Monday, November 03, 2008

route 80

how beautiful! a quiet mountain road lined with shady trees and a creek, traveled only by those who want to take the scenic route or live on the other words drivers are slow and cautious. we had the road to ourselves.  we winded around lake was a beautiful afternoon! i was listening to an ipod shuffle that raub had loaded with various artists and they were perfect for that ride, a wonderful soundtrack. he has an awesome talent for that. i was getting carried away with daydreaming and life...grinning from ear to ear. the road twisted left and right and started to get a bit hilly. we thought no big deal. the span of the 80 we had to travel was only 12 miles. easy! the hill started getting steeper. flat tires. breaks were happening more often. we were bored of the food we had with can only eat so much peanut butter. we were getting slower. the fog started rolling in as we neared the top. the sun started to go down. we were still about 3 miles from where we were supposed to pick up the blue ridge parkway. frustration set in for all of us. i was exhausted. no longer was i feeling daydreamy or grinning. raub seemed to enjoy the hill. i couldn't stand it. i hate going slow on my bike. i think kurt just wanted to get it over with. we were all excited about riding the blue ridge parkway and anticipating asheville, people from everywhere were sure that is was going to be the best of the trip. all we had to do was get to the top of this darn mountain...we had measured the miles but paid no attention to the altitude we had to climb...2000 ft. yes! TWO-THOUSAND! we somehow managed to reach the top and guess what! the blue ridge parkway was closed. no explanation. just a sign. it was so dark and so foggy. we were nearly out of water. we knew there was a nearby campground in which to stay for the evening. we needed the facilities. while searching for the campground kurt's spoke broke. we were getting cold and had no idea of what the terrain was going to be like because we couldn't see. the campground was only 4 miles away. that could take all night at the pace we were going. we started to feel a bit of a panic and decided that if a car was to pass that we would flag them down for information. we had a lot of questions...why is the parkway closed? what is the terrain like between here and the campground? where could we find water? is there a store for food nearby? it had been a while since we had seen a car and because it was late weren't sure if we would see one for a while. raub and i sat on the side of the road and tried to make a plan while kurt fixed his bike. we weren't sure if we had to go back down the 80. we had spent all day climmbing this darn mountain and we might have to go back down. it was unnerving. we weren't even sure if it would be safe to ride down because of the weight in our trailers. they could easily push us out of control. just before we started to realy freak out, we noticed headlights of a car approaching. raub and i quickly jumped to our feet and flagged down the car. the small suv slowed to a stop just beside raub. he greeted them in his friendly way but it took them a peculiar amount of time to roll down their window and when the gentleman driver did, he only rolled it down a little less than halfway. we were thrown off by this as everyone we had encountered so far was extremely friendly and helpful. it seemed as though they were affraid of us. raub gave them a rundown of our situation to which they were shocked and appalled that we even had the idea to travel the area on bicycle. it was quite a while before we were able to get any information from them. the gentleman was a joker, asking about our herritage, the story of raub's name, how beautiful i was and possibly the other woman in our group...hahaha...which was kurt in the dark fixing his bike. we corrected him and he finally gave us some information...DO NOT TRAVEL ON THE BLUE RIDGE PARKWAY. IT WOULD BE A GRAVE MISTAKE! he was adamant. he said we would have to go back down the 80. he kept repeating it, assured us that is was a short, not too steep ride to the campground for the night and if there was an emergency, an emergency only, we could ride to his house for help. he gave us directions, warned us again about the blue ridge parkway and drove off. yikes! here we were in the dark cold fog on top of a mountain in north carolina with a broken bike and low spirits about what tomorrow had in store for us. we slowly rode to a rest stop we found before the campground. it had a bathroom and water, that's all that we needed. we set up camp and went to sleep for the first time feeling a little defeated.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Disassembling camp the morning after we left Chapel Hill, bike/trailer shot, kurt and raub pose our neck warmers.

Raub at Eaglewins Farm, Chapel Hill

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Eaglewing Farms, Chapel Hill scenes:
Raub edits new tape work in the studio, felt battery playing, kurt playing

one of our camps in the morning, side of the road break in NC, Raub tapes sunglasses to his helmet, can't understand what's so funny about it.... realizes now that it LOOKS funny.

We rode bikes, played music. A lot.

Before I move on, i'd like to recognize that these posts are of no
little stature, and I figure those of you inclined to read them might
like a break from the excess, and with that, I refer to a "lost" day,
when we rode bikes, played a show, ate, slept, and was unmemorable
enough to be wholly discounted thus far... Until now. Hope I didn't
just bore the ____ out of ya, but that's what'd be like without the
stuffing. Siiit.

Sent from my iPod

Friday, September 26, 2008

Journeys to Asheville

We hung around eaglewing farms until early afternoon on Sunday,
organizing and rearranging our stuff, patching old tubes, and planning
our routes for the next couple legs of the journey... One of which,
charlotte, was decided to be a waste of our time within an hour of our
planning our route to it.. No show lined up, and an extra days riding
when we could put some of that extra time into getting to Asheville,
which is nestled 3000 feet up the appalacian mountains, and which,
while we still didn't have a show there (we'd thought we did, but in
Norfolk found out that the people who ran the place hadn't really
committed ever and now couldn't do it), we had contacts working on
getting us one so it seemed like more of a destination.
We headed to a bike shop in downtown chapel hill for some new brake
pads for Dianne, and a trailer tire tube for me, though when we got
there, new handlebar tape seemed like a good idea to get as well (my
$8 tape had fallen off around Richmond and I was using zip-away pant
legs to pad my grip) so we got those, and a tire pressure gauge,
which, when the old pump had broken after the exploding tires of
Williamsburg incident, our replacement did not include one of... My
Mom bankrolled all of this as we were getting low on funds, and any
more would be awhile in coming, thanks mom!
One of the mechanics at the bike shop had done and blogged a bike tour
too, and I keep meaning to vheckbit out, perhaps when I get home! I
think it was "".... Someone check that, see how
it is...!
We set out only to stop again at a co-op for awhile before really
setting out in earnest, getting a good ways out of the city before
finding a nice big field to camp in for the night... Dianne and I had
an utterly flavorless bean and corn with tortilla dinner... Always
pack spices!
Honestly, the next week was a little all mixed together in my memory,
as it was just riding from Monday to Friday, and though there was
stuff to break it up, I may get some of the timeline wrong, ok?

Monday, sept 8:
We headed up the road for not too long before we all noticed a sign
for good homemade breakfast around the corner, a mile down the road...
I was dissappointed to take note of it's Thursday through Sunday
hours, but apparently nobody else noticed because a minute later we
had turned down the road the place was on.. I asked kurt if this was
our route, and he responded curtly that it was "the road we're on."..
Hmm. maybe this was also just the way to go, I didn't exactly know,
and we were sort of taking turns navigating, the navigators decisions
having bren deemed best left unchallenged, lest the apparition of
bickering or the spectre of second guessing get into the fray.. Kurt's
response was a little flip, then, being the navigator and finding his
choice questioned, not to mention the before coffeeness of the whole
When we arrived at the cafe only to find it closed, of course, I took
my turn at being curt by grumbling that if anyone had taken a second
to mention to me that we were going to this closed cafe, I could have
spent my time more wisely heading up the street to an open
establishment... flipped my bike around and took off to do exactly
that.. Yes, things sometimes got tense! This tension would lurk We had
gas station coffee and cereal that morning at a weird place; they had
3 computers on a long card table, under a sign that advertised
"Internet cafe", though as we started signing into our gmail accounts,
the attendant came over and took the keyboards away from us (!)
explaining that it was only for gambling! He was kind of a lame dude,
and forfeited his chance to win any kind of gas station advertisment
in our blog... In fact, don't go to any gas station, they're probably
out of gas anyways!
A couple hours down the road we loaded up on canned food from an
extreme discount store, lots of expired stuff for 25 cents.. We bought
enough stuff for the next two days... Cheap but heavy!
Around now, I noticed that with the welting ant bites from Greenville
was a curious double welt that seemed to be a little grosser than the
rest, which kurt identified as to most likely be poison ivy, ugh!
We had a pretty tough time finding camping that night, eventually
finding a clearing in a dank forest up a steep, pricker bush laden
embankment, as usual, on the side of the road... We had to disconnect
all the trailers and hand everything up one by one, this embankment
was so steep! This dank a forest, we usually would refer to as
yodaville, after yoda's thickly forested home planet, and wouldn't
camp in, but it seemed to be the thinnest of the many yodavillages
we'd encountered that night already, and we took it!

