Returning From Exile

Spent a few days wandering the streets of Portland, catching up with old friends, surveying the changes in my 3 1/2 year hiatus, and generally getting back to my old habits of being a nuisance.

An odd thing has happened. When I left, I still had a blog over at Bangor Daily News ( http://mowingtheastroturf.bangordailynews.com ) and an open invitation to print just about anything over at The Bollard. The Portland Phoenix also occasionally published my ruminations and musings.

Now? Well, that changed as well. Furtuve knocks at the publishing doors of the city are being met with the warm welcome reserved for this passing out religious tracts and those giving away free syphilis.

I blame Al Diamon, really. He’s had far too much fun while I was away.

Never did pull off the practical joke I wanted to before leaving Florida. It involved spending two days gathering anole lizards, finding the address for Paul LePage’s house down there, putting that address on the return and mailing the Baboon in the Blaine House a few thousand new friends.

Likely, I would have been caught anyway. It had all the hallmarks of my old “Loki, epic shit disturber” habit.

Job scene is similar. Of the three majors I’ve applied for (one of which had an open invite for whenever I got back) I’ve gotten that similar “ohfuckhesherequickturnthelightsoff” response.

Of course, it doesn’t help that I’ve obviously had a minor stroke at some point, droopy eye and all.

Maybe it’s the fact that I’m sitting at the library across from somebody I once played the horizontal hokey-pokey with, and we are both studiously trying not to recognize one another.

Portland has changed a bit.

Time to get it all shook up again.

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Travel Day

Holed up in Brunswick GA. Would have liked to have made other arrangements but the locals warned me off. Seems the gator and snake issue in the area surrounding was extreme.

That left me from Sunday afternoon to Tuesday mid morning to futz and putter aimlessly.

Read a good article this morning about the Maine unemployment rate. Things seem to be booming at a rate not seen since 1976.  Sounds like at least landing temp work should be easy.

Fat man on a bus. Aisle sheet next to the shitter is the only seat available for the last two legs. Tried to do a jump last leg, but terminal operator made all of us that were already lined up outside in front of the bus go back IN to the rear of the line.

I placed a couple of hefty curses, one of a voodoo nature on the prick. Hope you enjoy a month of droopy dick, you droopy-dog looking bastard.

It beats walking.

True passive-aggressive people annoyers like me down a fat bowl of chili before a long bus ride. We seem to have hit a tipping point of populace of such rugged individualists on this leg.

Guy a few seats up isn’t breaking wind. He’s shattering it.

WiFi unreliable. Just lost 30 min of this post, about 700 words.

More later

Gone, Gone Gone.

That prophetic feeling of doom wasn’t that far off.

I’ve written before about the “Jacksonville Surprise” sidewalks that suddenly end with an 8 inch curbstone drop to the pavement.

Now, add road dips that have their own individual area code. I hit a few on the way in and the way out.

Yup. That tailbone was kickin’ it. I could do stretches of three to five miles before intractable pain made me pull over. Now add in the engine issues.

This morning, it took me twenty minutes just to get the engine to start and stay running.

Before it broke down leaving me stranded in the middle of nowhere, it was time to pull the plug.

I figured a pawnshop would do at BEST $200 for it. Enough to pay for a bus ticket home, and lunch.

Paid for the ticket. was hanging out front of the J smoking a butt, talking to one of the drivers. He heard me tell the incredulous story, and called buddy over. “Listen to this shit!”

We were all having a grand old time laughing at my stupidity (yes, self included) when a tiny old Jamaican driver came out, and caught the end of the story.

“You want $200 for that bike? Sold.”

Back and forth for a bit, and he was happy and I was two Benjamins up.

Now the sucky part. Sunday bus had already left. Monday bus is sold out. I got the last ticket for Tuesday 1030am.

This is the road equivalent of what AT thruhikers call trail magic.

So 36 hours to kill, bivvy up and hit the woods.

Yeah, ditching the scooter sucks. I needed it when I get to Portland…but there is no way on Earth it was going to make it.

On the bright side, at least I won’t be a splat on the road, which was a distinct possibility. On route 17 coming into Georgia, folks were passing me doing 70 with a few inches of distance between us. Home of NASCAR.

LOVE the bikers in Georgia though. I had at least half a dozen of them pull over to see if I was ok when pulled over to stand or stretch or cool the engine.

Also, they wave. A lot.

It’s a little thing, a biker salute. I used to see it in Maine a lot. It’s the as the morning head nod.

Not once in Florida…not a single time.

Yes, the journey CAN be done. It would take a lot more prep than I put into it. You can’t scooter down the road with your house on your back. Not safely anyway.

Look for me at the clubhouse around Friday.

61 views, 128 hits

Clearly, followers of this road blog need to get out more! This is entertainment?

Decided to crash in Jacksonville. Caught up with a few folks and missed a few. (Sorry Bev and Evelyn)

A few adult beverages, and a long shower. Another lined up after the first seventy miles tomorrow.

