Holy Cross to Saint Francis

Pre-PostWell, despite my half-ass efforts I have not really maintained this blog in addition to the other two I’m running. I think I will just start posting the same thing here that I post on the blog for our 2-year bike ride, Barely Functional Adults. This was originally posted on April 28. As a reminder,this is pretty much an uncensored version of the events of our bike ride. If you are uncomfortable hearing about sex, drugs, profanity, etc you should check follow our PG-version at www.10LegsWillTravel.wordpress.com . This is a warning. If you don’t want to hear about these adult actions please leave now

Waking from our comfortable church campsite was far from easy. With only 27 miles ahead of us motivation was a little slow to come but eventually we got ourselves together and hit the road. The ride into Santa Cruz was pleasant with roadside fruit vendors (where we bought oranges) and the first view of the ocean we had had in almost two weeks. We arrived at my friend’s (Maria) house with a lot of daylight yet and plans to explore a bit but we just couldn’t motivate ourselves. Instead we smoked a little weed, caught up on some emails, took showers, and let our bodies rest.

Hanging out with Maria and her partner, Michael, was an incredibly positive experience. Meeting up with an ex after many years can often be a stressful experience but it was obvious that everyone involved was happy and healthy, and I felt great compersion for what they had going on. Maria and I had not seen each other in 3-4 years and our last interaction wasn’t particularly positive, but that was all under the bridge. We spent hours reminiscing about time in college, Michael and the Anna’s (who are all from St. Louis) discussed their home town, and we finished off a fair amount of beer. Adult relationships, friendships, and everything are fucking amazing. Maria and I influenced each other a lot in college and shaped how we view society and relationships today, it was great to reignite that friendship.

We left Maria’s house pretty early and planned on grabbing food and coffee in Santa Cruz before hitting the road. We had breakfast at Saturn Cafe and had our first real vegan restaurant stop of the trip, and it was amazing. The food, service, and atmosphere was wonderful and we highly recommend it. If I lived in Santa Cruz it would probably be the hangover diner of choice, much like Swingers in LA was for us.

With food in our stomach we went to grab coffee and internet to plan the day. During this time we had our first experience with the tension in Santa Cruz that can be felt in the air. There was a clear distrust going on in that city between the three groups we saw, the older local residents who probably had a lot of money, the houseless people who seem to live in a lot of California beach communities, and the younger post-college crowd of hippie surfer types. The older residents seemed to resent and stick their noses in the air at the rest of the groups, there seemed to be a sense of entitlement and superiority these locals felt towards others. To these older residents we were part of “the other” and were often scoffed at or looked at oddly.

The houseless residents, on the other hand, were nothing but friendly with us. They often provided us with tips about where we can store our bikes safely, how to navigate the city without getting harassed by law enforcement, and such. The younger crowd also seemed to see us as part of their group, in fact two surfer types overheard us talking about needing a place to camp because of the windstorm and immediately offered us a place to sleep at their home.

Our plans to leave were stopped twice. The first day after leaving Maria’s we didn’t even get out of town. The wind was unmanageable and we had to bunker down in the city at a local cheap hotel. The next day we got 8 miles out of town when the wind and rain convinced us to return to Santa Cruz to stock up on cold weather and wet weather gear. We were obviously unprepared. It turns out turning around was not necessary, the sun came out in the afternoon and it was a beautiful day, but we decided to be prepared instead of risking an unneccesarily cold, wet night in the woods. We finally left Santa Cruz after three nights.

We wanted to love Santa Cruz. Badly. It was a beautiful city but it clearly had problems. The division between groups was very obvious, even to outsiders like us. It really was so thick you could practically feel it in the air. There were certain neighborhoods on the west side that seemed much calmer and peaceful but the downtown area was uncomfortable for us. I’m not sure who the older, wealthier group is… long-time locals who resent a younger crowd or snowbirds who moved to their favorite vacation spot and now want it to lose the appeal it had when they were younger or something else entirely. Overall, I don’t think I could live in that city. The idea of feeling unwelcome or looked down upon based on my age or bank account is not a place I could call home.

Finally leaving Santa Cruz behind was a relief. The day we left was sunny, though windy. The headwinds we faced were no joke but we were in a good mood. We had not put many miles down the last few days and our bodies were feeling good. With 90 miles in front of us spread over two days we hoped to divide it evenly… of course that didn’t happen. Our first day we got about 38 miles in but that included a pleseant stop at the Highway 1 Brewery to get a few beers, our first brewery stop of the trip. We love beer… we really love beer… and there will be lots of stops like this on the trail. Even with a deadline we will stop for beer.

We left the brewery with only a little sunlight left. We rode through some forests and a few hills before finding an open field on the side of the road. It may have been private property but it wasn’t labeled so we just claimed it as our own and we slept surprisingly well. Our bodies and minds are getting used to sleeping in random places without permission. It feels good… an adult life being lived doesn’t involve permission. Asking permission is for servents, not free people.

The next morning was more foggy grossness and hills. We pushed, we rode, we pushed, we rode, we pushed, we rode… but we made it back to the PCH where life got a little easier. We got our first tailwind of the trip and it was god damn amazing. It was incredible. It was like getting your ass licked while on ecstasy. I want it every day of my life.

That slight tailwind pushed us into Half Moon Bay where we stopped for coffee. Sometimes the only reason you need to stop in a town is because the name sounds like something out of an old RPG like ChronoTrigger, Final Fantasy III, or Dragon Warrior IV. We pushed on and finally found ourselves mentally close to San Francisco. There were beautiful sights that can’t be properly shown in pictures.