Tuesday, sept 9:
Kurt had packed his tent away before we were even really out of ours,
and announced that he was going ahead to find coffee, would stop at
the first obvious spot, but if it seemed too far, would turn around
and come back, ok? Ok, see ya soon. The weird poison ivy welt had
turned into a giant bubble overnight and combined with the sort of
decomposing creepiness of the forest, got us going really fast! Once
we got pedaling, it seemed like a while before we finally got to a
town and that perhaps kurt should've turned around, especially since
we have a tendency to get flat tires first thing in the morning, and
he was the patch kit carrier, but maybe it just seemed long, it being
first thing in the morning, before coffee even!
We rolled through the little town expecting to see kurt's bike in the
gas station parking lot, and not finding it there, looked for an
obvious second choice, perhaps a bakery was around, but there sure
wasn't! Wondering whether he had just continued on, or where kurt may
be at all seemed like a useless task, and we thought to just stay
where we were, so we got gas station coffee, but in doing so, became
even more confused as the attendant said he'd just seen another
cyclist with a big yellow trailer pass through not ten minutes before!
Why wouldn't he have stopped!?! He always took the first available
option for morning coffee, never trying to hold out for something
better than convenience store quality, for example... I had noticed
the police station across the way, and decided to ask them to tell him
where we were, if they happened across him in their patrol.. The woman
at the desk also verified that she saw him to through about 15 minutes
before, his yellow (it's rainbow, but certainly has it's fair share of
yellow) bike and trailer having caught her eye, in any case, she'd
call the patrolman. "thanks.", I said to her.
Several minutes later, eating cereal in front of the gas station, and
staring at the point up the road where kurt would be coming in from,
we were startled by a hissing sound from behind us... It was kurt!
Turned out, there had been a little downtown off on a road to the left
just after where we camped, and he had left a note for us on a sign
that said he'd gone that way, though we never saw it, of course! It
then took him even longer, as he went back up to the campsite to see
if we were stuck there before proceeding along! Weirdly, both the gas
station attendant and the policewoman must'v seen me (but not Dianne)
as we were going through town looking for kurt in the first place, and
in the policewomans case, mistaking my blue and silver bike for a
yellow one! It's now that I'd like to say that this actually
corresponds with a rule of thumb we'd started going by, which was
called "never trust anybody", and referred to a recurring event that
we had come to rely on and hasn't failed us yet, really, which was
that whenever we asked someone in a town for information, they'd be
sure to give us the completely wrong advice, which we'd only figure
out after taking it... For example, several times we'd asked for a
recommendation on where to eat in a town, and would hear that there
was but one fast food place (see Williamsburg, but lots of otther
times too) and after having something there, right down the road would
be a plethora of interesting, local eateries! Or saying to avoid a bad
part of town by taking some out of the way route, but we'd get lost
and go the easy, bad part of town way anyway, only to find that it
isn't that bad, just a little crummy maybe! Or the COUNTLESS times
someone has told us that we can't do some particular route on our
bikes, and again, it turns out to be a regular road (this one is a
little different, but helped secure in our collective mind that no one
was to be trusted for correct information) anyways, you get the point!
Before we continued riding, my bubble of poison ivy (which we later
realized to have been a nasty spider bite) had to be dealt with, which
made me feel queasy to think about, and shan't get into the details of
here, suffice to say there's still a giant scab there now, more than 2
weeks later! hour or so down the road dianne and kurt got ahead of me and
stopped to use the bathroom at a crossroads where we switched routes,
apparently each thinking the other would see me and stop me from
passing, but neither did, nor did I notice their bikes, and kept on
riding, wondering to myself why they hadn't waited at the the route
changeover, which was standard practice at this point... Basically at
this point I became indignant at their not waiting and that grew more
and more as I rode along, never catching up to them... Eventually
stopping, calling Dianne's cell phone, and discovering that I had
passed them, at which point I stopped and 15 minutes later along they
came! We lucked out with camping that night, basically just finding a
lovely clearing in an otherwise dense forest, with a thick bed of loam
under the pine needles... A rare delight that I would take over a fine
mattress any night!

