The Earth Is My Home And It Feels Really, Really, Good

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New York State Is Not Only Beautiful It Is Full Of Surprises

Coffee At McDonalds Is Getting To Be A Habit-And A Good Place To Write

Aug. 11, ‘82

Woosh! I’ve been tested, and it’s not fun. In Glenn Falls, New York I finally found a bank that would honor my card, but as I was getting down to business the guy behind the counter told me the bank was under a new name and I had to go elsewhere. “Another 50 miles down the road,” he said. I could get my money there. That was another 60 miles south, not to mention the city traffic that I had to fight while bicycling.

Well, it’s 8 pm, and I’m sitting in my tent drinking genuine Pennsylvania Dutch birch beer–root beer–and eating Oreo cookies. Wow, what a day, in fact what a couple of days! I have been so wound up over this money thing that I have not had time to enjoy myself — not even a little. I’m headed to Syracuse, New York; that is, if my twenty bucks will keep me alive that long.

My money is waiting for me in Syracuse. How do I know that–because after talking to the Prestige people over the phone, I called the bank and they confirmed it. I spent the whole day trying to figure out the money thing. I even switched tactics. When I pulled into a bar around 4 pm, I called back to Michigan to see if Richard, my good friend, would wire me some. He wasn’t home. Then I called my brother, no luck there either. By the time I had made all the right phone calls, I was in a terrible mood. When I finally left the bar, though, the clouds were white and the sun was hot. Even if things didn’t work out, I was not going to worry anymore. I was free again.

It’s getting to dark to write, so I’ll hurry this one up. Last night I camped behind some trees in a farmer’s field. The mosquitoes were terrible. Tonight I have repellent on, but they’re not so bad. I’m up in the woods tonight, on posted land, but I feel safe. Tomorrow is another day—goodnight!

Aug. 14

Coffee at McDonalds is getting to be a habit. It’s free refills, and a good place to write. Yesterday, at McDonalds, I met Tim, who was finishing up a two-week bicycle trip, so we headed out together. After a hundred miles we arrived at a State Park just outside of Syracuse. The park was already full, so we went down to the Erie Canal and found a place to put up our tents. We bought a six-pack of beer, and sat by the canal drinking in the history of the place. It was a good day. Tim said, “It’s my best.”

In the morning, after I said goodbye to Tim, I headed into the city. It was kind of neat. Syracuse was built around its featured attraction–horseracing. After I picked up my money, however, I didn’t stick around, except to buy a pair of corduroy pants at the Salvation Army thrift store. My blue jeans were showing a lot of wear. They went into the Salvation Army wastebasket.

There are two notes of interest I need to get down on paper. The one leads into the other, I think. Just before the rain started to fall, as I was pedaling into Auburn, a truck pulled into a parking lot and a guy jumped out and came running after me yelling, “Biker! Biker!” I wasn’t sure what to do, and then I saw this huge peach in his hand. While still running he stuck the peach in my outstretched hand. It all took place in the matter of seconds. I only managed to get the words thank you out, as the runner fell back. Passing me in his truck, he waved and honked his horn. New York State is, in addition to being beautiful, is full of surprises!

The other note of interest concerns this sensation that I am presently experiencing. I respect the Earth, so when people sometimes ask me what its like to camp in undesignated areas, I reply, “I respect the Earth.” That reply pretty much sums up my attitude on bicycle camping, and that attitude, over time, has turned into a very pleasant sensation. The Earth is my home, and it feels really, really, great!

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