Ain't All Guts and Glory
If we are being honest here, I wanted to cry the first three days of my cycling trip. I'd glance at my cycling computer, the remaining miles taunting me with impossibility. My quads burned, the space between my shoulders blades pinched, every part of me ached and I sure as hell did not feel I was capable of forging on the next 10, 15 or 20 miles. At times I caffeine sweet treats literally kept me motivated. (See the many pictures of ice cream + donuts.) Pushing passed the mental blocks proved more difficult than physical pains. But slow and steady I kept on, until we rolled into the day's planned destination.
Travel = Freedom
True freedom is found outside of our comfort zones. Traveling in general usually puts a person outside their comfort zone because of unpredictability. Even if you are one to travel extravagantly, you cannot predict an airline losing your baggage, canceling your flight, hotels making mistakes, becoming ill, missing connections, or misunderstandings. Travel has always been a way for me to shake things up, change my perspective, and a way to realize all the small and big comforts I have at home. It's okay to be uncomfortable sometimes. In fact, sitting in discomfort it is freeing. I try to ask myself why I am uncomfortable, what's making me anxious. Many times it is because the current situation is not how I perceived things would go.
I will be performing a drag act at Branded Saloon in Brooklyn on Monday June 11. Come check it out!
On June 17th I will be reading from one of my zines at an LGBTQAI zinesters event at Quimby's Bookstore in Brooklyn.
Well, thank tha goddesses for progress not perfection. I am slow af on the bike right now. We've been out on our new bikes, and I am loving the feel of my Surly Disc Trucker. Did I mention that I named her Florence? She's named after my late great mama, because she is one mother trucker.
I ventured out on my own, two days in a row. On my second day, I decided to practice loading up my panniers... and I experienced a little dismounting mishap. As I slowed down and unclipped my right foot from my pedal, I pulled up next to the curb on my right side and leaned my right foot out. I started to reach the curb- then BLAM. All of a sudden, my bike lay on top of me, my left foot still clipped in. That really sucked, and dang, I felt like a loser. The handlebar really whacked my left boob and ribcage. Plus, my bruised ego something fierce.
I did manage to ride around 10 miles each day, so I thought that was better than nothing.
Here is our first reference, starting our cycling adventures in San Francisco and ending in San Diego.
Two Saturdays in a row, we drove the 1.5 hours down to Trophy Bikes in Philadelphia. Why would we do such a thing? Basically, Trophy was the closet place that had a 42cm frame built, which meant that Cristina could take a bike for a spin. One ride on a 46cm framed Surly Disc Trucker hooked me. I put my down payment on the bike and C ordered a different colored frame than mine, so we wouldn't be *extra* gay. However, this meant we would have to return the following week, when C's bike was built and both of our bikes would be ready for the road.
I woke up Saturday with my crabby pants on, for no discernible reason. I hate it when that happens. On Saturdays, I have a standing commitment, my AA meeting Homegroup at high noon. I left my meeting 20 minutes early so that we could get on the road to Philly. Still in a grumpy mood, I wasn't the best co-passenger. Everything changed after walking into Trophy. My sexy new bike was waiting for me. I started riding her around the store and then around the block. Hip hip hooray for bike day.
Back to the daily grind is hella depressing. I was in serious denial of returning to my paying job as a high school literature teacher. Delusions of grandeur perhaps, but I still dream of paying my bills through my writing. I shall hold strongly to that dream. So, to ease the inevitable, C joined me and Billie on a Hudson, NY adventure over Labor(less) Day weekend.
I had contacted Rebecca, an amazing woman I studied herbs with last year to see if she had any surplus of herbs on her homestead. Rebecca lives on the Triform farm in Hudson. It is a shared living community and they have sizable vegetable and herb gardens. It turned out, that yes, there was enough herbs for me to come and harvest. C and I then contacted Tim, who runs the sweet Suminski Innski in Tivoli, NY to see if our little family could stay overnight. Tim had room for us, including the pup, so we headed upstate on Friday around noon. I am still discovering those little towns in the Hudson Valley. It is a fairly easy drive north or you can take the train our of New York City directly into Hudson.
Tivoli is tranquil, with only a handful of restaurants and a general store in town, compared to Hudson, which has dozens of eateries and more. The Inn is down a giant hill and beside the train-tracks and river. (The train passes all night long and roused C a few times, but Billie and I were unfazed). C and I enjoyed a short bike ride that looped out and around Tivoli and back into the center of town, although we did have to cross through a construction area.
We enjoyed some damn fine organic, grass-fed burgers at the town pub before returning to the Inn for the night. Billie enjoyed the hell out of running free around the Inn's property. The next morn, we enjoyed a fresh breakfast and chat with Tim and the other guests before heading to the farm. We arrived at Triform around 1030. Rebecca had time to show us around the community a bit and before we began harvesting some plants. There is something so immediately calming about plants. I was so zen in those fields of calendula, meditating, pruning, collecting flower tops. The incredible scent of fresh lavender soothed my mind, albeit temporarily.
After Rebecca's husband showed us the rest of the farm, including the Icelandic sheep that Billie did not approve of, we packed up for downtown Hudson. I reaped the benefits of Triform Farm, and I am excited to process the various plants we snipped. We parked on a side street and wandered down Warren Street, in search of the recently opened brick and mortar Good Fight Herb Co. Shop, owned by Lauren, one of my amazing herb school teachers. After a chat with Lauren in her magikal little shop, we meandered on to get some grub. We found a fantastic sandwich shop- I had a grilled vegetable sammy with fresh pesto and goat cheese and a cup of amazing pour-over coffee.
With our bellies full, we started for home but decided to make a stop off at the Walkway Over the Hudson, located in the town of Poughkeepsie. Billie was mostly behaved as we walked the 1.25 miles over the bridge and back again before hopping in the car and heading homeward. Although, I made one last stop once we were close to home, so that C could get the homemade salted caramel ice cream from Holstens in Bloomfield.
Elvis, C and I enjoyed a wee cycling tour around Montclair my final day before going back to work, which sadly did not include ice cream.
Below is a photo of C from our first geocaching adventure as well as photos of my herb-filled apartment and my handmade smudge bundles.
Hi, I'm Reverend J, a queer+ sober wanderer, activist, writer and ordained minister.