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Day 8 Friday May 26

My last post was this past Tuesday, Day 5 May 23rd. Focus has been on:

  1. learning the idiosyncrasies of the Trek Sports 2 + ebike powered by the Hyena brand manufactured motor and associated electronics,

  2. and plotting courses using the Google Chrome Browser to search for "least cost motels" closest to the most bike efficient paths (as recommended by Google) towards San Diego.

  3. Budgeting to help allow for optimal cost containment. One passer-byer suggested I try to help avoid motel stays. I will look into it.

One friendly inquirer of my travels commented that years ago (about 40 years ago) it was easy to find place to camp, however over the years much of the land has become privately owned. Trespassing is something to avoid most certainly. The purpose of packing a sleeping bag and tent is to avoid exposure to the weather. It's possible I may encounter an urgent circumstance where landing at a motel is not feasible. My father once quipped, "better to face a judge than a coroner"... That being said, the nature of my travels are as a tourist visiting memories of the 1st trip (from San Diego to Greenwich, CT 42 years ago) and to enjoy an even flow of time and energy with myself mentally, emotionally and spiritually. My goal is to cover the distance in the spirit of the journey. Improvising and or utilizing are all part and parcel.

At the moment I am in Pottsville, PA.

  • I took an Uber from the Budget Inn in Frackville, PA to Pottsville to run errands.

  • I went to Durham's Sports to purchase a 1 man tent to cut down on weight. Originally my hope was for the bike to fit in the tent so I could sleep with it. Doing this with a heavy ebike rather than a standard 10 speed type of bike with a quick release on the front wheel is a tall order...

  • Then I went to Pottsville Cyclery and purchased an innertube to replace the spare used as a result of a pinched innertube (flat tire) from earlier in the week. The pressure of the tire was way too low which I suspect to be the cause of the flat. While changing the front tire I discovered my front axel was loose which potentially would have been disastrous had my front wheel popped off. It is easy to travel up to 30 mph riding downhill. Not good! Anyway, lesson learned: Regularly inspect the bike more closely. I do not expect to be changing anymore flats. The bike is equipped with optional special innertube liners police cyclists use to avoid getting innertube punctures. The liners are not designed to protect against pinched tunes against the rim of the wheel due to improper installation or pressurization. Properly installed and inflated, avoidance of a puncture is a "sure thing". Even so, having a spare innertube for the unlikely event of a flat seems prudent. Now with tire pressures being closely monitored the risk is reduced, yet I remain aware of Murphy's Law.

    • I also purchased at Duram's Sports a coat and pants, light weight rain suit. The Gorewear rain repellant jacket and the rain repellent pants purchased on Amazon while effective for light rain (or misty conditions), does not repel water from soaking me to the skin with heavy rain. The extra 12 ounces for this rain suit (if it works) is worth the extra weight.

    • I grabbed some protein bars and beef jerky at checkout and called another Uber ride, making my way to the above mentioned bike shop for the spare,

  • and then walked to the post office in town to ship the original "heavy" tent (and other miscellaneous extras not a priority to keep) back home.

  • Next, got a haircut at Father & Son by "Dr. J" who agreed to give me a haircut even though he was fully booked. I was his last customer on a holiday weekend Friday evening and Dr. J took care of me. While waiting my turn he was finishing up his friend's (Keyrae) haircut. Both guys were friendly and social and we enjoyed a pleasant exchange. It was my best haircut experience in a long time!

Having taken a day off to pair down the weight of the bike, relax and reflect on progress has brought me to a good place. I did pull a muscle when climbing around a road closure the other day (Tuesday, Day 5) travelling to the Rodeway Inn & Suites of Stroudsburg - Poconos. Google showed the road was closed due to "falling landslide rocks". I figured it safer to dodge falling rocks on a beautiful sunlit day than avoiding aggressive drivers, some of whom get right behind you and honk their horn...! How did they get their learners permit...? Again thanks to Garmin for their awesome radar allowing me to see them coming long before any sound of their approach - and of course my helmet mirror and handlebar mirror as my fail-safe. Listening for approaching cars is key as well.