Thursday, sept 11: we began this day in fine spirits, as I recall...
Good weather for riding, a little overcast but not raining.. Went a
couple hours in the morning before kurt noticed that his brake pads
had worn to the metal, I belive... Not too long after that, we came
into a town, that I now forget the name of... Maybe hickory? If you
felt like knowing, it'd be about 70 miles east of ashville on rt 70...
Anyways, we came into the strip mall section of town, where we noticed
a bike shop tucked away behind a mattress store and some other
incongrueties... Which I only say because bike shops are usually found
in the main downtown, not off a highway that only long distance riders
would want to be on.. So incongruency of location, but I guess the
mattress store must've seemed weird to me at the time too, or why else
would I have mentioned it? This may, to the shrewd reader, seem like a
bit if foreshadowing, but is in fact not... Just a ramble that I can
get away with as I have no editor to submit to.
We went to the bike shop.
In the driveway of the bikeshop, my bike started making a funny
clattering sound... Something caught in the back wheel? No, a broken
spoke! Probably the extra bit of weight from a (recently migrated from
trailer to pannier) large Gatorade bottle of backup water had been
just a little too much.. Also we later realized that our new crummy
pump had only gotten my rear tire to about 70psi, a whopping 30 under
it's max pressure... Putting more strain on the wheel, and this the
spokes... Oh well,
What better place to happen than in a bike shop driveway? Oh, how
about a bike shop driveway that has your spoke size? That would be
better, yeah... He also didn't have the right brake pads for kurt's
bike in stock, but actually took them off of his own bike and gave
them for free, so howabout that?!? He told us how to get to another
bike shop in town, about 3 miles away, downtown, called Clark's... As
we rode out of the driveway, the rain arrived in force.. So much so
that, almost to the bike shop a bit later, we encountered shin deep
flooding and the kind of wind that pushes your eyelids, nostrils, and
mouth all the way open if you let it hit you face on... We walked our
bikes the rest of the way! There's an orange soil in north Carolina,
and as it washed away, rivers of bright orange traverled down the road
with us.
Clark's appeared to be closed, just a sign on the side of the building
and a big ummsrked, closed metal door... But lo! It opened, and after
a breif period of their not being able to get to it for a few days at
least, and after hearing of our adventure (we only brought my bike in,
the trailers are a dead giveaway usually... Without them in sight,
we're just weird cyclists who've chosen the rainiest ever day to want
our bike fixed!) they took a look at the spoke, looked for a new
spoke that would fit, and, not finding one, called the next bike shop
on our route, in Glen Alpine, about 20mi along, and they could make
the spoke, we'll be along soon, we said! The fellow who helped me
there was the only person we ran into who seemed to know of what I
meant when I said I play electro-acoustic music, excellent!
We wanted a coffee before heading out, and had that, some chili, and
kind of warmed up and waited out the rain... We also found the bike
shop in glen alpine to be closing far before we'd be able to get
there.. We said we'd be there upon their opening in the morning,
though that wouldn't be until 11, which meant we'd only be able to
travel another 20 miles instead of the 50 we would have hoped to by
the next noon... Hmmm, looked like we'd have (yet another) late night
At this point, we split up while kurt went back to the first bike shop
to retrieve a left behind metal water bottle, and we continued at a
slightly slow pace, though kurt was sure to catch up sooner than
later, as he's just that fast!
Along the way, we were excited to see a sign; "Asheville 60mi"!! A
whopping 50 miles less than we had (mis)calculated!
When kurt caught up, he had seen the sign too, and we all relaxed
about our 11 o'clock bike appointment, as we could easily make it
before Friday...
We got to within 5 miles of glen alpine where there were some stores,
kurt got some nice wool socks, and we went camp hunting... Quickly
finding the North Carolina School for the Deaf to be an excellent
choice, plopping down in the front yard semi-obscured by a single tree
and little else, but sure the rainy weather would keep peoples eyes on
their studies... Which I guess panned out well for us as we slept in
until about 9am, and weren't bothered by campus security or anything...
We made for the bike shop, stopping along the way at a most inviting
little farm stand where the woman who owned it gave us free peaches,
banannas, and Scuppernong grapes... North carolina's official fruit,
and a tasty one at that, though they each have 3 or more seeds that
must be navigated...
The bike store was allegedly right up the road from the fruit stand,
but we climbed hill after hill expecting to descend into a downtown
each time, but never seeing sign of it.. We traveled to a very small
gas station where we stopped and called the bike store, who somewhat
grumpily informed us that we had gone 5 miles too far... That the
downtown was off to the right a bit, not right on the main road which
is what we thought we had been told...
After considerations, we decided to forge ahead and hope for another
bike shop to appear instead of backtracking over all those hills...
Over a break at a terribly greasy diner, a fellow suggested that we
not take 70 all the way in, but take a route a little north west of
Asheville to the blue ridge parkway, which he said was actually pretty
flat once you got up to it, and the 70 turns into a busy highway for
several miles, apparently... Looked like we had a new route!
An hour or so later, we entered the town of Marin, which after being
dissappointed to hear had no bike shop, were relieved to find that our
dictum to never trust anybody came to our rescue when we of course
found that it did have one, and I took off to get my spoke fixed (only
$10!) while kurt and Dianne hung at a cafe... In short order, we were
tip top and on the road again... Within another 20 minutes, we turned
onto rt 80, which climbs 3300 feet in it's 12 mile span...

Sent from my iPod

Monday, September 22, 2008

Chapel Hill

On the morning of the 5th, the wind was already getting a little
blustery, and it looked like rain would soon be with us soon.. The
tail of hurricaine gustav wagging a little less, but still enough to
kinda hurt your leg.. If you'll excuse the metaphor.
Weirdly, though we knew we had a good ways to go that day, we let
ourselves drag and lag - we stopped for breakfast next to a pond that
had a gigantic wide mouth bass right at the edge that we had first
mistaken for a snapping turtle on it's side, we stopped for coffee and
Internet, a Buffett, and having only covered a third of what we were
supposed to so as the late afternoon grew dark and started to rain in
earnest, we stopped one more time at an Amish furniture store that was
outside under a pavillion between two barns... We took this stop just
so I could get out of my soaked socks, but there were no salespeople
out and we had soon made ourselves at home, pulling chairs and tables
together to make a little living room, chatting about how ridiculous
it was to be relaxing all day instead of trying to beat the pending
..Dianne soon brought out the map (she's been the map mamager and
senior navigator for the majority of the trip) and was pouring over it
when she doscovered that we were closer to our destination than we
thought, it being maybe 15 miles less than we thought! While she was
discovering this, I had taken to recording the assortment of wind
chimes that were on display, on my tape recorders... Having gotten
tired of the assorted beeps I had prepared the tapes with at the very
beginning of the trip, I had tried recording some sounds from my iPod
to them as a replacement, but the tape players reproduced their detail
poorly, with constant distortion (the reason for using clean, simple
beeps in the first place) and I had now no useable sounds for them!
The wind chimes seemed like they might ne a bit cliché or cheesy, and
would have traffic noise in the in them, but anything would be better
than just distortion... And there was a dissonance to the chimes that
was more appealing than the usual 4 notes that all go along all too
well of a single chime set... Both kurt and I, upon listening back to
the recordings after a moment, got really excited, and started talking
about ways to process them if we had a computer, and how nice some
creative removal of the traffic noise might bring out the harmonics
of the chimes and other unforseen sounds... But back to that in a bit!
Where was I? Oh yes, ..."the princess buttercup leaned against the
castle wall, fatigued from her endeavor, when a slow but sure shift in
her skull told her she'd have little time to spare if she was to make
it to the safe room that night before she became her evil husband, the
King of Disturbia, again..." oops, I got ahead of myself in the story!
Forget that stuff for now, please!
We left our Amish livingroom away from Amish livingroom and set out to
tear up the last 25 miles of pavement before safety... Which we
achieved about 15 miles of before being pulled over by a policeman who
claimed that he had recieved complaints about our being hard to see in
the rain, which I think he made up, but we told him we were getting
off the main street and going down a backroad to our destination,
which we would be at soon, which he accepted (not to mention that
we're all adorned with multiple blinking red lights and headlights)
and let us go.
About 8 miles south of chapel hill we crossed lake on a long bridge,
and the wind, warmer than usual, hinted at the closeness if the storm...
...we pulled into eaglewing farms at about midnight, mike greeted us
and we soon realized him to be a kindred spirit and fell into easy
conversation for awhile before bed.. And showers! This was the last
time I shaved, and we were without another shower until we got to
Athens almost 2 weeks later, and one of us skipped that one and is
still ripening! Though for the record, the term "ripening" actually is
more icky than any hygenic defeciencies any of us have had! About an
hour after arriving, the winds finally revealed their full force and
howled until the dawn...
We woke late (Yaay!) and Mike and Abby had made coffee, and fixed up a
large pot of oatmeal with brown sugar and currants, yum! With the sun
cimpng out and the day coming into it's own, fears that our (outdoor)
show may be rained out disissipated and we all took to our own
pleasures; kurt riding his bike (no trailer though!) into town and
exploring, eventually returning with new mint green handlebar tape,
Dianne read her book and lounged by turns, and I set about
transforming my chime recordings in mike's studio, eventually coming
up with a new set of tapes to use in our remaining shows! Mike and
Abby, both teachers, worked on school stuff for awhile and mime
eventually made a killer white bean and proscuitto stew for the show
that night! After I finished transferring my new sounds to the tape
recorders, Dianne and I went out to an adjacent field to fufill my
dream of eating grasshoppers, which were of supreme difficulty to
catch and keep! After some mild sucess with a giant mosquito net
draped over a large branch that we waved across the grass, I thought
to look up other suggested techniques on the Internet, which is where
we found out that one must leave caught hoppers overnight to allow
them to purge, as well as that some may spit blood to scare you, once
caught, and we gave up completely upon my reading that some species
have been known to bite humans! Instead of providing fried
grasshoppers for the party guests, we bought some cheap beer to share!
The people and other bands all started showing up around dusk, and
soon the first band, "felt battery" took to the stage and the duo who
make up the band played prepared guitar, nose whistle, kalimba, tent
stake, various pieces of iron and some looping pedals to create a
prarie drone that was accented well by the cicadia chorus that had
been everpresent all summer... Good stuff!
Kurt played after them, one of my favorite sets he'd done on the tour,
the amplification really allowing him to focus on microtonalities in
his sung notes as well as in the tone and texture of his voice, really
beautiful! A solo fellow called "secret boyfriend" did a noise/electro
set with singing through a mélange of pedals that Dianne enjoyed
immensly, claiming it as her favorite band she'd seen on tour yet!
Fourth up was matt bauer, a banjo playing singer with upright bass
and electric guitar backing him up.. They played bittersweet songs
with elaborate melodic interleavings, reminding me of iron and wine in
a way.
I played last, and the moisture still on the grass stretched my drums
out so the balloons only sang under close supervision, and I was
pretty sure the transducers were lost in the openness of the large
yard, but people seemed to like it and both Kurt and Dianne said that
I was wrong about the clarity of the sounds, kurt adding that he found
the new chime tapes very peacefull, ok!
After the show, the partygoers left and the overnighters bedded down
till the morning..,

