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My Journey - April 2010

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My Journey - April 2010

Post  ChasingSanity on Sun Apr 11, 2010 8:07 pm

Saturday, April 3rd, 2010
I tried to contact Marla at KJRH, Tulsa, OK several times, no luck. In Bristow, I asked a guy (Brandon Schultz) pumping gas into his truck for directions to Highway 66. Highway 66 was the end of Highway 377 for me and the last leg of my trip into Tulsa. He and I looked at the map then asked his partner (Jay) in the passenger seat after Jay got off the phone. Jay knew the way. I asked if they were, by chance, going to Tulsa, they were, could I get a ride, I could. Away we went with me telling “one hell of a good story”.

Brandon wanted to introduce me to an interesting community just a few blocks from Tulsa Hub. The Crosbie Hills community pools together at the Blue Jackalope on 3rd and Phoenix. It is a local grocery, coffee shop, community center and more, all rolled into one. I talked with two guys for a couple hours before continuing on to the community bike shop.

I rode over the hill to Tulsa Hub elated. I had arrived. Tulsa Hub had to have a bike that fit me, they were huge, right? Not quite so simple; they have an office and bike shop in one building and less than one mile away they have a warehouse. They are still in the process of moving in.

I fantasized about working there organized their piles of stuff, expecting something like at Querencia bike shop. Tulsa Hub is not stuffed into someone's backyard and they have several shelf / bin / filing devices at the shop. They also have a lot of people putting in a lot of time organizing different aspects of the community bike shop. On top of that, many people in the Tulsa Hub community were couchsurfing or transients themselves.

One of the guys, Brandon wanted me to meet was Paul Tey, “quite a character”. How to describe Paul? He ran for mayor, has been a activist for many years, rides his bike (with a fully loaded trailer as wide across as a full sized car) on the interstate wearing a Santa suit and a sign on the back stating “I will dance naked for a dollar.” I bet people pay more for him to keep his clothes on and go somewhere else. I told Paul I wanted to fix up my bike and trade it for a bike that fits me and my needs better. He said he had such a bike and would trade my bike frame for his. It took a few days to get the frame, a Specialized Rockhopper and sure enough it was a lot bigger. It took me more than a day to transfer my bike stuff onto this other frame and get almost everything working. I gave Paul Tey my old frame as per our agreement. I traded the Tulsa Hub for the parts they had that I used or wanted for parts I had but did not want.

I interviewed with Tulsa World just before leaving Tulsa. I made the big time, or so I feel. Smile Another one of the good things to happen that day in Tulsa was validating the Paypal Donate button on my blog, biketoaustralia.blogspot.com. I was invited to go to a cheap Hispanic fast food restaurant. One of the Tulsa Hub guys, Adam, did not have enough money on him for the food he got. I paid cash and he would pay me back the next day. I did not see him again for a few days – when I was about ready to go. I reminded him and he said he could give me this fancy drafting pen or pay me with Paypal. I pushed for Paypal so I would know I set everything up correctly. He paid but Paypal locked up both of our accounts for 'suspicious activity'.

Adam was very upset because Paypal is his main income – through online trade. And he was traveling so he had no income when he really needed it. Well, I never used Paypal before and he uses it a lot, that's why I wanted him to use Paypal in the first place. He said he did not know what kind of scam I was pulling but he needed his money and told me to straighten it out; he did not have time. I felt hurt being accused like that and insulted that I would be such an inept crook and accomplish what for myself by freezing both our accounts?

I understood his being upset at having no money while traveling and I thought it likely I set up my Paypal donate button incorrectly. But insulting me by calling me a scammer then wanting me to straighten out his access to his money did not seem an efficient way to interact with me and get good results.

Anyways, I got the number for Paypal customer service and called them. I asked them to correct the matter in the fastest way possible; cancel his payment. They said all that was needed was for him to go online to his Paypal account and select conflict resolution, press a couple buttons - all done. They said the problem was on his end, everything on my end was working correctly.

Now it was my turn to be upset. I had told Adam I did not know if I set up my donate button correctly before he paid me with Paypal and wanted him to verify functionality. Adam told me he does a lot of online trading using Paypal, he had a lot of experience with Paypal. I knew Adam long enough to get a feel for who he was and what he was capable of, I did not exactly trust him yet but I believed his intentions were not to hurt me. I did everything correctly, but he did not and did not even check with customer service to see what the problem was and he accused me of thievery?! I left him a message on his cell phone telling him what customer service said and not to call me, ever. No holiday greetings for him from me, you know?

{Addendum May 22, 2010}
{Adam called me and apologized today. He said he has not checked out my blog yet. Wonder what he will think about 5 paragraphs involving him. Make that 6 paragraphs.}

Like always, I said my goodbyes and rode on. That was Wednesday afternoon. Somewhere between Tulsa and Springfield, I met the real Billy Jack that the movie is based on. Too cool. You may notice I am vague on people's specifics, I am protecting their privacy. If they want to, they can comment on my blog and 'show and tell' more. Somewhere along the way, the day after my interview with Tulsa World, I saw one of their newspapers in someone's driveway in the country. I looked through it, fighting the wind and read the interview with me! I signed it, thanking whoever for my use of their paper. Smile

I used Google maps to create a route from Tulsa, OK to Springfield, MO with their new bicycle option. Google was mostly right and local people along the way steered me right. Google said turn right then left every few blocks. After I got off the Osage Rail to Trail path this guy in Skiatook, OK told me to take... I threw away the instructions already... was it (main street) to something to road 4000 to highway 169 to Highway 60? His way was a lot simpler. He got me to highway 60... and I slept across from the water tower on 4000 just off 'something', before 169.

In the morning (Thursday), as I was packing up, I met an interesting man who told me about his missionary work on the Amazon river “a tributary feeding into the main river, but still ½ mile wide and 250 feet deep” (WOW!) and he prayed for my safety. I told him I often pray for questions and answers because I know I don't know what is best for me, I don't know everything.

