Sit down, please, if you’re not already.
I am not the most chill person on the planet. Or probably even in the top nine deciles of chillness.
Yes, I’ve lived in California for 30ish years. I have spent many, mannnny hours on the beautiful beaches of our fair state. I have even developed prevalent enough Californianesque patterns in my speech, like the high rising terminal (HRT)? Which is kinda the clichéd Valleyspeak upward inflection at the ends of sentences that grates on the nerves of many? because it makes you sound like you’re asking a question when you’re not, or, worse, quasi-apologizing for being alive? And, like, tragically, despite some sincere weaning efforts, I totally overuse ‘like,’ in, like, a bad way. And totally also totally. Literally.
Despite my immersive acculturation, as literally (literally, ‘literally’) indicated by the totally lame examples above, I haven’t ever developed the laidback personality that California residents are generally, stereotypically, bullshitly renowned for.
The sitting-down request was a joke. Get it? Haha! This statement about my personality is by no means surprising—A. If you know me and/or B. if you believe the data that demonstrates personalities develop rather early, nor C. is it the ‘Some News’ referred to in the title of this entry.
Did you just hear that sound? …
Hmm. How can I describe it?
Let me try. (You know I will!)
It’s the quick and sandpapery swish when ripping off adhesive tape from your hairy arm after a blood draw. (Why at Kaiser do they all make it so tight? Is it really necessary? And why multiple strips of tape? Why not just a single band-aid or a cotton ball and my finger? Am I seriously going to bleed out?)
Or it’s the critch-crunch of walking on empty eggshells, without worrying about crushing them! (Not stomping, mind you. Don’t be a beast.)
Or maybe it’s Step on a crack / Break your mama’s back. (Whimsically, por favor.)
What you hear, dude, is the sound of someone like me becoming ever so slightly less rigid in my plans and processes and compulsions, and, thereby, more laid back. Like, seriously, bruh.
All this to say… (and you thought I’d never get around to it) who’d’ve thought I’d start another cross-country bike journey without having completed my vision of documenting the second, here on these here pages? It. Is. ANATHEMA. Or was. Until the adhesive-tape hair removal treatment while fearlessly yet nonviolently walking on eggshells and stepping on a crack in the sidewalk that causes a motherfucker of a backache (like, not literally).
It may be beside the point to suggest let’s put a wee pin in HandlebarConfessional 2018, avert our gaze from the Montana Moments of 3+ years henceforthwith and focus on HandlebarConfessional 2021.
SUPERONLYFAN: Let’s watch season 3 of Handlebar Confessional!
FAIRWEATHERFRIEND: But I haven’t finished season 2 yet. Ugh I stopped watching cuz I was like fuck this takes too long between episodes. Lemme catch up and finish 2 and we can watch 3 together.
SUPERONLYFAN: Duh they haven’t finished 2. There’s like I dunno 5 or 6 eps they haven’t aired.
RANDOOVERHEARINGTHISCONVO: Well ya know how it ends. He lives.
SUPERONLYFAN & FAIRWEATHERFRIEND: Nooooo shut up shut up shut up shut up you’re ruining it for meeeee LALALALALALALALA!
RANDOOVERHEARINGTHISCONVO: (ignoring anti-spoiler pleas) In the last Montana episode he visits with his friends in Missoula, grand tours Adventure Cycling Association’s HQ, family fun, ice cream, grabs the brass ring on the carousel (twice! it was plastic btw).
Next episode (the Pre-Pacific Penultimate!) he crosses into Idaho, saddle finally stops hurting his ass so he’s only wearing one pair of bike shorts from here on out, literally (literally) screams with joy while coasting down the Bitterroot Mountains, meets a Dutchman, meets a retired Air Forcewoman, and hooks up with a dude (not pictured! nfw!!) in Kamiah at a KOA campground.
Ultimate X-Country Final (Or Is It?) Episode he makes it over the Washington state line, crashes at Gregory’s Grotto with Gregory, Frans the Dutchman and Mister P (a Siamese cat) and attends a street fair in Clarkston, gets brakes adjusted by some lovely guys at a shop in Walla Walla (they don’t charge him!), it’s fuckin hot af and air quality is terrible due to unseen faraway fires, rides along the Columbia sometimes in Oregon, sometimes in Washington, stops at a true oasis (a fruit stand in Goldendale and buys cherries, berries, a peach and an apricot, and 2 lemon La Croix), stops a couple of nights in a hotel in Biggs Junction to ‘catch up on’ writing his handlebarconfessionals, last day of riding in Oregon (passing through Portland) is the longest of the trip 119.82 miles with over 6,200 elevation climbed, and finally at the Pacific Ocean he crashes in Astoria (literally but slangily) for 3 days to write write write.
Post-Pacific Comedown Epilogue: Flint picks him and Whitey Jackson up and brings them both back to Portland where he crashes with Nina and Jody and Lucian and Mrs. and Mr. Kitten but not Twylo. He spends time with Kevin after a 20+-year hiatus and Tom and also Kim and Remy drive down from Poulsbo. And then he takes Amtrak to SF and spends a few days with Carrie and Jeremy and sees Carlos and Dustin and Erin and Justin and kids and rides Whitey to Santa Cruz and rents a car because the trains aren’t running and he doesn’t feel like doing the Monterey Peninsula again and drives the rental to San Luis and then rides his bike home to LA.
The trip mileage for HBC Season 2 was 3,582 from Bethesda, MD to Astoria, OR, climbing about 119,000 ft. of elevation. That main part of the trip took 57 days (45 of them riding). The latter part along the California coast added another 4 days of riding—303 miles and 13,000 ft. of climbing. Grand total 3,891 miles, 132,000 ft. climbed, combined 49 days of riding.
SUPERONLYFAN & FAIRWEATHERFRIEND: Did someone say ‘ANATHEMA’? #spoilers #spoiled
SO NOW WHAT?
STAY TUNED for Handlebar Confessional 3.0, Los Angeles, California to St. Augustine, Florida. (And then southeast from there to Lake Wales, FL to visit my dad and stepmom. Unfortunately, despite the route indicated below, I won’t be going all the way to Miami.) Don’t be too scared about the Covid of it all. I’m trying not to be. It will certainly be anthropologically interesting to wear a mask in places where it’s a social faux pas to do so. I’m also trying out this super-nerdy sunblocking fluorescent-green brim attached to my helmet. I don’t wanna call attention to myself but I also don’t wanna die of sun exposure in the Mojave.
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