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My Journey - June 2011

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My Journey - June 2011

Post  ChasingSanity on Fri Jun 10, 2011 8:52 am

Did I tell you? NO! How could I? I said so on Facebook.. (excuses, excuses). I installed the new Ubuntu core. I forgot the last time, when I first installed Linux I had to get some serious magic done, by high-level wizards of technology to get a Linux friendly NIC card driver for this Dell 910 Inspiron netbook - so I could get on the Internet at libriaries, hotels (free coffee), McDonalds (everywhere) and coffee shops.backpacker

OK. I have some new pictures for photobucket http://s824.photobucket.com/home/biketoaustralia and videos for Youtube, update my blogs, beg Keen bike shoe manufacturer for Austin Pedal shoes (size 14 US, 49 EU), beg Coleman camping gear for their state-of-the-art backpacker dual fuel stove, AND, while in Mystic, CT I am on a mission - my ex-wife wants a MYSTIC bumper sticker and a t-shirt. I want to see if I can find a stuffed animal dressed up as a wizard or witch to throw in. I have $40 to spend on her stuff including postage and the clock is ticking.
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Re: My Journey - June 2011

Post  ChasingSanity on Tue Jun 14, 2011 11:01 am

Tuesday, June 14th, 2011
I got into Newport, RI yesterday. What happened from Allentown, PA to Newport, RI? Well... The short version:

I got supplies and socialised in Allentown, PA. My bike tire developed an aneurysm, got that fixed. Interviewed with Bicycling Magazine, don't know if they printed it or not.

Rode into Easton, PA, could not find the homeless shelter but a fascinating couple saw me riding around dazed late at night and put me up for two days at their house.

Rode east on 22 a few miles, stopped at a motel asked to use their toilet and WIFI. “No problem, no way.” They had no WIFI. I dug up the basement of the house next door. They put me up for the night.

Stopped in Hackettstown, NJ at the... it was a church with Russian Bible Study going on when I rode up. I stayed for some of the service, very interesting how Russian does not resemble American English at all, nor sound like it. The American minister let me camp in back of the church. It was not supposed to rain that night, it did, lots of rain. The minister put me up in his house andd let me dry my stuff out in his garage overnight.

I stayed at the Paterson, NJ homeless shelter. I rode east on '4' all the way to GWB, the George Washington Bridge and put my toe in NYC, New York City. I skimmed across NYC into Yonkers on the Aquifer trail.

I rode into Yonkers shortly after the Post Office closed for the Memorial Day weekend. I stayed at the homeless shelter in Yonkers and camped out in the woods until the Post Office opened up on Tuesday. I got my care package and raced away. I found a great camp site on the aquifer trail north of Yonkers and made a video of my found treasure.

I stayed at homeless shelters mostly and camped out a few times on US Route 1 going through Connecticut. I camped out going through Rhode Island (RI).

I rode all around town running errands. I apologised to a friend Carole, my ex-wife, and I drove away by arguing. I put my calling card on his windshield - he lives in Newport. I went to Ten Speed Spokes bike shop and introduced myself. I went to the shipyard, the yacht club and Star Bucks looking for ways to network / manifest a place to spend the night and work on a sail boat. I stopped at the Seaman's Church Institute. I passed by a specific police officer several times. I asked him for free camping advice. I am camped behind a fire station, with permission for the next couple days. I met Capt. Mike Brady at Seaman's and am going to work on his sail boat doing repairs after my meeting with the supervisor of Seaman's. The supervisor had too many crisis's to deal with today, my meeting got postponed to tomorrow. Time to go work on the sail boat.
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Re: My Journey - June 2011

Post  ChasingSanity on Wed Jun 22, 2011 7:07 pm

Tuesday,June 21st, 2011
What happened from Allentown, PA to Newport, RI? The long version:
On the way into Allentown, I asked people where I could get fresh ground peanut butter, the concesus was Sign of the Bear grocery. I also asked about bicycle shops, BikeLine was the answer. When I was a few blocks away, I was told they were next to each other. I could not grind the peanut butter into my own container at Sign of the Bear but they sell it, already ground. I bought two containers. I could notf cram half of a container into my peanut butter jar – I gave that to the next customer that came in.

