Drip by Drip: Day 4

07/20 (Day 92) Drip by Drip day 4

I woke up at 7:00 and felt disturbed from a night of bad dreams. I vividly remember one of my teeth falling out in one dream and then falling apart into pieces. I woke up in the dream but in real life was still dreaming. I went to the bathroom and then crawled back into bed only for the painful dreams to continue until I woke again at 8:45. I didn’t remember much of the dreams beside the rotten tooth but my heart was feeling very heavy. I went downstairs and David’s mom offered to make me some eggs, which I gladly accepted. Then she went out to water the garden and I filled up my jug from the leaky hose connection. I managed to get almost a gallon in the few minutes. Those leaks really add up quickly. 

I packed up my stuff and was ready to get on the road at 10:00 and realized I didn’t have my favorite shirt. I wracked my brains and remembered that I had left it at the waterfall two nights ago. As I rode east I contemplated whether to go back there and look for it as it was 5 miles out of the way and I already had 53 miles to ride in this last day of the heat wave. First I stopped at the farmers market where I picked up a bunch of veggies, some blueberries, and a solid loaf of bread. As I poured the blueberries out of the basket into my own container the lady next to me said she’d take the other half that I wasn’t and paid for mine. Thanks so much lady! That was awesome. I met some really cool people and had a fun time as I always do at farmers markets. I wasn’t that talkative though still feeling down and tired. 

I decided to ride separate from Brent today, wanting time to myself and not feeling like having someone wait around on me. I feel much more free on days when I am on my own. So he headed to New London and I headed back to the waterfall in hopes of finding my shirt. The 2.5 miles up there went quickly and I was happy to be going for a swim in the falls even if I didn’t find my shirt. When I got there I stood on the rocks looking around and was let down when it was nowhere to be seen. But I looked down at my feet and there it was! It lit my eyes up and sent a happy little chipmunk running around into my stomach to see my favorite shirt. I felt rewarded for making an effort even when I thought it was unlikely that I would find it. Never give up!

I pedaled on and still was not feeling my finest as I headed out of town. My body is full of anxiety and I am feeling overwhelmed. I feel like a little kid who put too much food on his plate and now has a grandma telling him to eat it all or he can’t leave the table. Only in this scenario I am the little boy and the grandma since I put all the food on my plate and I am the only person telling myself to eat it all. In fact most of my friends are telling me to take it easy and bend the rules of Off the Grid Across the United States. The way I figure it though is I’m only doing this for 100 days. It’s not like I am planning on living this rigorous rules for a lifetime. I’m living in this extreme manner for just a little over three months to draw attention to things that I feel are important and need to be thought about. I intend to be on this earth for at least 30,000 days so living full on by this rigorous set of rules for 100 is really a minimal amount of time in the grand scheme of a lifetime. I am a strong believer of everything in moderation and although this is not in moderation during these 100 days it is indeed in moderation since it is only about 1/3 of a percentage of my lifetime. This trip has been a deep practice of self-control and I think that if as humans we adapted the practice of self-control we could quickly see improvements in health and happiness all around us. We’d also see vast improvements in the environment around us. 

The 90+ degrees really has not been bothering me. I have exposed myself to a varied range of elements many times in my 26 years on this earth and in doing so have learned to adapt to whatever conditions the earth throws at me. Because of this I don’t have to run to an air-conditioned apartment when it’s too hot and I don’t depend on fans that run on electricity to keep my body cool. The earth is a marvelous place and the extremes are one of the things that make it so marvelous in my mind. The extremes create the diversity that we are awed by. I appreciate the earth for what it was whether it results in me dripping sweat from every pour on my body or the circulation to my toes being cut off by the cold. I’m not strong enough to always feel this way but I do close to my best. In my mind this is what makes me human. When my body is being put to the test I know that I am alive. I rarely feel alive when I am sitting on the couch with the AC on and every resource I need at my disposal. That life of convenience doesn’t send inspiration shooting through my blood and it doesn’t make me feel accomplished. Being a part of the world is what makes me feel like a human and reminds me that I am alive. 

Because of my heavy heart and negative attitude I just couldn’t take any more riding. I pulled into the small town of Guilford and there was a big summer festival going on. Nearby there was a park with some trees to provide shade so I sat down for a bit to decide what to do. I could either rest here and was somewhat keen on being around people or I could find a park surrounded by nature where I’d be hearing chirping birds and the wind blowing through the trees. I preferred the latter but decided to stay put and take what I had in front of me. What I wanted to do was pass out but I settled for writing the outline of the documentary instead. It was restful compared to riding and satisfied my need to be productive which might be somewhat of an addiction of mine. Also I wrote in my notebook rather than the laptop which is much more relaxing. I worked on it for an hour and came up with some really good stuff. I think this documentary is going to be a catalyst to a happier healthier life for many people all over the country. And it I hope it will be as entertaining and inspiring to others as 180 Degrees south was to me. 

