Monday, January 30, 2012

Please Read!

Hi! our Bike trip is well over, but if you'd like to re-read the travelogue in order, you may either skip to the first post of this blog and work backwards, or download a version of the whole thing (excluding comments) in a more readable ordering HERE!

WE hope another several chapters will be added within the next couple years, so stay tuned!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Various aftermaths

Kinds boring, but I felt like I'd be doing a disservice to reality if
I didn't tell this part..

Basically, the trip, which I had thought would largely pay for itself
before we began, exhausted our savings and we even had to sell some
stuff (my laptop and sampler) to keep it going at times... Now that we
were done, we hadn't enough money to get back to San Francisco, much
less pay October rent once we got out there.. We ended up staying in
Mass for another month and a half, having picked up odd jobs, getting
food stamps, and staying at my dad and later sisters houses... Though
we eventually had the scratch to get back to SF, we were still poor
for months paying back loans and such, though this also had to do with
the economic slump and that winter in San Fran can be slow for those
in the hospitality biz..

We should certainly have obtained food stamps before we started the
trip, as not only would it have helped with a majority of our
expenses, but would've helped keep us from eating in restaurants in
our many fits of hungry weakness, also a major expense that we hadn't
budgeted for.

About a month after getting back from riding, I recieved an emailfrom
Ryan Martin, of secret boyfriend, who we played with at eaglewing
farms in chapel hill, who wanted to put out a split 7" with me... This
has since turned into a 12" and I'll be mailing off my piece and the
cover art shortly (like in a day) ....

Kurt and I played one last show the night before I flew home, at the
peoples pint in greenfield, which was packed full of people I love and
some guys that had no idea what was going on who sat down to eat at
the table I had set up stuff on!

In the weeks and months since getting back, I don't exactly know
what's kept me from banging out these last few entries, especially
seeing as I have a lot more time now than I did on tour, and managed
to stay pretty on top of our weekly travels, not to mention that I get
at least a mention a week from my mother, "time to finish the blog!"
which is probably what really got this done (thanks mom!!!)...

Now I'm sitting in a cafe on clement street in San francisco, about to
finish this, the last loose thread of my obligation to this cycledelic
continuum, and am not sure what's next.. Though my tent is on the way
here, and with the weather getting warmer, perhaps it's time to plan a
west coast tour ....

...To be continued...


For 2 days straight we drove back from whence we came, all of our
stuff in the back of our rented budget van, with an improvised bed
consisting of all of our bedding and a weird strap that dianne devised
to serve as a "bedbelt" of sorts -never needed, but would've been
effective in case of anythin but the most devastating accident, plus
we had a "helmet on all the time while riding in the back" rule... No,
just kidding about that. I slept so well back there though, with the
quiet rumbling vibrations of the highway under my head - fantastic!

Being the only nondriver (liscense suspended in '02 for too many
"moving violations" in a 3 month span, mostly due to a faulty
brakelight I kept getting pulled over for, fixing, and having break
again - I refused to take a 8 hour driver safety course to get it
reinstated, and now bike places, viola!) meant I napped, and
entertained the drivers as well as I could.

Not too much interesting stuff happened on this last leg of the trip,
though we talked about stopping by somewhere neat just to break up the
drive a little, monetary limitations (this was at the height of the
gas price spike, like 4.30/gal) and just wanting to warp back
surreally got us back to Springfield, Mass on the eve of my 30th
birthday where we returned the truck to budget (after getting as lost
as we'd been anytime in the entire trip and right in our own backyard
to boot!), and wandered up to a tavern for a celebratory beer while we
waited for my Mom, her partner Mark, and my sister to come pick us an
all our stuff up, which only seemed a little silly as we could easily
have biked the last 30 miles ourselves, but were grateful to not have
to... Though perhaps mark, who had the privelege of driving with the
majority of our gear, would've appreciated our having ridden it, as
out gear smelled so terrible (completely unbeknownst to us till he
announced it!) after all that riding and weeks without a proper shower!

We apologize to anyone we came into contact with in those last few
weeks in particular! We just didn't realize!

We had ice cream and pie at my dad's place that night, and in the
morning rode with kurt partway back to his house, then turned off and
took a scenic route back to greenfield..