Damn. I’m going to be the cleanest smelling hobo in history.

Considered ditching the laptop for weight. It’s older than dirt, and hardly works anymore. Unfortunately, it has a ton of recoverable stuff on it, including a fairly large collection of midget clown porn for my friend Michelle from the cleaner.

She’s odd like that.

I guess I’ve not only been collecting fun experiences…but collecting fun individuals as well.

Thankfully, they’ve all had sufficient preventable shots.

Well. Maybe not WW.

CONSIDERING ditching some tools as well. Look, I’m pushing hard at 260 again. Now add my pack (50lbs) and then add the ditch bag(30 lbs of unreplaceable paperwork and assorted crap needed.to rebuild tour.life if big bag goes missing) and THEN toss in a good 25-30 pounds of heavy steel.

That’s 370 pounds. Scooter was designed for a maximum weight 180 pound rider.

You can almost hear the Pistons scream “OOOOIIIILLLLLLL CANNNNNNN!”

Over time I suppose I should contact the Wolf Scooter People. Maybe they’d sponsor this endurance rally to see who gives up first, me or their GY6 engine.

Rhutt-Rhow.

Pushed thru the rain bit by bit. Just before 5am in Mims Fl, the first real shaker of the trip.

Going DOWNHILL and lost all compression on engine three times for about 10 seconds each. Stopped to cool off, got an hour restless sleep. Checked oil.. Zippo. For roughly 200 miles it lost half a quart.

Got back on the road about 7. Frequent stops to cool off the engine. 96 miles in four hours. Better, but still sucky.

Need sleep. Got about an hour in the last 30. Additional scoring follows:

Approx 1/2 pint of blood to the mosqitos.

Sleeping bag cover. Bag dis attached itself again, and got run over several times before I got to it.

Approx 8% of my remaining sanity. Route 1 is going to take me way too far inland for comfort.

Shortish nap, then maybe a push to Jacksonville.

Laundry 24 Hours

Very Rocky start.

Got barely a mile from the house (then three, five, seventeen and twenty two) when stuff started falling off my pack, namingly my sleeping gear.

Stop. Reorganize. Re-tie. Repeat.

Did fairly well till I hit north of West Palm. Then the skies opened up with a vigor. Didn’t get to stop and see old army buddy Dave. Sorry Dave. It was still work hours.

Boo…why didn’t you tell me route 1 was all uphill from North Palm to Stewart? Ugh.

Somewhere north of there, I actually did find a street named “Easy Street.”

Damnit..been looking for that for AGES.

Rains finally forced me off the road repeatedly. As I type this, I’m in a twenty-four hours laundry in Port St. John.

Making crappy time. About 160 miles into what I hoped would be 300.

So wet, had to stop at a Flying J to get coffee. It was there I noticed I’d picked up a severe case of the shakes.

Cold. Wet. Uncontrollable shaking. Leave it to me to get hypothermia in flippin’ Florida.

Drastically slowed down to eat and warm up, hence the laundry. I was planning on hitting a campsite up the road and bedding down…but a quick check of the forecast shows rain beginning in twenty minutes…and lasting a few hours.

Once I get north of Orlando/Datona, the hotels get reasonable again…but $80/ a night for an America’s Best cockroach and bedbug hotel is absurd.

Slog and drive…slog and drive.

 

Travel Gods And Travel Packets

1496411999018-698068931Paring down to the last of the crap to toss. The Himalayan pack is sold as a bag of boulders (and as heavy) and the small backpacks not to leave my sight is similarly rotund.

Head out to strap everything on…and Florida rainy season begins. The Gods of travel mock me.

Actually, it isn’t the first time. I’ve had an ongoing comedic relationship with the travel Gods, and a brief examination reveals my patron saint must be Loki.

On the trip down, just as soon as I hit the AT, a storm just short of a hurricane decided to squat directly over my head.

Years back, driving the old Chevy chevette in DC rush hour traffic (5 mph on the beltway) the stickshift suddenly had a case of nonlinear catastrophic structural reorganization, separating itself from the vehicle entirely. Here I was, stuck in second gear holding the stick up in the air while an asshole behind me in a candy apple red Corvette screamed at me to “get that piece of shit off the road!”

Saw the license plate a minute later when he passed me. “H2OGATE”

Yeah, it was G.Gordon Liddy. Fuck that prick.

Then there was the plane from Canada that lost about 6000 feet of altitude in about four seconds. Change of underwear flight.

Cleaning out the fridge before leaving, I was mocked by the horror. Even though I was traveling, I had to toss out a three year collection of travel packets.

Mayo. Onions. Relish, both sweet and regular. A collection of jellies and jams that any foodie would adore. Ketchup, both regular and fancy. Horseradish sauce.

The horror. I even had to toss the hot sauce.

Looks like the weather is clearing. In Florida, that means you have a momentary lapse in East coast rain showers before the sun becomes hot enough to boil the lizards on the sidewalk.

Better get to it. This is the final check-in from Pompano. Look for me on the road.