Along the way to Springfield, I interviewed with the Nowata newspaper, Becky, the Nowata reporter told me to ask at the fire station for my heart's desires; laundry, a shower and where I could sleep/camp. Getting a shower and laundry was surprisingly easy, while getting a place to sleep was surprisingly hard. I asked the firemen, the one first met said I could sleep on the couch for all he cared. The fire chief said no. They called the police for me and an officer showed up. He said I could camp at the city park a few miles south. I went there and found out it was $6. Money is too precious and rare a resource for me to use it for sleeping. I asked the camp managers and they called the police. The women managing the camp seemed afraid of me, weird. Before the police showed up, the “big wig” father / husband / boss told me I could go to the north end of town, on highway 60, then east about 4 miles on 60 to where the cemetery sign pointed north, on that road about 4 miles to a “Y” triangle area, that was free camping. I went. The “Y” was further in 4 miles past the cemetery sign, it was dark, I guessed when I got close and went back a ways into the woods. The skies cleared up and I could see the stars through the trees, still barren of leaves. There were no coyotes or even dogs to keep me awake, just frogs, toads and bugs – my security system. Smile

I awoke (Friday) and packed up in the dark then rode on just as dawn's light made the gravel road visible. It was easy to ride on this gravel road when I could see! When I started out from Tulsa, the winds were blowing strongly and erratically north. When I was going north this was just fine! Smile But, one day away from Tulsa, when I started going north and east things got harder and when I was going mostly east it was really hard to ride. Then the winds got really bad. I started hitchhiking. I could see storm clouds quickly approaching, was that rain I saw falling? Yes, and it felt like hail coming in at 50 miles an hour. I could barely stand. A lady picked me up. She said she could not pass me by with the storm coming in like that. In the minute I was out there before she stopped and the few minutes it took for me to get my stuff into her car, I was soaked through, like a drowned rat. As you might guess, I don't remember her name, BUT she had a gem of wisdom for me; try working at restaurants for a few days/dollars or a meal! She dropped me off in Miami (that is pronounced “my-ama” in Oklahoma).

I went looking for the news media and library / free WIFI. Some people don't know what “why-fie”, I rephrase asking for free internet access for my laptop, a place where people are working on their laptops, maybe where truckers are? The library was closed. The Miami newspaper interviewed me. The radio station was busy covering a local basketball game. Free WIFI was to be had at the Chapters bookstore and coffee shop. Coffee?!

I asked the two women working at Chapters if they had yesterday's newspaper. The section they pulled out first had my picture on it. Smile I said, is that cool or what? One of the women asked me lots of questions while the other read like a madwoman. Smile The madwoman got me to sign my picture. I said “Coffee is the reason my eyes are brown.” with my blog address and name. Smile I asked the ladies where I could camp. The voracious reader called the fireman in the family and I went to ask them face to face. The firemen said the park behind them was free camping. But the park on the other side of the road cost $6 a night. (OOP, 5PM, time for dinner! BRB, don't go anywhere!) I asked them where could I hide out from the rain if there was any. They said vagrants sometimes sleep under the railroad tracks. Cool, all set!

I went out back, parked my loaded bike against a fence post and scouted out the park. The rail road tracks were on one side and the road on the other. Under the railroad tracks there did not seem to be anyplace to get out of the rain and there were a lot of big, heavy, sharp rocks covering the ground. I walked across the park towards the road, checking out a covered table along the way. The covered table was for fishermen to gut and grind fish they caught in the river but it was wet and the smell of fish was everywhere around there. The ground under the road was even worse than the ground under the railroad tracks. “Under the rail road tracks...” I looked more carefully around the railroad tracks and found this; the ground next to the river leads up to a concrete wall about six feet tall, between the wall and the railroad tracks there was a two foot tall space about three feet wide and about 15 feet long. The tube was in two sections, half way through, there was a crack allowing rain to fall through and movement of two trains going in opposite directions at the same time. That?! Yep, there were some soaking wet clothes strewn around and some dried wood good for a fire – the vagrants stash, ruined by rain.

I unloaded my bike, putting m gear out of sight behind an “I” beam supporting the elevated slope of the railroad tracks. I lifted my bike up so the front wheel was across the “I” beam ad locked it up to a sign post there. I threw away all the soaked clothing in the trash behind the little grocery store next to the fire station. They had a big pile of empty cardboard boxes there. I got as many broken down boxes as I could carry, I scrounged for the driest and took them back to the cubbyhole under the railroad tracks. I put the pile of cardboard boxes down in front of the cubbyhole and pushed them off the bottom of the stack, leaving one behind. I kneeled on the one box and kept pushing the stack, leaving a trail of one box to kneel on. I arranged the trail of boxes to overlap and went back for another stack. I put them down like a doormat outside the cubbyhole.

I put my gear up on the wall along the side and my backpack at the end of the cubbyhole. I avoided the dripping wet crack cutting the length in two. It was a tight fit, every aspect. What an understatement! On the other side of the railroad tracks I had seen a bright blue plastic pallet in the overgrown corner of someone's yard. I got that, hauled it across this little creek complete with waterfalls, up the railroad embankment and covered the other end of the cubbyhole with it. It took a long time to do all that but it was still daylight and the fishermen were nearby at that covered table. I waited and watched the day and the fishermen fade away.

Soon, I slipped out of my shorts (with pockets stuffed like a ground squirrel's cheeks) and put on my military long underwear bottoms, kept my military long underwear shirt on and wool sweater too – these are my sleeping clothes.

While I slept, a freight train came through town, over me. I woke up, envisioned a squashed and mangled Ari... scrambled out and shivered in the cold, rushing wind while the train thundered by. I went back to sleep, at least until another train came by and I scrambled out, this time I wrapped myself in my sleeping bag as best I could. When the third train came through, yes, all in the same night, I stayed underneath and gently laid my hands on the concrete above me. The heavy locomotives made the concrete flex toward me! Some of the cars were heavier or lighter but all cars made the concrete sway some, just not as much as the locomotives. It was just as hard work getting all my stuff in there as getting it out. I was carrying it downhill to get it out and I knew what I had to do but I had to pack, I made an effort to not make noise (other people camped in the parking lot) and I wanted to eat then get back on the road. I got up before first light (Saturday) and rode out about 8:30, such a slug-a-bed!

I was riding along Highway 60 west of Seneca, when I saw a man riding his bicycle coming the other way on the other side of the road. He said something about all I was carrying, where am I going? I said “Bike to Australia” let's talk. Mark is the plant director at Crowder College in Neosho, MO. He is also the pastor at one of the churches in town. I mentioned my desire to work for a day or so because it was Saturday, I would arrive in Springfield on Easter Sunday without a clue about the lay of the land, without a place to sleep and everyplace would be closed. I also need a little bit more money to get passport pictures taken and get a post office box in Tecumseh for the passport to be mailed to and any other surprise expenses. He said he could put me up at the church until Monday then introduce me to the college newspaper and the (Neosho) city newspaper. If I wanted to?! We agreed to meet at the Wal-Mart an hour later. Self, back away from the Wal-Mart... at least until the passport is paid for. I struggled to get to the rendezvous on time and even got there a few minutes early, proud as a peacock. Mark came 12 minutes later. He might have asked how long I had been waiting. Wink He asked if his bike and mine with all my stuff could fit in a little pickup truck like that one parked in front of the jewelry store. “Yep.” I didn't move or even look through. “That is my pickup truck over there.” Oh, well then! >.>

