Drip by Drip Days 6-7

07/22 (Day 94)

Last you had heard from my daily stories I was searching out a spot to hide from the blood hungry mosquitoes on a beach in Rhode Island. After realizing there was no hiding from them I decided to flee the beach to find shelter in the town nearby. I hopped on the warmshowers.org app and there was a host just a few miles away. I sent them an email at 9:00 letting them know my situation and I heard back from them just 15 minutes later as I was riding down the trail to get back to the highway. They said come on over! I used the lights of passing cars to scour the road for bottles of water on the roadside and listened for the sounds of dripping. My ears discovered water before my eyes and I found an AC unit that was dripping like crazy and collected a Nalgene bottle full to bring with me and purify. As I collected the water I googled “drinking water from AC units” and found that it is very safe and completely safe if it’s purified before drinking. Just one hour after I was being eaten alive I was suddenly being welcomed into a wonderful home with wonderful people inside. They had a garden that I picked veggies out of and both Meg and Bob were environmentalists. I’m used to becoming friends and staying with people I have just met moments before but this time as I sat in the living room with them I actually thought to myself, “It’s crazy that I didn’t know them 20 minutes ago and now here we are spending time together in their home, eating from their garden, and soon to be sleeping in one of their guest beds.” 

Over night they collected one gallon of water from the dehumidifier and put it into a bottle for me. I woke up at about 7:30 AM and spent the early morning writing. I would have slept in but my hosts all had places to be so I was out of the house at 9:00. I was super tired and very in need of rest so I pedaled just a few miles north until I found a spot to relax for the morning. It was a beautiful harbor full of sailboats and I laid out my sheet in the grass between two benches. I worked more on the outline of my documentary but mostly took the time to just relax. I dove into the harbor multiple times and swam amongst all the sailboats floating in the bay. It wasn’t the cleanest of water but it was good enough for me to swim in. 

I ended up there until 1:00 and left in a hurry to meet up with a couple of media outlets. ABC channel 6 wanted to do a story on my adventure but needed me there in the afternoon before the evening news so I jammed up to Providence, which was about 20 miles away. I met them at the station and had a fun time doing the story. I enjoy working with reporters to spread good news and inspiration through the media. From there I met up with Rich Salis at the Providence Journal. He had sent me a text earlier saying to meet him at 75 Fountain Street and he’d be waiting with a pen, notepad, and a leaky faucet. We hung out for close to two hours talking and collected a Nalgene bottle full of water from the leaky bathroom sink in the meantime. When I got out of there at 6:00 I was absolutely exhausted from talking for the last four hours.

I went to a park a few blocks away and collapsed onto a bench. I was so tired and just wanted to sleep but I needed to figure out where first. I got a hold of a guy named Fernando on warmshowers.org and he welcomed me to stay in his home just a few miles from the bench where I was sitting. So I pedaled over there ready for bed. It turned out he lived in a co-op and most of them were Brown University students. There are about 12 people living in the house and they all work together to make it a good community living situation. They all eat together, decide what food to buy together, do house chores, etc. Each person also has their own specialty job. They are very conscious when it comes to their food and buy mostly locally sourced food. I had a little bit of dinner with them. It was a very cool house with some great stuff going on. It was also a huge mess and since it has been a co-op for decades with people moving in and out all the time there are many things laying around the house that don’t belong to anyone there. 

Hanging out with these bright people reenergized me and then Fernando took me to a potluck about a mile down the road. I decided to make an exception for the night and joined in on the potluck and ate all sorts of good food. Most of it was local and organic food anyway but electricity had been used to cook it of course. It was a great night of hanging out and it put a huge smile on my face to know that just two hours earlier I was sitting on a bench not knowing anyone I the city and then I was at a party where I had made a ton of new friends and felt right at home. They were technically strangers but they all felt like good friends to me. It just goes to show you can never know where you’re going to be in two hours. Life is so unpredictable and so much easier when you just go with the flow and lose your expectations. 