Sent from my iPod

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Greenville st blvd

Greenville st blvd
Coming out of Norfolk, we followed route 17, I believe, south, along a
giant state park called "dismal swamp" where at one point, we heard
something in the bushes next to us for awhile, something that seemed
to be trying to run away from us, but at the same pace and in the same
direction as us.. Kurt thinks it was lots of frogs, Dianne thought it
to be deer, and I now suspect a team of timid mountain bikers was
startled out of their mid-swamp protein-gel break by us.
We crossed over into North Carolina late at night, and due to the
swampiness present, had a bit of a hard time finding a place to camp,
finally settling on the edge of a soybean field, something we normally
wouldn't do as farmers tend to wake early and be protective of their
crops... No need to worry though, woke and got on the road with no
trouble at all!
We stopped at the NC welcome center for water and found that there was
a bike path going in our direction for a few miles, ending in a
business route of rt 17, which would be safer... One of the ladies at
the welcome center took pictures of us as we headed onto the trail,
which they apparently wanted for a pamphlet, so look for us if you're
down there!
The trail was nice, and came out by a "convenience foods" mart, at
which we were shocked to see the counter woman smoking a cigarette in
the store! We then realized that there were ashtrays at all the little
tables and that smoking inside was the way of these parts... Really
surreal, coming from some of the most smoke-unfriendly parts of the
US, but something we'd have to accept for the next 2 weeks.
The ride that day was accentuated by tractor-trailers full of pigs and
chickens passing us periodically and giving off the most awful stench
and turning both Kurt and I off to meat for a couple days... Actually,
we ate at a barbeque Buffett the very next day, but who's counting?
We rolled onto Greenville around 4:30, immediately attracting the
attention of a cyclist who led us into town and told us the 2 places
we could look and maybe play an impromptu show; a cafe, and a wine
store... Turned out, the cafe was closed for just that day, andbyhe
wine store already had a hip-hop show booked... Plus, the downtown on
a whole was devoid of people, and a little depressing. We took a
siesta in the town park which sits along a river and soon realized
that we were barefoot on a nest of biting, welt-leaving ants! Ow! Kurt
escaped unscathed, but Dianne and I both looked like we had a special
chicken pox of the feet! Luckily, a few motrin did the trick and we
were able to enjoy a pizza dinner with ease! The college kids were
headed out towards the end of our stay, presumably to drink until the
wee morning hours, as many buildings we had taken for closed up
businesses, opened their doors around then (9:30ish) to reveal a
cascade of bars! A young group of freshmen, upon being asked to
confirm that we were headed for Greenville st, exclaimed "greenville
street boulevard?!!? That's really far from here!" ... We found
Greenville street around the corner, and indeed, Greenville boulevard
made an appearance miles down the road somewhere...
We took our nights rest a bit out of town behind a vetrinarians
office, just to the side of the dog run, as we discovered in the
That day we mostly just rode, not too many distractions on this
particular stretch of the American landscape, just flat, straight,
road... Got pretty boring after awhile, and about a week later, when
it started getting hilly again, we actually were quite relieved! That
night, I had Dianne snap a picture of our encampment, and in reviewing
the pictures, we couldn't help but notice the visage of a young woman
wearing a headband standing behind kurt's trailer! No one slept well
that night...
I believe that this was now the morning of September the 5th.. And at
this point we had begun getting storm warnings about the remnants of
hurricaine gustav, which was supposed to arrive in north Carolina
early in the morning on the 6th, so we were trying to get to chapel
hill that night...