I walked my bike over to BikeLine. They were very friendly even though they were very busy rescuing flat tires from certain death and selling bicycle goodies. They were enthusiastic about my adventure and said, if I needed anything while I was in town, they would see what they could do.

I had sent out requests to couchsurf but got no responses back. I looked up the local homeless shelter, called them and went there to spend the night. I shared my story with a bunch of the guys there. In the morning, I asked for advice about getting from Allentown, PA to Yonkers, NY (where my mail was) and got excellent advice from two guys. One of the guys wanted to get a picture of me and my bike. Camera phones came out of many pockets. Smile I said

“OK, but I want a picture of all of you too.” These are the bad boys from downtown Allentown, the ones your mother doesn't want you talking to. Smile

As I crossed out of Allentown, I looked down, checking my tires to see if everything was OK. There was a wobble in the rear tire. I stopped for a closer look. The tube was coming out.. the rear tire was failing.. the rear brake was rubbing against the tire! I needed a new tire. When and how did this happen? I fixed a flat tire a few hours of riding ago.. The brake had been pushed out of place when I took the wheel off and put it back on in the process of fixing the flat.

I walked my bike over to the closest open business, a gas station. I used their phone book to call all the local bike shops. But, it was Sunday, most of them were closed. The closest one was 10 miles away. I realigned my brake pad and rode to the bike shop.

Performance Bikes of Allentown was in a brand new shopping center. I got lost several times, one time I stopped at the Holiday Inn asking for directions. They printed out a map, gave me a big slice of their pizza, a pack of Cinnibons, we talked a while, they took my picture, I took theirs. Sigh, schmoozing is good.

Another time I asked for directions was at the Greek Food Festival. I also asked about Greece. They told me nothing about Greece but one of the guys working there has a real job working for Rodale, the owners of Bicycling Magazine. Rodale is in Emmauas, PA, just arounnd the bend! Added that to my itinerary!

I got to the bike shop, bought a brand new tire, got some free work done on my bike and went looking for a place to stay the night. I rode by the Rescue Mission. It started raining. I saw a canvas topped car port in someone's yard. I asked if I could get out of the rain and even vamp the night. “Yes, NO! What?” The lady that answered the door was on the phone and in disbelief about my request. I told her, showed her the sign on my back and got the OK. Smile

The next day, I went to Rodale and shared my story with a young man working for Bicycling Magazine. I don't know if they used my story. I looked up bee apiaries in the Allentown area and found Mondjack Apiaries. I rode there, met Bill (he posted Sat May 21, 2011 10:14 pm), got my picture taken and had a great time. (Wow, I haven't even gotten to Easton yet.)

The terrain started going from fairly flat to gnarly. Just thinking about it makes me want another sip of Chardonnay, a bit of whole clove garlic bread dipped in... my dip for parties (fresh salsa, sour cream, lots of curry and garlic)... fortification!

I rode into Easton, PA after dark. I stopped at a drive through fast food restaurant to ask for directions. David (he posted Tue May 24, 2011 4:00 am) was working Arby's late shift, counting cash at the end of the night when I rode up, parked my bike and walked to the window.

I asked David for directions to the police. I went that way, a police car drove by, I hailed him and chased after him. The police officer gave me directions to the homeless shelter. I got to the place that was one block away... and found nothing. I rode one block each way... Now, this is almost midnight in a not so nice neighborhood... A pick up truck pulls up next to me, a lady sitting in the passenger seat asks me if I am looking for a place to camp the night!

I slept on the floor in living room of their small but gorgeous home. The next day, I helped... what were their names?... him put in 3 windows at someone's house. I stayed another night.

