Fade in, I’m basically Uma Thurman waking up out of the coma in Kill Bill. Essentially. Wiggling my toe. Me no function. I feel like sleeping on this couch would have probably fucked up my back — if my entire body wasn’t already in total disrepair. Every bit of me is broken. The sounds of creaks and cracks coming out of both Damon and Kara as they stretch provide affirmation of how im pretty sure i feel. As if I needed the audio cue. Nothing works. I can’t move. Mary is up, getting ready for work. It’s probably 6 or 7. She brings me coffee while I’m still splayed on the couch. She’s a fucking saint. I drink it. She’s talking about Watervliet. That’s where we are. She’s from this house I am sleeping in. Lived in Buffalo years ago when her and Kara met during the October Storm. IYKYK. I learn about the arsenal here. Access from road and water and air. They land planes on the interstate Highway. Thanks a lot military industrial complex, I guess. For real though, thank you Mary – your hospitality was most certainly MJ in game 7.
Kara and Damon each activate in similar ways, that’s when those creaks and cracks happen, letting me know I’m not surrounded by six pieces of pine. Coffee and convo with Mary for all ensues. Another hour and I am re learning how to use my thumbs and hands. Neurons awaken in my brain just a tad bit. More timespace happens along this same trajectory; reanimating in a normal, non-Tarantino manner that isnt the movie that is my life. Deep breathes reservoir dog. We’ve manage to scrape ourselves up and Damon finds a Dunkin Donuts around the corner. It’s like he works for them as an ambassador. He’s pushing it hard. I now must become ambulatory once again. This is big stuff. Walk. Ugh. Walk. Feet. Work. Please. Literal baby steps. I’m now in line at a place that claims it is what America runs on. Only they don’t sell guns or Jesus or racial inequality. No infringement on womens bodies or citizens private affairs. No economic wealth built on genocide and slavery, no military might built of fomented coups and secret back room dealings undermining the very democracy it claims to purport. So not much actual America at all. They do however have the bean exilir of life that I hold sacred. I’m next up to order and I realize that I have no idea how in the hell i got here. It’s kinda like that scene in Wolf Of Wall Street where Leo is woken up at home by the cops and doesn’t quite really know how it all went down the night before. Except 11 hours in the saddle is my qualudes. Yup. Lizard brain is still in effect. Only the most basic motor functions, apparently. I can breathe, which I’m thankful for in the US of America. Hardly some fight or fight can happen. I am indeed able to walk again. But I can’t do complex processes, like math, or pooping. Not yet anyway. Strange, I’m usually good at math and pooping. Damon’s all hyped up about this, telling me, “yo dawg wait till you’ve had this coffee then you’ll definitely be shitting.” I find his faith in my patriotic protest pooping utterly delightful. They have oat milk at least.
Chad is a country in Africa. It is also only one of five nations on earth whose name is one syllable in their native language (Thus Spain is really España and doesn’t qualify). Comment with another of these nations and win prizes from sponsors I don’t have. Chad is also an old friend and a great tour companion, much like Kara and Damon. Chad is also a Chad. Maybe The Chad. The previous entries on this here site back that up. Search “Chad” if you must. Our trio finally manifests it’s originally intended quadrant steez with his arrival into Albany on Amtrak whatever whatever. He is presently inbound to Mary’s as I prepare to somehow ride more miles, and hopefully shit beforehand. The poop happens, the miles are a little harder.
Some brief cordials later and we are back on that non motorized trail life; Chad and Kara and Damon speed ahead and I cruise along in the back with my shirt off enjoying every square foot of environment. Se are now on the Erie Canalway Trail. Still part of the Empire Trail and also composed of smaller trails, like the Mohawk Hudson Trail. So technically I’m on three trails at once. Trail’ception. Chris Nolan call me I’ve got a sequel idea. I’ve rode this two years ago and I’m excited to experience in the opposite direction. First stop up is Schenectady.
I’m taking my wheels to Synecdoche, er Schenectady. Chads and English teacher so he helps me out here. Wheels: a part used to represent the whole of my bike; Synecdoche. Not to be confused with metonymy. So I’m fact I took more than my wheels here. Also, not to be confused with Synecdoche; New York. Shoutout to the ghost of Philip Seymour Hoffman. Whether I’m putting a part for a whole or a whole for a part, 25 miles later and I’m feeling much better now that I’m noshing on this pepper ham sammich with a ginger ale on the side. Yeah, Civitello’s way to get your Italian deli, complete with lush ivy decorated outdoor patio space.
Outfront of the supermarket Damon has a flat. He gets another like two miles up. It’s still pride month and I’m so proud of Damon as he repairs his own flats. It wasn’t long ago when he had zero ability to do that. Secretly though, I’m wondering if any of the other deadly sins are getting their own month this time around. December is probably just an unspoken Gluttony month already. I’m so exhausted I’m hoping July is Sloth month. Pretty please.
Freshly fueled up, we smoke it to Amsterdam. That’s a goddamn lie. I am the tortoise, moving slowly. Finally I get back into a little groove. Mini Stella. 11 mph, shoutout to Th1rt3en on the playlist. Their entire album “A Magnificent Day For An Exorcism” gets me through the pain. It’s worth checking.
Ahm-Schtar-Dahm. Fun fact, I’ve now been to Amsterdam Netherlands and Amsterdam New York with all three of my ride companions: Kara, Damon, Chad. One two three. In the place to be. There’s a castle here but otherwise it doesn’t look like the Netherlands at all. No “coffee shops” (despite the mutually legal cannabis), no lovely public parks or art galleries, no sex workers doing what they do. We’re like the only ones on bicycles — so this must be New York. Meh. The tavern is the only thing open today, with a bulletin board full of Let’s Go Brandon stickers reminds me how non-international we are. This place wreaks of voting against your own self interest. It’s no wonder the knitwits out front like the new Top Gun, going on about it as Damon and I enjoy a refreshing beer.
Damon is still going, this dudes got little kid on the spectrum energy. “That Dunkin’ shit gets me lit, even when I have it early in the morning”, he proclaims to the group. He is ready to ride through the night. Chad is crabby. Crabby Chad. He didn’t sleep much and desperately needs to some rest. Sorely needed he says. Kara looks like I feel though she seems to be having an easier time than me. Either way 3 out of 4 agree, just another few miles left in the tank today. We push out another few miles along the Mohawk River as the sun is setting and find a nice little day use spot to set up camp. Pop up the penthouse, crush a peanut butter banana burrito and hit the hay. It’s a crisp cool night on the Mohawk River and I’m intending to sleep like a chief.