Taking pictures on a journey like this is an interesting task. We want to capture what we see but photos don’t do things a damn bit of justice. Maybe it is our lack of skill or the lack of quality of equipment but anytime we review the pictures we remember but they really don’t show what we saw. There is something to be said for just enjoying the moment and the memory. Afterall, we are sharing this journey with many friends and strangers but the audience is really ourselves. Sometimes when we rush to capture a moment we actually miss it. We are surrounded by nature porn all the time… mountains, rivers, lakes, oceans, forests, badlands, swamps, and a thousand other environments but it serves as more of a trigger than actually showing what we see. These photos remind us of what we saw, they help the smells, feelings, sounds, and taste return to us, but they don’t really convey that to other people. I hope others will get out there, I hope maybe these photos show the beauty that our world has to offer, but unless you see it and experience it yourself all we are is a tv show. It is fiction in a way. Our reality is little more than a show for others… and that is kind of cool. Our reality belongs to us and no other.

Eventually the hills and burning legs ended and we drifted into that incredible city on the bay, a city that we felt we earned. The people we are staying with are friends of friends, but they are cool as hell. They live in two warehouses that remind me of places I lived in Los Angeles. There are over a dozen people living in this artistic community and it feels a lot like Burning Man. They are clearly used to nomads travelling through and have a guest room with four beds and keep track of guests with an excel document. It was so good to get a hot shower and to sleep in a bed. Anna and I even got some sexy time in the shower… intercourse wasn’t happening due to the layout but some assisted hand jibbers put a smile on each of our faces.

Note: We are driving back to LA to tie up some loose ends so there probably won’t be much to report for about a week. I will try to type up a summary of our days exploring San Francisco on Friday or Saturday but our itinerary is really fluid so that may not happen.

Post-Post 1: Also, we have set up a GoFundMe account for our ride. If you enjoy the adventure or just want to receive a post card, booty pic, or vegan meal check us out here

Post-Post 2: If you would like to see all our pictures you can check out our Facebook page at www.Facebook.com/10legswilltravel.

Advertisements

Out of the Salinas Valley

Pre-Post: Well, despite my half-ass efforts I have not really maintained this blog in addition to the other two I’m running. I think I will just start posting the same thing here that I post on the blog for our 2-year bike ride, Barely Functional Adults. This was originally posted on April 23. As a reminder,this is pretty much an uncensored version of the events of our bike ride. If you are uncomfortable hearing about sex, drugs, profanity, etc you should check follow our PG-version at www.10LegsWillTravel.wordpress.com . This is a warning. If you don’t want to hear about these adult actions please leave now

Recap… we just woke up behind an abandoned(?) church after a terrible night of paranoid “rest”. We only had a short day of travel ahead of us into King City. Now, on with our tale.

After waking and quickly breaking down camp we hit the trail early. The morning fog reflected our moods and the damp darkness seemed to creep into our souls. We were all a bit on edge and uncomfortable, the night before had brought little more than stress that added to the physical exhaustion we felt from fighting the wind all day. The only bright spot was knowing we had a short ride, 10 miles, into the next city where we had a county campground available for only $5.

The ride itself was quiet and uneventful. The weather prevented us from really noticing or caring about the landscape and none of us really seemed to be in the mood to talk. After about an hour or so we arrived at the King City Starbucks and set up for the day. Anna had a ton of work to catch up on (part of the reason for the long stop) and we needed to secure a rental car so we could get back to LA for Anna and Higgs’ appointments. Besides the work and organizing the rest was much needed for our bodies and minds.

New1

We ended up spending about 10 hours or so at Starbucks. The staff was absolutely great and we actually brought Higgs into the store. He was well-behaved and quiet… he just slept underneath the table. He is really pretty happy as long as he is with all three of us, though the parade of Easter Sunday coffee drinkers annoyed him from time to time. The hours were well spent, even if when we found out that King City no longer has a car rental place (Google fail) and we had to postpone the trip to LA until next week.

After all that work we were really looking forward to camping out and after about 500 feet of cycling we arrived at the campground. Unfortunately, the fee was $28 not $5… apparently I was lied to on the phone or there was some misunderstanding. Pretty obnoxious but still the best option we had available, we paid the fee and got to camp to set up. We were the only tents in the area, there were a lot of people in RVs “camping” nearby but they stayed inside their vehicles and watched tv most of the time. People like that are so lucky to get out of the house whenever they want to explore nature.

New2

Our site itself was perfect. We had trees to set up a hammock where I got some reading in (“The Name of the Wind” by Patrick Rothfuss… if you like fantasy you should probably stop reading my blog and start reading this book. It kicks ass), a store nearby to get beer, and flat soft grass for everything else. There were also showers and a laundry place nearby to stop our stink. After a nice dinner we laid down for the night and got some banging in. It is becoming increasingly obvious that we are getting more fit because of the ride. Whenever I have sex with Anna or grind up on Hans the ass and legs feel much more toned, and I have even noticed some of my middle pudge slipping away. Apparently exercising daily for 4-8 hours and eating mostly fresh foods is good for the body. With our sexiness increasing and our bodies getting used to daily exercise Anna and I should be up to our 5-6 times a week bang schedule that we prefer.

New4

With refreshed minds and bodies we set off along northwest again along the Salinas valley. Generally our routes have been pretty good but it is clear that Google bike directions are great in some places. Whether it is telling us to take roads that don’t at all exist or defining private paths through vineyards as “roads” you need to be cautious and comfortable with making changes to your plans. This didn’t through us off too much though, we got to explore some more farmland and enjoy a nice morning ride. We arrived in Soledad in the early afternoon and everything went to shit.

New5

When we stopped in Soledad the weather was pretty good and we saw an opportunity to catch up on some work at a local coffee shop, get some more groceries, and take it easy before we plowed on another 10 miles or so. We didn’t have a place set up to stay so we were on the lookout for anything on the side of the road to offer shelter. But then the wind came and kicked our ass.

