The Potty Story: Day 79

I haven’t sat on a toilet in 79 days. SEVEN squad cars flooded to the scene when I sat on this one. Read on for some entertainment and enlightenment.

07/07 (Day 79)

I had been too lazy to lay down my sleeping mat and instead slept on the floor of Sarah’s twin five year old’s with a flew blankets and the carpet to provide cushioning. I slept ok but would have been much better off with my sleeping pad. Upon awaking at 8:00 I took out my computer and wrote for an hour while the house was still nice and quiet. I sat in her pleasant backyard at the picnic table and enjoyed the morning thoroughly. Sarah offered me some locally produced organic yogurt and a peach, which made for a wonderful breakfast. I wanted to get on the road before the heat grew too strong so I was out of there a bit after 9:00.

The weather channel was forecasting a heat wave and heat index upwards of 100 degrees. This is not ideal cycling temperature in most peoples mind but it didn’t worry me much. I’m a man who loves a good hot day and receives joy from the hot rays of the sun beating down upon me. The goal for the day was 60 miles to Princeton, New Jersey and I mapped out a route that took about 25 different roads through residential neighborhoods and small highways. It meant I had to look at my cell phone a lot but I didn’t mind at all. The riding was smooth all day and I used the cool creeks that I pedaled over as a natural means to keep my body temperature from raising too high. Just ten miles into riding I found a nice creek that I played in until my legs turned purple and my teeth were nearly chattering. My solution for the east coast heat wave was to cool off naturally in the creeks.

I had worried that I would be pedaling on busy roads through congested traffic today but that was barely the case at all. There were plenty of steep hills to climb but I felt like there were even more hills to coast down that created a cool breeze to keep me smiling. After twenty-five miles of pedaling I stopped at a much larger river and Brent and I played in it for about an hour. This creek was not quite as cold but was just as beautiful and had millions of rocks for us to play with. We had rock skipping contests, rock throwing contests, and the most fun of all were the screaming contests. We yelled at the top of our longs as we heaved and skipped rocks while we stood in the water up to our wastes, much of the time laughing until our stomachs could take no more. My throat was sore and hoarse from the yelling but it was so enjoyable that I didn’t care. It’s something that most humans don’t do but I find that I feel remarkably alive when I use my vocal chords to this extreme. It is such a simple humanly act that many of us have forgotten about. Of course I’m not talking about yelling in anger or vulgar but just to release our inner human and inner animal. This was the first time that Brent and I have laughed together in quite some time and it was very enjoyable. It appears our talk yesterday went a long way and I’ve lightened up a little.

On I pedaled through the extreme heat with a river of sweat flowing down my back. I finished off the well water I had gotten yesterday from the Amish farm and survived on wasted bottles of water that I found on the roadside and wasted ice from the catch trays in gas stations. I didn’t ever have enough fluid in my body to pee clear but I was only slightly dehydrated at most points through out the day. I could have filtered water from any of the cold creeks but something has been keeping me from doing that. I don’t know if it’s laziness or a preference for the taste of water from the grid over from the creeks and lakes but I often find myself quite dehydrated when I could just simply purify water. I stopped at a third creek and swam with the fish for a short time and hopped back on the road to Princeton.

After 50 miles of pedaling I crossed the Delaware River into the State of New Jersey, which is officially on the Atlantic Ocean. I now consider myself without a doubt on the east coast. To escape from the heat I laid in this swift river for close to an hour while my solar panels charged up my laptop and my dead cell phone. A garden hose had been tied to a branch overhanging the river and I held on to it and let the river flow over my body. I just couldn’t get enough of the cool water and it did wonders for me but I was still dehydrated on the inside from sweating profusely under the heat of the sun and from climbing so many steep hills. Trenton is the capital of New Jersey and the only side I saw of the city was the ghetto that I pedaled through quite rapidly.

On highway 206 I saw a toilet on the roadside sitting outside of a house and thought it would make a funny photo opportunity. So Brent got in the position for a good photo and I pulled my pants down to my ankles as I sat on the toilet to pose for a photo. At that moment a man walked out of his house and was quite unimpressed with what he saw. He took out his phone as I told him I wasn’t actually pooping in the toilet and when he put the phone up to his ear he said, “I’ve got two male Caucasians here…” which clearly gave me the message that he was on the phone with the police. Not wanting to get in trouble for a harmless act, I jumped on my bike to speed off and evade the police. I was a lot faster than Brent and I got off the road we were on assuming he told the officers I was heading north on the 206. Well the cops found Brent first and he called me and told me seven police cars were surrounding him and the officers were requesting my presence.

I pedaled to where they were but an officer found me first. I pulled off to the side of the road without him even motioning me to and he flipped on his lights anyway and treated me like a dangerous criminal. “Get down on the sidewalk” he yelled. Within moments two more police cars showed up and I was surrounded. The main guy was a stern man and gave me the feeling he was going to throw the books at me. “So you pulled your pants down and exposed yourself to the whole world?” he asked. I responded, “Yes I did pull my shorts down. I did so as I sat on the toilet and kept myself pretty well covered up.” Considering there are 7,000,000,000 people on this world and only about 5 saw me naked I’d say his statement was fairly inaccurate.