I had a birthday party that night at my sisters house and the next
morning I was 30, dirt poor, home, and stranded with Dianne in


Athens and Atlanta

We followed our directions to an industrial area, and down a dirt road
that we weren't too sure about, but ultimatrly led us to a small
parking area and a compound of small artist spaces across a bridge
over a little dried up moat... This is where we found kurt, who had
arrived the night before! The show was billed as being at a bike shop/
collective(?) called ben's bikes, which was a very small shop in one
of the artist spaces there... I recall being a bit confused and
anxious as to where we'd actually end up playing! As we hung around
waiting for the other bands to arrive, I had a lookabout a big section
of the building that was only a roof and rubble, though there was a
large fenced off portion that contained hundreds of old bikes,
presumably to be used as parts by ben...
Getting back to the main hang out area in front of ben's, I joked that
we were going to play in the big dilapadated area, only to find a
short time later that the joke was on me, and that was indeed where we
were to play!
People with long extension cords and lights started showing up and
before we knew it, a psuedo-livingroom had materialized, couches and
As the first band


played, the space filled out with people, one if the biggest crowds
we'd had on the trip, which was pretty neat considering the improvised
space the show was in


As I recall, kurt played next, loveley-ly, and then Theo, our main
contact from orange twin (an intentional community and record label)
played a short and sweet set of acoustic punk tunes with intricate and
tricky sung-spoken lyrics (which was invigorating and excellent).
I played last, and though all but 2 batteries for the dictaphones were
dead (leaving the chimes portion a lonely single player) the rest went
well and people seemed to like it, including Heather, who, then and
there invited me to be on a copmilation cd of experimental Athens (and
me) based music.. That should be out sometime in 2009, I believe!
After the show we headed downtown for pizza, then back to "the
hanger", an old airplane hanger in the middle of town that now houses
several regulars and any number of transients (like ourselves) on any
given day - and a bike welding shop for making double (and taller!)
framed bicycles that one must mount from a ladder! Dianne and I hung
out with the welder and some of the occupants, and tried a couple
bikes before hitting the sack - this time the sack was 2 couches in
the entrance if the hanger, and with the doors left open, all sorts of
sounds of autumnal Athens night joined us in sleep!

That was Wednesday. Wednesday the 15th of September. We were
due in Atlanta on the 17th - usually, we'd've to start riding
immediately, but since we now had the van, it meant a little vacation
in Athens as we only had an hours ride ahead of us!
In the morning, we headed out for coffee, breakfast, and exploring the
uunivrrsity campus... Donations from the show had been good, and with
no proper venue to share the door with, we were all somewhat rich!
(thus facilitating coffee and breakfast)
We wandered all around downtown Athens, checking out a sweet comic
book store, a pretty sweet record shop, and a really quite sweet used
bookstore (where I picked up carlos castenadas fourth book, the fire
within on dan friendly's recommendation....
(I still haven't finished it (but have read other books in the
interim) for the record, maybe now that I'm wrapping up this story...)
Time to eat! After a thorough investigation, we hungrily settled on a
seemingly cheap taco place, which ended up much more expensive than we
wanted... An hour later we ran into someone from the hangar who
informed us that food not bombs was going on - darnit!
We headed back towards the hangar.
Stopping at a goodwill along the way, we grabbed some national
geographics (echoes of the first entery here) and I attempted to
bargain for a part of a walker that I thought I could use to extend
the comfort of my handlebars even further - they wanted too much
though, and left with 3 natty geo's only..
Back at the hangar we read, rode, and practiced our tall bike mounting
before passing out in theo's room this time - a death metal band was
staying on the couches that night.
It was Friday morning - the last show I the trip! We were able to go
have coffee, witness an unbelievably loud Bluetooth user drive several
people from an outdoor general use patio, and were all packed up with
plenty of time to spare.

The drive to ATL was uneventfull, kurt sat in the middle, Dianne
drove, and I navigated - at one point, as we approached Atlanta
proper, we realized that we hadn't figured out where the venue,
wonderoot, was and pulled off the highway so I could surf for wifi,
which I immediately found at a motel 6, and though locked, a quick and
confident word with the front office secured me access, directions,
and away we went!

A brief traffic jam later, we pulled into wonderoot, dropped off our
stuff, an went to find dinner in a quite cool area called the
(something) patch.. Over dinner, kurt and dianne joked about her being
ready for her performance, and it being only a few days from my
birthday, I got paranoid that my father may have put them up to some
embarassing shenanigans that would take place at the show! The more
they denied it, the more anxious I got!
Upon our return, we met the 2 girls that we were to play with, and a
couple guys that ran the PA and did the door... These are the only
people that ended up showing up, so we all just played to each other,
the first girl strummed an acoustic guitar and improvised lyrics for
10 minutes, then kurt went on and improvised a guitar piece that had
me wishing I had been recording, it was so spot on! He did a couple
more tunes, and cut it short.
The second girl (can't remember names
Right now, can look up, but if you see this, I didn't) played a string
of fancy effect units in a dynamic noise style.
I played last and by all accounts, nailed it - I think I put in some
extra energy to sort of spite those that hadn't come out, if you know
what I mean - teach them to not support improvised underground touring

It was suggested that we go to an experimental open mic that was
already infer way, which we did, but was already too booked, so we
watched a couple acts and left... To go home to Massachusetts...