The wind really came out of nowhere… it went from a calm breeze to a ridiculous hurricane of evil dust in a matter of minutes. To be honest, it reminded me of Burning Man. There was a whiteout in the distance and I knew that our evening ride plans were dead if it kept up like that, and it definitely kept up. When it didn’t settle after a bit we decided to see what options we had in Soledad, which ended up being some woods by the Salinas River, a handful of churches, and a motel. We tried them, in that order.

New3

After walking a mile or two in the crazy winds (riding was not possible) to the river we found out that there was a barbed wire fence around it and nobody was allowed there. This has been a common problem for us. Much “public” area is fenced off or restricted from use for no real reason. This is particularly true of city and county parks that don’t allow people there after sundown. How can you really claim a park belongs to the people if bureaucrats are able to criminalize simply existing there during a certain time.

Trespassing harms nobody, trespassing is about control and reducing freedom in exchange for a government officials convenience. I am sure they will claim it is either for our own safety (thanks daddy government for protecting me from myself, I don’t know how I ever can get my daily necessities like food, water, shelter, and jerking off without you… I would probably accidentally stab myself in the face while cutting carrots if it wasn’t for you) or they will claim that criminal activity happens during those hours. But that is bullshit too. To assume any person who exists in a location during a certain hour is going to harm somebody or something is to see us all as guilty until proven innocent. It is the opposite of justice. It is tyranny. There is no good reason that public parks (and other land) should not be available for all peaceful people to use as they wish as long as they do not harm another person or property. But, laws aren’t about peace or freedom, they are about coercion and control. Just remember, when the government fines or jails somebody for trespassing what they are doing is taking a piece of their life. It isn’t a free exchange. It is men with guns throwing others in cages and calling it “freedom”.

After the river was a bust we walked back to a parking lot in the city. I took all the stuff off my bike and decided to check out the churches by myself, it would just be faster for me to go alone on bike than all of us caravan all over the city. This didn’t end up working though, one church was too far, one had nobody around and no place to lay a tent, and one was in the middle of a funeral. The local fire department was also no help because there was some emergency a few blocks away that was taking up there time. It looked like the hotel would be our best bet so we crashed there for the night… it sucks, we are trying not to waste our time at damn hotels. We are learning though and getting better at finding places to sleep well ahead of time so we don’t get stuck in cities.

The sleep at the hotel was a little rough… despite some good sex. Can anyone resist banging in a hotel room? We seem to get later starts in hotels because actual beds are tough to get out of, it is just some much quicker to rise and shine when camping. We planned on hitting a beach campground about 55 miles away but in the end that just couldn’t happen. Our Google route again was filled with weird turns and it got to the point where we just cut through farms along their roads. I don’t know if this is legal or trespassing (or, as I like to call it, “finding the most efficient route from point a to point b as long as you aren’t told ‘no’ ahead of time”). We actually ended up riding along the fence of a state prison for a bit and the sounds of gunfire filled the morning air. I am assuming by the lack of sirens and screaming and general chaos the gunfire was the guards at a shooting range.

New6

Riding by the jail was an interesting thing for me. I found myself a bit afraid and protective of the girls. There was one point when some prisoners rode by us in a truck and I felt the adrenaline start to rush. I know that most prisoners in America are unjustly imprisoned. I know that we have the highest per capita incarceration rate in the world. In many very real ways we are a police and prison state. Anybody can be chucked in jail for next to nothing and everyone just assumes it is just. I know it isn’t just. I know most people aren’t violent. But I was nervous just the same. Conditioning is a bitch.

By time we reached Salinas it was pretty clear that we were not going to reach the campground. I sent out a quick email to the only church along the way that I could find an email address for. (Sidenote: Why don’t churches have updated websites, or at least email addresses published that people actually check?) This turned out to be wonderful for us. Pastor Bill of Grace Community Church in Prunedale contacted us quickly and offered to let us stay at his church.

New7

So, after climbing some hills, one of which Hans started calling “Pencil Dick” because it was long, skinny, veered awkwardly to the left, and she wanted nothing to do with it, we reached our home for the night. The youth pastor, Mark, met us there and let us in. Both Mark and Bill were incredible. They didn’t ask about our religion, they didn’t set up any stipulations for us staying there. Nope, they simply offered shelter for weary travelers. They were real examples of peace and love. Christians and non-Christians could learn a thing from them, and while I probably don’t agree with them on many issues they are the type of people I would want to surround myself with.

After setting up camp and some brief conversations with our hosts we got to bed. Only 27 miles ahead into the Santa Cruz area where we are staying with one of my friends… well, I don’t know what to call her, we were friends in college but also used to sleep together a bunch. Whatever, she is a friend and we are staying with her and her partner.

Post-Post 1: Also, we have set up a GoFundMe account for our ride. If you enjoy the adventure or just want to receive a post card, booty pic, or vegan meal check us out here

Post-Post 2: If you would like to see all our pictures you can check out our Facebook page at www.Facebook.com/10legswilltravel.

Windfucked

Pre-Post 1: Well, despite my half-ass efforts I have not really maintained this blog in addition to the other two I’m running. I think I will just start posting the same thing here that I post on the blog for our 2-year bike ride, Barely Functional Adults. This was originally posted on April 20. As a reminder,this is pretty much an uncensored version of the events of our bike ride. If you are uncomfortable hearing about sex, drugs, profanity, etc you should check follow our PG-version at www.10LegsWillTravel.wordpress.com . This is a warning. If you don’t want to hear about these adult actions please leave now

Pre-Post 2: Also, we have set up a GoFundMe account for our ride. If you enjoy the adventure or just want to receive a post card, booty pic, or vegan meal check us outhere**

Pre-Post 3: If you would like to see all our pictures you can check out our Facebook page at www.Facebook.com/10legswilltravel.

