Going to Georgia (That’s My Job)

April 8, 2010

 “This is the feeling of being in motion again. Its the most extrordinary feeling that there ever was.”

Traveling alone is beautiful, as I remember. It it enlivening and polarizing. Possibilities open up. Reason becomes second to improvisation.

From table rock I took highway 11 until a town called Walhalla, originally a German town, and so was called Valhalla, although not in any way related to viking lore. Outsiders call it Walhalla, which resoundingly gives the town a goofiness, but the residents prefer Wally-holler or Frog-holler.

I was hungry; it was a long ride, so my mind was monorailed on finding some food. So it was that I made the first of a series of very dumb mistakes. I ate, yes, but then failed to see the sign for Wesminister, the town I was to go to next to pick up highway 76. I left Walhalla on highway 28, and rode a good way. I had no idea.

When evening came I passed a campground/biker bar and opted out of the “luxury.” Riding further I saw a house with a beautiful terraced landscape, that used some of the same rain-retaining techniques as the farm I stayed on in Greece. The owner was out working his yard so I gave a good holler.

Phil was a retired computer tech in “the basements of Clemson” and “hasn’t turned one on since.” He still ran a tree removal service, and as I came to find out, absolutely lived to climb trees.

“In fact, I was thinking about climbing one tonight.”

It was about 8:30.

Phil was in the process of building a house, and had already completed digging go out a 2,300 square foot basement. With a shovel and a pick.

“When most guys retire they just sit around. You go quicker like that.”

He gave me a demonstration on how to make wooden shingles, that he was using to cover his utility shed.

I slept amazingly well.

I woke up early and we had breakfast just up the road.

Phil left to start climbing trees and I started to pack up. I had two broken spokes on the side of my wheel that has the gearset, and I didn’t have the tool to get it off. Dumb mistake 2.

So, what to do? I tried everything I could think of to get it off. The nearest bike shop was 18 miles the wrong way, in Clemson. I picked up the lame wheel and set to the road, thumb out.

Not two minutes later Phil’s neighbor walks outside.

“No one around here is gonna pick you up. Even if you get into Walhalla you still might have trouble. Do you need a pump? I’ve got one.”

We sat on his porch with his two dogs and tune-able washtub bass, which he made 20 years ago. It had a hand crank on the top to add or lessen tension on the rope, seperating it from its differently-abled relatives.

I told him my ailment and he set to trying everything he could think of to get the piece off. We called every auto mechanic in town, practically, to see if they may have the golden tool. No luck.

He told me he would get me as far as he could toward Clemson, which ended up being the whole way.

I am trying to stay humbly aware of all the kindness shown towards me.

Our conversation started easily, and just as easily turned into a deeply personal one about life, death and history. Ron has two PhD’s, in anthropology and archeology, which he earned after serving in the Marines. He began his studies at 29 and still considers himself a student. He also runs a Graphic Design company and coordinated the Highland games for the southeast. He could laugh, and he laughed well.

“I guess we just have to realize that we’re just as wrong as the next guy.”

It was wonderful conversation. So good, it lead to dumb mistake 3.

Here’s to everyday folly. And “if you’re gonna be stupid you gotta be tough.”

I left my bookbag, complete with computer, in the Clemson bike shop, without realizing it until we were back in Walhalla. Backtrack again, and this time on my bike, 18 miles to Clemson. Oops. These little mindslips become much bigger problems when all you have are a few trinkets and a bicycle.

So that ate up most of the day and I caught up with 76/123 outside of Seneca, SC. Dumb mistake 4. I was tired, delirious and desperate to make up some mileage, to at least get somewhere. I missed the turnoff for 76, rode 5 miles in the wrong direction, and had to backtrack again. The sun was on its way down when I hit 76 again. I rode as far as possible and set up camp on a closed dirt road that was covered in clover, in a place I would find out to be Frog Town. Those frogs sure were chatty. I closed the evening with a conversation with my new temporary neighbor, Jake, who graciously invited me in to sit down for a bit. We shared histories and then said goodnight.

This morning, the morning after Frog Town, I rode to a rafting outfitter to take a shower. AND I was finally in Georgia. It is and will continue to be raining something fierce so I am holed up in a sweet coffee shop in Clayton, Georgia.

As soon as it lets up a bit I’ll be on a mission for cookies, but as it stands, I am powerless.


2 Responses to “Going to Georgia (That’s My Job)”

  1. Hannah said

    hey. whats your route looking like? maybe I can scout out some places/friends.

  2. other hannah... said

    hey kiddo. i left you a long, meandering note on facebook about music. i miss you and i’m enjoying these updates immensely. your chronicles make for a lovely and engaging read.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: