Thursday, August 6, 2009

San Francisco, the new Ithaka?

Day 64 - Aug 6, 6:08pm
Build Day. Reno, NV

Working at a habitat site today for our very last build day. The houses were pretty much done and we were mostly doing things like painting and landscaping. Its interesting to think of how in contrast, our very first build day involved working on the foundation of the house. On par with this crazy desert weather it was in the 60s today and was basically fall. It was so crazy since it had been 100+ here all last week. It only reiterated how much i love the concept of change, and how im looking forward to the fall(but only the first two weeks, not the unnecessary cold after that).

While today was very laid back you can't help but be a little disappointed when there aren't enough jobs for everyone, especially when the only work is vaccumming and sweeping. Its kind of like did i really bike across the country to vacuum a carpet? But thats sorta just a side thought and it was cool to see the entire block of habitat houses next to each other. They were really nice actually. Waht i really liked was the front lawns made with different types of gravel which was really aesthetically pleasing while obviously saving on silly water bills.

Another side note, riding in a car on the highway to the build site after yesterday's biking was almost freaky. Its literally been two months since i've gone on an actual car ride and its crazy how such simple things like that are so weird after a trip like this.

Reno is interesting. It is currently hosting Hot August Nights, which is a huge car show, so seeing all the cool hot rods on the road these few days has been real fun. Its basically like a mini Vegas or Atlantic City. Its just so weird the way so much of the downtown life here is focused on flashy lights, liquor, and gambling. Kinda made me wonder of the ridiculousness of casinos and places like Vegas in general. Its cool that its our first metropolis since 400 miles ago but totally didn't vibe with me.

Thanks so much to mom and dad to an awesome mail drop. More protein bars than my liver can handle but not really, thats a complete joke. They sent an awesome poem by Constantine Cavafy about Odysseus' journey to Ithaka after Troy and the importance of enjoying your travels, etc. It really spoke to me, and I actually think with one week left its the perfect time to have received it. Really looking forward to reading it to the group tomorrow. Might try and permanently attach it to my bike or something.

And speaking of crazy journeys, check out this video i randomly came across:

We've got a pretty intense climb tomorrow, like Colorado status, and then a day off! LIfe is good right now, my sore butt not so much, but oh well, the ride continues.

Pool Party!

Day 63 - Aug 5, 1 Day late
66 miles. Fallon, NV to Reno, NV

Last day of biking for this stretch, finally. Its been 11 days straight of biking, our longest stretch of the trip, and its about time for a break. After such a monster day yesterday i thought today would just roll by but guess how well that went. The terrain was decently flat but I guess its sorta like how the closer you get to a bathroom the worse you have to go. The biking was just a bit harder than i was expecting.

Fortunately our wonderful hosts in Fallon loaded us up with as much eggs and pancakes as we could fit. The result of several mornings without protein basically resulted in half a dozen eggs complementing my 5 pancakes.

Took a nice long lunch break in which the Regatta continued with "No-ah rider day" with activities including the Meryl and Larry chammy butter competition along with the Anne-Lise off during which we saw who could pronounce her name best. Hillary and I secured a victory for the Black Pearl yet again by stopping to buy a baguette just for the event.

The day was okay until we were forced to bike on I-80 since the other option was a 45 mile detour. When i say biking on I-80 i really mean the scariest, most miserable biking of the trip consisting of ridiculous standstill headwind combined with rumble strips and only 4 feet of clearance from hundreds of 18 wheelers. Yea, try 26 miles of that. Oh and the hunger upon finally finishing was not the best.

Just as the sun seemed ready to set upon my gloomy day, a fresh ray of hope shined in the form of a POOL PARTY! hosted by friends of our host. They had this beautiful huge house with an amazing inset pool and terrace in the backyard, jacuzzi and all, topped with a wonderful spread of food. It took me a burger and a hot dog before i could start functioning like a normal human and begin eating for real. Eating watermelon in the hot tub -> Brainmelting!

Also, Happy 20th Birthday George! No more teenage irresponsibility for you!

We're staying at this guy Steve's house whose awesomeness i can only attempt to describe. Think rugged firefighter, registered pyrotechnician, experienced welder, and adrenaline enthusiast all in one. And add to that an immaculate taste in interior design. The guy has motorbiked the entire perimeter of Mexico not to mention his routes across the country and does custom welding art for fun. Did i mention that he has the largest flame launchers at the Burning Man festival every year. Think of someone casually storing two 10 foot flame spewing howitzer cannons in their garage. Yea thats Steve. And to top it all he's one of the most awesomely calm and softspoken guys I've ever met. Oh yeah, and he singlehandedly fixed our busted trailer. The first 10 minutes upon arriving in his house was basically a chorus of oohs and aaahs. Thank you Steve!