Image

Okay, then… to recap, we are in a hotel room in Santa Maria and I think the date is 4/16.The hotel room gave us a much needed break and for once we didn’t smell like the awkwardly terrible mixture of sunscreen, sweat, dirt, hippy, and excitement. We hit the road excited and our path continued along the beautiful scenery of orchards and farms. I did get a flat tire early in the day but that is to be expected daily. That is one of the things about travelling as a group instead solo, your chances of hold-ups increase greatly. Two tires will go a week or so without a flat but with 10 tires we can pretty much guarantee a busted tube each day or so. We stopped in Arroyo Grande for a food resupply and coffee but it took longer than expected because the Albertsons in this town is terribly designed and doesn’t have bags… seriously, they don’t have bags for you to even purchase. Fucking stupid.

After the resupply we had a pretty decent ride to our sleeping location, a little college town called San Luis Obispo where we had a host from Couchsurfing in a freaking bus. A magic bus. A magic festival bus. A magic festival bus of awesome.

Our host was actually at Lucidity Festival and lived similarly to us. He is a burner who lives minimally and builds his life around community and experiences instead of things. We had a great time talking to him about festivals, cops, drug use, and life in general. I hope our paths cross with him again someday, and I am pretty sure they will. The universe kind of works that way. We caught up on a little work, shared a beer with our host, and charged our devices before crashing for the night.

We didn’t bang though, which is kind of a shame. “Banging in a magic school bus” isn’t exactly an item on any of our bucket lists but it would have been a cool bit of information for future drunk rounds of Never Have I Ever. It didn’t happen though because of logistics… not “people are around” logistics, we clearly don’t care about that, but just adventure logistics. Despite our increased sex drives from daily exercise we are all kind of mentally and physically exhausted by the end of the day. Basically, Anna and I will lay in bed horny but feel like getting the condoms out of the backpack on the other side of the room is just way too much effort. So at best we just half-ass grind on each other and pass out.

After leaving San Luis Obispo we headed towards Morro Bay on the coast where we had to make a pretty important route decision. We could either head up the PCH or cut over the mountains and take the inland route north. We ended up deciding on the inland route because it was safer. The first day or so of riding towards the new route would suck with the elevation but everyone we talked to said the PCH is hell for cyclists up here… narrow roads, lots of turns, low visibility, and shitty drivers. So inland it was.

Image

Morro Bay was an interesting experience. The town itself was a cute little place right along the coast, very different from the busy hustle of LA area beaches. Everything was in walking distance and you got the feeling that most of the people knew each other, but it clearly had some issues. There was a strong separation between the residents with houses and the residents without houses. In fact, we often were treated fairly poorly because we appeared “homeless”.

Actually, fuck that term. The term homeless is wrong. The people who we talked to us who lived on the street weren’t homeless, they were houseless. A home is a place of love, family, and community and these people had all of those. What they lacked was a piece of property that our society says, mistakenly in my opinion, is necessary in order for you to be a respectable person. Words matter and the term homeless helps steer people away from what is really going on. To lack a home is seen as a character defect or something deserved, it is the inability to make connections and have loving relationships. Being houseless sounds more temporary or an intentional decision to live without something… much like being car-less or tv-less. Technically, all of us on the ride our houseless but we certainly aren’t homeless… we actually have many homes, filled with love and support, in Los Angeles, Washington DC, Portland, St. Louis, and everywhere we roam with our friend-family. The houseless people of Morro Bay are no different, they are intelligent, loving people who clearly had a community and a city that they cared for and about. Some of them may want houses, some may not, but to call them “homeless” is to ignore the issue and in many ways dehumanize them. Home is love, and they had love, what they lacked was property.

We left Morro Bay in the mid-afternoon knowing that we wouldn’t make it to another town before needing a place to sleep. The route through the mountains had some good climbs to it so we wanted to break up the day a bit and camp out in the woods. We had a scare or two as crazy people on the highway during the first few miles decided slowing down for 10 seconds was a waste of their time and worth risking our blood on their windshield, but after we hit the back roads things got much better. We had a beautiful climb along some pastures and the whole area made us think of Ireland/Scotland… which we have never been to but I almost expected a painted Mel Gibson to come running over the hills wielding a giant sword and yelling FREEEEDOOOMMM!!!!

Image

The paved road ended and we continued the ride on gravel through a heavily forested area. Time was ticking and we were quickly in need of a camping spot. Luckily we found a clearing with some abandoned sheds on it. It probably belonged to someone but it didn’t have a fence around it and was flat and safe. We had some dinner, pitched our tent, and got settled in for the night. We were all a tad nervous so we had sex to relax our nerves. Anna and I did our thing while Hans busted out the vibrator. We were all pretty close before this ride but at this point there really is nothing that bothers us… we’ve had sex in front of each other while sober, held conversations while peeing near each other in full view, talked about poop, etc. Walls are stupid among family.

The night went without incidence and we awoke with the sun and got an early start. The first part of the day was almost entirely uphill and we had to walk most of the time. It was draining but the ride was gorgeous and it gave us some time to chat and enjoy everything. Life can fly by so fast, even on bike, that you can miss the wildlife and connections that make living more than existence. After a couple hours we got to the top of the mountain, took some pictures, and started our smooth and wonderful descent into Templeton, CA.

Templeton was just a pitstop for us but it was a good one. They had a Trader Joe’s and a coffee shop with a very friendly employee (manager? owner?) named Joshua who loved what we were doing. We talked biking and adventuring for a bit while we got some work done. I would have liked to talk to him more but, as usual, I was tired, awkward, and felt a bit rushed as we planned the rest of the day. We quickly moved on to Paso Robles where we, unintentionally, spent the night.