Sent from my iPod

Thursday, September 18, 2008


Getting to Norfolk, like New London, one must traverse an inlet, and
again like New London, the only direct method is by car... That said,
I give you our Norfolk adventure:
Our ride there was marked by kurt buying a can of greens (creecy, if I
properly recall) and sardines for lunch, which turned into our staple
diet (tuna for Dianne and I - choona!) for most days of the trip when
gas stations were to be the most reliable source of food. It was also
marked by our collective missing of the plentiful and excellent ice
cream shops up north, which, to satisfy our ice cream hunger, we
decided to settle for ice cream sandwiches or Popsicles or whatever
the next gas station had... which turned out to be a freezer bin full
of freezer burned and completely fused together fudgesicles probably
from the 80's! We each dealt with our dissapointment in different
ways.. I chiseled away at a slightly less than completely messed up
fudgesicle, Dianne had a dr pepper and m&m's, and kurt got a can each
of pepsi and coke. mixed them together, and discovered the ultimate
cola - the sweetness of coke, but with the fizz of pepsi, perfect!
Before leaving, he also noticed an RC cola machine and had one of
those... He then became an expert on cola, who may be contacted at any
time of day to answer cola questions. His direct line is: "38^
We got to the Jamestown ferry (on bike, one must cross the james river
30 miles before the main (car only) bridge and go about 60 miles south
east to get to Norfolk) around 6, I think, and upon discovering that
it runs all night, decided to go into Williamsburg for food, which dan
friendly and some cyclists we met at our junk food stop had
recommended.. And was only a few miles down the road.
We rode directly into historic Williamsburg, which was very pretty,
but too expensive for us.. So Dianne went to ask a random store clerk
if there was another part of town that was less touristy where we
might find something more reasonably priced... Only a hamburger place,
according to the clerk... Hmmmm.
In disbelief, I try my luck, this time asking a waiter for the
location of a grocery store... "way down the road, past all the
mansions and then past all the hotels.. On your left." is what I got
out of him.
Seeing as it sounded like it'd be a trek to anywhere, we thought maybe
we'd just share an expensive pizza and hope for the best, but just
before doing that, I asked yet another woman (a hostess) how far to
the grocery store, which I was immediately informed would not be
walking distance, though once I pointed out that we were on bikes, she
told me that'd be "real easy, straight through 2 lights, on the left,
can't miss it.. No more than a mile" - no more than a mile?!?
Unwalkable? This place was weird!
So, imagine our suprise when, not a half mile from historic
Williamsburg, all sorts of regular eateries start popping up! I wonder
if employees of the historic district are sort of supposed to pretend
there isn't a present day district around... Perhaps to preserve the
illusion of historisism?
As we approached the grocery store, a sight of great beauty arrested
to us from across the street: "the wok'n'roll - Asian buffet"!!! We
discovered a Japanese, Mongolian, and Chinese buffet, all (wok'n')
rolled into one!
One hour later, we had all gorged ourselves silly, and had spent way
more money than we would've in the historic district (well, maybe..)!
We decided to not embarass ourselves by collapsing on the ground right
in the Buffett parking lot, but rather to gently ride it off on the
way back to the ferry.
An interesting thing happened at a gas station a few minutes later,
where I wanted to stop and see if I could get a shorter route to the
ferry; I walked in to find the counter woman on the phone, and not
wanting to inturrupt or make her feel rushed, I took a leisurely walk
around the store for a minute until she was off the phone, at which
point I asked, and recieved directions... I thanked her, and she asked
me if I was going to buy anything, to which I replied that "no, we had
a huge meal just now, but thanks" which got me looked up and down and
told that "you lied!"! I actually wasn't sure I heard her right (she
had a Chinese (I think) accent) so asked her what she said again now,
please? Again, "you lied", and pointed to the door.. I sort of thanked
her and left, confused... In explaining this to Dianne and Kurt
outside, we decided that she had only given me directions freely under
the presumption that I'd be buying something, and that she knew that I
knew this too, and took my initial walk around the store as a feigned
interest in a purchase, so that she'd give me directions! "I lied"
about my unspoken agreement to buy something, and so abused her
services! It wasn't until the next day, in retelling the story, that
someone pointed out that, considering the accent, she could well have
been saying "you ride" referring to the bicycles, wondering about our
I guess it's funny either way, which is why it made the cut..
Continuing, we were about halfway back to the ferry when suddenly, I
saw about a foot ahead of me a veritable pool of broken glass, which I
was only in the preliminary stages of gasping about as I rolled
through and heard my back tire hiss angrily at me as it deflated to
... Two hours later, we had patched it, plus tried a couple more
tubes, all of which had exploded in our faces. Exhausted, we looked
for a quick camping place, which we found just up the street in some
woods next to a pond, where we slept in until late the next morning,
it being Sunday, and the bike stores not opening until later.
We spent most of the rest of our morning at some bakery, waiting for
noon to roll around, oh, I forgot to mention that all the exploding
tires had rendered us out of tubes and patches, which is what we
needed from the bike store... Ah, right, so kurt took off to get the
stuff, and we blow up one more before noticing that the tire itself
has a giant rupture that we were somehow able to overlook in the
nights light.. We also start to suspect that our pump is broken, as it
won't pump past 75psi... So we tape up the tire rupture, half inflate
my tire, and hope to be able to make it to the bike shop to get this
taken care of once and for all, but not 5 minites down the road, !
>pop<! ... At which point we also realize that we're going to be late
for our gig; a barbeque in Sarah Carter's backyard, which sounded to
be really fun, so of course we didn't want to miss it! So Dianne and
Kurt go back to the bike shop with my wheel, I sit by the side of the
road and discuss options with Sarah Carter on the phone for a long
time, eventually coming up with a plan to meet her friend-with-a-truck
on our side of the car only bridge, and get a lift across... Which,
barring a bit more confusion, is what we did. I can't remember her
name right now, but Sarah's roomate picked us up, and was the one who
figured out the "you lied/you ride" conundrum, excellent work!
Arriving at Sarah's, the first thing we saw was a fellow in a white
blazer, and a whole bunch more people who didn't seem to adhere to our
usual noise/folk appreciation crowd.. Which I think made both kurt and
I nervous to perform, though, after some showers and food, it was time
to play.. Turned out, the 7 or so people who actually sat and watched
were the few I would've picked out as being there for music, while the
rest just enjoyed the party that continued across the back yard, as we
played.. Kurt played first, I second, and I tried a new piece, which
is comprised of vibrating a drum with 2 electric toothbrushes and
throat singing over it... Went over well!
Slept in a guest room.
In the morning we had huervos rancheros, decided we had enough time to
go to the beach, and did! Neither I, Kurt, nor Dianne had ever felt
ocean water that warm! Sooo niiiice! Once out, we realized that there
dolphins(!) swimming up and down the beach, at a couple points within
15ft of us! Underwater, we could hear their chirps, and when they were
close enough, we could feel the clicks and chirps in our necks! Really
awesome weird feeling!
We also did some body surfing, ate some snacks on the beach, and sunned.
Back at Sarah's, we prepared for our Greenville show, at a cool place
called r3v3rb... This means we put it on our myspaces, and wrote to a
few bike and music stores about who we are and that we were coming...
Also, it would include mapping a route to the show, but I couldn't get
google maps to recognize the address to the club, it kept sending me
to a Greenville, South Carolina, instead of North Carolina...
Irritatingly. Eventually, I remembered that r3v3rb had a little cutout
of google maps with it's location on their website, which I could just
"get directions to" with... This is when I realized that r3v3rb
actually is in south Carolina, not north at all! I must've not noticed
when I was booking it! Dummmmb! So now, not only did we not have a
show lined up, but we had to write back to all those bike and music
stores to say, sorry, got the wrong city... Though I then realized
that all the results for bike stores I had gotten and written to were
also in the south carolina version! This is when I began to think that
we had made an even greater error than booking the "wrong" Greenville;
I began to suspect that way back when we were getting recommendations
for cool cities in the south to play, and someone mentioned
Greenville, we were meant (by them) to go to gville, sc, in the first
place, that it was the cool city... But then, we knew greenville, nc
was a college town, so maybe it was cool too...? A few google searches
for an "out" music scene, cool bike shop, or music store all came up
with the same dissappointing news: nothing in greenville for us! But,
since we'd planned time for it, we decided to go there and see for
ourselves, so headed out at dusk, and after stopping in south Norfolk
for a cheap Chinese Buffett, were off for...

Sent from my iPod

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Dan Friendly!

Upon waking (somewhat later than planned, as usual) we went over to
the 7-11 from the night previous, and had coffee, donuts, and
banannas for breakfast. Dianne and I were sitting against a wall,
facing the parking lot, and kurt was against the wall around the
corner ... When kurt saw something coming up the road, that made him
exclaim to us that we "should take a look, something's coming!" and as
we didn't look, I remember him wondering aloud, "what's he carrying? A
lawnmower", the subject of his speculation rode into the parking lot
moments later, on top of an old sears bike, all in camoflauge, and
with front and rear racks loaded up with camping gear... Another
touring cyclist!
We said hello's and so became introduced to Dan Friendly, who had been
riding in the south all summer, and from the sound of it, been riding
and camping for a long time... We spoke with him for quite awhile, or
rather, he told us a great many things (I think we talked for an hour)
about touring, which I think I'll list now:
1. Camoflauge is worth a million bucks! He told about how you can get
a hunters tent, and sew tarp to the bottom to keep the ants out, and
that's only $50 at lowe's.. He had modified his so it could be lowered
nearly to the ground if he could only find a field to sleep in that
was close to the road, for example...

2. If we wanted to get across the James river, there were thrift shops
around where for just a few dollars, we could pick up some old sheets,
some paint (which may be old and dried, but we could just mix some
water into it...) and sew the sheets into a big donut tube, coat it
all with paint, and inflate it to make a raft...

3. Further south, it's all swamp, so he carries a pruning saw (which
one may pick up for $12 at lowes) to cut a path, and a clearing in the
swamp for camping.

4. North Carolina has lots of great camping!

5. In the south, there's lots of church meals that you can really load
up on carbs at.. Lotsa pancakes and bacon and all sorts of stuff every

6. To get fewer flats, he uses car tire sealant, which is very
fibrous, and though it will make you a bit slower, will let you ride
for weeks without a flat.

7. Something he told us secretly, which I cannot divulge here, but can
say was very interesting indeed!

8. The later books by carlos casteneda, which tell of techniques to
achieve dreams and rest, which is very important, but sorely
underappreciated in today's world.

