Day 6. 394 Miles. Holiday, Rode.

Poop poop and more poop. I shit you not. It’s a flow in’. A regular scheisse-fest here in room 110. Plus farts and burps, even Kara and Damon join in. Damn near a hazardous materials incident right about now, funk soul brother. Just uttering hazmat makes me think of my job back home. I shudder at the thought. Todays my day on duty at work; a dedicated day off mindset helps me resist extraneous practical joke texts from my lieutenant during breakfast. I resolve to continue along my vacation trajectory. Holiday Ro-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oooooh.

Speaking of breakfast, Lindsey Buckingham, breakfast is amaze-balls as all fuck. Let me count the ways I break the fast: make your own waffles, tricked out oatmeal, egg frittatas, thin bacon, French toast sticks, apples, oranges, bagels, muffins, juice and coffee. Hell to the yes. Iftar level 12, the mountain has come to Muhammad. I am the fat fuck, replenishing all the calories. Going in on piles of bacon. Not so Muhammad now huh? So much for losing weight on this ride. Maybe next time. We spy a couple folks walking their loading touring bikes out of the lobby and actually get up to inquire. Well, I spy them and Damon and Kara actually get up and walk over. I keep fat kidding. Then do I join a minute into the convo. They’re Canadians, riding Buffalo to NYC. They balk at my claim that it’s like Buffalo. Meh. We share trail tips, and keep on while they are clearly trying to leave. Then someone else come and asks them questions. I am now some sort of Lester and have inspire a Lesterfest. Fuck.

Pack up and on our 2 mile pilgrimage to The Mecca that is Walmart — who doesn’t pay me — I pray the spoke gods absolve us of our sins of Lesterdom. Ah the Wal Mart. Wally World for those that speak Chevy Chase. Damon and Kara just wanna robustly shop for god knows what. Anything really. Probably vegan ice cream or inflatable pillows. I kinda suspect Damon has gotta be a global street marketing exec for corporations across America, they way he rides for these large chains. I should say American corporations based in whatever the best country for tax and human rights loopholes is. He loves Walmart as much as DD. He’s happy it has “everything”. No bike mechanic, though. REI is a coop. Just saying. Kara returns, she literally looked for and finds no inflatable pillow. Compared to other Walmarts I’ve seen, it has a lot of shit. Maybe the selection is higher but the layout and signage is lacking. The spacing. Padding. I dunno. I’m unimpressed. I do grab a Bluetooth speaker for $15. Mine is dead. Yesterdays entry was almost entitled “the day the music died”. I’m happy with my purchase. Walmart saved hard me once I’m Ticonderoga in 2005 and I appreciate the whatever-stage capitalism efforts of the Walton family. For now. Damon says “it is what it is”. I hate it. I hate that phrase. Stop wasting oxygen. I coax him into more meaningful words. We’re having the long discussion. Long distance discussions. Shit that could save the world, or ruin it. I feel like we’re back on the 3000+ mile ride from Pacific to Atlantic, debating the most trivial of points for no good reason other than to do it.

A brief break and I remove my front brake. There, they’re, their. Some sort of hot spot or bent rotor; causing resistance and clicking and vibration, plus the sound has been driving me nuts. Also there’s a steering wheel in my pants. No front brake though, at least til Syracuse. It makes all the difference and I finally hit cruising altitude in the good ole Raleigh Sojourn. Clark Griswold would be proud.

Contrary to the lies my teacher told me only some roads go to Rome and the Erie Canal bike trail diverts from the Erie Canal and goes right through it. On motor vehicular roads which are poorly signed for the “Empire Trail”. Horribly signed in fact, Howard Zinn. I suspect all that trail money got spent up between Albany and New York City. Buffalo’s end of it got corrupted away via the 16 year fiasco we call reliable elected leadership. We resist the typical onslaught; country home cafes, Eddie’s (or someone’s) Diner, hipster noodle joint… Damon is convinced something is gonna be named after the coliseum. We’re cruising out and there it is — no whomp needed — Coliseum Pizza. We nail the dismount and trek forward, toward the return of the stone paths and Carie’s

I’ve officially formally absolutely hit that zone. Quickly in fact. That good-good, I-was-born-to-keep-riding forever vibe. It sometimes takes a week for me. Today is a holiday for real. I move along in union with the natural world, like my man Al B Sure, I’m In Effect Mode. And yes, I used to have crush on Dawn from En Vogue. Harmonious. Thelonius. Miles pile up and we push, 10, 20, 30 out like the fully loaded two wheeled champs we are.

A few hours of daylight remain and we make Green Lake State Park. It’s the bees knees. Or the cat pajamas. Something that sounds cool but doesn’t actually exist. I guess. This exists. We check in at the office and make tracks down to the beach. I hit the water for refreshment — for about 90 seconds — then I hear “ladies and gentleman, it is 7pm and the water is now closed, please leave the beach area”. What the fuck? Kara is knee high and dives in. Damon is still at the shore and throws his hands up in surrender. I definitely have to be “sir’d” by the lifeguard with the giant cone thing. How does water “close”? I’m happy to have gotten that little dip in, and the shower which ensues.

We begrudgingly hit the campground and have the privilege of setting up our tents next to a loud ass RV running its generator— great. What the actual fuck? This cannot stand, dude. Other campers eyeball us. Only one approaches. We’re entering a world of pain. Let’s call him Mark. He looks like a mark ass mark. Mark has questions and Mark also has statements. Mark likes to talk. He talks. He comes back and talks. He sees me heading to the shower and talks. Finally I ask him for a beer. He stops back over with a couple PBR and talks some more. He owns a bike shop and loves bike touring this he doesn’t do it much. He loves talking. Trying to get tandem bike riding ironed out with m his wife and himself. Marks a nice guy, thanks for the beer mark, next time be true to your name. If you’re gonna be so chatty, make it Maker’s Mark, Mark.

The palaces are popped up and just as we start to wind down the generators shit down. Silence! Enjoy it Depeche Mode. We abandon all notions of a fire and a late night hang and head in to catch some zzzzzzzzz.

About tonycaferro

Entrepreneur, Citizen, Marketeer, Fire Fighter / EMT, Bicycle-Tourist, Booking Agent, Youth Mentor, Activist, Agitator, Coffee Addict, Foodie, Social Media Nerd, Amateur Film Critic, Son, Brother, Uncle & Rust Belt Representative. Follow me on Twitter @dtr45
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