The other officers standing around me were a lot more interested in what I was up to and didn’t seem upset by my minor offense. While the tough guy was in his squad car they asked me all sorts of questions with interest about my bike trip and my off the grid mission. One officer asked where I was planning on staying tonight and I told him Princeton. He responded by saying “I was f**king a girl in Princeton once and got caught by the police while I did it.” Many of my minor run-ins with the police have involved vulgar language and incidents of them not coming off as people that hold themselves in a high regard. They are usually very nice people and I always have a good time with the police who stop me for whatever harmless thing that I was doing. But I expect police to hold themselves to a little higher standard than to speak like that. Often they stoop down to the same level as the people they are punishing and I just don’t find that to make much sense.

After speaking to the “cool cops” who didn’t seem to care a bit about what I did the stern cop came out of his car and told me to, “keep my pants on in the future.” A lady cop pulled up towards the end of my time sitting on the curb and asked me, “Do you smell as bad as your friend?” I said no I don’t and she responded by saying something to the effect of, “You did get some great photos. I looked at them.” I gave her my website and told her where she could see them later.

So I was off with another story to tell and was happy for the way everything went. I had thought that I might walk away with a public indecency ticket but I would have been ok with it. Every time I have a run in with the cops and I come out a great story and nothing on my record and I wouldn’t change a thing. So I’m glad Brent was slower than me and that the cops found us and surrounded us by a total of seven cop cars and made me look like a criminal to all the people in the neighborhood. I think it provided some entertainment in their night and I’m guessing that is why so many of them flocked to the scene. After all they couldn’t have thought that a guy on a wooden bike pooping (actually pretending to poop) in a toilet along with a cameraman was going to need a whole police force to be subdued, could they? This was an example of a misuse of resources in my mind. I don’t know a lot about where taxes go but I’m pretty sure the citizens of New Jersey just paid for this giant taskforce to subdue the wild man who sat on a toilet and exposed himself to the entire world.

Princeton was just six miles from there and as I rode Brent and I told each of our sides of the story both of which were very unique. He had the police chief messing with him who said something along the lines of, “Do you have money to bail yourself out of jail?” And after Brent nearly pooped himself and started crying the chief said, “Naaaaah, I’m just f***ing with you.” Another officer exclaimed, “I didn’t know which is worse. This or that f**king tranny last night.” Brent didn’t even do anything wrong. He was just taking photos of a dude sitting on a toilet on the street.” I’ve never read their manual but I don’t know of any law he was breaking that would result in seven police cars surrounding him and yelling at him to put his hands over his head. They even read him his rights but just to scare him.

In Princeton we found a really nice park with a lake in the middle that we decided to call home for the night. An out of this world sunset led us the lake and strong winds were coming in with a huge thunderstorm on the horizon. We were hoping to find a pavilion to keep ourselves dry under but I welcomed the rain and hoped to harvest so much of it that I couldn’t fit all of it inside my stomach. We found the lake and on it was a huge house that greatly confused me. What the heck is this house doing here and how do I access this lake without going on their property. Two people were sitting outside and I found out it was actually there for receptions and the park. So this meant that I now had the shelter I was looking for and I would get to spend the night on this lake in the beautiful woods. I couldn’t have found a better situation. I swam in the lake in the dark with turtles all around me and when I returned to the house the couple was gone. I set up the tent rain fly to collect rain when it fell and pulled out my laptop to write. The only problem was I was too dehydrated to think about anything other than water and I couldn’t help but sit there and wait for the rain. While I waited Brent and I looked at our photos from the day very happy with them and by 11:00 the rain still had not come and the sky was looking clear. So I walked down the pond, purified a half-gallon, which I chugged half of right away, and came back and made my bed. That water fed my brain, which was aching and allowed the juices to flow so that I could write today’s story, which took me until nearly 1:00 to finish.

As I lay here in the open under my comforting sheet I ask myself how do I have the time and energy to fit all of this into one day? I answer myself by saying,

“Because I am human and every human is capable of being amazing if they choose to be. I have chosen to be amazing. Because a day is 24 hours long which is 1,440 minutes, which is 86,400 seconds. No matter what way you assign numbers to it that is a substantial amount of time. Every single one of us has the same 24 hours in our days but we all choose what to do with it. There is no such thing as not “having” time for something. We choose not to do something and we choose to do something else instead. I have chosen to be strong and live up to the challenges that are put in front of me and that I create for myself. I have chosen to spend my time out in the world doing things and not watching TV, playing video games, sitting around and drinking beer or smoking pot, or making myself look pretty in front of the mirror for a half hour to an hour every day. Instead I seize each day because I know I’ve only got about 30,000 of them in this life. I seize each hour because I know I’m blessed to get around 700,000 of them. I seize each minute because I’m fortunate enough to live a life that will have 43,000,000 of them in it. I seize each moment to show others that life can be seized.”

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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!