As the sun was setting I blew a tube and for some reason the pump was having some issues. I couldn’t get it to fill up the tube at all… I would later find out that the tube was defective, not the pump. So, thanks to the generosity of our friends we tapped into our savings and got a cheap hotel room nearby that was dog friendly. We were able to clean ourselves, charge our devices, and catch up on Game of Thrones (as fate would have it the two episodes that we had not seen were both on HBO that night). We got a little sleep and were up early again for the road.

Originally we planned on getting up at around 7am and knocking out 55 miles to King City. We were running behind, as usual, but it was a good thing we were. As we were loading up our stuff we met Pam and Mike, two fucking amazing people who have an organic farm in southern Oregon. They were actually supposed to be at a different hotel that night so it seems the universe kind of brought us together for a moment. For about 30 minutes we discussed many aspects of life from government to spirituality to veganism and I’ll just say that they are our type of people. They kindly offered to let us stay at their place when we come through the area later this summer, an offer that I am looking forward to taking them up on. They loved what we were doing, our views on relationships and family, and I am sure many other things. I hope they are up for some chats over a cold beer, I think we have a lot to share with each other.

Image

The miles flew easily by throughout the first part of the day (Saturday, 4/19… for those keeping track, I can barely remember) but after our picnic things got kind of shitty. The afternoon winds hit us head on as we rode through the Salinas Valley and our pace slowed to a crawl. It was kind of like riding your bike with two flat tires through mud while someone slapped you in the face with sand over and over and over again. Quite frankly, we were windfucked… or windraped as Hans put it because it wasn’t consensual and no didn’t mean no.

Our motivation was dying slowly, tears were being shed, and every time I looked down at our speedometer to see 4.7mph I wanted to just give up. On all sides were hills creating a wind-tunnel that seemed designed specifically to give cyclists hell. It became increasingly obvious that we wouldn’t make it to King City before darkness took over the land, much less with time to hang out and rest. We had no choice but to look for shelter as we came into a 200 person “town” called San Lucas.

I spotted a church and headed there hoping that someone would be inside and could grant us permission to sleep inside, or at least put our tent up near the building for shelter. The church was barely standing and nobody was inside so we decided to just risk it and set up our stuff on the back side out of sight and out of mind. We had already been seen by about 5% of the town and the last thing we wanted was more attention.

Image

That night was one of the scariest of my life, and by far the scariest since I left the army. Hiding in a small town where you don’t know anybody turns every sound into a potential enemy. For better or worse we are designed to err on the side of fear. Dogs roaming the streets became Cujo. Footsteps became murderer or rapists. Cars became gang vehicles looking for an easy drive-by target.

For all my beliefs in “people are good” and similar philosophies that shit does not mean anything when you are in an unfamiliar place in the dark surrounded by potential hostile forces. Words and beliefs are worthless shields that can be shouted by martyrs but won’t keep you alive and safe. It made me realize how different things were when I was in the military and equipped to defend myself and others against “all enemies, foreign and domestic”. A firearm is not a theory, a firearm is solid. Metal in your hand, a weapon to protect, something that you know exists. Freedom, community, and peace are all concepts that become worthless and their potential for non-existence becomes glaringly obvious when compared a tool gripped firmly.

So, as we became known to a big dog who liked to come around and bark at us hourly throughout the night, or as we heard someone working on their car at 3:30am, I didn’t fall back on “people are good”. I put a weapon in my hand (a small camping ax… all I really had), I stayed awake, and I tried to trust my training to lead me to the best decisions possible… the decisions that would keep us safe, or at least cause as much damage as fucking possible to any would-be attackers.

But, as is often the case, the sun rose without incident. My fears turned out to be nothing more than shadows and dust. When I saw the dog that wandered by hourly it was clear that it was no more of a threat than the roosters that stayed up all night making noise (Sidenote: Fuck roosters. They don’t crow at sunrise, they crow at sunrise, 1am, sunset, because a car drove by, because a dog barks, 11pm, and for no reason at all. Why do people own those foul beasts.). With light from the sun illuminating the cloudy world we packed things up and hit the road the final 10 miles to King City where we decided to take a day off from riding, camp at a county park, and just relax.

Send Off

**Well, despite my half-ass efforts I have not really maintained this blog in addition to the other two I’m running. I think I will just start posting the same thing here that I post on the blog for our 2-year bike ride, Barely Functional Adults. This was originally posted on April 16. As a reminder,this is pretty much an uncensored version of the events of our bike ride. If you are uncomfortable hearing about sex, drugs, profanity, etc you should check follow our PG-version at www.10LegsWillTravel.wordpress.com . This is a warning. If you don’t want to hear about these adult actions please leave now**

IMG_6896

Well nothing ever goes as planned. Expectations, plans, and the whole works are often necessary but rarely match up with what we have in mind. Oh well, shit works out.

We didn’t get to bed the night before until pretty late. I went to bed around midnight, Hans went to bed around 11pm, and Anna didn’t snuggle into our mattress on the ground until nearly 2am… and our alarm was set for 6am. It sucks but I didn’t think much of it because I knew we could still knock out the rest of the prep work and apartment cleaning by 9am or so and hit the trail. Our first day was only 35 miles or so after all, no big deal. And then everything went crazy.

I woke up to anxious voices in the living room. Apparently Higgs had decided to eat a bunch of our trail mix in the middle of the night and because the trail mix had dark chocolate it could probably poison him to death. Anna called her dad who is a veterinarian and I did the only thing I could do, I checked the internet. After some research I decided our dog probably wouldn’t die but this is the internet so it is probably good that we erred on the side of caution. Anna’s dad told us to induce vomiting by pouring hydrogen peroxide down his throat so we did. Dogs do not love the taste of hydrogen peroxide, but after a couple douses he vomited a shit ton of foamy, brown, nutty mess all over the alley behind our house. A good person probably would have cleaned it up but I didn’t because I was tired, in my pajamas, and the smell was terrible. Oh well, this is LA… dog vomit is probably pretty clean compared to most of the sidewalk.