When my eyes started to drift off I put my pen down and rested my weary mind. I fell asleep in a matter of minutes but was woken up to a loud cover band what seemed like just minutes later. I was enjoying the songs somewhat but the dudes off pitch voice just wouldn’t give my brain the rest I needed. After a half dozen or so songs I drifted off again and this time was woken up shortly after to a sudden downpour. I knew it was coming since I had heard thunder but I figured there wasn’t much I could do. So I jumped up and threw my stuff in my bag and the rain died down within a matter of minutes. Well now I was up so I figured I might as well hit the road.

It was 5:00 now and I had another 35 miles to New London. The entire one pound loaf of bread was still sitting inside my stomach and was weighing me down. I’ve found it takes a lot of water and energy to process that much bread and it always dehydrates me. I still had close to a half gallon of water and every time I took a gulp I was so appreciative of it. My body craved it so much. I rode through beautiful terrain along highway 1 and more rural highway 156. As I picked up speed my attitude picked up as well and I found myself becoming more cheerful by the moment. A real nice couple in a car pulled up beside me riding along at 15 mph and we had a fun conversation as they drove along side me. They offered to take me out to dinner but I refused since I am not eating at restaurants on this journey. 

I passed a natural foods store and figured I’d check there dumpster to see if I could find anything good and sure enough I did. I got 4 loafs of top quality wheat bread, a few fresh made tofu and tempeh sandwiches, mouth watering cookies and biscuits, and a slightly leaky bottle of premium grade olive oil. It was probably $60 worth of food and it will keep me fed for 3 days. The only thing I’ll have to buy is some fresh fruits and veggies for the next few days. Conveniently enough there were also 3 perfectly good reusable grocery bags for me to put the food in. Talk about a convenient shopping experience! I am disappointed though that even a health food store has so much waste. I believe people at health food stores tend to hold food to a higher regard than at bargain markets for example but they seem to be just as wasteful. I’m surprised when they don’t at least compost the food that they are not going to sell. Rich or poor it seems all demographics of people are wasting food in the United States. Not all people, but people from all demographics. 

I found five bottles of water on the roadside throughout the day and evening totaling about 50 ounces (close to half a gallon). This along with the gallon I had from the leaky faucet kept me fairly hydrated. Plus I got blueberries on two separate occasions, which are full of water. Towards 8:00 I climbed a big hill and waiting on the other side was one of the largest street fairs I have ever seen. It was a half-mile long and completely packed with people. From my perch it looked like an ant colony. As I rode down to it another cyclist passed me and I said hello to him. Just a few moments later I looked ahead and saw him falling to the ground clutching his face. I don’t know exactly what happened but within seconds a paramedic was calming him and testing his reflexes and a crowd surrounded him. I couldn’t help but wonder if I hadn’t said hello if he wouldn’t be lying on the ground. I believe that every action sends ripples off into every direction. It wasn’t my fault but I was just wondering had I not been present if his night would have been much different. 

I walked my bike through the massive crowd of people feeling in a different world. I had just come from the beautiful and quiet road that followed along the ocean and was abruptly thrown into a crowd of thousands of people. It was entertaining to watch all the happy people though. I asked a police officer what the festival was and he said it was the town of Niantic’s 4th of July festival and there would be fireworks soon. From there I still had nine miles to go but it went by pretty smoothly. It was a cool evening and the ocean breeze made the ride quite comfortable. I pulled into New London a little after 9:00 and decided to write my story for the day before heading to my warmshowers.org host. I was feeling inspired and writing is more enjoyable when I feel inspired. I found a bench on the street just a few blocks from where I am staying and as I sat and wrote fireworks started to blow up in the sky to the west of me. They were quite far away and it put a smile on my face to think that I had just pedaled from there. Then I thought about how far away New Haven was where I just started this morning. And then I thought about how far I have come from San Francisco. I’m getting pretty far up here on the east coast now and a new part of the country is opening up. Today I saw ocean beaches and am starting to feel the New England culture. Lobsters and crabs are for sale on the roadsides. The air is full of humidity and I can smell the ocean breeze. Beautiful bridges are leading me over tidal estuaries. I haven’t explored this region of the United States much and I am happy to be here.

This adventure is now a book! Dude Making a Difference is the exciting and inspirational story of my bike ride across the USA 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!