A sweet return home, with an airport pickup from these cuties.
By the way- the coolest thing happened... I was upgraded to biz class! Waaaaaaat?! Best flight ever.
London: round two. The depression had already started when I left magical Milos. Santorini just wasn’t my jam. I wasn’t jazzed to pass through London again, because I was ready to get home, but there are worse places to layover. I had made arrangements to meet up with Rose, who works for the Feminist Library in London. We had coffee in Little Venice on the canal and it was perfect. We got to chatting about all sorts of things political and non. The Feminist Library is in the process of moving to a new location so I wasn’t able to visit or donate zines. But if you can, check them out.
After my coffee chat with Rose, I met Jemma at the Bayswater station to check out ‘carnival’ which is London’s Caribbean population celebration. Caribbean foods, and flags abound, and floats representing different nations parade down the street. The streets were packed with festival attendees -dancing their arses off in the streets, huffing nitrous balloons, sipping cocktails and live drumming and bands. A bit too much merry-ment for me. Also- whip-its? I haven't hit them since...? High school? We used to do them at festivals and Dead Shows. My sister was famous for dropping into a seizure in the old Giant's Stadium parking lot because she kept huffing the stuff back and forth into the balloon without taking in any oxygen. So, yeah, there's that. Glad that is no longer a part of my lifestyle.
Santorini is the iconic Greek island... however during the summer season this, for me is unbearable. I’m not a big fan of huge crowds. When I travel abroad I don’t like to hang out with Americans. Is that snotty? I don’t know and I don’t really care. Santorini was packed with people, and it was very expensive compared to Milos and Athens. The sunsets are gorgeous. The white buildings are beautiful. The beaches are nothing special compared to Milos. The food is no different than I had in other places. But expect crowds and high prices.
Thankfully, by the time I landed in the tiny, one lane airport in Mílos, I felt 💯 %.
The many divine meals...
Phew, finally feeling more like myself. I left a rainy, cold London afternoon and after some delays, Athens welcomes me with mid 80’s warmth. I really enjoyed Athens- for the short time I stayed. I stayed at the Athens Backpacker which was very close to the Acropolis. This neighborhood had loads of cafes and restaurants and has buses and the metro so you can get anywhere. It’s 15 minutes walking to Syntagma Square.
I had a killer view of the Acropolis from the rooftop bar of my accommodation. I got my arse up early to tour the Acropolis one morning. On public bus, I managed to get myself to an AA meeting. I also got myself to the pop-up Athens Zine Library to drop off some of my zines.
Worst withdrawal ever. I haven't been this ill since the last time I experienced withdrawal from heroin. My psychiatric nurse is a jerk because she is responsible for my serotonin withdrawal. I detoxed from my medication because I did not have enough in my system. My nurse switched the medication I was on and assured me that I would not have any issues because of the amount of serotonin in the med. Wrong she was. I crapped my brains out, felt woozy, sleepy, hungover, had the chills and was sweating, couldn't sleep and walked around in a daze for four days. Thanks. I was really angry with myself because I know better and should have taken extra pills of m previous meds along on this trip.
Holding it together during bouts of illness. I got to meet up with an old drinking buddy, Ian while visiting. Ian and I met in Los Angeles at the Banana Bungalow, in 2000 or 2001 after I drive cross country with my friend George, and then decided to make my drunken way up the coast of California. I also met up with Barney, a cyclist that we met on our first west coast bike tour.
Housemans Bookstore now stocks several of my zines. Housemans is very cool, the selection was akin to Bluestockings. I hung out and chatted with Christina for a bit.
Billie Holiday welcomes me with a happy tail and snuggles. Billie keeps me coming home. She’s the sweetest pup. I am home for a week before my next adventure and I’m spending all my time with her.
We visited the bicycle shop, Clever Cycles every day that we were in town. They had some cool touring bike stuff and promised us two bike boxes. The manager, Eva had the genius idea to lend us one of their cargo e-bikes to get the bikes the half mile back to the place we were staying. Check out the photo below - Cristina having a grand ol' time pedaling the e-bike and boxes. Also, pictured our last supper at Virtuous Pie- delicious vegan pizza, (gave me some intense gas)!
We broke down our bikes in Ken + Heidi's backyard and packed them into the Benno boxes while sweet Angela the cat supervised.
Instead of throwing all of our shite and panniers into a cardboard box, we decided to put three of them together and saran the heck outta them! It made me feel like I was at the airport going to Cuba. I made a reservation with Radio Cab to pick us up in a van for the airport. That's it, ready for departure.
After a full day's rest of loafing around Lewis and Clark State Park, we felt energized for our day. I had previously secured us a night with a Warm Showers host in Longview. The host- Marti encouraged us to sleep late and leave late because it was an easy ride and they would not be home until after 2 or 3. We left camp at 9 and headed out. Different than other mornings, the sun was already beating strongly at that early hour. Cristina kept having issues with her right shifter on her Surly Disc Trucker. When we made our morning nutrition and pee stop, I tightened her shifter. We forged on ahead, knowing we would be stopping in Castle Rock for lunch.
We reached Castle Rock, sweaty and ready for some time out of the 90' day. We found a sweet bookstore/cafe shop for a refueling of caffeine. A few doors down, we dined at a small cafe- enjoying amazing turkey, provolone and cranberry relish paninis. After we ate, Cristina headed into the coffee shop for some ice cream and I to the bakery across the street for a donut. When I returned, Cristina had already finished her ice cream and declared that her shifter broke. In pieces. This is bad. Very bad. Basically her bike would be unridable up hills, as she wouldn't be able to change gears. With a load of 50 lbs on your bike- shifting gears is absolutely necessary to get up hills, unless you prefer to walk them. (Walking hills is totally okay, too.)
Since she already ate her ice cream, and there was nothing I could do for her, I sat down and ate my custard filled, chocolate glazed donut. We ascertained that there was not a single bike shop in town. Cristina was muffling a complete freakout. I figured we would have to hitchhike to Marti's place. (I was also navigating over the phone how to handle my puppy having been sprayed by a skunk the night before.) As I calmly ate my donut, I messaged Marti and told her the situation. Behold! Marti offered to scoop us up. We sat tight, sweating in the midday sun, calling bike shops in Longview. None seemed to have the necessary part for Cristina's bike. Marti picked us up and took us directly to a bike shop she deals with all the time.
The team that worked on Cristina's bike, and came up with a temporary fix, enough to ride to Portland.
Sad little Billie hiding in the corner because she does not love to take baths.
What a cycle tourist eats in a day...
I thought I would document what I ate the last day of my cycling tour. It started with pancakes for breakfast at the Fines. My first snack was 3 fig energy balls. Then I had Kind "breakfast bars". Then I enjoyed a tasty toasty egg and cheese bagel and a cookie. We toasted with ginger beers when we arrived in Portland. For dinner I scarfed down a brisket sandwich. Finally, to cap off the day, we put ourselves in sugar comas after eating Voodoo doughnuts.
Our last cycling day into Portland was fairly smooth only because the hills weren't killer. Cristina's shifter gave her issues most of the ride, which really sucked. We stayed with another WS host, Heidi and Ken, more cool folks. Pictured on this page is their cat, Angela, lying on the bed with us. We got out and checked out some of the sites including going over three of their many bridges.
Hi, I'm Reverend J, a queer+ sober wanderer, activist, writer and ordained minister.