After the Higgs-chocolate-vomit debacle we got back to work cleaning the apartment and prepping our equipment. We finally got everything downstairs and ready to load up around 11am. That is when we realized that the equipment didn’t really fit on our bikes very well and we needed a trailer to carry some of it. Anna rushed off to the local bike shop to get one while Hans and I hung around and kind of just sat around. 1pm finally rolled around and we hit the road. Now we had less than half the time than expected… no big deal…

Unfortunately, we didn’t make it to the campground we had a reservation at. We were racing the sun and had about seven more miles to go when Anna’s bike blew a tube. By time we got it changed we had very little light left and were on the side of the Pacific Coast Highway. I found a campground about a mile away and we rushed off hoping they would have room for us to camp.

We arrived with a few minutes of light left but there was nobody working so we just set up our tent in an empty spot and called it good. We would have payed the $45 if they came around and asked for it but they never did. We left before any park attendee talked to us so I guess we camped for free. Well, free minus the $40 we paid for the other campground that we didn’t stay at. I’m sure the state of California will survive without that extra $5, they sure as hell took a bunch out of our taxes this year already anyway.

The next day (Thursday) only really had one event. As we were driving down the PCH Higgs somehow managed to bust out of the kennel and fell out while I was riding about 15mph. He somehow rolled pretty safely and decided to sprint around the highway. Luckily there wasn’t much traffic. We all basically panicked and started screaming his name, which of course freaked him out and he started sprinting to each of us thinking we were playing some sort of game called “Let’s dodge traffic in an area with no shoulder and speeding cars, but at least the weather is nice”. We ended up getting grabbing him and he was perfectly fine, we were more shaken than he was. He just kept wagging his tail and was thinking of peanut butter or something. After that there wasn’t much to report, we saw some cool jets and missiles near an Air Force base and we stopped for some fresh fruit but really we rolled into Ventura safe and sound.

On Friday things got a little rougher. First off, after about 4 miles on the road some bad circumstances led to Higgs tipping in his trailer as we crossed a road. Again, Higgs ended up being fine but the trailer ended up torn on one side. We had to prop up the couch cushion that Higgs has been using as a bed to block the broken side so he couldn’t slip out… I know it seems like we take risks with our dog but that really isn’t the case, it has just been a good run of bad luck.

After we got the trailer going again we knocked out an amazing 30 miles or so along the coast. We stopped for coffee in a pretentious little area of Santa Barbara where some guy who said he was a witch from Salem, Massachusetts and was walking to San Diego asked Hans for money. He got pretty annoyed when she said no but then asked for directions to San Diego and got more annoyed when we didn’t know more than “walk with the beach on your right”. Once we hit the highway heading to Lucidity from Santa Barbara things got kind of dicey. The roads were absolute crap… uphill climbs, shitty shoulders, and driver’s who barely paid attention. We walked our bikes a lot because we just couldn’t keep riding the steep incline. Luckily, a great guy with a pick-up truck saw us along the road and offered us a lift. We gladly accepted. Finally, around 5pm on Friday we got into Lucidity and got ready to party our asses off.

It didn’t take us long to find our friends and get settled in at the festival. After a little bit of relaxation we popped some MDMA and Cialis and got things going. We wandered around, listened to some music, and just enjoyed the amazing vibe of hundreds of people acting peacefully. For the first time since our trip started Anna and I had sex but because of the MDMA neither of us could come. A standard and expected side effect, particularly when our bodies were so tired from three days cycling in the sun. During this time Hans was out with some of our friends. She got invited to a threesome but wasn’t really up for it because of all the travel, besides, she wanted to listen to some music and explore the festival. We all got a really good night’s sleep though and were ready to explore the festival all day Saturday.

After waking at about noon the three of us and some friends hung out for a bit and drank some beers in front of the tent. We were all recovering from the chemicals in our body and enjoying the cool atmosphere. A few more of our friends arrived at the festival which motivated us to get moving. A group of us walked around for a while just taking in the sights and sounds. It is always such a great experience to see the art and hear the music that humans can create, we are such fascinating and creative creatures. During our walk we decided to take a bunch of pictures (obviously) and during one of these photo ops I proposed to Anna. She said yes and we are now engaged. Her and I have talked a lot about our future together and we both want our lives to stay aligned if possible. We are great partners.

Eventually we found our way back to our tents and rested some more…. festivals can kind of make you lazy sometimes. It is an opportunity to rest and restore your mind (even if you exhaust your body a bit). As the sun started to sink down we took some more MDMA and Cialis and hit the festival again. We wandered, looked for friends, listened to music and enjoyed life.

As is often the case, five of us found ourselves in a tent exploring each other. There were various stages of undress and tits being sucked, cocks being stroked, bodies caressed, kissing, laughing, petting, playing, and banging. Bodies got lost on and in each other and a good time was had by all. During all this play another friend came up to our tent but he was on a bunch of mushrooms so he was more in the mood to just stare at the stars than have some sexy time with our group. While it was fun none of us came (thanks MDMA) so this was day 4 without orgasm… a pretty long time for people like us. After our little tent party we wandered around for another hour or so but our bodies started to tire, the MDMA we took was really clean so we were euphoric and happy but not really “dancey”.