Thursday, February 19, 2009


So... thrift shops...

These thrift and goodwill shops were the vintage collector/resellars dream... Old adidas hoodies and such for 2 dollars, a few treasures at every shop... But for lack of funds and cargo space we were limited to a pair of deck shoes (that might not be what they're actually called) and some wool socks.

As soon as we left this adorable little community, we were in farm and watershed land for miles and miles... We soon realized that we had gone wrong too many times, the wrong turn, taking too long to camp and waking up late as result, and stopping at those thrift shops all had taken too much of a toll and we were in serious doubt as to whether we'd make it to Athens on time... This, combined with our predicament on getting home is what led to our charting a course for Greenville, on order to pick up a budget rental truck!
On Truckin:
Now, you, dear reader must understand that this was near tantamount to a failed mission for us, but with only a few hundred dollars left, including kurt's alleged $30, it was actually going to be cheaper to drive back in a 2 day sprint, than to stay on the road the 16+ more days necessary to bike back... Not only do our appetites require more than that amount would get us while riding, but just to get back and start working again (kurt in particular needed to get some shifts in before October rent was due) was a need... We had dome the math, and even in the current gas market (this was right after the Texas refinery fire... Only the week before we had been passing gas stations either completely out of gas) and with the low mileage afforded us by a large moving truck, we figured we could just make it..
...we were worried about what kurt would think, as we were out of touch with him for a few days, but figured that we kind of had no choice... So neither did he!

We ultimately made this decision at a crossroads where we could venture 25 miles to Greenville, where we could pick up such a rental car, or continue 160 miles to Athens (my numbers may be off)... We made a reservation with budget for the next day, and headed out on the road to Greenville...

That night, we got a bunch of junk food and a can of greens for dinner, and found a very peculiar place to eat and camp... From the road it looked like a church with a small graveyard and a largish field, with a perimeter of trees, but upon investigation, we found there to also be a playground and a large hangar/auditorium building, which emitted some strange dance music and rock sounds a few times... With the church there, we guessed there was a Christian youth group listening to Christian rock music, and of course a Christian dj in between sets.
In the playground was a play structure modelled after a house, with a roof, and as it had started raining, we decided to take our dinner in there... Though upon climbing the kid size ladder and looking around, we found the interior decorators choice of decorating materiels somewhat creepy... All around us were fake flowers, little flags and a couple little stuffed animals, which I immediately presumed had been stolen from the adjacent graveyard! Dianne wasn't so sure, but I know graveyard d├ęcor when I see it, and this was it!
After creepy dinner, we nestled into the (also creepy) forested perimeter to sleep.
The next morning, I was very pleased to get an early start!

Our ride to the greenvile budget rental place was largely uneventful... We got the truck (though the smallest one was broken, so we had to get the next size up, unfortunately) and were away!

Weird being in a truck after 2 months of (mostly) not having been... Suddenly what would have been a 14 hour ride became a 1 hour ride, and after eeking out a wifi connection immediately into Athens, we got directions to the show and were there in minutes! What an amazing contraption, this "truck"!

on to meet kurt...

Monday, January 19, 2009

sick, stranded in the black mountains

... sorry for the IMMENSE delay, dear readers...

So we were up on the parkway, I was ill, we had just slept illegally in a picnic area, and shortly thereafter waking, were alerted to the possibility of help or trouble when a park ranger truck tooled into the area... Quickly deciding that we needed help more than we were concerned with getting in trouble, we (dianne) approached the guy, who was out collecting trash, and got very little trouble or help from him indeed! He told us about the proper campground down the way, and warned us that if the ranger (apparently this was but a minion of a more powerful head ranger) caught us at the picnic site, we'd be fined... Ok. Thanks for next to nothing. Kurt and Dianne set out for the campground (oh yeah, there is a store there... The one helpful thing learned from baby ranger!) whip I set about deconstructing our set up and trying to look like I hadn't just slept there in the event a real ranger did swing by... He didn't.

After a bit, the team returned with the news that the camp store was really close, and had food... Excellent! They had also asked the staff about the reality of getting across the closed section of the parkway on bike... Someone seemed to think that it was actually legal for cyclists to cross, and everyone was pretty sure that some had done it regardless of legality... Good news, sort of.

We ate, got some supplies, and headed out... I wasn't sure I felt totally up to it, but was gonna give it a shot...

Just out of the campground, the fog was thicker than the graveyard in a cheap 80's horror flick...

I think we got a few miles or so when I realized that I was just way too sick to make it to ashville, or indeed anywhere really! We decided to split up, kurt would hightail it to ashville, where hopefully there'd be a show ready for him, and dianne and I would just get to the camp on top of mt Mitchell, which wasn't too far ahead, and was as far as one could travel legally in the parkway... If kurt got caught and turned away, we'd meet him there.. Otherwise, the plan was to catch up as well as we could once I was better.