He thought he might meet us in chapel hill, or Greensboro, but would
surely see us again, there are so few of us around!
And off he went, leaving us with great inspiration and anticipation
for our remaining journey, which was half over...

Sent from my iPod


We made it a good little ways that night, eventually finding some not-
too-dense forest to camp in... Where we were startled by a large bird
(owl?) of some sort flapping around right over us, probably startled
by us, as well!
The next morning, in the middle of nowheresville, it took us awhile to
find our morning coffee... Which just meant a gas station, though I
sometimes had wanted to hold out for a proper cafe... The little place
we found on this particular morning was not at all up to snuff for my
taste, and I decided to finally just hold out for something better
down the road (also, I had finally revieved my new debit card in the
mail, which i has been without for the majority of this trip, but
hadn't activated it, so it didn't work yet, which also influenced my
I thought that some music might make the lack of coffee bearable, so
made a little playlist on my iPod (which I usually only use for email
and maps, to preserve the battery) which played for 2 songs before
promptly breaking! It broke in a frustrating way, where it's touch
screen wouldn't respond to touch...! I lagged terribly that day for
hours until we finally got to a little town about 23 miles from
Richmond that had a cafe with a computer and espresso, excellent! I
found the apple store in Richmond so as to pay then a visit and get my
iPod fixed while kurt went to a thrift store to get a pair of pants to
replace ones he believed to have left at monkeyclaus (we each only
have one set of clothes, and bike shorts)... He came back with pink
genie pants he had bought for a dollar, which I've yet to see him wear
after the initial modelling for us!
Upon broaching the city limits, we split up, kurt headed towards the
venue (the camel) and Dianne and myself headed to the apple store (out
in some strip malls), where my iPod started working again as I tried
demonstrating what was supposed to be wrong with it! Ridiculous!
We headed down 8 miles of burger kings, staples, mattress stores, and
so on to get to the city proper, where we found the camel and kurt
sitting in front... He had already been inside, and suggested that the
vibe was decidedly strange, describing an encounter with a general
manager who had asked a bunch of questions about how the show was
promoted, if a local band was playing, and so forth... Also, when kurt
inquired as to where he should set up/stash his stuff and was directed
to the stage, the same strange manager popped in again to ask if the
bike was a prop, for if it was, it was ok on stage, if not, then it
would have to go! "Yes, it's a prop" replied kurt!
A quick aside now, before getting on with it - shortly after I first
acquired the show at the camel, a fellow from Richmond with whom I had
Been in contact with in looking for shows said that it was a lot of
peoples least favorite place to go, and that I should try for another
spot.. Since I had already secured the show, I thought it would be
rude to back out.. Though was further rattled when laslo, the booker
for the camel at the time (worked
there no longer though) had asked for me to be sure to send
promotional materiels to my contacts there... Which I didn't really
have! So for awhile, Richmond was a dark cloud in my future, but a
week and a half before, while we were in new York, I was contacted by
an online faction of a Richmond paper called "InRich" who wanted to do
a story on us... So I did a phone interview, and the woman (whose name
I forget right now) said she'd be there, and would surely bring some
friends, so with (online) newspaper exposure, and her friends coming,
I started to feel like it may in fact be well attended! So! Aside
aside, getting on with it, back to the narrative!
The show was scheduled for 7... Nobody. Not unusual though - most of
our earlier shows wouldn't get off the ground till after dark - we
waited, and had supper... Just the bartenderss, a doorman, the cook
and us...
Around 7:45, a young man came in, and we told him that we were going
to give it some time, hang out or come back in half an hour.. Which,
when he did, he was still the only attendee! His name was andy, and he
disn't mind being the only audience, which could be a little
uncomfortable for some people, so I set up my stuff and just before
playing, another guy came in to see us too! Yaaay! Both kurt and I
played to an audience of andy, Dianne, and that guy, whose friend
showed up towards the end - they were bike touring enthusiasts -
and they gave us lots of maps of Virginia, and one of north
Carolina... they also pointed out that to get to Norfolk, we'd have to
take a longer than expected roundabout route due to it's being on the
south side of an inlet, and car only bridges crossing that inlet
directly!! Another New London situation perhaps! As for what happened
with that online paper thing.. When I tried to look it up
subsequentially, it was nowhere to be found.. Huh.
We headed out to camp a bit south of the city, where we found a nice
big field next to an old burnt out husk of a house.. Something of a
classic moment for us, as, unbeknownst to Dianne or kurt, who were up
ahead (as usual - I'm an extremely lethargic rider) I was getting too
sleepy to ride, and was struggling to keep my eyes open.. So as I came
upon the field, which looked perfect (no fence, deep enough to keep
cars from seeing us) and saw that they were going past it, I got a
little confused, and caught up to them at the 7-11 they were
apparently passing up the field for, and announced that I would be
spending the night in that field, and they could too, or not, that's
just how tired I was! (in retelling this to Dianne just now, as I was
typing, I found out that they had stopped at the field, but since I
was so far behind, decided to pick up some late night snacks... Heh..)
anyway, that ended our day in Richmond.

Sent from my iPod


... Woke the next morning at 5 to the realization that we hadn't put
up our rain guard and the remnants from hurricane hannah had arrived.
After properly shielding ourselves, we slept till 8ish, and then
struck out for nellysford, which looked to be about 15 or 20 miles
south west of Charlottesville, which is what our original route had
been plotted for... So, 57 miles to cville, break, and then a
relatively short jaunt over to nellysford, and monkeyclause, right? In
a way, yes, correct.. But that day we ended up being rained on with
some of the coldest summer rain I've ever felt... Though we had rain
gear (well, kurt actually doesn't really wear his.. It's an 89 cent
emergency poncho and may be more bother than it' a worth!) we ended up
soaked through and through, though it may have been sweat that really
got us wet! Our usual 15 mile matker breaks were compromised by the
fact that getting off our bikes for even just a couple minutes would
allow the chill to catch up to us - had to keep moving!
After a super narrow shoulder/busy/fast section of rt 29, we arrived
in Charlottesville around 4:30 and a little shaken up... Pulled into a
whole foods grocery store and had soup and tea outside on their porch
At this point I had my first phone conversation with peter, the man
behind monkeyclause... He held promise of hot showers, food, and tea
upon our arrival, gave us the directions, and confirmed that it was at
least 35 miles still from where we were...! Ouch... This had been a
possibility in the backs of our minds, as my friend John (doofgoblin)
had written to tell us that very same information, but we half chose
to ignore it, and half just thought that our interpretation of the map
was correct... No.
So, we knew we'd be late, and weren't really relishing going back out
for quite that long in the cold rain, but what really did it was the
vigour with which the rain grew in intensity and how quickly it grew
dark that evening...
But we trudged on, and were about half way there (already really late
When a stranger pulls over to warn us that once we enter the next
county, the shoulder completely disappears and the road becomes all
blind curves and hills... Sure enough, not 10 yards from the county
limits sign, the road become insurmountable and we decide that we're
pretty seriously stranded, and need to call for help, maybe stash our
bikes and equipment really well, get picked up in a car and hope for
the best...
No matter, no cell service.. Which peter had warned me of! Ok, time to
rely on strangers! We started to walk our bikes (one can walk a bike
on the outside of the guard rail easier than riding it..) down the
highway, to get to the next house/exit.. Weirdly enough, there was a
hidden driveway a few hundred feet down from where we were... a small
house with lights on at the top... Up we go! Approaching the house, we
could see a man doing something on the back porch, but didn't want to
startle him, so went to the front and rang the bell... Waited...
Knocked a bit... Waited... No answer. "Huh" we thought, I think... We
go ahead around to the back, where we finally get the man's
attention.. He looks at us with an (now familiar) incredulous
expression as we make our way around to the back door (oh, it was more
like am enclosed patio) and announce our plight! I think he barely
said anything and simply handed me his cell phone.. As I called, we
became introduced - his name is Jesùs and he's there building the
house (probably thought our knock was his partner nailing something)
late, trying to get it done so he can go to back to Georgia, and be
with his family...
Meanwhile, I had gotten a message machine at monkeyclause and told
them to call back... And that we'd be really late!
"well, I can give you a ride in my work van, but there's only 2 seats"
Jesus offered moments later... As one may well imagine, to our immense
Proper seats notwithstanding we piled in (Dianne got the only other
seat, kurt and I got squished in the back with the three bikes, three
trailers, and four panniers) and headed out at an excellent pace, the
fastest we've yet traveled on this bike tour!
Of course we thanked Jesus again and again, though he deferred, saying
that when he was a Christian missionary in Meqico, anything he needed
was given freely, so he knew about having to ask for help, and had
since dedicated his life to helping when he could (earlier that day
had given a homeless man a lift somewhere)
We got to the studio after a little lostedness (not too much, just
enough), let Jesus get some pictures of us crazy travellers, and off
be went, and in we went.....
Peter greeted us warmly and enthusiastically, directing gear trailers
to the studio, clothes and stuff to the house, and us into some hot
Once we started feeling human again, we set up our stuff to play, they
mic'd us up and we played... Hopefully soon, the video and mp3s will
be up on their site and I'll be sure to link to them..
After the show proper, we went back to the house where we ate roasted
root veggies peter had made, while he waxed poetically to us all about
the strange origins of monkeyclaus, time travel, binaural brain wave
research beingm conducted down the road, why western Virginia would be
the place to get back to before 2012, and interrelated these topics in
ways I simply don't have the capacity to properly relate here...!
The next day we uploaded lots of pictures to this very blog(!) and
eventually got headed out for Richmond very late in the day... Maybe
5ish... We got a few miles down the road when the smell of barbeque
stalled us a little further! When in nellysford, find the barbeque!