I barely got out of town before I asked at a motel if I could use their toilet and get on their free WIFI. “Yes, No” Smile They had no WIFI. We got to talking. I took a picture of this woman's legs. She did the artwork for the tattoos herself. One of the people living there, it's not a motel anymore, now it's a n efficiency apartment building with a built in tavern. Anyways, one of the guys living there, his house burnt down (there it is right next door) and he is digging through the remains looking for anything worth keeping. He'd pay me.

I started digging' Smile He said there was a bag of gems buried in there. Yeah, right. I did not stop digging. It was a job that needed doing. He would be better able to bury his past and they would all be happier hearing less about it. He paid me. I stayed the night in a just vacated apartment.

The next day, I rode to Paterson and stayed the night in a homeless shelter there. Just before crossing into New York, I got on the internet at a hotel computer and told people on Facebook I lost WIFI when I installed the new version if Ubuntu. That gives people a time-line.

I rode across the GWB (Gearge Washington Bridge), I got to the toll gate before a police officer caught up with me and not so politely told me how a bicyclist crosses the bridge. I rode the Aquifer Trail into Yonkers, found the homeless shelter downtown and stayed the night. That was the Friday night before Memorial Day weekend.

They woke me up at the Yonkers homeless shelter and told me they had to move me. The other shelters in Yonkers had to be filled up first. My bike was next to me, at the bottom of a stair well and my bags partly unpacked - my bedroll was my bed.

Everybody else rode in a van, my bike might fit in the van if it was the only thing going, so I rode my bike a few blocks. When I got to the other homeless shelter site, they said I had to leave my bicycle locked up outside. !! Yonkers Is a poor suburb of New York City. “OK. I will sleep outside next to my bike.” No, I could not sleep next to my bike, it was not safe to sleep outside. Leave my bike unattended in a place it was not safe to sleep? You had to move me from a place that was safe, out of the way of anybody else and put me in a place that is not safe? You fix this, these are my requirements. They helped me get my bike into the end of a tiny hallway. My bedroll was more comfortable then their cot. Razz

The next morning, I went looking for a new place to sleep the night. I found several, I asked permission
each place and was granted permission. The downtown police at the jail fort suggested I camp across the street in the park! I had been told the Aquifer Trail goes further north, nobody knew how far north. That wilderness area would be great for camping, I just needed to find a place. I found a great place, so good that I made videos out of it.

I got my mail; new calling cards, some candy and toiletries and a fine woven straw hat. I raced back to the Aquifer Trail and high-tailed it out of town. I stopped at several homeless shelters along the way. New Haven, CT has a fine flea market. Howard Powell, sausage chef ext raordinaire guards one entrance to the flea market. I caroused with him for a bit and he added m y bicycle to his guardianship. Wink The IT department at Mercy College put me on the right track to getting my WIFI back.

I stopped along the way at Zane's Cycles in Bradford, CT and said hello. I found a good place to camp off 146 near Guilford, CT. I stopped at Medwyn's farm market, got some food to throw in the pot. I met Ned there, his wife is a classical music singer. The next day, I realized the frame of the ExtraCycle was broken again. Is that what that squeaky noise was days ago that finally stopped? I pushed my bike towards town. I asked about a bike shop in that direction and got directions.

I saw a hole in the road that was destined to become a sinkhole. I stopped at Breakfast Woodworks and showed them the hole. They were suitably impressed. Wink The Department of Transportation was soon out spraying graffiti around the hole. The people at Breakfast Woodworks had coffee, they offered me rhubarb pie. It would be rude to refuse, yes? :embarrassed: Sharon called the bike shop (yes, they got a welder) and drove me there in their work van. Zane's Cycles again? No, they can't weld that. Go to the metal fabrication place. Sharon took me there. “Yes we'll do the work, keep your $10, just get the bike out of the van so I can get out of here and get a beer!” Ned me after the welder guy finished.

