Defecating on Immortals

Caution: This post contains adult language and discussion. This was originally posted on our bike blog “Barely Functional Adults” on May 23rd.

Part of my intentions for this blog is accurately share what we experience. Often I fail, that is the nature of writing, language, and I guess all types of art. What I am feeling or what I intend the message to be gets lost sometimes due to me doing a shitty job or because I kind of do a stream-of-consciousness style writing where I don’t proof-read before posting. There are some cases when the intention of the artist is irrelevant, in that case the art is open to interpretation by the observer… I don’t consider this blog one of those cases. This is supposed to be a true story with all the ups and downs of our little friend-family and I try to represent it clearly and accurately. I also try to represent things as we see them, not just as I see them. I fuck up though, my ego, identity, and such gets in the way on a subconscious level and I struggle to remember this is “our journey” not “my journey”.

So, after reading my last post I felt there was some stuff unclear and things were not portrayed as I wish. It is true that I was irked by the change in plans but that wasn’t because of the specifics involved, that was purely an internal issue of mine. It was one that I need to work on and the events are proof of how fucking awesome things are when you let go of planning and expectations to embrace the now. Jesus joining us turned out to be a major highlight of the ride and we all wish he could join us more and in the future. There are certain souls that you meet and feel united with, certain people who you think you can learn from and want in your life, Jesus was one of those people. Luckily, the universe seems to have a way of keeping those people in your life, call it fate, ka, ka-tet, power of attraction, or just human nature, but it happens. Strong bonds of similar material are not easily broken.

I will keep doing my best to portray our journey as a group, and not just as an individual. I’ll probably fuck up again but two amazing people, one dog, and a reader or three to keep me in line or call me on my shit. Also, I will call myself out because writing is what I love and I want to do it well.

Alright, now where were we on our ride… shit, I can’t remember so I gotta check the last blog post again. BRB

That’s right, we were in Fort Bragg and about to head out. The ride along the coast on Highway 1 continued to be beautiful and provide us with amazing scenery. It is interesting how you get used to things though, no matter how beautiful a site is when you first see it you eventually get used to it and it becomes boring. That seems to be an evolved trait for humans, whether it is a partner, food, or environment it doesn’t matter how much you love it you will eventually get kind of bored with it. The view along the 1 didn’t really suffer from this because the scenes change regularly, even the beaches morph from sand to rocks to cliffs and moving at about 8mph keeps things changing regularly.

Once we got to the Lost Coast we left the ocean behind for a few days as the route took us inland into the redwoods and over a bunch of shitty hills. We have started seeing a lot more cyclists similar to us. They aren’t dressed in bright jerseys with 5 oz bicycles, nope they are dirty, sweaty, with tents on their backs and huge smiles on their faces. These are adventurers who see the bicycle as a particular tool instead of the purpose of the experience. We’ve met Australians, Swedes, Danes, and other Americans plowing their way up and down the coast looking for a good time. Despite being fairly introverted we have had some conversations with these social rebels and it is inspiring. Maybe someday we can visit their land and get some riding in.

Most of our nights have been spent either stealth camping in random off-road places or using the state parks (which usually have $5 hiker/biker rates up here… fucking glorious). Off-road camping is our preferred because it is free, but sometimes there are non-monetary costs. We were camping under some redwoods at an abandoned park or something that a logging company made when gross struck our little family. Higgs was off wandering around off-leash when he apparently found some feces to roll in. He came trotting back with a grin on his face but was reeking of poop. The poop also had maggots in it. Poop. Maggots. Maggots in poop. Because we were off road there was not any running water to use so Anna cleaned him with baby wipes… so now our dog smelled like shit and baby wipes. He is a constant reminder why we never want kids. I’m pretty sure it was human shit too.

After finishing up Highway 1 (sad panda) we got onto the 101 and headed deep into the redwoods. Of course there were tons of tourist trap shit… “oh look at the magic Confusion Hill, you’ll never believe how physics is defied!!!!!” Blargh. I’m also not giving you $5 to look at a big tree you can drive a car thru when there are a ton of trees to be viewed for free in nature. We were only on the 101 for a few miles before we camped out at a local campground near Leggett. Leggett was a bitter-sweet place and is proof that Google is not yet omniscient. Supposedly Leggett has a market, hotel, cafe, and a gas station, in reality they have a gas station and a market 2 miles away up a big damn hill. The market was actually pretty good though so once we resupplied our food our spirits lifted up. It is such a mindfuck when you plan on arriving at a location only to find you have two more miles up a hill before your day is even near being done.

The next day we ended up taking a break in a town called Garberville, home of a weed college. Normally, that would be awesome. We aren’t really weed smokers but we support full legalization and usually get along well with those who smoke (or vape, or brownie, or however kids do the marijuana in this day and age). Garberville wasn’t a great town though, there was clearly tension between the large number of tye-died, scruffy dog owners who seemed to just hang out on corners and occasionally strum a guitar and the business owners in the town. There were “no loitering” and “no panhandling” signs everywhere. Ironically, there were also a lot of “now hiring” signs. The coffee shop we stopped at even limited wireless access to 1 hour unless you kept purchasing things. The feeling was the opposite of Arcata (where I am now sitting) where there are tons of dreadlocked, tye-died individuals but they are all working at coffee counters and grocery stores. There is definitely some grad school level sociological research that could be done comparing Arcata and Garberville.

