Aug 2: T minus 7 days

Aug 2: T minus 7 days

[originally posted to the Wheeled Migration mailing list on August 2, 2004]

Hello, everyone! This is a test of the mailing list, I suppose, and also an update on my departure plans.

I plan to leave Tuesday morning, August 10, one week from tomorrow. The first day I'll ride from my home in Minneapolis through St. Paul and Stillwater, MN, to a state park just across the St. Croix River in Wisconsin.

Assuming all goes well after that first day, I'll continue east as far as Menomonie before following a bike trail south to rejoin the St. Croix. After following the river as far as La Crosse, I'll turn east again on another bike trail and then jog south through the hills of southwest Wisconsin to my first destination, an ecovillage/artist community called Dreamtime Village. That's as far as I've planned in detail.

After Dreamtime Village, I'll head roughly due north and then east to visit some friends near Appleton the weekend of August 21st (assuming I'm not delayed) and then take the ferry across Lake Michigan into Michigan.

For those who like to ask how I'm training for the trip, I finally have an answer: I'm carrying a lot of junk around on my bike trailer. Yesterday I pulled a heavy load of books to sell to used bookstores, and today I carried four full loads of stuff that didn't sell at Saturday's yard sale to various discount shops. And then there's the stuff I'm storing... looks like there are four or five loads left.

I'll share one story from the yard sale... In the morning, a little boy -- maybe age 9 -- came by and asked if we had any free stuff. We did, and he found an old cell phone with a dead battery. I showed him how to remove the battery if he wanted to replace it, or "You could just wear the phone and look cool." He biked off with it, and a few minutes later he came back with some friends (slightly older) who wanted to know if we had any more cell phones! Of course we didn't, but we pointed them to the rest of the free stuff. 

A few hours later, the same boy came back and said he wanted to buy the color TV, but he didn't have the $25. He asked what he could buy for a dollar, and I pointed him to my stereo whose turntable is broken, but the dubbing deck and radio work fine. Turned out he had only 67 cents, but I let him have it since no one else had expressed interest, and I knew he'd get good use out of it.

He came back again as we were starting to close up and asked what he could buy for a quarter. I asked him what he'd like and he went straight to the stereo cabinet I'd had the stereo in earlier. I'd been asking for $1, but again there were no other buyers, and I was about to throw it out, so... 25 cents. He had no way to transport the thing, so I put it on my trailer and walked him home with it. When we got to his house a bunch of boys swarmed out and carried it inside, like Jawas with a 'droid.

Anyhow, that was the high point of the sale for me. See you next week! 

Ben Mon, 08/02/2004 - 00:00

Ben's Top Ten Reasons for Biking Around the Country Now (2004)

Ben's Top Ten Reasons for Biking Around the Country Now (2004)
  1. The ship we're all on is sinking. I want to take a look at the lifeboats.
  2. I want to give seasonal migration a try before the climate changes any more.
  3. There's a time for putting down roots and a time for spreading wings. I enjoyed putting down roots in Minneapolis, but lately they're coming back up. Time to fly!
  4. This trip was a good idea when I thought it up in 2001, and everything's pointed me in this direction ever since.
  5. I've read a lot of books about the state of the world, but there's only so much you can learn from books. I want to see for myself.
  6. To live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I cannot learn what it has to teach, and not, when I come to die, discover that I have not lived. (apologies to Thoreau)
  7. If my 20s are for figuring out what to do with my life, I'd better get a move on! (I turn 30 in 2005.)
  8. If I want to understand US politics, I need to understand the South. I've never been there before; time to give it a chance.
  9. So many friends and family members have invited me to come and visit, I couldn't put them off any longer.
  10. Maybe I'll find someplace I like better than Minneapolis. Maybe I'll realize how much I like Minneapolis!
Ben Tue, 08/10/2004 - 00:00

T minus 1 day

T minus 1 day

Hi, folks. Everything's pretty much on schedule for my departure tomorrow morning. The apartment is certainly cleaner (and emptier) than it's been in two years, and it will be emptier still by the time I go to bed tonight...

Last night I had my mentee from church (a 15-year-old) over for dinner. We made some appalling bachelor chow which he swore was pretty good out of what was left in the cupboards. Then we changed the rear tire on my bike and adjusted the brake pads: I can now skid on dry pavement for the first time since I bought the bike two and a half years ago. Not that that's a good idea, but it is the legal criterion for bike brakes in Minnesota. We took the bike out in the parking lot and christened it with water I brought back from the Grand Canyon last summer; champagne would be too sticky! (And water from the Colorado River would be too dirty; this is spring water!)

I also sold my computer yesterday, so after having as many as 53 computers at one time (1999), I now have none. Two if you count PalmPilots, but then you might as well count my cell phone. :-) It was sad to say goodbye to a computer I just bought in December, but my needs have changed, and it will get good use in its new home.

Anyway: Tomorrow, Wisconsin! Rain or shine! The route I've planned is only about 35 miles, so it should be downright relaxing, knock on wood.

'Til then! --Ben

Ben Mon, 08/09/2004 - 00:00