Sent from my iPod

Saturday, September 06, 2008

fun facts and fancy figures

here's a little bit of the basics about some things...

daily average ride: 65 miles
average speed: 11 mph (faster in the morning after our coffee stop and slowest at night while searching for camping spot)
fastest speed: 42 mph (kurt), 37 mph (dianne), 32 mph (raub)
average number of times a day we tell our story: 6
number of times we've been told we're setting a world record: 2
number of recycling centers in virginia: 2 (that we came across. yes, we carry all of our recycling with us until we find a recycling center!)
best bbq (so far): nellysford, virginia...delicious place off the side of the don't need to know the name you can smell it form miles away...delish!!!
average days without shower: 5
best campsite finder: raub...this is his favorite part of the trip...beware thorn bushes...he's got a stick and not afraid to use it!
best mechanic: kurt...he can fix it all...but because of excessive flat tires for some we are now in charge of fixing our own.
most giggly: dianne...these guys keep me in stitches
number of exploding tires: 3 (all raub's)
fav cheap and quick meal: can of greens and sardines
most common bike problem: chain falling off
number of bathroom stops per day: 10 (15 for kurt!)
earliest start time: 5 am
latest riding time: 4am
average number of times we change our route per day: 3...but we're getting better at was a lot more in the beginning

that's all i can think of for now...enjoy!!

September Reflections

September Reflections from Mom


September 5 – you are now way closer to the end of your journey than the beginning.  Impressive --  and kind of bittersweet, I imagine!  So what began as a bit of a pipe dream almost a year ago, is a reality now.


When I think of what you three have accomplished and when I pull out a U. S. map to follow your journey, I actually find myself getting choked up (oh, the blubbering mama syndrome!).  I know you've had your ups and downs, and perhaps it has been somewhat of a financial strain on you.  But, oh, it is so very, very worth it!  You'll have stories to tell and you'll have pride that will never, ever leave.  This trip wasn't really about making money – or it shouldn't have been; it's about going green and having the adventure of your lives – and you've accomplished both of those goals.


Meanwhile, back north, I continue to sigh – enviously -- wondering if I'll ever be able to do anything even remotely similar to this adventure of yours!


I wonder how it's going to feel to you when you really finish – when you're back home in the world of cars and jobs and daily schedules – and a wide variety food you can cook on the stove, and flush toilets and showers and lots of different clothes to wear. . . .  again, bittersweet, no doubt. 


We're all watching Hannah and Ike and hoping they won't blow you out of Atlanta,   Even if the hurricanes do end up stopping you, keep realizing that you DID what you set out to do; it won't be by any inability on your parts if you don't get there.  Blame it all on Mother Nature! 


Keep those blogs and photos coming – they are so imaginative entertaining, and everyone wants to hear all about each part of your trip.  I hope one of you kept track of your daily mileage along the way.  What a feast you can have at the People's Pint when you get back!  ☺


Best wishes, Raub, Dianne and Kurt, on the final leg of your Cycledelic Music Trip!  Bike safely, and enjoy each and every adventure to its fullest!


Ride on. . . .



Sent Saturday, September 5, 4;30 pm


Always remember your dream of peace. . . and live it



our secret spot in a haunted North Carolina forest... see the ghost girl that freaked us out behind kurt's tent? heh heh heh..

Friday, September 05, 2008

Virginia is for (car) lovers

Entering Virginia from Maryland the next day, after having made some
headway that Sunday evening, we immediately noticed that the shoulder
completely disappeared, and all of a sudden everyone was driving much
faster... What we've come to know and expect and to some extent,
accept, is that this is the case all over Virginia, as they just paved
the old dirt roads, and never widened them.. A little frustrating
also because they retain the feel of an old dirt road and are very
pretty, but very hard to ride a bike along... After rerouting we were
on our way, but still a bit behind due to our late start out of
Baltimore, with over a hundred miles to go by the next night (kinda
late afternoon at this point) we realize we have some serious night
riding to do!
Unfortunately, kurt got something in his eye really bad a bit after
nightfall, and we stopped for the night, hoping that a good nights
rest would clear it out, so we camped alongside a bike path we came
across, woke up at 5, got 2 flat tires in an hour, but were still on
the road nice and early... Around 11am, we pulled into a town that I
now forget the name of, but it was very pretty, and we stopped for
lunch, and to refresh our route... It was here that we realized that
our estimations of how far we still had to go were drastically low,
and we actually still had aroumd a hundred miles to travel! In poor
spirits, we started considering our options, perhaps a train?did we
need to cancel yet another show?!? The impossibility of riding a
hundred miles in time to play made calling it off and just getting to
our next show in richmond early seem really attractive.. But then
monkeyclause, the barn turned all recycled materiels studio that we
were to play, was maybe my most highly anticipated destination of our
whole trip... A hard decision to make indeed...
...on very little sleep after days of riding 60+ miles a day and
camping in secret spots that can take a long time to find when
exhausted late at night, one can start thinking... derangedly... To
say the least...
This said, upon deciding to call monkeyclause so as to let them know
that we wouldn't make it after all, we noticed that next to their
contact information, was the date we were supposed to play there -
august 27th - the NEXT DAY!!! Our relief and excitement took the form
of a looong coffee and sandwich break that actually we probably
shouldn't have taken as long of one of.. Sorry for the sloppy
sentence.. Heh.
So we continued along a few hours later, still trying to get as far as
we could, so as to not have to hurry at all the next day... We got to
a town called culpeper that night, and were loafing outside a 7-11
eating snacks (Dianne had a corn dog, kurt had some chips, and I had
sardines with saltines) when a fellow named "ed payne" saw us and
recommended that if we were camping we could go right across the
street to this apartment complex he owns and camp on the 5 acres
behind it.. Which we did, and had a lovely time!