I have been keeping hydrated and eating well. There are lots of places to stop as I traveled through CT, NY, NJ and now PA. As I go west I expect stops to possibly be spread out. The rule I follow is: I can get by without food, but water is a must. On the 1st trip 42 years ago I ran out of water after crossing into Colorado after New Mexico. It was a hot, sunny day. Somewhere from late morning to early afternoon. A truck carrying a group of migrant workers rescued me with water out of an old canvas water container. The material was course, it might have been burlap. You could tell it was regularly used. I imagine while toiling in agricultural field work - hard labor. The water was gritty with dirt, but life saving. I was and still am so grateful to them. There was a language barrier, but they understood I needed their help and they gracefully and generously came to my aid. I wish good Karma to each person riding that truck to this day. Some of the folk were riding in the open truck bed. Their lives was one of survival.

My travel yesterday (Thursday Day 7) was easy except for the glitch of the bike stalling after a long 6 to 8° grade climb as I neared Frackville, PA. I figure the motor heated up with extensive power applied during a 1st gear climb, with both feet locked into the pedals. When the motor quit the bike virtually stopped, leaving no time to unlock my bicycle shoes from the pedals - a certain fall to the ground while mounted, but avoided with an adrenaline rush to twist my feet, to be freed, to plant them on the ground, without falling over - into traffic or the side of the road, with whatever hazard that lay to my right. New rule: If there is a steep climb over a long distance, assess risk of the motor freezing and gauge conservatively stops to make during the climb. My interpretation of the Trek owners manual is: "ride at your own risk and expect the possibility of any failure". Maybe that's why the Trek rep did not respond to a sponsorship inquiry. How many 66 year old's travel across the US on a Trek ebike? Maybe a lot of folk. Don't know.

I introduced myself to a couple of cyclists while waiting for my haircut with Dr. J for a "squeeze in" appointment in Pottsville after running my errands. Kids in their teens I guess. One had his bike flipped working on the rear wheel with a socket wrench. The other explained their bikes were being checked out for reliability before cruising through town. These guys knew what they were doing, knowing that their bikes had to be 100% while enduro riding though town. A great demonstration to me not to assume or take for granted that my Trek, while a new bike, was safe. When I was in basic training at Lackland AFB we all sat on the barracks floor during the beginning of our 6 weeks of training when our Technical Instructor (TI) asked us the question: "Do you know? Or do you think you know?" It's good to trust your bike shop, but as Regan said: "but verify"! There is no substitute for personally double checking unless you know certainly the person checking for you merrits complete trust. Even so, double or triple check. Not all accidents are accidents. Rather the result of missing something that could have been detected if proper procedures and caution were exercised. Risk is relative. Risk is unavoidable, yet calculations can be made, hopefully the right choices are made.

I need to cover since day 5 to day 8. Day 8 is today, Friday, my day off. A safety day to regroup. Where was I day 6 and 7? I have to look through my phone and recall. BTW I am on a learning curve using the blog services to my blog. I need to learn how to put captions on photographs to make it easier to follow the timelines.

At this point I will get on the Uber app and get a ride home to the one star Budget Inn, my sanctuary, from the Pottstown restaurant I'm at now. It's Memorial Day weekend and there is a lot of energy in town. Not so much in Frackville! Though there are different types of energy. I just need to get to know Frackville better. I could see living here and enjoying life.

BTW, while at the Post Office in Pottstown, I really had to pee. I asked if there was a public rest room in the area and it was suggested I try Subway down the street. I realize addressing our national debt ceiling is a priority as well as the ADA Act, yet as a Lyft driver accustomed to not finding public rest rooms, there should be a law, that is enforced, to provide public restroom facilities at all City, State and Federal places of business during normal business hours. Even to take it as far as requiring public restrooms centrally located and available 24 hours a day, this seems to be "overlooked"... No? 😀

Got my Uber ride and now safe in my motel room. Earlier the heat was not working but not a problem, I have 2 sets of marina wool underwear if needed. Tasks that remain for tonight is to reserve a motel for tomorrow night, get dinner, pack up the bike and get a good night's sleep. All aches and pains are gone and I'm ready for the road.

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