kyle is a good friend who is currently on his way to LA from nashvegas on a bicyle. crazy and fun. i hope to catch up with him in a few months. im sure he is having a blast and hopefully CSers will accommodate and look after him. on behalf of people who kyle is dear to us, i would like to thank the CS community for taking care of him. he is on his traveling rampage as well. i know he’s been itching from the travel bug ever since we came back from The LAst Great American Roadtrip and i hope that he finds what he’s looking for. this is his second email, enjoy!
I am in Austin and all is good. If you have any contacts here I would love to meet them and bring good tidings for the holiday season. All is well and I plan to stay in Austin until the first of the year. It seems to be a very boho friendly town. I would love any thoughts you may pass me that may make my stay here more enjoyable.
Below is a second installment of my travel log, Please know that I don’t expect your readership of these emails and I am using them as a log for my ongoing adventure. If you do not want to receive them just send me an email and I completely understand, we are all inundated with content these days. If you do read them, I would love to hear your thoughts.
All the best, happy holidays, merry Christmas, Kyle.
Travel Log – Installment Two: The Ride to Tishomingo
I woke the next morning having slept in Linda and Mike Ould’s den with the five two week old puppies and their mother, Maggie. My stay at Linda and Mike Ould in Holly Creek, Tennessee was a blessed event, not only did it save me from a sub-freezing night in my tent, they were a joy to spend time with. They have established a new life beyond the rush of the Bay Area in California that is enviable. Mike was kind enough to pass along his cold weather survival knowledge gained from his earlier years in the British army. He also gave me some dried provisions to cook along the way that have come in handy. The next morning the weather was cold and wet, Linda made me a sausage and egg breakfast before I packed up to make my way further down the Natchez Trace Parkway. Mike was at work and suggested that Linda take me down the Natchez Trace across the Tennessee River to the first rest stop in the Alabama section of the Parkway. As she drove me down the parkway that morning the sky was dark, the temperature was just above freezing and light drizzle covered the window of the small truck. I was a bit nervous about biking in this weather, it had been cold on the previous days, but I had not had rain yet. Just as we crossed the Tennessee River to our west we saw clear blue sky, we felt like that was the good omen I needed for the day and this sky would move over me as I rode south.
Linda pulled into the rest stop, she wished me well and we hugged. I was delighted to have met them and knew that their generosity would help me through my next few days in the tent. I pulled out of the rest stop for what would turn to be the most difficult day of biking to that point. The weather had not changed and the beautiful sky over the river would not pass over me for the entire day. My destination was the Tishomingo State Park just 25 miles down the Natchez Trace Parkway. I felt good and much more capable of biking with the 60 pounds on my back then the day prior. As I biked the weather worsened, the drizzle turned to rain and then to sleet. The sleet pelted my face, the wet road spit water all up my back and my feet became soaked and cold. I just keep peddling hoping that someone might stop and ask if I needed a ride down the road, but I was to have no such luck. When it seemed I could not take the cold feet any longer I stopped to change my shoes and socks, but shortly after I returning to the road it was clear that I could not make time without the bike shoes that I had acquired a few days earlier. I stopped again and changed back into the cold wet bike shoes and decided to not stop again until I got to the camp ground at Tishomingo.
The rain and sleet gave way as I crossed the Mississippi state line and I felt a sense of releif. I had been born in Montgomery, AL and although the distance that the Natchez Trace Parkway takes through the state is short, I felt during this short time the odd uncomfortable feeling that I had when I was a child visiting my grandparents. The red clay that is common in much of the state was becoming visible on the side of the road. The Natchez got straighter and less demanding, but the land gave me the same lonely feeling of being the outsider that I had as a child. I was counting the miles to the Mississippi border thinking that it would provide more joyous memories of my time visiting Margaret, my ex-wife. My son, Leland, is a freshman at the University of Mississippi and the joy I would feel seeing him for the first time since he had left home. When I crossed the border, I yelled ‘Goodbye Alabama’ at the top of my lungs. I realized this was the first time I had spoken when on the bike by myself.
Although no longer in Alabama, the weather would not let up. The sleet and rain keep coming and even intensified, I was having to walk my bike less due to the flatter terrain and stronger legs that I had acquired from the previous days of riding. There was always a time in each day that I was ready to end the peddling and pull the pack from my back, this time had come and the weather was not making it easier. By my calculations I had six more miles to go, I knew I could make it. but it would be cold and wet. This was my challenge that day and I peddled knowing that with each rotation I would be stronger physically and mentally for my efforts. As I made my way up a small hill I was ready to stop, I knew I was close, but the sleet was hitting harder and I was having those infrequent questions of ‘why, am I crazy,’ when, after cresting the hill, the clouds opened up in a small area that let the sun shine through just at the bottom of the hill where the entrance to the Tishomenga campground was. It was only a momentary break in the cloud cover in this small area, but it seemed like a reward from heaven, a glimpse of a beautiful day to remind me of the joy of my efforts. I pulled into Tishomingo State Park as the sky clouded over and joy was in my heart.