I unpacked my bike to better fit it in with his bike in the back of his truck then we went into the jewelry store?? Mark's brother works in the jewelry store. I got introduced. Smile Mark drove me past the church, pointing out landmarks to the college and at the college; where I could get a shower and eat at the cafeteria. Thankfully, it was a simple route to and from. I was invited to Easter Sunday church services, communion and all. Of course I wanted to go; it's part of a people's and a community's life that I will soon be leaving behind. But, that meant the shower was imperative. Mark drove me back to the church, I unpacked, he gave me a rushed tour of the church (offering me a toy kitchen waiting to be assembled) then he rushed off. It had been decided a security guard to pick me up from the church and take me to the college would be best. The daytime guard, name, picked me up and gave me the grand tour to the shower and cafeteria. “Eat first.” I got their number for when I was ready to go back. I should have showered first. The people working at the cafeteria wanted to know all about my travels. I crammed more food in while talking up to the last minute the cafeteria was open then the night time guard, Gordon, shows up ready to take me back. “Wait, got to get a shower.” The shower water was cold. I meant be quick about it but not quite that quick. He dropped me off. There was a lady inside the church, I asked her if Mark told her about me. “No?” I told her how Mark and I met and about myself. Melinda was cleaning the church. I offered to help but she knows her work, I don't and showing me is more work. I entertained. Smile When Melinda left at about 8PM – think 20:00 – I got started on assembling the toy kitchen. I decided early on in the assembly process that this thing was a torture device fiendishly crafted to occupy adults for a long time so kids could get much needed “private time”. It was manufactured like a precision 3D jigsaw puzzle. I finished 30 minutes after midnight.

I started out sleeping on the spacious floor but sometime during the night I woke up cold and got on the couch. I fit on it, all 6' 2”?! Think 180cm tall. Wink I woke up, checked the time, 5:34 in the morning, tried to get more sleep. I woke hearing voices, in a church, no less. Oh, that reminds me, this is a small church that used to be one of many buildings on a military base, most of the town was a concentration camp around world war two. It is drafty and things move with the wind. But, during the night, I hear a door open then someone walking few steps. But the voices were new, it was 'morning'. I put my pants on over my long johns and slowly peeked out around the door so as not to startle people. Mark was making coffee, talking with someone. He introduced me then he rushed off. I arranged my unpacked gear in a better light and manner ready for display in the storage area off the foyer. People drifted in, I introduced myself. I stationed myself by the front door so I would not introduce myself to the same people several times. Smile

I was introduced to the congregation and given the opportunity to talk about my travels. The questions had long answers and they did not have a long time – there was Easter dinner for all those families. They left on their Easter missions. Smile I got recognition for my heroic efforts assembling the evil kitchen toy.

In writing this, I realize you might think, 'poor little Ari, all alone for the holidays'. Well, I think 'poor little Ari, all alone' quite often myself, mostly with a smile, but holidays have never been important to me. There's Christian holidays, Jewish ones, Muslim ones, Hindu ones and Buddhist ones too. There's a lot more religions where that came from too! Then there's historical holidays and local ones and ones commemorating different aspects of life like fathers day and holidays to increase awareness of something. Each day is special to me. The label given to the day does not make the day special any more than the name we call a dog makes that dog unique and precious.

I went to lunch and dinner at the college. By dinner, I was no longer a novelty. At least at the cafeteria staff table. >.> I plan to walk back there for breakfast. It makes sense as a jumping off point for the college news then the Neosho news. I am tired at it is only... 9:30 at night.

Monday, April 5th, 2010
I got up while it was still dark, went to the restroom then to the room where I put my gear. I looked at watch; was it time to start packing and get over to the cafeteria? It was 2:15 in the morning, guess not. I went back to sleep on the couch; go through the cycle again – rinse and repeat. I woke up, checked the time: 5:52. Let the race begin! I was riding away by 7AM, thinking how the day might happen; a call from Mark to get me for the college news... my phone! I went back to pick it up. I plugged it in to charge while I packed. I had not even gotten to the driveway before I turned around. Smile

When I got to the college, police were there... I said “good morning” and saw they were not there for me. Whew. I worry sometimes about becoming the innocent stranger ground up and spit out by the bureaucratic machine. I ate then got my laptop. Last night, one of the students working at the cafeteria told me they have free WIFI and I don't need a password. He was wrong, I need a name and student ID number. So here I sit, barely started...

Later on today
I got a temporary ID but still could not log onto blogspot. The newspaper at Crowder College was not interested in doing an article because I am not a local event, same with the Neosho (city) newspaper. They and I will manage to survive without each other but that is strange. I rode to Wal-mart and got a set of passport photos. I went to the post office and found I definitely need a certified copy of my birth certificate, thought I had that. My father's death certificate had me fooled. Fool on me. Slows me down. Wonder if Carole has my birth certificate? I bet we figured it would be better for her to mail it to me when I need it than for me to lose it on the road. Now, I am at the Neosho, Missouri Public Library couchsurfing for a Springfield couch.

Sunday, April 11th, 2010
I asked for directions to the police station, when there looking for signs of life and found the red phone - to be used after hours. I explained my situation (riding my bicycle through, can camp or whatever) and asked the dispatcher where I could camp for the night. She said she would send a police officer over when one was free. I waited and wondered what was going on in the far distance - I didn't hear anything worth keeping the police 'over there'.

When the police officer did arrive and I told him about my journey he got excited and copied my calling card - name, blog, email and... roles or titles like inventor and poet. He told me I could camp out at the RV park for free, he would call them and tell them I was coming or I could go to the Crosslines Ministries emergency shelter if they had a bed. I thought it might rain and the shelter would have coffee, food, hot showers, etc. I wish I had gone with the RV park. The guys there were great but the beds were on the 3rd or 4th floor with a low ceiling, dodging rafters and it was really stuffy up there. I had to slow my breathing way down so I would cool off enough to fall asleep. They were a homeless shelter with rules and chores, personal items assigned that had to be returned when I left... none of that applied to me as I was only there to sleep the night and leaving at first light. I ate a few slices of french toast saved from their breakfast along with 2 big pieces of homemade coconut cake, and, well... something else too. I waited for the boss man, Jim, to talk with me after he ran my ID and social security. Waiting for them to return my ID took a long time during which, at least three times I thought about how to convince "them" I was innocent of whatever was taking so long. Jim was just busy. Smile I talked with him got the tour, took a shower then went up to bed and sleep. I went to sleep at about 10PM, woke a few times during the night and finally gave in to being awake at 4AM. That was Tuesday morning

I loudly snuck (sneaked?) downstairs and waited in the dining area for daylight. I ate more of the french bread, this time with peanut butter on them. Fred and... the lady cook came in about 5AM and got the morning started. I ate a bowl of cold cereal, some fruit, drank coffee, had a couple croissants then Jim came in and wondered if I was going to eat anything before I headed off. Very Happy I told him what all I ate before he walked in. I waited and talked with them for a hint of first light but got impatient and rode off before the sun showed it's face.

