Leaving las Alabamas

    Its amazing, although I know that everyone else’s lives continues on as normal and that this has probably been just a typical week for most, for me it was more like an eternity.  Already I feel like I’ve been gone for months and seen so much.  And on top of that, I’ve begun to develop the feeling that I’m seg-waying into a new life, not just the journey itself, but even once I reach South America.  As I left Atlanta, it became more and more real that I no longer live there, and that all of the things that I once did and places that I once went to, I probably won’t do and won’t be going to anymore.  It was strange – imagine throwing away your entire keychain, something that you would never even dream of leaving the house without, and just walking out the door without knowing anything about what lies before you.  It was definitely a difficult decision to make.  To declare myself homeless, commit myself to bicycling halfway around the world, and to leave behind everyone that I love.  Now I’m alone, but along my way I’ve already met some amazingly welcoming and supportive people – and I hope to meet many more along the way.

    It is quite an amazing feeling to, for the first time in my life, truly be an inspiration to people.  To have people hear what I’m doing and be so completely fascinated and excited for me.  I hope that in some way what I’m doing can inspire the lives of others and show them that, despite how impossible something may seem to be, it is attainable, you just need to overcome the shackles that other peoples beliefs have imposed upon you.

    As far as the past few days, showers have become such an amazing luxury.  After having spent the past week riding a bicycle all day and camping in the evenings, the few showers that I’ve managed to get have been quite blissful.    Although right now my ass is brutally sore from sitting on a saddle all day, I’m painfully sun-burnt from all day exposure (and they’re not pretty tan lines…), despite repeated sunscreen application, and my muscles and joints are not very pleased with me, at least I’m feeling fresh and clean.

    I’m also quite glad that now I’ve left behind the harsh frigid nights (and especially mornings) of winter and have now traded it in for the sub-tropical sunshine of the gulf.  Fortunately, I have had relatively accommodating weather so far, with only one day of rain (although that one day was quite frigid and unpleasant to ride in).

    The past few days haven’t been terribly eventful, although yesterday I did have a rather nasty spill near Greenville, Alabama, in which I found myself skidding down the pavement along with my bike.  A nasty crosswind was blowing through the hills as I was pedaling down a long hill when an immense 18-wheeler went blasting by me.  The turbulence from the truck’s passing caused my bike to oscillate dangerous and because of the cross-wind, my high speed down the hill, and the ungainliness of my cargo, I couldn’t regain control of the bike before it flipped and sent us both sliding down the pavement like sandpaper.  The funny thing about bicycle injuries as that they don’t happen in just one place, they have a funny way of showing up all over you body.  In this case, my left shoulder, chest, thigh, calf and ankle, and my right wrist and rear-end.  Oh well, so is life!  I was actually more worried about my cargo anyway – I’ll eventually heal.  Sadly I did spring a leak in one of my bags which I will have to figure out a way to fix in the next couple of days.

    Other than that, I’ve spent the majority of the past few days just riding along ardently and trying to cover as much distance as possible.  In the evenings I’ve had a difficult time finding places to camp over the past few days, unfortunately leaving me desperately searching for a place to sneak into the woods and find a campsite, since almost everywhere in Alabama has “No Trespassing” signs and the road signs are pocked full of bullet holes (actually kept hearing gunshots in the middle of the night two nights ago while I was in my tent…). 

    Also, if any of you ever find yourselves driving down route 31 through Brewton, Alabama, theres a great barbecue restaurant called Big Stevie’s which I’d recommend.  The BBQ is delicious and the owners were incredibly sweet, the wife even fixed me a fantastic care-package for my trip ;).


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