A Little Bit of Luck: Day 16

05/05/2013 (Day 16)

Tears of thankfulness and appreciation streamed down my cheeks this afternoon as I pedaled across the western Utah desert thinking of the people that shaped may adolescent self into the man I am today. Particularly the tears came when I thought of my mom back in my hometown of Ashland, Wisconsin. I have so many people to be thankful for and for so many of them I did not realize it at the time they were in my daily life. Every one of the approximately 842 million seconds I have lived on this planet has lead to me being exactly where I am today and every one of the 100’s of thousands of human interactions I have had has made me who I am and effected my actions and words. In the moment you can’t know why something is happening or what you will get out of it. However, looking back on the people that have come in and out of my life and the experiences they have created for me brings deep feelings of appreciation to what I call my heart. I am the man I am today because of each of the people that have entered my life whether it was just for a day, a semester in school, my childhood, or decades.

I realized today, how could I not be an amazing person? I have had 1000’s of people pour their time, energy, and resources into me. Nearly 100 teachers in my 17.5 years of formal schooling have taught me, dozens of extra curricular program volunteers and coordinators have guided me, all of my friends parents have wanted the best for me, thousands of peers and friends have spent time with me and helped me grow as a human being, athletic coaches have coached me, sales managers have made me a confident salesman and taught me to never give up, fellow travelers have shared their worldly knowledge and stories with me, relatives have loved me unconditionally and Boy Scout leaders have lead me by example of being “physically strong, mentally awake, and morally straight.” Everyone has different experiences but with that thought I realized everyone human is amazing. We live in an incredible world filled with such a vast quantity of unique people who care about others and want to make the world around them a better place. I’ve learned that good creates good. So my advice to anyone who wants to make the world a better place is to start with yourself. Be a good person, live a healthy lifestyle, be nice to others go out of your way to help others, share your knowledge, your possessions, and your life with others. By being a good person you will inspire others to be good and that is the ripple effect that can change the world. By starting with yourself and eating healthy, exercising, drinking plenty of water, and getting fresh air and ample sleep you will find that you are living a planet friendly lifestyle and that will make you feel even better. “A happy you is the best thing you can do.”

I woke up tired and didn’t want to get out of bed but my bowels forced me to. I actually climbed back into the bag for a little while though and took some time to stretch out my body as I woke up. The day was warming quickly and I could tell it was going to be favorable weather. By 10:00 I was back on the bike peddling. Here is an excerpt from my personal journal that might give you a visual of my morning.

The flat desertous land of western Utah elates my spirits and brings me great feelings of joy. My pedals are consistently rotating and yet I feel no stress or fatigue to my body. A new sense of moisture in the air cleanses my insides and stimulates my brain triggering nostalgic memories of summertime in my youth. The sun shining bright creates the warmth needed to motivate me to keep turning the pedals and energizes the blood pumping through my heart delivering feel good endorphins throughout my entire body. I am well nourished and hydrated. The earth is creating great levels of clarity for me as far as my eyes can see. I can feel happiness radiating from my body, returning to the earth what she had given to me.

It was quite the morning and by noon I had made it about 30 miles. I found a tree full of shoes that I climbed and played on for a half hour or so and towards the ends a branch broke, crashing to the ground, 5 or 10 feet below, with me underneath. I was fine but when I looked around I realized barb wire lay just inches from my behind and a broken bottle just inches from my right leg. A dear friend, Cheryl, recently wrote to me, “I always admire your secret power of being lucky.” I thought of her in this instance as I sat on the desert floor and felt very lucky. Back on the bike with just a few scratches and another hour of peddling led me into Hinckley, and then Delta. I loaded up on food here and used the Internet for a few hours.

When I left town my body was shaky and I did not feel comfortable on the bike. Not sure if it was a lack of carbohydrates I pounded more food and continued on. I felt weighed down and lethargic but that eventually faded as the miles for the day tacked on. If I did not have easily accessible filtered water, I can only imagine how much worse I would feel. It’s flat country here with small hills here and there, which makes cycling quite easy. In the late afternoon I stopped in at a station for a minute to assess the rain clouds to the east and west. Not prepared for rain and not sure what to do I decided to keep pushing north in an attempt to dodge the rain. I was told 23 miles ahead there would be a park with pavilions where I could camp and get out of the rain if it hit.

As I started peddling out of the station a pit bull started to chase Brent and when Brent got ahead then me. Adrenaline shot through me and it was a good start to the final 23 miles. I expected to knock the miles out in under 2 hours but the evening had other plans for me. Rain was visible from all four directions but for some reason none was coming down on me. Some would call this another instance of luck for me. Can’t say I’d disagree. The winds were not in my favor and dragged me down to start but as I climbed a hill the tumble weeds started rolling in my direction and the sheep started running. Big winds pushed me up the hill and rain came from behind.

I cranked the pedals as hard as I could thinking if I could make it over the hill maybe the winds would push me away from the rain. Well the rain indeed never caught up besides a couple dozen drops but the sudden explosion stirred up pain in my already sore knees. Still 15 miles from the camping land the next hour or two was a hard fought battle to make it but I was moving slow and just couldn’t do it. A half hour after dark I finally settled after a total of 75 miles just off the side of the road, probably a few miles short of the campground. Instead I’m on the roadside in a nice field. This works just fine but there was not wood to build a fire leaving me with a head of purple cabbage, tomatoes, salad, and raw onion for dinner. I was craving a cooked meal with some serious carbs but I’m full and I’ll make that happen in the morning. I think now it is finally time to rest my weary eyes.

This adventure is now a book! Dude Making a Difference is the exciting and inspirational story of my bike ride across the United States on a bamboo bike. Go to www.RobGreenfield.tv/Dude to get a copy or learn more about it. 100% of my proceeds are donated to environmental grassroots nonprofits!