my first ocean
fish, a small Whiting. Today, when I was getting ready to leave, I
noticed a noise in my sprocket. It sounded like a bearing problem.
After getting some information on the whereabouts of a bike shop, the
lawnmower repair guy who gave me that information said, “I’ll fix `er
if ya let me.” I wasn’t sure, but I finally said, “What the hell; go
for it!” He used thick axel grease, but when he finished the noise was
gone. I was happy to pay him the $2, as I hit the highway heading to
where I would turn north once again.
In the Florida-Georgia area, I saw lots of poverty. For a long time,
I didn’t see one white person. I felt like I was the guy in the
Cadillac. I mean, I was on a bicycle, but it was a super bicycle
compared to what the black kids were riding. It wasn’t a good
feeling. I ignored the insults and innuendos, but I couldn’t ignore
the sun. Out west, rain demanded cover; down south, sun demanded
cover. When I biked into Rawls, a one gas station town, I had had it.
While drinking a juice, I told the black attendant that I was looking
for a place to put up my tent. He (Shelly) asked the lady owner if I
could pitch my tent behind the station. It was okay with her, so I
bought a six-pack of beer, put up my tent, and am presently inside my
tent, drinking the lady’s gift of coffee and eating a carrot—next the
beer. I hope to stay untouched by Georgia’s black-white animosities. I
plan on traveling hard tomorrow.
I have a four-inch blister on my foot; the surprise gift I got while
walking on the hot pavement back at Fernandina Beach, Florida. That
lesson won’t have to be relearned. The sun is setting. I got a couple
things jotted down back at the state park. I guess Carole Sue still
Everything whole retreats,
untold stories forever behind me,
lights that do not arise,
Howling night visions, oblique shadows,
Turns the mystery,
reveals the clock…Behold,
the days few
in uneven darkness.
The storm undertaken,
or survival is not.