I was well out of Neosho by sunrise and feeling pretty good about it. "Got to do this more often (up and going before dawn)", yeah, sure I will. I get to an urban area where I saw an advertisement for a computer store that said 'next to the drivers license registration'. I saw the place matching the description, turned in and saw the Republic Monitor newspaper office was in the same strip mall. I went to the computer store first. I made a proposition to the store owner; I get an ASUS eee PC 10005HA netbook and he get years of free publicity all over the world with the store logo on the gifted netbook. Chuck at PC Solutions said he just opened a few months ago and could not just give away a netbook. But, at a reduced price... Hmm, only $320 for the one he just happens to have in stock... Sigh, would that I was independently wealthy. I happily help the store and people that help me. I left him and took his business card with little hope of getting that netbook through that store. I went down a few doors to the Republic Monitor and gave my usual introduction to the news media - I am Ari Gold and I am riding my bicycle around the world. Want to do an interview with me? Amy said "Let me get my notepad" with a big smile. I got directions and advice about the lay of the land in Springfield. That was about 4PM on Tuesday.

Thursday, April 15th, 2010
Wow, am I behind on this update! Downtown Springfield is only about 10 miles away from the Republic Monitor office. I stopped at a hotel or motel and asked if they had free WIFI. They got WIFI but only for paying guests. "How about for guys riding their bicycles around the world?" "I'll give you the password anyways." We spoke at the same time. I logged on, got my couchsurfing updates. The people that had replied up to this point got another message; I am in Springfield. I emailed the choicest first; the 30ish woman, then the 20ish older guys that looked more thoughtful and calmer. The lady, Jenni, messaged me her phone number. She gave me flawless, detailed directions to her house. I got there, unloaded, took a shower, got laundry started, a friend of hers showed up and we all went to her parents house for... some weekly event. The 'party' was fun. Everybody had stories; Jenni's father rode his bicycle cross-country, Jenni used to organize business conventions & fit some physical activities in between events, Jenni's boyfriend runs in marathons, there was another couple there; old friends, I don't remember what they do. We went back to her house and slept.

Sometime before the nextday, Wednesday, Jenni told me she had no idea I wanted to stay more than one night and that would not work for her. Out I went. I checked the message I sent everybody; there was nothing to indicate the length of time I was asking to live in their space. Sad( I did not advertise my wants very well at all and did not get what I wanted. Only in my mind was it clearly delineated.

Wednesday, I looked up the local news media phone numbers and addresses. I went to the closest one, KY3 TV (What news media business, where public image is so essential and integral, would have the same name as KY jelly, the most popular sexual lubricant in the USA AND expect to be taken seriously?) and gave them my contact info. No bites there. I went to Missouri State University (MSU) and Drury University looking for news people to interview with. National Public Radio (NPR) and Public Broadcasting Station (PBS) are affilated with the MSU journalism departments. Smile I arranged a tenative future interview with NPR. I got an email at noon on... one of those days... from Michele at NPR asking if I could do the interview a half hour before I got the email. Missed that opportunity and she told me later, the studio room she was going to do the interview in got hijacked for a VIP interview. To think, someone else could possibly be higher priority than me?! Very Happy I had to wait until Monday for the next NPR opportunity for an interview. Was that one going to miss the mark too? I went to the downtown library at "The Square", the de facto downtown, in the afternoon to get back on the internet and couch surf.

I told the next couchsurfing guy, Jason and his housemates, on my list I was looking to surf his couch. They were good for two nights but they were all going to be gone for the weekend. Out I went, again. :/

I went to the library to hang out and hope to find housing for the night. My fully-loaded bike is a conversation magnet. Unfortunately, most of the conversation is guys wanting to ponificate about gear options – biking, camping, etc. I look like an expert in that stuff – I got that stuff. I am not as well-read or experienced as they think and my machismo is not about biking or camping. What is my feeling of masculinity attached to? Me? I don't know but I feel confident and my 'tender viddles' haven't fallen off yet.

Hmm, I met a man yesterday, in Gainesville, who, many years ago, was on a very similar journey as mine, he asked me if I discovered I am not alone, or am I still lonely? I realized just now, I use lonely to mean horny. Lonely is community, horny is significant other, in my case, woman (with a bunch of other qualifiers). I talk with a lot of people and relate with or connect with or develop relationships with many people. I have yet to develop a sense of belonging within any community I have been through, but all those people that talk with me and listen to my story still value what I bring into their lives and I know that. I am really good at feeding lonely. Horny needs a lot of help.

I met an eccentric guy outside the library, during our conversation, I asked him if he knew where I could camp for free without the police chasing me out. He told me he has PTSD, delineating what and why, then invited me (now informed what I was getting into) to stay in his backyard. Away we went. Another guy just getting on his bicycle rode around us slowpokes and says, "Hi, where are you going?" referring to all the stuff piled on my bike. "I am riding my bicycle around the world." "Ari?" Smile)) This new guy on his bike was one of the 45 or so people I sent couchsurfing messages to. He had an apartment I could stay at - an upgrade from the backyard and he was one of the ones I messaged before arriving in Springfield. So, I parted ways with the eccentric guy.

Brandon, the other bicyclist riding away from the library, is Goodwinfilms.com, he is a good photographer and a wonderfully funny, talented guy. Another Brandon (thoughtful and sophisticated) on couchsurfing in Springfield is the manager of Parlor88 bar, imagine my confusion. Smile All four of these couchsurfers are great people; Jenni, Jason, Brandon and Brandon. THIS is what couchsurfing is supposed to be about; great people. While I am at it shining up my new great people, I met Nia at Next to New thrift store, I told a volunteer working at the thrift store about my travels and Nia got in the conversation. Now I am an adopted member of Nia's extended family. Smile Michele, the NPR reporter/personality, is one of mine, because I got to know her at the same time her daughter was sick – so I was concerned. But it was nothing serious and the present is vivid while the past faded into the past. It is hard for me to keep vivid ties with people I do not rub elbows with from day to day. Sad

I went to Queen City Cycles (dot com) but I don't remember when other than daylight. I met Paul, asked him about what to do with my defective Zefal headlight, getting hit by a car at two miles an hour and the resultant wobbly left pedal, "Can I get something (free) with your company logo on it?" - the best feeling tee shirt I can remember owning, "How do I install these bar end shifters?" AND why is there no community bike shop here in Springfield when it is so perfect a town for such?" - scammers ruined a great thing by stealing bikes and donating them, to what benefit, I don't know.

About the same time - not a clue when that happened - I went to Drury University and tried again. I met two professors while waiting to talk with someone in the journalism department. We had a great time talking. One of the professors was Ron Schie. I lost the business card of the other professor. My regrets.

