It’s a cool, quiet morning at Robert’s place. There’s coffee already made. I am sore as fuck, and there’s some left hamstring twinginess that clearly has persisted. I didn’t notice any specific injury in the last three days, though I’m realizing that each of my last five days consisted of: 3 mile run, 3 mile run, 2 mile run + 30+ ride, 70+ mile ride, 70+ mile ride. Which brings me back to this cool morning in Savanna Georgia, sipping black Folgers and slathering icy hot on the back of my leg. Popping ibuprofen like Boomers pop Lisinopril; like Millennials pop Adderall, like, like Gen Z pops anything. Exactly and precisely 7 days prior to the commencement of my forty seventh rotational journey around the giant fiery ball known of our solar system. Find me a more complex way of stating birthday and I’ll admit that Kubrick likely didn’t direct the first moon landing. Maybe.
Robert and I chat on all things bike tour nerd stuff. Routes and such, specifically. Empire Trail. C&O/GAP, Katy, Natchez Trace. All the wondrous lovelies of long rides. Conversely he tells me that the bicycling north out of Savannah is a current hellhole of suck, so I might take him up on a offering a lift to skip the first few miles of suburbia, construction and lack of shoulder. Maybe they’re building a separated bicycle trail? Meh. I leave all of my baggage and bike behind and get ready to head out on foot. I thank him again, explaining I just plan to walk and relax and read and use my mind to heal my body, to which — in his thick southern accent — he simply replies “the power of positive thinking”, to which I equi-simplistically affirm, “exactly”.
People and walking and squares oh my. Squares everywhere. This city is certainly amongst – if not the most walkable in the US&A, at least the historic core of it. A nice chunk of square mileage. Thanks King George? Am I right? Nope, Oglethorpe is the OG. More later. Now. Right now. It’s little parks every other block, connected by pedestrian only streets and this is all before even getting to the ubiquitous riverwalk. I’m like the Count of this foot thing: one mile, two miles, three miles, four. This is as much like a European level of urban chill and streets-for-people as I’ve seen. It reminds me of good old Barcelona. Real name Bar-they-lone-uh. I’m now deeming this place Thavannah. Kinda like Havana. Rhyme time. Maybe a little NOLA. Damn I’m drawing urban area mental threads everywhere as I wander around, liberated from the chains of navigation or care. And wind. Free to explore the more hidden parts of my brain tissues. I’ve been to something like 120 cities worldwide and most major ones domestically; this is my first time exploring this one. This is not just a new city for me, it’s a new situation. I’ve taken very few zero days in cities on long rides and none in one I have never been to and to actually recover. A vacation within a bike ride that is a vacation. It’s a god damn holiday inception. My focus and pecan pie is disrupted by a fire engine followed by an ambulance. I wonder if it’s the day shift back home. Then I realize that I don’t even know what day it is. Fuck it all. And I’m fine with the cerebral retirement, even if it’s only temporary.
There are 22 squares still in use today. The original four squares of Savannah date to 1733 and were a distinctive part of James Oglethorpe’s plan for the city. Eventually squares were located in the center of each of the city’s 24 neighborhoods or “wards.” The foresight of Oglethorpe’s design continues to provide an extraordinary example of how public space provides a timeless and lasting amenity to a community. Very much used and beloved, the squares are essentially public “living rooms”. This segment and the entirety of it all warms my cold heart. The whole thing was done to create a classless agrarian society. Oglethorpe believed that if only they were granted a degree of opportunity, the country’s “worthy poor” would evoke into successful farmers, businesses, and skilled workers. In order to prevent the growth of divisions, all settlers would work their own plots of land, and both slavery and large landholdings would be forbidden.
6 or 7 meandering by foot miles in, I make it down to the Savannah, er Thavannah River, just in time for a massive cargo freight ship to blow its horn. Fuck these fishing yachts, riverboats, cruse ships and what not — the Zim Bangkok is the hot ticket. Let’s I forget the most baller ass part — the tugboats doing they’re thug thizzle. It amazes me. The Jack T Moran and the Cooper Moran respectively. I’m walking by thinking about all the crap in all those cargo containers. Things people got on Amazon a month ago probably. A nautilus photo shoot ensues. It’s totally hawt. So hawt. These boats really know how to work the camera. Real professional vessels. I walk on and overhear a woman with her husband and kids “so many things have to be on there, probably some bodies”. She looks like a Sandra, and she probably watches a ton of true crime TV shows. I laugh out loud. She hears that I heard her and tries to apologize for being morbid – I let agree with her and love the perspective. “Yeah. Probably” Dead and alive I bet.
Positive thinking isn’t always about always everything roses always. Nothing is always. Everything is never. I sometimes focus on ways I can improve myself. That’s truly positive in the sense of the specific definition. Addition. I’ve always been good with a plus one or two. Big up!
I’ve gotta improve my cadence while riding. Especially on the rest of this ride. Relying more in the revolution than the force exerted by my legs. The wind hadn’t helped at all, I don’t have a gear for that and had little choice if I wanted to keep moving. My stretch game is gonna have to step up too. And I definitely need to pack less things, somehow, someway. More exi-mental-meta-physically, I meditate on the concept of “intellectual humanity” — recognizing that our reasoning is so flawed, so prone to bias, that we can rarely be certain that we are right. Mega meta my man. We don’t even know we’re wrong until we find out we are. Whenever we are in fact wrong, despite the fact that we’re actually in fact wrong the whole time, the feels of being wrong didn’t happen until we knew we were wrong. Until we find out. Mind fuck. I’m sure there’s a positive version of what I just said — sometimes to be positive you just gotta look at the negative I suppose. The empty space. There’s a TED Talk called “On Being Wrong”. I’m too lazy to link it. Look it up. It’s worth a google. How does it impact just what we see? Seeing someone or something or somewhere. All of it exists regardless right? Is it really there before we see it though? Are we experiencing or just creating reality? Maybe it’s all ancient aliens.
Still city walking. Aka hiking. Aka tramping in New Zealand. That’s my fave. I don’t need the forest or mountains to call it these words. There is truly a dedication to foot traffic. First. Even before bikes. And definitely before cars. That matters. It pisses me off that the word pedestrian now seems to come with a diminutive connotation. Somehow “ordinary” is the nicest version. Fuck that noise. Streets are for people. It’s peaceful and happy and the vibe is just right in everyone of these squares. Shout out to Bernard Rudosky and anyone in history who has ever laid a human city out in such a way that public places for people were prime purposes. Cities came before cars. We’d be better off if we had preserved that more in some of our more historic cities, mine included. Or put it back. Or made it brand new. I don’t giving a flying fuck how. If we are great then what else is there? Quality of life and livability are measurements we should put place a higher stock into — and just the ability to get up and out and around with ease is a big part of that. Simple Simon ain’t no rhymin.
Feeling much better after a day of chill. I’ve just got a few miles out toward the islands where my host Debbie is putting me up for my last night here. So much for a total zero day! I jump on the stallion of steel and my legs are screaming at me. And the rush hour traffic joins them. It’s a short haul yet of course I have a headwind and little to no shoulder to ride in. Another bridge. What the actual fuck. I survive. Meet Debbie. Fill my face with a shrimp salad. Shower. Settle into her couch and get ready to pass out hard, grateful that I continue to receipt the help of total strangers.
Love Thanvannah and love your take, cuz, but 47? Could ah swore you be 46. Do the math again, huh.
47th trip around. U do the math