23 Aug 2010, 3:53pm
1 comment

how does it feel? to be on your own?

written sunday, august 22nd

i’ll be back on the transamerica by the end of tomorrow (KNOCK ON WOOD of course). it’s been a rough couple days here and there (i’m sure i’ll tell you all about it), but THE POINT IS i am completely 100% head-over-heels in love with colorado. i am in colorado springs tonight which no one told me i’d like (quite the opposite in fact) and in fact it is beautiful! (cheyenne canon! manitou springs! garden of the gods!!) i am looking at my transam maps just now and wondering if when i get to canon city (tomorrow’s destination) i shouldn’t just pretend i’m westbound for a bit and go see royal gorge and guffey and all the little western slope towns i missed. climb hoosier pass? hah, and then what? backtrack again? i sort of do want to get to the east coast one of these days. i am just wondering if i shouldn’t do the biking here in holy-crap-gorgeous colorado and do the train riding in kansas and missouri and so on. hah! but i have a hunch that i’ll be back. i guess i’ll leave some stuff to discover next time.

well, i don’t know. i just read this on the back of the kansas map: “NOTE: Be aware that city parks in Kansas close when public school begins in mid-August.” dude! free camping in city parks was kinda kansas’s #1 main attraction for me. also, there are not really any OTHER camping options. the second kansas map (alexander to girard) does not mention anything about it, though. i guess i’ll find out… when i’m in the middle of nowhere far from an amtrak station. or i could scrap my plans and ride down to new mexico or something (a. would be so jealous!). if i could find good route maps. my struggle to find a decent route south to the transam has been a large part of why the last few days have been so exhausting.

so: a dark night of the soul a few nights ago. i reached out to some loved ones and got some of what i needed… including in part i think a good cry at 2:30am alone on my borrowed couch in denver. when i hit the road in the morning (after a delicious french toast breakfast courtesy of matt), i felt better, but then it took me 20-something awful highway miles to get the heck out of denver–and then i got hit by the worst headwind of the trip so far. in conclusion, i turned west (the sidewind was almost as bad–kept throwing me off balance) and i made it to castle rock and i got a motel and i watched o brother where art thou? on tv until i fell asleep.

this morning i merrily followed my google map bicycle directions until they dead-ended on private property. dear google map bicycle directions: we’re over. luckily the spandexed roadies were out in force today (a sunny sunday!) and i was able to ask a couple of them how the heck to get where i was going. the road they put me on was longer and hillier than i had planned for (and i had to backtrack to get to it), but it WAS prettier than any road google has put me on. in palmer lake i got a root beer float and tried to figure out how to take a bus the rest of the way. emotional exhaustion is worse than physical exhaustion. i’m still working on my emotional fitness, i guess, now that the crutch of my companion has been taken away. i believe i will get better at this.

anyway, the bus doesn’t run on sundays, but a couple enjoying some ice cream offered to take me and my bike to the northern edge of colorado springs, and though they probably only saved me a few miles, their kindness really lifted my spirits. they put me on a bike path that took me almost all the way into downtown and made sure i knew where i was going. thank you, mark and denise!

tonight i am staying at my ex-boyfriend landon’s parents’ house in colorado springs. rock and gretchen took me out to dinner, drove me through cheyenne canon, and took me to the garden of the gods (which was apparently thusly named ’cause some dude thought it would be a good place for a BEER garden! hah!). the moon is almost full and have i mentioned that colorado is breathtakingly beautiful? i want to stay and go rock climbing and hike up 14ers and raft down rivers.

tomorrow’s route to canon city is pretty much ONE ROAD the whole way (route 115). it is the only way and i don’t think i will get lost. plus, there’s a cool bug museum on the way.

some things i’ve learned on this trip (a very incomplete list)–

* the trick to riding with slick tires on dirt trails is to pretend you’re going in slow motion. no abrupt turning! no abrupt braking! no abrupt anything!

* when fear is not a factor, people are pretty much universally kind and generous. this fear can take many forms: fear of being hurt physically or emotionally, fear of not having enough, fear of embarrassment (or social censure), etc. i think one of the reasons permaculture is such a powerful idea is because it represents a shift from thinking in terms of (the possibility of) not having enough to thinking in terms of abundance and thus eliminates one of those fears that prevent us from living in a world full of the kindness and generosity of which we are capable. i also think that fear builds on itself and kindness & generosity build on themselves as well. i know which i want to nurture.

* how to ask a green bean whether or not it wants to be harvested. how to harvest basil so it grows more like a bush, and how to harvest it less carefully when it’s growing too vigorously. what a really really fresh organic cucumber tastes like (hint: amazing).

* it is sometimes lonelier to be around people you don’t know very well than it is to be alone. too much alcohol exacerbates this. i think i have learned this lesson several times before, but i guess i needed a refresher course.

* real people almost always give better directions than the internet does, especially in the countryside.

(hi! i am posting this entry from outside a coffeeshop in florence, colorado. i am BACK ON THE TRANSAM! hurray! trying to decide whether to stay here tonight or head west nine miles to canon city. i think i’m gonna hang out here for a little bit, anyway. i’ve been thinking about the emotional fitness thing i kinda came up with above. it makes me feel better about things. some sore muscles but that just means i’m getting stronger. yeah.)

here’s some photos of sunflowers from sunrise ranch (that’s the farm outside of loveland)–

25 Aug 2010, 10:43am
by lauraliz

can we please have a geek out conversation about gardening someday?! :) also, you are so amazing for doing this trip on your own! everyone out here is rooting for you!



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