Brandon gave me his old, outdated 5 megapixel camera when he got a much better one able to handle his business needs. I plan to take more pictures now. In the past, with the 2 mega pixel camera I had, the pictures did not touch upon the beauty or magesty of what I saw.

I stayed with Brandon until Tuesday afternoon, the day after the NPR interview because I took my bike to Yarbrough Machine Shop and Hydralics and talked with J. B. Dickenson to get a tiny weld job done to my bike. I got a raised lip put on the outer edge of my front and rear racks. Now, my bags will... should not... don't yet slide off the end of the racks. Why don't all bike racks have lips preventing stuff from sliding off the front or back? I had such hopes that Yarbrough would do the work for free. They charged $43.50, I said I could pay $40, that was good enough. ;,( <- those are tears at parting with real money. My offer to work for Yarbrough in exchange for the work they did was not accepted. In their defense, my bike racks are made of aluminum, Yarbrough had to buy the aluminum and welding aluminum is trickier than welding steel, especially when they are thin-walled, hollow tubes of metal.

Anyways, I rode away from Yarbrough, my last stop before 5PM. I stopped at a grocery store to ask for directions. As I was walking out, talking with a guy about where I was going, my story, etc, this other guy asked me if I needed a place to stay for the night. !!! Sure! Olli has a greenhouse business, which he runs at 2 parking lots and his house. He is a great guy and his wife is wonderful too. I am so happy meeting great people so often. They took me to Golden Corral Buffet to eat on the way home. I stuffed myself with two heaping plates of food and a dessert plate. The southern style food was the best I ever had; I knew that stuff could taste good. But, the oriental style food I had was almost the worst I had. I did not get sick the next day, so it was not THE worst. Smile I learned long ago not to eat oriental food at a burger joint, nor order a burger at an oriental restaurant. They took me home, 18 miles in the direction I was traveling, no less. I got laundry done and a shower. I met with their houseguests... I remember the name of the friendly dog, Jackson, sigh, but... well, Olli is lucky I remember his name and so is Jackson, the dog. Smile I remember faces, personalities and life stories, isn't that the important stuff? (sheepishly)

I took a picture of Olli and his dog next to the quite spectacular donkey sculpture at the driveway and then rode away. I rode through a lot of small hills on '125', detouring onto '14' was recommended and taken, through Ava onto '5' and ranao ut of steam. I hitchhiked to Gainesville, MO, a few miles from Tecumseh and camped out at 'the ballpark' for the night. I met great people; the guy that gave me a ride into Gainesville, the motorcycling couple who do not get on the internet, the workers at both both Bullseye gas station / convenience stores and at Skeeter's Cafe. Skeeter's was open at 5AM when I got to 'the square' to get on the internet and charge up my cell phone. I asked if I could do it all there and... (checking) yes, I could afford a cup of coffee! But, I still owe Nate from Denton, TX $20. How am I going to pay him back? I have 5 – 6 dollars over the $100 I need for a passport not counting any hidden fees. The opportunity will present itself and the way will be clear. (prayer). I talked with Nate over the phone confessing my guilt, he laughed it off and said consider it his donation to my cause. Thanks Nate, I will remember... I hope.

The newspaper and post office are probably open by now – 10AM. Time to go and then go to East Wind Community – the tree house people.


Sunday, April 18th, 2010
My plans changed regarding tree house building, I decided to carry out my bigger plan of going on to Canada. That meant I needed to get my passport. The passport requires I get a certified copy of my birth certificate. The certified copy of my birth certificate requires a permanent address I can use. Carole has one, I plan to give her the all my money (big deal) and enough power of attorney (POA) to get that together for me. To give her POA I need to find a notary to sign off the paperwork. Sounds like the house Jack build, right? Or was it swallowed a spider?

I rode in the direction to Canada looking for a good place to stop to get the POA. Along the way, I stopped in a roadside restaurant after waking up and asked if I could work for breakfast. Tess, the owner was standoffish but gave me a plate with biscuits and gravy. I could understand her being standoffish; a strange guy (I qualify as strange Wink ) basically asking for free food, especially understandable in a small town without a lot of business during a recession. BUT, another lady said "I'll buy him breakfast." Tess was still standoffish and did not add the omelet I asked for. Maybe she will feel better about 'that stranger' if she notices the cardboard boxes I broke down flat that were piled up in back of the restaurant. I doubt any of that happening.

I stopped at a grocery store in Cathage, Missouri to get a bag of apples. I got the apples and two small yogurts and a jar of Smuckers Natural crunchy peanut butter (in a glass jar) and real licorice and two small boxes of cookies; one molasses and one ginger. The cookies tipped the scales of acceptable overbuying because they are junk food, but they were cheap. Smile I was eating my yogurts, packing my goodies into my bags and transferring the peanut butter from the glass jar into my plastic peanut butter jar... 16 ounces of peanut butter into a 15 ounce jar... I was forced to stuff my face even more. Smile While I was stuffing my face, a guy walked up smoking a cigarette. I said "Hello" and he sat down on the bench with me. He was carrying a fuzzy purple sweater, had a purple shirt under his bib overalls and his fuzzy, curly, gray alt and pepper hair looked like it should be made into a sweater. Smile I asked him if there was a homeless shelter in town; "Yep that way across from that store (pointing)." I went there planning to ask about a homeless shelter closer to Kansas City but the guys at the Carthage Crisis Center said this one is good so I set up base here to get the snowball rolling with a notary.

The group dynamics here at the Crisis Center are strange, but then, every homeless shelter has its quirks. The rules include not talking with women, especially resident clients, other than greetings. Some of the guys break that and other rules they agreed to. Not surprisingly, these are the guys talking about their recent prison time. Overall, the people here are polite and of good heart.

Monday, April 19th, 2010
I met Jim Bilgere, a not so local artist, yesterday in Carthage. He had on a patterned sweater, black older style military jacket, a black beret with a peace sign button on the bill, black thin rimmed, plastic glasses, blue jeans and Crocs sandals that looked like Birkenstocks. He has a dark haired goatee and mustache with something like a pageboy, straight hair haircut gone a bit scraggly. Jim is slender and almost tall. He looks like a European artist, not quite starving and no doubt famous after he dies. Jim IS an artist, oil paints are what I saw but he is also a bass player and poet.

Jim went to Europe planning to stay there a month and came back 5 years later, just 4 days before 9/11. I find Jims past very relevant to my future and vise versa. He walked and flew where I will ride and sail, only I plan to keep on going instead of coming back.

