Day 18. 1,148 Miles. What Are You Doing This For?

I’m sitting in the combination Target Grocery and Starbucks, sipping a $6 coffee. Worth it, maybe. I didn’t even realize Target had groceries. I just need a few items for today. Another 70 miles of hills and few on-route services, at least the first 50 miles of it. Leads me to sitting on this quiet and clean handicapped tar jzay crapper, comfortably contemplating all the mind time presented to me on this ride. Thinking of the really deep and profound things in my life. Like why, sometimes, does a small poop feel like a big one — or a big one feel like a small one? Feel me? Smell me? These are the serious topics of the day.

I overhear the new Target girl getting trained. Like orientated to the job, get your mind out of the gutter. The kids don’t even call that that anymore. It’s just now know as Tuesday. Can we put the word that twice in a row anymore? Abe Lincoln did it. Gimme five and I got five on it. Back in the world of not pooping, the Target dude showing the newbie the ropes let’s her know it’s break time. He says “have a good fifteen”. That right there is the state of labor in America. Modern day slavery. Work a full time job and still can’t afford the cost of living? At least you can enjoy 900 second a of break time while the rich get richer off our sweat and hard work. Boomers and Gen X’ers alike chide millennials and Zs over their disinterest in participating in such a system, calling them lazy or whatever. Avocado toast mortgage crap. Get it straight: Shit is not the same. It’s like it never had been. Work used to be a thing. Providing security. Roof and bread shit ad least. Working today vs working 20 years ago is apples to oranges. Apples to PCs. The rent is too damn high. For fucks sake, bread eggs and milk are too damn high. Breakfast is twenty dollars a plate. Wages are too damn low. Job security is nonexistent. The word Labor should evoke images of organized workers happily being productive, earning a decent living and taking pride in their jobs. Collectively bargaining. Instead it simply a meek symbol of a state of modern day slavery. I said it, I meant it. I will continue to mean it. I roll out before it start a riot.

Back on the road, it’s more farms. More hills. And more hills. Grueling. Bike C3PO gets the climbs right. But not the turns. I dunno. The sounds it makes are really R2D2ish. I get a little tailwind for a bit too. And I am back to shorts by noon. Destination is Alexandria, so I have lots of miles still ahead of me.

Everything can be out of nowhere at 7 mph. Out of nowhere Bills Mafia. I refer to this phenomena as “the diaspora”. It extends and lives beyond the game of football. After 50 or so miles of back roads, it’s bike trail the rest of the way. Yay.

I try to verbally paint a colorful picture on this site. Like how this section of the George Washington Mount Vernon Trail has hella root bumps everywhere right now. Slowing me down. And how the rain is letting up and the lightning appears to have passed. I’m wet. It’s not at all poetic though. I exist off singular ingredient food items. Bananas. Seed and nut and fruit trail mix. Peanut butter (when I can get it just “natural” peanuts). I’ve forgone even the tortilla — the greatest culinary vessel in human development — squeezing peanut butter out of the soft squeeze thing it now comes in right onto a half peeled nana and NOM NOM. Soaked through, except for my feet, luckily. My hair and nails are a mess. It’s not a good sight. The green lush shores of the Potomac River are though. They provide me all the coloring I need today. M

Money earnin’ Mount Vernon!

Miles earlier, in the diminishing rain, I’m at a red light on a section of trail parallel to this George Washington memorial highway. Gross. Georgie is probably rolling over. He rode a horse over 60 miles along this trail. At least that’s what the historic signage tells me. Point is – if our first president didn’t rely on motor vehicles, then why should we? What, do you hate America or something?! My internal rage against the machine is quenched when a woman also stopped in the rain at a red light, roll down her car window and offers me a bottle of water. (Look at me using italics incorrectly.) I decline, as I am indeed good and don’t need that weight on me lady. Barb.. yeah let’s get with Barb. Later, like right now, at the next red light, here’s Barb again… asking me “do why are you doing this?”. I’m my head I’m like “damn I just put this broadly on the interwebs”, yet now – in the rain – I shrug emoji and reply, “Health and Fun?”

The root bumps slow me down. They suck. I pray to the spike gods I don’t pop a wheel on a one during a downhill. Brakes ready. Spring Brake 4 No 1. Miles ahead my longtime homie G (short for Geoff) has convinced his wife and baby I’m not a murderer and has offered up some to space to crash tonight. We met almost twenty years ago on Warped Tour and have some catching up to do. My homie Jenni wants to catch up too, we met randomly as fuck in the middle of Myanmar 8 years ago now. I push on.

My hamstrings are damn near hammers at this point. Even autocorrect knows this, man.

The traffic through Alexandria slows me down. The sun is getting low. Shoutout to the separated bike facilities all through Virginia. DC and Maryland have it too. The whole DMV, which strikes me as strange. Maybe it’s irony. I dunno. I arrive. I get to catch up with both old friends and with only a few miles left into the nations capital. Event horizon.

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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