Sunday ended up being a real day of rest for us. Most of our friends had to leave that day and we knew we had to hit the road again hard on Monday. We spent a lot of time letting our bodies and mind recover. Naps, 5-HTP, and food were our primary desires. It was incredibly sad to say good-bye to our friends. Some of them we will see again at Burning Man but many of them will likely be physically out of our lives for the next couple years. Thankfully we live in a time when Facebook and cell phones allow us to stay connected. I fucking love these people and I don’t know how I would get around without them, we all need friends where we can be our naked selves… where we can be open, honest, and unapologetic. People who don’t mind hanging out in the nude, drinking a beer, discussing philosophy, doing drugs, cuddling on a couch, or a thousand other things. These people are soulmates, reflections of ourselves in others. That’s what these two groups of friends are to me… they are love, plain and simple. They are my crushes (intellectually, physically, and as couples) and they are people I hope will be in my life for a very long time. Damn it… I am going to fucking miss them.

Leaving on Monday morning was tough. It was like leaving a warm bed on a cold morning except the bed was warmth for your spirit. We managed to do it though and hit the road around 11am. The mountains out of the city sucked ass. Small shoulders, inclines, and shitty drivers again but we pushed through the remaining 8ish miles with only a few stops (mostly for safety… I have no intention of dying on this adventure, there is too much more to explore). Unfortunately as we came out of the mountains we had a tube on the equipment trailer blow. Somehow it managed to get over five tiny holes in it. We patched what we could and moved on… we should have had spare tubes but we all procrastinated buying them. For days we talked about needing to pick them up but just didn’t. Oh well, lesson learned. We patched what we could and just kept filling the tube every mile or so until we made it to our destination.

That night we stayed with someone we found on WarmShowers. Our host and his wife was absolutely amazing. Despite Higgs acting like a dick to his dogs and horses our host really took care of us. He provided a place for us to set up our tent for the night and cooked us an amazing vegan chili dinner. A warm home cooked meal really hit the spot. I should of known that were among good people when his Pandora station was Phish. We had some great dessert, took a shower in one of the nicest showers I have ever used, and hit the sack pretty early so we could get a good start on the next day.

Around 7am we hit the road to a local coffee shop to kind of set up basecamp for the day. I rode quickly to a bike shop to get tubes for the trailer, as well as new patch kits, while Anna and Hans worked on work and our new Facebook page. We ended up spending about four hours at the coffee shop before hitting the road again.

About halfway through our day we stopped for a break at a gas station. While sitting at a bench I started talking to a guy sitting near us. It turns out he is a former California Highway Patrolman. He asked about what we were doing and seemed really supportive. Unfortunately, I didn’t get his name but I gave him one of our cards. He asked about this blog title so it is likely he is reading this. It is sad that if he was working and witnessed some of the things I’ve already talked about it is likely he would put me in a cage. Our current legal system (and the fucktard asshat politicians that pass the laws) pits many good people who want to make a better society against peaceful people like us. I don’t know what kind of cop he was, he may have been wonderful or he may have ruined the lives of people because they smoked a plant or did some other peaceful act that harmed nobody. I just don’t know, I hope he was a good cop, I really do. It is just really sad that we now live in a society where I fear flashing blue lights and badges even when I do nothing wrong. I know I would never call the police, even if I witnessed a crime… the chance is just too high that they will turn against me or other peaceful people. We now live in a society where vigilante justice is more just than law enforcement. It really is sad….

The rest of our ride into Santa Maria was pretty peaceful. We couldn’t find a safe place to camp or any available people on CouchSurfing or WarmShowers so we got a cheap hotel room. Finally, after an amazing 90 seconds of banging, Anna and I were able to orgasm… the first one in seven days. Hans was feeling a little sick so she didn’t bust out her vibrator, but she did have nearly a half dozen sex dreams so her subconscious filled in where her body couldn’t…. and she banged herself in the morning to make up for lost time.
**I know this one is pretty long. Hopefully I will be able to update this more often and not write a novel once a week**

The Ride Begins Again…

Tomorrow morning I start on a 35,000 miles, 18-month bicycle ride around the United States and Canada with my partner (Anna), our friend (also named Anna), and our dog (Higgs-Bosom – The Dog Particle). I started this blog just over two years ago to track my (mostly) solo bicycle ride from Washington DC to Los Angeles. It is funny how things come full circle.

Anyway, because of the upcoming ride I will have some new writing responsibilities and this blog is going to change a bit. I will still write as often as possible in an uncensored way about the subjects I love (Burning Man, sex, spirituality, BDSM, LGBT, science, transhumanism, polyamory, open relationships, drug legalization, social issues, MDMA, anarchy, libertarianism, veganism, etc) but I really don’t know how much time I will have to spend writing. My Facebook page will probably also lack it’s normal traffic but if you want to add me there to see the articles and stuff I find interesting please do. If you are interested in following my other writing I will be blogging at two other sites:

  • Barely Functional Adults: This is going to be an uncensored blog about our bike ride. Because we are all adults and enjoy adult things (drugs, sex, being naked, swearing, sinning, etc) this blog will cover those things. Some highlights we are looking forward to include visiting nude beaches, going to festivals, the World Naked Bike Ride, Burning Man, and banging in every state. We will be updating 2-3 times per week. (www.BarelyFunctionalAdults.wordpress.com).
  • 10 Legs, Will Travel: This blog will be censored, updated daily, and basically rated “PG”. We all subscribe to the Dan Savage view of dealing with parents/family… basically, there are things parents have a right not to know about their adult children’s lives and they have a responsibility not to snoop. This blog will provide our families with a place to hear about our journey, look at pictures, and keep track of us without hearing about hanging out in the Orgy Dome or seeing our nipples, butts, pubic mounds, etc. (www.10LegsWillTravel.wordpress.com).
  • There are also other social networks:
    • Instagram: 10LegsWillTravel (we will probably take tons of pictures… the Anna’s are both great photographers)
    • SnapChat: pneiger (in case you want to send us pics of your junk)
    • Twitter: pneiger (though this is just my Facebook and blog linked, I don’t actually use it)
    • FourSquare: Peter Neiger

Anyway, I hope you will follow our other travels and still check out this blog from time to time. I will do my best to keep up with everything but it is likely I will only have internet access a couple of times a day… and I’m also working on college courses, Khan Academy, and some other writing so my downtime will be limited. Below is our basic route but if you have any advice on places to check out or know people with open lawn/floor space for us to sleep please shoot an email to 10LegsWillTravel@gmail.com . Much peace and love to you all.