Through Jim, I met several fascinating locals; Robin, the lady running the Topsy Turvy shop full of curiosities, Koral, the lady with this fabulous gallery, Koka Art and Design, Art Gallery (kokogallery.com) and Crystal, the lady running this cool restaurant, Sassy Spoon Bistro and Day Spa with an enigmatic but very delectable ambiance. While we were in Robin's shop, Patty Shanks of the Carthage Mornin' Mail newspaper came in to interview me. That was just a tour of 'The Square', it seems every town in Missouri and Oklahoma have a 'Square'. I forget the order but we went to to visit a bicyclist friend of his and talked with the bicyclists' neighbors, one of which is a motorcyclist who dreams of touring. Jim took me out to Red Oak, Lowell Davis' replica town. Jim introduced me to several of the people there, we visited with one lady for hours, was it hours? As we were leaving, Jim noticed Lowell's truck was there and I got to meet Lowell, see more of the panorama of his art, and, through his art, get to know some of him. I've seen Lowell's art throughout my life. Putting together the person I met with the art I know, that is a new experience for me. Thank you, Jim.


Wednesday, April 21, 2010
I said my good byes to Carthage Crisis Center. Brian and his wife, Marilyn are reputed to be the best people in Carthage. Everybody I talked with said that. I stopped in at each of the shops in town Jim took me to and got the names or business cards of the ladies so I could mention them here. Smile I went to Bank of America in Carthage to get them to sign a piece of paper stating "I give Carole, my ex-wife power of attorney. No luck there; "You need a form and an attorney and they will handle it."


More later, after I sleep... not fair to you all; keep writing! Embarassed

Wednesday, April 28th, 2010
I went to the library, looked up POA and copied down the pertinent parts of the FREE example (pay $10 for the printed version). I spent an hour writing that down with an acceptable amount of errors. I went down the street looking for an attorney with a notary to sign off my homemade POA. At the first one, The Law Office of Nathaniel Dally LLC, Rhondi, the secretary/receptionist/office manager/notary worked her magic for free; "I don't want your money." Now to mail it to Carole.

I walked into the post office in Carthage and saw this great translation of what items the post office screens for special packaging or no shipment:
Does your package have anything...
Icky-Sticky?
Inky-Stinky?
Tinkly-Crinkly?
Oooey-Gooey?
Or Kabloohey?

I asked for and received a copy of the sign so I would remember to share it with you. Smile POA signed, sealed and delivered. I got my bearing and got back on highway 71 going north. I only rode to Lamar, a few miles north before asking around for where I could free-camp for the night. The guy at the Sinclair gas station / truck stop did not know where and they did not have good coffee there but I bought the coffee cup and the coffee came with the purchase. The guy at the Super 8 hotel across the street is friends with the guy who runs the (really big) City Park, a phone call was made, permission granted and directions given for where would be good to set up a tent. I got better directions to the park from a young lady working at a gas station. Smile Some rough looking kids were walking away from the entrance to the park, I felt uncomfortable. The City Park is indeed huge and I wandered around looking for a place to set up for the night. The park had a lot of things going on when I got there; 2 ball games and people doing other park things. There is a water reservoir off to the right going into the park. I went around the reservoir; around a gate meant to stop cars, down a long dirt road into tall, weedy grass between the water reservoir and what looked like a forest. There was a noisy factory of some kind that I got as far away from as I could and set up my tent in the fading light. I learned there were hooks on the tent meant to act as supports between the tent and the poles.

I was a slug-a-bed in the morning. I rode out of there about 10 AM. I went to the Lamar library with my laptop in hand and asked if they had WIFI, "Yes, it is $2 for non-members." I said politely said "Thank you" and walked out.

I rode to The Lamar Square and looked for the '25 cents and more store mentioned by the young lady at the gas station. But first, I stopped at Snooper's, an all in one retail to thrift store. Lo and behold, they had three, count them, three, pairs of size 14 shoes; just my size. But, the cheapest was too much for me and I would not buy those cheap ones even if I could afford it. Now, the $70 ones, marked down from $100... The lady working there was very nice and said she would mark the $70 shoes down even further if it was her store. I think "If wishes were horses, pigs could fly." Not all things are possible. I walked to the corner where the "25 cents and more" store, my original destination at the Square. The lady there, Mrs. Nelson, was very busy multi-tasking. She had a baby and a pre-teen son, me, another set of customers and the store to watch over. I asked if I could trade (no money) my brand new, only been used once, big coffee cup for her old, smaller, spill-proof coffee cup with the screw-on lid. Yes, yes, yes! She said yes. I told her about the shoes at Snooper's. She said I should check out the Good Samaritan, if there was anything there I wanted but could not afford, they have to (have to?) give it to me for what I can afford because they are affiliated with the Red Cross.

I went to the Good Samaritan and looked around. They had a couple pair of dress socks I could use. (Lightweight, synthetic socks under thicker, hiking socks prevent blisters, athlete's foot fungus, sweaty, hot feet, all manner of foot fatalities.) But that was it. I asked the case worker there if there was any chance they, at the Good Samaritan could get for me the shoes that fit me at Snooper's. They asked "How much do they cost?" !!! "I don't know, I can find out, what is your phone number, I will give it to the lady at Snooper's and get a price / receipt and her phone number at Snooper's." Just the possibility that the Good Samaritan could get me shoes that fit had me ready to cry. For several months I have been looking for shoes I can afford.

The short version is I got the expensive shoes AND the $25 middle range shoes (camp shoes and wear when the others get wet). In between stores is the birthplace of President Harry Truman. I took the tour and got an idea what life was like in 1880, middle America. Besides, I needed to give the magicians at the Good Samaritan time to fill out the paperwork. Smile Smile Smile I told all those people that the Good Samaritan being willing to consider getting me shoes that fit me, somehow, that had me ready to cry (happy, sad, hope, all that).

I went to the Super 8 and left a thank you letter for the guy that got me permission to sleep in the park - where my Lamar adventure started. Just before I turned the corner into the Super 8 parking lot, a small car hit the brakes and slammed into the back of a pickup truck. I was behind the collision when it happened. I went into the hotel, told the lady working at Super 8 how lucky I felt stopping in Lamar, asking for a free-camp site.

