Empty Days

Sunday, August 15, 2004



Whatever.

Went to shops today - what a goddam boring business. The main purpose was to buy a rainsuit. Instead of buying, I just "took" it. All the stuff was out of packages, some of it ripped, sizes not matching - it looked like a great garbage dump of used vynil. I managed to find a vest my size but had to take whatever pants were still in good shape, too big for me but I had no choice. Paying for this mess would have been too generous - so I literally took it and walked out.

Was also looking for light waterproof overshoes, couldn't find any. I suppose there are some in specialized stores but I would not be able to afford it, so there is no point going there. Will have to manage with plastic bags, I guess.

I suppose my trip will be rather short - a week or so. It depends how it will go, but I have zero experience and would rather take Ken Kifer's advice about making test trips first to get an idea of how this works and what to expect out there. I was initially thinking of taking one of the intercity bike routes that this province keeps building into a whole network, but after taking a close look at what it is, I am not sure I want to follow such a path all the way. The problem is that these things are over-managed and thoroughly commercialized - there are tons of bikers and overpriced rest-stops that you are supposed to buy from, because that's how the idea of such routes is sold in the first place. Basically, it looks just like any such path in some big park in town, except that it's longer. While it's indeed safe to ride there, I can't say that I love these things - it's very isolating. You feel very much like a car going down a highway: you go fast and the pavement is nice and smooth, but you are completely cut off from the landscape, in fact you are not supposed to mess with the landscape, it's only there to be seen but not touched. The very opposite of what I long for.

Another funny thing that I better think twice about is that north of the city it's all very-very hilly. Basically, it's the Laurentians - a mountain chain. Heh. I thought I could perhaps make it all the way to the big provincial park in the north but on the other hand - what the fuck will I do there without any real camping gear except a sleeping bag? Not much, I would say. Not to mention that I might not be able to get there because of too many hills too hard to climb. Plus I can't hike in the woods for the basic reason that I don't have proper shoes (silly as this might sound), not to mention lack of gear to cook my own food etc. I am not going hiking - I am going on a bike trip, which basically means: ride on the road during the day, sleep in the bushes at night, and buy food on the way. That's more like picknicking than camping. So I guess I will have to postpone any wilderness ideas for now.

*

I've been tinkering with the bike and found out that the front fork is crooked - not surprisingly. I have a pile of garbage wheels I can choose from to fit on the bike. I was able to find a more or less correct one but it doesn't fit as well as the wobblier kind I've been using because the hub is shorter which reveals the crookedness of the fork. Very amusing.

On the other hand, I found a couple of generators for front and back lights which I might want to fit on the bike for some night-riding on dark roads. I am not sure I will have time to get all this in place before monday - I should have bothered with this earlier as I won't have time to test these things before going. For instance, I can well fit the big front-light on - but it will take away an important hand-position on the handle-bar. I know I need this position on longer rides, when I get tired and need to relax. That's why testing is important - improvising and getting around such things also takes time.

*

Basically, my real resolve to go ahead with this trip only occured a couple of days ago - ever since July I've been unsure about the whole thing and the resulting procrastination was an expression of this lack of will. The hardest thing for me is not so much to do something - it's to really decide I can and want to do it, whatever it is. Once I get over doubts and fears, I finally start acting as if it were a done deal - problems get resolved and obstacles appear unimportant and incidental.

I don't know why I have to struggle so much to get to the point of action - big lack of self-confidence, I suppose.

*

Today I had a vision: saw a group of youths in very dirty ragged clothes - artfully ragged and dirty. Those are the new hippies, in a way - people who patch their old pants with colorful quilt patches and make sure not to wash their stuff so it gets to look really dirty. But they don't look very poor all the same - they just want to *look* poor.

That's phoney (and funny). And it's done in group - because it's a game.

*

I am falling off my feet. Good-night.





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