I Was Packing Wet Gear Under A Wet Sky, Onto A Wet Bike, In a Wet, Wet, Rainsuit

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333 magnify

If People Are Having A Good Time, I Also Am Having A Good Time, Even If I Happen To Be Invisible To The People I Am With-The Opposite Is Also True Unfortunately

June 30

I just finished a can of pork and beans, two peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, a couple of hunks of cheese, and a couple of cookies and I’m presently working on my second-quart of beer. The sun is shining, it’s 6:30 PM and I’m watching this fisherman who just interrupted my dinner as I was sitting under the bridge, which stretches over part of a St. Lawrence Seaway inlet. He’s presently standing about 25 yards from me, trying to figure out if it’s worth fishing or not. Well it looks like the nots have it, he’s walking away. Sorry fisherman I didn’t mean to spoil your favorite spot.

Well this is a pretty nice end to a not so nice day. Last night it rained and rained and rained. I didn’t have my tent as secure as I would have liked, so I woke up in the middle of the night in a puddle of water. At 7 AM I was packing wet gear under a wet sky, onto a wet bike, in a wet, wet, wetsuit. It rained throughout the morning and around noon it settled into the overcast that I am now experiencing.

Around 3:30 PM I came to a junction in the road with a sign that read “Go this way and your windy, rainy, trip will be 30 kilometers longer, but the scenery will probably make it all worth while.” But, the sign pointing in the other direction read, “Go this way and the traffic will be shitty, the scenery lousy, and you should have gone the other way. However, the trip will be shorter and maybe even dryer.” Well I took the shortcut and wasn’t disappointed. The traffic wasn’t bad, the scenery was real nice, and it was a lot shorter–so that left me in Gaspe, under a peek-a-boo sun, which meant a spot to dry out and catch my breath.

I went directly to the store and here I am sitting on the banks of the St. Lawrence with a quart of beer in my hand. I don’t feel like traveling, so this overpass will have to serve as my home away from home, at least for tonight. Tomorrow I’ll reach Perce. There’s a youth hostel there, which means a shower, and hopefully I’ll get some laundry done.

July 1

Now this is a campsite! I’m nestled in a pine forest overlooking a majestic view of the St. Lawrence Seaway. I’m looking down from a 1000-foot cliff, into a horseshoe shaped bay, with an island consisting of a huge rock just off shore. I’m eating donuts and drinking hot coffee, with more coffee on the campfire brewing. The birds are chirping, the sun is shining, and there is no wind. Well if this is such an ideal place then why am I so upset? Let me tell you!

It’s not the place that bothers me. It’s the idea. After spending a day with 40 mile per hour winds in my face, I was enthusiastically anticipating my arrival at the youth hostel in Perce. Biking into town, the first thing I saw was the incredibly beautiful rock island out in the bay, and then I saw a sign for the youth hostel. The town itself was a tourist town. That didn’t bother me. Everybody needs to be a tourist once in a while. I was dead tired, though, so I followed the signs–straight up the mountain. The last leg of the hike was on my tiptoes pushing my bike in front of me. Well, mountaintop hideaways are one thing, but when you arrive and find no room at the inn, and then you have to hike all the way back into town to get supplies, well that is a totally different thing—a bad thing. By the time I got supplies and climbed back to my tent it was to dark too see.

As I drink my morning coffee under the sunlight streaming through the pines and gaze out at the quaint little village below me, I want to think of yesterday’s bad luck as just a bad dream. I want to, but I can’t because when I load my bike, I will begin my long track down the mountain, grunting and sweating as I go, pulling my bike back with each grudging step, careful not to let it become an unguided rocket. If I had known how difficult it was to get here (a steep grade sign would have helped) I wouldn’t be here now. Well, it’s time to say goodbye to this cozy little wooded niche. Spilt milk!

July 3

I put up my tent in the rain. Its been storming for the last two days, but I’ve dodged most of them. I just talked to a guy who was wondering what I was doing behind this refrigerator truck. He couldn’t speak English, but when he saw my bike and tent he seemed to think everything was OK. At least I hope he did, anyway he went away. The sooner it gets dark the better.

Yesterday, while it was sunny, I did laundry. Back on the highway I was greeted by 30 mile per hour headwinds. Around 5 PM I encountered a storm front. Fortunately there was a field close by and I got my tent set up just before the rains hit. (The refrigerator truck just kicked on. It’s going to be a real peaceful evening.) The rain lasted through the night, finally stopping around 9 AM in the morning. It was an on off day of rain after that. So that’s what I’ve been doing for the last two days. I’m tired of these any port in the storm campsites, not to mention the anxiety I have to go through not knowing whether an evening cloudburst is going to blow my tent away. Needless to say I have not been setting any long distance bicycle records. However, with just a little luck, I think I am still on schedule to meet Mike on the 9th of July. (What’s that I hear?)

Wonderful! I’ve camped next to a drive-in theater. That’s music I hear. The picture just came on the screen. A movie might not be so bad, except for the fact that I have to pee. I guess I’m stuck here in my tent at least until it gets darker. The weather looks good; it seems to be clearing a little. There are still some storms to my left, but they’re moving off. I hope the movie is good. It will have to be because right now sleep sounds more entertaining.

July 5

Yesterday was a good day. I want to say fantastic, but there was too much wind for that. Last night I decided to stay in a youth hostel. I went the whole works, $5.50 for a bed and $3.50 for dinner. The dinner was fantastic–all the fresh smelt I could eat, two types of salad, brown rice, bread, coffee, and homemade raspberry shortcake. All this was served to 16 people setting at a table lit by candlelight coming from three candelabras. Everybody was speaking French. I just sat back and picked up on all the good vibrations. In fact, you might say I was having as good a time as anybody there. I’ve talked about my being able to tune into good vibrations in other journal entries, so I won’t go into that here. But, let’s just say that if people are having a good time, I am having as good a time too, even if I happen to be invisible to the people I am with (unfortunately, the opposite is also true).

P.S. I talked with Mike on the phone yesterday-everything is go!

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