I rode on to Nevada (/nəˈveɪdə/), I had to stop; I lived in Las Vegas, Nevada (/nəˈˈvædə/) for 10 years before riing off into the sunset. How those symbols translate into those sounds is an enigma to me. In Nevada, I spent hours and 63 cents for a refillable cup of coffee, caught up on my blog, all at the McDonald's. I also bought food at one of their groceries, bought a brand new bicycle computer at Wal-Mart to answer the question of "how far have you traveled so far?" and went to the city police late at night asking for a place to stay (this was the 3rd time I used a 'red phone' to talk with the police, just like in Batman) and . Smile The people on the red phone said I had to come to them at the county sheriff's office, they mentioned the motel I would be staying at - the 71 motel. I stopped on the way at the Super 8 asking for directions and got into a long philosophical and informative conversation with the Indian (from near Bangladesh) man and his wife, working the night shift. Buddhism vs Hinduism vs Christianity, and a virtual tour of India vs Pakastan. The Sheriff's office gave me a room for the night after checking to see if I had any outstanding warrents. Something about that... They sent me back over the hill, oh the hill; I can struggle over it on my bicycle one way but have to push my bike over it the other way. I rode over that hill 6 times before I left town. The 71 motel is probably the least expensive place in the city. Wish I could stay a the Super 8, next to the Sheriff's office and on this side of that hill, next to highway 71. But, nooo! Smile

It was raining in the morning when I woke up, I procrastinated in the dry motel as long as I could and managed to get out just when the rain stopped. But, a little ways down the road, the rain started again. I thought I was going to be stuck for hours in the rain on the side of the highway so I got under my tarp. The rain stopped after a minute. I felt silly. A few minutes of riding later a sheriff or was it a ranger pulled me over to ask if I was alright. I told him I was sitting under my tarp dodging raindrops for only a minute. Someone called in thinking I was hurt. I asked him where I could get shelter from the storm until it was past and sleep the night. He did not know for sure about shelter but try that gravel access road to the conservation area, I could camp there. One mile of very muddy dirt road later, I find no shelter to speak of. The outhouse was a single person, standing room only building. I helped two fishermen pull their flatboat out of the water.

The day's weather got better and better. But, by the time I got to Rich Hill, it was getting dark and I was tired. Why was I so tired when I was only riding a little ways? I don't know. I pushed my bike uphill to the Kithcart Orchard side of the road store but it was closed. There was a house next to it. I carefully positioned my bike to be easily visible then to the house to knock. Mrs. Mary Kithcart was already on the porch. I told her what I was about and she offered me hot coffee, left over soup, conversation with her husband, Melvin and a shed out of the rain, complete with a blanket she said needed cleaning. After hot soup and coffee, I borrowed the carpet under-layer padding that was on her porch and went to the shed. It was well-lit, out of the rain, insulated and easy to clean. Wow, was it dark in there when I closed the door and turned off the light!

A little ways down the road in the morning, I saw a billboard for a country style all-you-can-eat buffet. I started salivating to my fantasies, Food fantasies, get your mind out of the gutter! Or if you're a lady around my age, keep your fantasies, get on your bike and ride!

Further on down the road, there was a billboard for Russell Stover's candies, free samples in Harrisonville... I stopped at noon, a few miles south of Harrisonville, to eat on the frontage road a little ways away from the noisy highway. I figured I better finish off my peanut butter and tortillas before stuffing myself with candy. A guy stopped his worn out old truck and got out, said something I could not hear over the traffic and wind (did he want to talk?) then walked to the other side of his truck. Oh, he was peeing, he can manage that all by himself. After he was done he asked me where I was going, "Kansas City" same as him he offered me a ride, I accepted and away we went.

We talked, he asked and we traded a bit of our stories. He owns a roofing company in Monett, MO but he can't work anymore because roofing hd damaged hi health. He is driving this truck he just bought to sell (at profit) to his son-in-law, who is a mechanic. The son-in-law will fix it up and sell it for even more. I can probably stay at their house for the night. I arranged a place to stay Saturday night but this is Friday, I am getting into Kansas City a day too early.

A few miles later, the sheriff's police pull him over, "get rid of this beer". What do you do with an open, half full can of beer when you're not supposed to be drinking while driving? I'm supposed to claim this beer? No. I try to pour it out the window but they, there were two sheriffs in the police car, saw that. (Thinking back, they probably saw him drinking THEN pulled him over; too late to do anything.) They run a background check on him, he's been driving on a suspended license and has 18 active warrants out for his arrest. They put him in handcuffs and were about to take him away. I reached for my pen and paper so I can either call his son-in-law and wait for the truck to get driven away or drive it myself to his house, but in either case, not to get stolen or towed away.

Thursday, April 29th 2010
The police get upset at me getting out of the car with a loaded pen. I am searched. They did not like the spoon I had in my pocket, nor the utility knife blades. After much discussion, it is decided I drive his truck, following all three of them 10 miles back to jail. As they turn off the highway, the truck sputters and gasps it's last gasp. I coast off the highway, down a hill to a stop sign and have to stop for another car to cross my path.

I am back in Harrisonville, a mile closer to Kansas City than where I was eating lunch. I push the pickup truck a half mile to the jail parking lot and fiddle around getting it parked neatly. I grab his stuff; unopened beers and car keys, and walk into the jail to give them to him. They tell me, through the intercom, to go to the sheriff's office. The Sheriff's office tell me to go to the jail.

Two female officers come out to take his stuff. They get upset at my bringing alcohol into their jail. I tell them I just want to give them his stuff and find out where the Russel Stover's chocolate shop is. I am having a hard time not laughing and they think I am upset. Police leave their humor at home. They said "common sense would tell you not to bring alcohol into a jail." I shake my head no, common sense is not on speaking terms with me right now. They are still upset about the beer. I step out the door, keeping it open. They tell me where to go.

I leave a message on one of my contact information cards on his windshield; "Randy, Thanks for the great story, I'll add it to my blog." I get my loaded bike out of his pickup truck and go to the chocolate shop. I get there and tell my story to the ladies working at Russell Stover's. My wallet is missing. I use their phone to call the jail. No wallet there. I probably left it at his truck when I pulled out my card and put it on his windshield. I thought I was calm around the police, but leaving my stuff there shows I was very shook up. I race back to the jail.

As I was riding into the jail parking lot, my cll phone makes a noise telling me I have a voicemail. I see Randy is in his truck. He hands me my wallet, it was on the toolbox in back of his truck. He is a little huffy about me getting my stuff back in his truck and us out of there and on to Kansas City. "OK, but you are out of gas." "No way, I put $35 in, can't be." the truck won't start. We ask the police if the have any gas in a can for civilians. No, the gas station is that way. We walk to the gas station, he pays everything he has and I donate $12; he is about to make $700 from the sale of the truck.

Randy says he has to go talk with someone alone, he will be back in 15 - 20 minutes. He drops me off at the 7-Eleven on 4251 Antioch in Kansas City, MO (I went there days later on a coffee hunt). I wait for an hour before going the closest police station asking about a free-camp site. The nearest they know of is Smithville Lake, more than 20 miles away. How about WIFI? The McDonald's down the street. I can't find it. Locals have several ideas where the nearest McDonald's is. I still can't find it. I try to combine my goals of camping at Smithville Lake and WIFI at a McDonald's. I get lost. I turn off highway 169 chasing a fancy looking shopping center near Briarcliff. The very nice people at Piropos direct me to Latte Land just outside, at 4115 North Mulberry Drive.