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We left Garberville in the afternoon and took a break from the 101 to ride The Avenue of the Giants. The Avenue of the Giants. I swear, whoever named these places are awesome in my book. I feel like I am seeing signs for an old 90′s era RPG. When we got to the entrance of the Avenue there was a sign telling us where we were… only it was completely wrong (see photo below). The sign, which I assume was put up by a government agency, said that we were on the north entrance when we were really nearly 40 miles away at the southern entrance. As some kind stranger points out, that is the worst possible mistake they could make. This kind of highlights the difference between government and private market. Businesses certainly have errors like this but it is in their best interest to correct it as soon as possible, no business is going to allow a map, billboard, or other advertisement stay in circulation if it sends all the customers in the opposite direction. Government agents have no real incentive to correct this type of mistake.

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The Avenue of the Giants is an incredibly 30-mile route through giant redwoods. I felt like I was playing the Cruisin’ Earth arcade game, except instead of a humvee that shot flames out of the tailpipe I had a bicycle named Harmony… and instead of a shitty soundtrack I had a Spotify 2000′s Rock Hits… and instead of finish lines and bikini-clad 2D women I had the greatest fucking family ever, even though we smell like dirty hippy. But other than all that stuff it was just like the game, only better. We took a ton of pictures (check ourFacebook page). We camped out at one point under some redwoods, which is apparently a bad idea because they can kill you with falling branches, but it worked for us. There is a strange absence of sound or life under the redwoods because they prevent sunlight from really getting to the ground. Being without infrastructure means you sometimes have to shit in the woods and I did that on a tree that is over 500 years old. It is kind of strange to look at a living creature that was around before Columbus landed as you defecate on it.

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Leaving the Avenue for the 101 again was bittersweet. The highway is flatter but the views not nearly as beautiful, though crossing the Eel River over and over again was quite amazing. I’m terrified of heights though and got nervous sometimes while riding. I don’t know how tall people cross bridges, just the extra 3-4 inches that riding gives me makes me feel so top heavy that I constantly fear I will somehow fly over the railings. I end up taking up a lane of traffic out of fear, especially if the wind is blowing.

We found a campground in Fortuna to spend the night and rest. We had a good day, close to 50 miles, and really wanted a beer. Lucky for us Eel River Brewery was less than 1/2 mile away from the campground. So we showered, put on clothes that only moderately smelled like a locker room, and got ourselves some brew. I got pretty wasted, which everyone on Facebook knows thanks to my “Peter Patter” of constant stream-of-thought random updating that I tend to do while intoxicated. I’m always a little embarrassed the next morning but people seem to have fun, there was even a pretty thorough debate on shower sex and 69ing (awesome or overrated?) and the use of chains, ropes, and other BDSM tools in the bedroom/bathroom/bang palace of choice.

We kept on plowing through miles and arrived in the town of Eureka whose primary economic force seemed to be meth and sadness. It was in a CVS parking lot that part of my bike exploded. One of these days I’ll learn the proper name of bike parts but lets just say the insides of my rear wheel went everywhere… ball bearings, grease, and my dreams scattered around. Luckily there was a local bike shop about a mile away so Anna and I walked up there to see if they could help us out… and fuck yes they did. They hooked me up with a new wheel pretty cheap and this also seemed to help me with a derailer problem I had been having. We lost a couple hours but it could have been worse, if this would have happened on another day it may have been 50 miles or more to the nearest shop. We got lucky this time, but that will likely not always be the case. We have just accepted there may be a day when one of our bikes is unrepairable while we are in the middle of nowhere. Oh well, we will burn that bridge when we get there.

So, a few hours behind schedule but we arrived in Arcata where we got a couchsurfing hook-up from Jesus and plan on spending a few days. Our hostess, Belle, is really awesome and we all stayed up late drinking beers and talking last night. Her and her partner are definitely the type of people that we hit it off with immediately. Their home had all kinds of signs that we would get along, including an anarchy symbol on the calendar, a bumper sticker that said “Make Love, Not Babies”, and just a general open atmosphere. In fact, this whole city seems to have that type of atmosphere and we are looking forward to spending a few nights here. We even happen to be here when they are having some sort of statue race… it sounds like you just get to drink and party all day, which is amazing to us. After this we head up to Crescent City and into Oregon.

So, this isn’t really related to the ride but there are two things I’d like to share with this little audience. First, our friend-family was accepted to camp with “And Then There’s Only Love” at Burning Man. They are home of the Orgy Dome that was an incredible experience for Anna and I last year. It wasn’t really an orgy when we were there, more like a bunch of couples having sex in the same room, but it was so much fun we went back several times. It is great to be in an open, intimate, sensual, sexy place. It helps fulfill my love of more variety and strengthens our relationship, I’m sure this year will be a similar experience and we are excited to join such a great group.

Secondly, I want to recommend everyone check out the book Opening Up by Tristan Taormino. It is about non-monogamous relationships but I think everyone could learn something from it, whether you are polyamorous, monogamous, or something in between. I know it has really been eye-opening and informative for me as my partner and I navigate our monogamish relationship. It is an easy read and even monogamous couples could learn something about communicating and it can help us all be more supportive and accepting of our different relationship orientations.

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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.

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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.

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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!!!!

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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.

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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.

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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.