Map Update (1)

Saying Good Bye

To be honest, I thought someday I would get used to it. You think after all the transitions in my life… Oregon to military, military to college, college to Washington DC, Washington DC to Los Angeles… I would get used to saying good bye to new friends. It still isn’t fucking easier. Maybe it isn’t supposed to be. Maybe the difficulty, the held back tears, the moments of second-guessing all are a testament to the love I’ve found and the bonds I’ve formed. Maybe it is a good thing that it is hard… it still sucks though. 

Yesterday I want to a Game of Thrones party at my best friend’s house. It was the last opportunity to say good bye to a lot of the friends I have made while in Los Angeles. And the good byes aren’t over, this weekend at Lucidity I will say good bye to another group of beautiful souls who have helped me learn to love myself and others. These are people who I have come to look forward to seeing, people I meet with a warm embrace, people that I can open up to (even though some of them would rather me not). I wish I would have spent more time with them, made them more of a priority, and tried to build a stronger friendship and forge more memories. But alas, what’s done is done. There are no more days for new memories in LA, at least not for a while.

While it hurts to leave these people, I am not sad about the future. Because I have been through this before I know that many of these friends will be in my life forever. Hell, my best friend and I have known each other almost 25 years and have only lived in the same city for about 10 total. I hold on to people who mean something to me, thanks to Facebook and the internet that is easier than ever but it is more than convenience, it is in my nature. I may not talk to them much (hell, I don’t talk to them much now) but they are always in my heart and they always pop into my head at the best times… “Oh man, I have to call Josh, he has got to hear about this”, “Hey, Dagny would love that”, “Oh Blayne… if only you could mow down on these cheesesticks with me”, “Damn, where’s James when I need him?”, “I wonder what Emmett would think of that?”… I wish I contacted them more than I do. In a very real way they are part of my family and when thinking of them I am home.

Home isn’t geography for me. It is where I can be unapologetically me. It is where honesty, love, and peace prevail above politics, social status, or religion. And the people I say good bye to as I start the next chapter of my life will always be my family and home. I know that if I need them they will be there. I love them and will miss them… but I know that any physical separation means nothing when our minds and spirits are connected. They are my ka-tet and that is a bond that doesn’t break, no matter how far I roam. 

Sex Nerds

I had a great article from Vice brought to my attention yesterday. The article, which hit home for me in a lot of ways, is about sex nerds. Not nerds having sex, that is a different (but can be overlapping) category. Sex nerds are people who enjoy being nerdy about the subject of sex. We like to read about it, write about it, and ponder it from every angle. It isn’t about having a high sex drive or pursuing personal orgasms (truth be told, my sex drive is probably about average), no, it is about analyzing, questioning, and discussing the different aspects of sex.

Like most nerds (a positive term in my mind), sex nerds like to throw out social norms and see what is left. They aren’t content to just view the world or do things that are popular unless they hold up to greater scrutiny. “That’s the way it has always been done” is blasphemy. Instead, things like gender, relationships, kinks, and fetishes are all open to analysis, experimentation, and confirmation. And what nerds are finding about sex is fascinating.

Sex nerds tend to be open to multi-partner relationships in some form. Whether it is polyamory, monogamish, or a variety of “open” relationships we have found that jealousy and “traditional” relationships are not the only way to happily organize intimacy. Jealousy may be more of a social construct than a natural reaction. We are told that we should be jealous when our partners are flirted with, make out with someone, fantasize about another person, or have hook up… but why? Can’t jealousy, like many other negative emotions be controlled, subdued, and shown for what it is… an unnecessary display of anger towards something that may not happen and is often beyond our control. Jealousy is about possessing another person’s body and mind, it is about controlling them, treating them as an object. It may be “normal” but that doesn’t make it good.

Nerds also tend to be much more fluid with their gender and sexuality. Why should we view 1/2 of the population as off-limits to intimacy and love simply because of the way they were born? Certainly, we all have a certain level of sexual orientation. We find some things more attractive than others and are turned off by certain attributes, but is that purely biology or has there been immense pressure by churches, governments, and society as a whole to subdue sexuality. Men receive constant pressure to have no attraction to other men while women are often told they must be “pure” for their future spouse. Gender, like sex in general, has been a way to control the actions of others. And nerds, as is often the case, don’t give a fuck about social norms and are going to surround themselves with more accepting people.

Technology and the internet has really created revolutionary opportunities for nerds (and anyone who has interests that aren’t “normal”). There is an ability to connect and discuss things that would normally be off-limits. No matter how strange you are the internet allows you to find similar people… which of course complicates things. As nerds figure out that sex isn’t always just vanilla, that relationships can thrive with multiple people, and as gender is recognized as being non-binary new terms are needed. Polyamory, pansexuality, and all the different types of kink start to be defined and enter mainstream. And I hope it does continue to enter the mainstream.

Being a sex nerd is more nerd than it is sex. It isn’t about putting on a Tidus outfit and finding a cute Yuna to bend over a hotel room bed at a conference. It is about diving deeper into one of our most carnal drives to find a way to do it better, more intimately, and boldly try things that have never been tried before. And isn’t that what we all really want? To be able to explore a vital part of human existence safely, with consenting partners, and without fear of unfair judgement from others?