Closing Remarks On My East Coast Bicycle Trip

 

Sitting At My Typewriter
Oct. 17, 1977

Here’s a few observations concerning my Atlantic coast bicycle trip.

1. When I began my bicycle trip my hair was long. I wondered how my long hair would be received on the road. I assumed the outside world would have regressed back to the “I hate longhairs” attitude, since back at university long hair had pretty much been disinherited by the student population. I was wrong. What I found “out there” was no hassle whatsoever. In fact, a large majority of the working class had assimilated long hair, along with its assorted life styles. In
retrospect, that’s not too surprising since the working class has
become my generation while college students are now from another time.

2. It was interesting that among the many bicyclers I met (Richard had
more than his share of stories here), all had problems with unfriendly
canines. Everybody had special defenses for dealing with the
unfriendly critters. Richard kept his bicycle lock and chain at arm’s
reach, so if needed he could easily use it to fend off attacking dogs.
I also had many occasions where I had to deal with the unruly
four-legged clan, but I was fortunate not to have to get physical. I
perfected a procedure that got me through the scariest of times. It
went something like this: Most dogs were only protecting their
territory. Their charge slowed the closer they got to the bike.
However, some actually wanted to eat the biker.
(I got so I could measure up the dog pretty well), I didn’t panic. I
just kept looking forward until the dog was almost on top of me, and then
I would turn and look directly into the dog’s eyes. Upon eye contact, I
could tell how “serious” the dog was, and with varying degrees of
intensity, I would scream at the dog “Go Home.” It worked every time.
Only one time did I have to reach into the bowels of my being in order to
muster a roar (that even shocked me) in order to turn the dog away.

3. Arcadia National Park in Maine was extremely beautiful, but I found
it lacking because of an absence of wild animals.

4 Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches were my mainstay on the road. I
got tired of eating all the other “not so good stuff,” but I never got
tired of eating PB&J sandwiches.

5. This trip completed my many year old goal—the goal of putting
myself in a position to study and travel continuously. Now, after
achieving that goal, I feel freer than ever. I can pursue my studies,
or travel if I want to. More importantly, though, I am free not to do
either. I like that! And best of all, I am under no pressure to choose
either way. Society, peers, and even my own conscience no longer play
a role in how I decide. All future decisions will now be based on
whatever feels good. Being a CMU custodian, I have enough money to
live nicely, and I also have opportunities galore for intellectual
pursuits. I can explore new thoughts whenever they arise, and the
university is there to keep me honest. I am working in the middle of
all the intellectual stimulation I will ever need, and more
importantly, I am free from measure—no more A’s, B’s, C’s…. I can be
smart, dumb, eccentric, or just plain plain. It’s up to me. It’s an
absolutely great feeling! I only have myself to blame if I don’t take
advantage of all the potential that surrounds me.

6. The last point I want to make–is in defense of this journal as a
whole. Because I had to actualize my possibilities, and because I had
to follow through on a plan in order to put myself in that position,
this trip has been lacking in what I enjoy most—spontaneity. I needed
to complete this trip, however, and in doing so, I have validated all
the work I had put into getting myself to this point in life. It’s a dream
come true. Just being here now is the exclamation point to everything.
I am really free from here on out.

7. Last comment: for good or bad C. S. and I have begun
correspondence. It appears as though we might get back together.
Whether this is a manifestation of the tragic flaw in “mankind,” or
just in me, time will tell. For the record, I do want this to happen.
It would be, for me, a dream come true.

P.S. The correspondence ended (8-25-77). She will stay in South
Dakota.

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About bwinwnbwi

About me: Marvin Gaye’s song, "What’s Going On" was playing on the jukebox when I went up to the counter and bought another cup of coffee. When I got back, the painting on the wall next to where I was sitting jumped out at me, the same way it had done many times before. On it was written a diatribe on creativity. It was the quote at the bottom, though, that brought me back to this seat time after time. The quote had to do with infinity; it went something like this: Think of yourself as being in that place where infinity comes together in a point; where the infinite past and the infinite future meet, where you are at right now. The quote was attributed to Hermann Hesse, but I didn’t remember reading it in any of the books that I had read by him, so I went out and bought Hesse’s last novel, Magister Ludi. I haven’t found the quote yet, but I haven't tired of looking for it either.
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3 Responses to Closing Remarks On My East Coast Bicycle Trip

  1. “More importantly, though, I am free not to do either. I like that! And best of all, I am under no pressure to choose either way.”
    Such a difficult place to hold…

    • bwinwnbwi says:

      I may have been a bit flippant with the above statement, but it’s understandable since I had accomplished a seven year dream. During those years, I sent out applications to various universities in hope of acquiring a janitor’s job. While traveling the country I applied for said job whenever possible. The University of Arizona hired me, but relationship problems with my significant other convinced me to move on. I was finally hired in at CMU and, with the completion of the above bicycle trip, I looked forward to even more dream benefits. Thanks to all who occasionally check out my success!

  2. ElizOF says:

    This was quite the jaunt! 🙂
    Finally catching up again… where did the time go? Phew! 🙂

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