Latte Land has WIFI!! I have emails! Lots of them from Kansas City Couchsurfers everywhere!! Back in Nevada, I sent out couchsurfing requests to almost all of the Kansas City Couchsurfers. I received 15 responses, 5 of which gave me phone numbers and 2 answered the phone at 9:30 at night. The first people to respond, the Vallandingham's became the first people I would stay with. In Shane's email he said he had a couch for me AND work too, the work if I could get to him by that afternoon, 6 hours earlier... I called him anyways and he said the work (setting up an estate auction and cleaning up afterwards) was still available but I had to be there at 6:15 in the morning. "Where?" "Macken Park". "Mac and Park?" "Yes, near (highway) 9 and 28th avenue." "I'll be there."

Macken Park is really close to the police station I was at four hours ago, when I was getting lost. And a street person (homeless?) told me to go sleep there... four hours ago. I was riding around looking for a good place to hide out in the park, in town for the next... five hours until 5 AM. I needed an hour or so to get up, packed and to wherever nearby I was supposed to be.

I passed by some dogs barking at me from a yard. There were people in the yard soaking up the night and their beer. I said "Hi." One of them said something about 'loaded'. About 100 feet away, I figured out he was commenting on my bike having a lot of stuff on it. I went back and started up a friendly conversation. They might know a good place for me to camp, or might let me camp in their yard or sleep in their house, considering it might rain.

That was midnight. I had a hilarious, fun time talking for a long time convincing them I really was me and I really was riding my bicycle around the world but I was not crazy in a bad way, as in hostile. They fed me and offered me all kinds of soda pop and junk food , all labeled as 'healthy'. At three in the morning, they decided they were tired enough to go to sleep. They had a short and semi-private discussion and decided I could shower, wash clothes, charge my laptop and cell phone and camp out in their backyard. "Don't camp there or there; the dogs poop there and staying a tree in a storm is bad too - you might get struck by lightening." That pretty clearly defined where to put my tent. Wink

People often think I might be dangerous - I look very strange and a doing something very strange. If I was bent on criminal activities I would need a quick getaway and to blend in with the rest of society - a disguise. I have neither. If I stole something where would I put it and who would I fence it to? I have no place to store things and do not know any local fences.

Two hours later, I wake up, pack up my stuff and called Shane. Meet him at the QT gas station a couple blocks south of there. I get there and anxiously wait for someone I have no clue what they look like. But "a guy riding his bike around the world" and me with my fully loaded bike should be an easy match, yes? Yes. "Ari" "Shane" I put my stuff in his truck, with his help and me in the back seat and away we go.

We talk, I hand my contact info to his co-worker and Shane directs others (by phone) to the work site. Work was fun; I like moving, packing, organizing and rethinking priorities. I work hard. Work is fun, gives purpose and I have so little opportunity to help others. I am usually the one getting helped. I got $50 for 8 hours of hard work. You might think I lost out. Think again; I developed a reputation - planted a seed that will grow, I made what is quite a bit of money for me (little or no expenses) and I helped someone - I validated my self-worth to society. How much is all that worth to me? Eight hours of fun, you bet.

I called the Vallandingham's but nobody answered. Shane had prior commitments made since we last discussed my surfing his couch. I called some of the other couchsurfers whose names and numbers I had written down - foresight. Smile Cynthia answered and yes, I could use her for backup if I was not able to contact the Vallandingham's when work was done.

Shane dropped me off at Cynthia's and I have been staying here since Saturday.

What's to say about Cynthia? She does not have a bed, it takes up too much room, the floor is fine. Furniture you sit on is also a shelf or table and almost anything can be sat on. I really enjoy her freethinking ways. She plays Ultimate Frisbee and she is 63 years old. Cynthia is a great role model, not that I needed any pushing in that direction. Smile

Tuesday, Cynthia drove me to Wal-Mart, Lowes (next to each other), Cabela's camping goods and a couple thrift stores. I lost my money pouch at Wal-Mart. There was $30 in it. I can replace the money but I really liked that multi-pocket passport thingie I was using for a money pouch. Sad

I went to the VA hospital yesterday (Wednesday), transferred my files over to their location, (they sent me to the emergency room because, as a transient, it will be quicker and more convenient for all concerned) got meds and larger, more versatile bandages for things my store bought bandaids won't cover.

The doctor in the emergency room, Dr. "B", is a... is the kind of doctor that does something similar to what chiropractors do, realign bones, but slower. I asked how to deal with the pain between my shoulder blades from lifting too much (I get that ever since I was 16 years old). He had me put my hands on top of my head, where the swirl is, keeping my elbows together and he lifted up and back on my elbows with one hand while the other hand pushed up and into my back just below my shoulder blades. He did this slowly, increasing strength and tension until my back popped.

I asked what about my neck, what do I do for that when it hurts? He lifted my head near the jawbone hinge and near my chin (places that don't hurt) until I was almost lifted off my seat. Then he slowly rolled my head from side to side, first left, then right, then side to side, then back, then forwards. I asked what do I do with pain in my lower back? He said lay on your back, bring you knees up towards your chin and then to the left and right side, trying to touch the floor, also sleep with knees resting on top of something to keep them slightly elevated.

Anybody can do this with me once I show them what to do. I won't need to go to a chiropractor unless things get really bad!

I stopped off at the VA homeless vet program in the hospital. They could not help me much but did send me to St Vincent DePaul thrift shop with a referral. The manager at the thrift shop, Kathy, gave me a voucher for $40, I can spend $10 of that every week for 4 weeks. The thrift shop is close to 39th and Troost, where people told me the 816 Bicycle Collective is, another community bike shop. Smile They were wrong; 816 Bicycle Collective is in the middle of the block with 33st, Troost, Forest and Linwood as the 4 corners. It is accessed from Forest. Today, I am going to the thrift shop first to snoop around then back to the VA to pick up the rest of my meds.

Now I am caught up to today - Thursday, April 29th, 2010.
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Rev. Eli Jenkins Sunset Prayer

Post  Monday on Fri May 13, 2011 6:23 pm

Every morning when I wake Oh Lord a little prayer I make. Oh please to keep thy lovely eye on all poor creatures born to die.
And every evening at sundown I ask a blessing on this town. For whether we last the night or no, i'm sure is always touch & go.
We are not wholy bad or good who live our lives under Milkwood, and thou I know will be the first to see our best side not our worst.
Bless us Oh Lord I pray. Bless us each night and day and to the sun we all shall bow and say goodbye,,,,,,,,,,, but just for now....

Monday

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Re: My Journey - April 2010

Post  ChasingSanity on Wed May 18, 2011 9:11 am

Good stuff Monday! Makes me smile.
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ChasingSanity
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Re: My Journey - April 2010

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