Off went kurt, and after a somewhat lengthy nap, off we went too.

The ride to the campgroung was slow and grueling, I couldn't tell for myself if it was all that steep or I was just too weak, dianne assured me that it was me, as it wasn't nearly as bad as rt80 the day before!

We eventually arrive at the Mt Mitchell state park and campground a bit before dusk, a little disappointed to find the restaurant to be closed, but exceedingly pleased with the campground - only 9 sites, piled one on top of the next up a particuarly vertical section of the mountain so that everyone had a balcony seat view, of you will.

Using the book dianne had just finished as kindling, and borrowing a small axe from a neighboring site, we eventually got a decent fire going, on which we grilled some pears we had picked earlier in the week ... Delish!

The next morning, we went to investigate the restaurant, had breakfast and found out that they'd allow us to buy food items from them at grocery store prices which was excellent news.

We wandered along a path after breakfast, picking wild raspberries that grew in great abundance up there until I grew tired (still a bit ill) and had to rest in some shade before continuing on to our campsite. At some point my cellphone found itself a signal (hadn't had one since early friday) and got a message from Kurt which appeared to still be fresh - he said he was at a community bikeshop in Ashville fixing his spoke... I called back and he was still there! He had gotten into Ashville on Friday night just fine, but came to find that no show had been set up after all, which suited him just fine and he went out and enjoyed a giant drumcircle in the town square before heading out of town to camp... and would get started towards Greenville that night... oh, and he was down to his last $30! uh oh!

The sunset that night was extraordinary! we grilled veggie burgers and more pears and I accidentally melted my sandals.

Sunday morning finally found me feeling better (able to keep down food, that is!) and after one more breakfast at the restaurant, took off to catch up with Kurt, who was supposed to be getting to Greenville, SC that night.

Down the mountain, and back on the parkway, a moment of tension as we crossed the barrier to the closed part of the parkway was dissipated as a family on recumbents came down the hill towards us - if a full family can ride on this road, so could we!

The ride along the closed section was lovely and refreshingly car free! we finally got to see the broken down section of road - lots of pavement breaking down, but plenty of room for a couple bicycles, and then we crossed the barrier on the other side and were home free!!

As I recall, we got into Ashville around 3pm... headed for the downtown to try to first find a coffee shop with free wi-fi, and secondly use that wi-fi to figure out our options for catching up with kurt and the schedule (the next place we had to be was in Athens on the 16th - about 170 miles in 2 days... possibly possible) and then how to get home on what little money we had left! We found a nice cafe and quickly discovered that my old friend Ian worked there! Ian hooked us up with oatcakes for later, bagels and smoothies for there, and we had a very pleasant visit!

We figured that we could possibly make it to athens by showtime on tuesday if we just buckled down and rode, though trains and rental cars were researched as options too... the main problem, besides getting to the last 2 shows in Athens and Atlanta, was then getting back - Dianne was the only one with any significant amount of money left, and I had told her that the trip would pay for itself! There's a number of reasons we fell short of our budget in the end, which I'll get into as an afterword, perhaps, ok?

We thanked Ian, headed out, and got almost to the S. Carolina border when our route suddenly turned into highway and we were forced to take a backroad around... but missed a turn and ended up man miles to the east of where we were meant to be... we only realized this as we rode into a little town called Saluda just north of the border... I think we got there around 10pm, and though we were off course, decided to stay in or somewhere near this town as it was just too cute, with a bunch of little cafes and diners for us to go to in the morning, thusly alleviating the usual morning search for just such a place(s)!
...unfortunately we had an incredibly hard time finding anywhere to set up camp, riding in every direction for a couple miles finding only houses and steep hills... we finally decided to just dig into the town and try to find a weird little nook somewhere near the main street... sure enough, just up one of the (incredibly steep) side streets, was a church with some promising looking grounds... lots of little sections blocked off by bushes... which at 2:30am we finally found an appropriately well hiddden section and tucked in for the night.

We woke up well after our 7am alarm clock went off, and headed into town for a greasy spoon breakfast consisting of every breakfast food there is, and it all came to under 10 dollars! Weirdly, the silverware was presented in little plastic bags... like as a sanitary measure? How strange...

Heading on our way again, we enjoyed a 4 mile twisty turvy downhill that brought us right into another adorable little town... all told, there were 3 successive little towns that we went through, stopping in each one to look at the adorable little thrift stores (I was looking for something to replace my sandals and a new t-shirt, as my main one was thoroughly disintegrated) even though we knew we were in a hurry!

ok, going to bed, but more tomorrow....

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