Sent from my iPod

Monday, September 01, 2008

Upcoming shows

Sept 3rd - Greenville, nc (still want to play here!!)

Sept 5th- Raleigh, nc (need show here, too!!!)

Sept 6th - eaglewing farms, chapel hill, nc

Sept 7th - greensboro, nc (show?)

Sept 9th - charlotte, nc (need a show!!)

Sept 12th - ashville, nc (showtime!?!)

Sept 16th - Athens, ga (need a showwwww!!!)

Sept 18 - wonder
root, Atlanta, ga

Sent from my iPod


Writing from Williamsburg still, where my tire has exploded 5 times,
our pump seems to have broken, and because of these things, I have
some time to write while kurt and Dianne go get a new tire and pump
from the bike store... Anyway, the ride to Baltimore that day was
pretty smooth, mostly on rt. 1 and we enjoyed a breif section through
some state park before heading down 40 through increasingly dense
strip malls (this is usually the case when entering cities on bike
friendly routes), stopped for dinner, and shortly after dinner, kurt
broke a spoke...! This is no easy fix without the proper tools, and a
new spoke.. And is a rather debilitating one to boot! We had
discovered earlier that day that our show wasn't scheduled to start
until 10:30, which had relaxed us quite a bit (we're usually expected
around 6 or 7, and rarely arrive on time... Heh heh) and we had been
joking about how, though we still had hours to spare, something would
end up making us late.. Well this was it!
After a while, Kurt somehow jury-rigged his tire to be able to roll,
though it would be bad in the long run for his wheel on a whole, and
we set off very slowly and carefully, kurt between Dianne and I.. And
we arrived at the golden west around 11..Yesss!!
The show was fun, lexie (who booked it, and of the lexie mountain
boys) was great and had made really cute posters for us, which we have
one of and should probably post a picture of..
My set was one of my better ones, at one point discovering that
resting my balloon on the linoleum table makes a great sound, then
playing with that for a minute or so... Discoveries are fun!
Kurt went on next, and had deferred amplification, but hadn't realized
that only part of the space was for performance, and the rest is the
bar proper, and that while there were a plentitude of people there to
see the show, there was a rather large crowd in the bar still, loudly
singing along to the talking heads at one point, and in general
drowning out kurt! So, having discovered this during his first sing,
he then requested a mic, and for several minutes he and lexis fought
feedback problems and he went on again, though still somewhat quiet
and getting little fits of amp squall here and there! So, for the
third song, he moved further into the audience area, and had similiar
problems as with the second song, the fourth one he gave up the amp
altogether and just sat in the audience... Which is how he ended up
playing the remaining few songs... Lesson: do a soundcheck, then if
you can play acoustically, do it, but if not, you'll be prepared! A
life lesson, that...
Teeth mountain played after, two drummers, a cellist, and two
violinists, the strings all going through effects.. Excellent!!
We got a little lost going to the teeth mountain household after,
where we were to stay, but found it eventually, and I now refer you to
the "backed up in Baltimore" entry from the day after all of this
where we find a great bike shop but don't leave the city until very
late In the day...

Sent from my iPod

Sunday, August 31, 2008


So as Dianne wrote, new jersey was super hard to bike through, all our
small looking routes turning into immense highways in the blink of an
eye, making for constant revisions and backtracking... We did
eventually make it through but were then late for our show at
marvelous music in Philly... Supposed to be there at 7, as another
completely different show started at 8:30! We actually thought we
might make it when we entered the city limits around 6:30, but soon
got thrown off our course (rt 13) by a bunk sign, asked some cops how
to get back on 13, which thee never heard of, and gave us different
directions between bouts of incredulity and proclomations that it was
impossible and that "you'll have to go under the L!!" which was no big
deal as it turned out.. Their directions called for an immediate left
onto a one way road going the wrong way, which I pointed out, and they
revised their directions seeing as we went with the flow of traffic..
We got to the beginning of walnut st 45 minutes later, and needed to
get to walnut and 42nd in about 5 minutes, if we were going to play at
all... This was the fastest and hardest I've ridden ever, in high gear
the whole way up, weaving through the standstill traffic and
eventually breaking through the downtowneyness and racing to the show,
arriving in just enough time to play really really short sets (upon
arrival we were told we had a half hour to set up, play, and get it
put away) which we did - I played first and in my rush to set up,
tangled the cords into a rats nest and tried to work it out during the
prformance, accidentally disconnecting plugs and cords in the
process.. U got the feeling that the doc in "back to the future" must
have felt when the plug from the clocktower came undone, though u had
only to walk over to plug it back in, while he had an exciting ride
down a cable into some bushes to fix his... Not quite the same,
Anyways, then kurt put a chair in the middle of the room and started
to play, though partway through the first song the soundguy tossed a
cable across the record bins towards him, followed by a mic stand and
mic... Basically did the soundcheck during the second verse! Kurt
played 2 more songs, and we all (we had met up with Brooke from espers
and Mary, with whom we were to stay that night as well as my friend
aliene from Northampton) went to Indian Buffett and let Mary drive our
gear back to her place while the rest of us followed Brooke on a
somewhat helter skelter ride up one way streets, down sidewalks, over
cars, and so on, presumably it's Philly bikers like Brooke the cops
were referring to when they were suprised at our hesitance to go the
wrong way up a one way street!!
Got to Mary's, she showed up later, having gotten caught in an hour
and a half traffic jam, tough!
Hung out for a minute, then showered and passed out hard!
Woke late the next day, and basically took forever to get going, but
did eventually, and followed the greenway through some oil refineries
and then down on some little paths through state parks bringing us to
wilmington, deleware, where we ate salad pizza for dinner, and
recieved a couple warnings that our route would take us through the
bad part of town, and we should reroute immediately, which we did, and
upon mounting our bikes to head out again, another cyclist suggested
that our new route was ridiculously out of the way to avoid an
imagined danger, and we should take a simple route that he laid out
for us.. And got us lost in what i presume to to be the bad part of
town (not so bad..) and we ended up just happening upon our intended
About an hour later we stopped at a gas station for further directions
(we make it up as we go along) and state police officer Fry
recommended headind west through Newark to some state reserved land he
thought we could find camping in... We ended up finding a ginourmous
field with super long grass (really good to sleep on) and upon waking
saw several deer across the field, excellent spot! On to Baltimore...

Sent from my iPod

Held up in Williamsburg

Sorry about the immense delay in textual entries... Our free time has
been limited.. To say the least! We're in Jamestown, virginia right
now, a couple miles away from Williamsburg, a college town with enough
smashed beer bottles on the side of the road to render us out of tubes
and patches in an hour last night... So I blog as we're held up, once
again waiting for the bike store to open (late: Sunday) in order to
get going again, just like last Sunday in Baltimore.

Sent from my iPod

Thursday, August 28, 2008

more silly pics, and at velocipede in B'more

random travelling silly shots

ghost raub at spacespace

shayna, kalim, matthew... of new york fame..
Raub at goodbye blue monday

Kurt at Goodbye Blue monday, Brooklyn... me and Katy Haas (hello!), Me at GBM.

new haven pics, Ice cream!!!

Me (raub) in the gazebo. us (kurt and raub with ice cream1