We headed back to his place at about midnight and then I caught up on some emails and social media and found myself finally going to bed at 2:00 AM. Finding water was pretty easy today and I went to bed fairly hydrated but way too exhausted. 

07/23 (Day 95)

At 4:30 in the afternoon I had only made it 5 miles out of Providence, had eaten nothing but a few leaves of lettuce and some tomatoes, had found just a few ounces of water to drink, and was exhausted after only sleeping 5 hours the night before.

I was intending to get on the road early but so many other things were calling out to me. I had writing to catch up on for the book, a few things to catch up on for the documentary, and of course emails to send and social media and media to tend to. It’s just so much to do and I can ride with a freer mind when I get my work in the morning. Until 10:00 I laid in bed working and then decided to try to get some more news coverage so I called the other newspapers in the area and was successful at finding one that wanted to cover the story. She said to meet her at 12:00 at Waterplace Park in downtown Providence. 

That gave me some time to look for water and food but I was just so tired and spacey that I didn’t use my time well and had to head over to the park in the rain all too soon. We hung out there for a while but I felt like my energy was too low to really enjoy talking with her. The clouds opened up big time and dropped a ton of rain on us so we hid under a pavilion as we spoke. At 1:00 I was ready to hit the road but my cell phone and laptop were both dead and the sun was not shining to charge them up. So I aimlessly headed north not really knowing where I was but just hoping to run into route 1 that would take me to Boston. I was feeling a little dizzy and disoriented from the hunger and thirst, which did not help me navigate at all. I found a few partially full bottles of water on the side of the road and the sensation of water in my mouth felt oh-so-good.

I asked a handful of people if they knew where route 1 was and none of them knew at all and didn’t even know which direction was north or south. It seems the cardinal directions are barely a part of many people’s dictionaries these days. It was frustrating looking for food, water, and trying to navigate on unknown roads without a cell phone. Eventually some very rude people at a gas station “helped” me out and told me I was nowhere near route 1 and tried to make me feel like an idiot. I knew it probably wasn’t as far as they made it out to be and headed in the direction they sent me.

Exhausted I pulled off the road and laid my blanket out by the side of a small lake. The sun had come out some so I put out my solar panels, which charged up my cell phone so I could get my bearings straight. I hadn’t gone too far out of the way and had 35 miles to go to Boston. Rather than get right back on the road I decided to clear up my mind and take a nap. The rest was really good for my head and I woke up at 4:00 feeling rejuvenated and refreshed. I took a swim in the lake to top that off and then was back on the road. 

A short while after being on the road a giant rainstorm was bellowing towards me. The clouds were some of the most impressive I have seen yet on the trip and were a shade of gray so dark they were almost black. I synched my gear shut and welcomed the rain to come hydrate me through my skin. The storm took its time to arrive and during that time I found a Panera that had thrown out all the perfectly good bread loaf end pieces. I continued pedaling along eating my bread and then the storm opened up onto me. I soaked in the water through my skin and sipped the drips of water running from my mustache. The rain lasted just an hour but the gloomy cloud coverage held for the rest of the night. 

I arrived in the outskirts of Boston at 7:30 and had an interview planned with www.ThePursuitZone.com but my phone microphone wasn’t working because water had dripped into it so that changed those plans. I got to my aunt’s, Myrna and Michelle, home and they had already started to prepare a magnificent dinner. We had a salad topped with lobster and cheese and it was all local organic stuff. They actually got the lobster from a CSA. It was an on the grid meal since water and electricity were used to prepare it but I am loosening up on the rules a bit to start to acclimate back to the “normal” life. I’m ok with that but it’s challenging for me since I am keeping statistics of everything I do. We hung out and talked for a couple hours and it was a wonderful time. We probably stayed up close to midnight just hanging out and talking.

My arrival in Boston meant the end of my Drip by Drip campaign so after dinner I rode my bike over to the lake to scoop up a gallon to purify. I was so thankful to have a bounty of water in front of me. Of course I stayed up way too late after that on the computer. Boy was it nice to sleep in their comfortable guest bedroom.

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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!