Time to go ro sleep, more tomorrow.
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Re: My Journey - June 2011

Post  ChasingSanity on Thu Jun 23, 2011 3:25 pm

Wednesday, June 23rd, 2011
The ExtraCycle was broken, the frame completely severed on one side, just behind the axle and it it only rode A LITTLE FUNNY while carrying 400 pounds / 180 kilos?! I thought the ExtraCycle was impressive before. Now, I think the Extracycle is amazing.

I was anxious knowing my bike was lamed and felt much better knowing it was fixed. My
bike is my home, my ride, my companion (strong, silent type), part of my team... Most of my things are almost essential. I can do without them but it would be a big sacrifice. My ExtraCycle and bike combined are more important than everything else, they carry everything else. I can go on with only my passport and ID but...

So, I was relieved to be back to bike health. I was coming up on Mystic, CT passed through Groton, manufacturing place of nuclear submarines (I wanted to take pictures but thought it might upset security). Route 1 disappeared? I spotted people up on a hill across the road. I pulled over, crossed the road and climbed up the hill to ask where Route 1 disappeared to. The Wilsons were cleaning their pool, about to get in. “Where are you going to or coming from?” Smile Well, they let me stay the night. (They saw me climbing up the hill with my bike all packed up, Karen (mom) said to Dave (dad) 'invite him to dinner'.) But first, I went racing off to downtown Mystic in search of things my ex-wife, Carole asked me to get if ever I got to Mystic. I had no plans to go anywhere near the American east coast but, here I was. That's why she's the psychic.

I parked my bike at the first bike rack coming into town, Border's book store, and raced around hunting for 'Mystic' items. I wanted to throw in a stuffed animal dressed up as a wizard or witch but no luck and slim pickin's for anything MYSTICal. When I got back to my bike, there was a note stuck in my bike - “Call me if you need a place to stay.”

Back to the Wilson's, I called to tell them I was coming back but then I noticed Dave Wilson was there in front of me opening up his pick up truck. This was a good thing because the winds were picking up, maybe 50 mile an hour gusts. The rain was just starting, this is not the kind of shower I fantasize about. He knew what was coming and came to rescue me. The Wilson's only live a mile from downtown but it would have been a miserable mile pushing my bike uphill in the downpour.

The Wilson's are a bicycling family. Dave was out riding his bike with friends when he had a stroke. He is my age. “There but for the grace of God, go I.” That stroke was months ago, he was just recently able to get back to carpentry business. The community anonymously supports the family while he struggles back to functionality. Karen Wilson is no slacker either; more like super-mom; working, parenting, hobbies and community interactions They are a great family, it's good to see how a healthy family works.

I went in the morning to visit with the guy that left a note on my bike. He used to ride 10 miles in the morning before work and another 10 miles after work “...but nothing like you are doing” (many people say that, demeaning their own accomplishments). He's 60-ish and did all that, each day, before his wife died? I hope he finds the spark of life again.

I misplaced the bike hat Dave Wilson gave me, which store was it at? The guy I visited in the morning drove by and shouted out I left my hat in his kitchen. “Locked?” I shouted back. “No.” I rode back to his house and parked my bike uphill then walked down. Except a neighbor stopped me and asked if I wanted something off the grill. “There's also women in bikini's back there.” First, I get the hat, then I investigate the back. There were women back there in bikinis, gorgeous, healthy adult women. But, they were not coming with me. This guy's son just got a new custom made bicycle, a Watson Cycle. What a surprise to be told by Mystic Cycle Centre that Andrew Watson (the son) is Watson Cycles.

I rode out to the Old Mystic Village tourist trap shops and found a Pirates of the Caribbean wizard toy, close enough. I went back into town and bought the best choice of t-shirt. None of the Mystic bumper stickers had near enough bling on them to be worth buying. I had a collection of maps, brochures and business cards to sweeten the pot. Time to ride on!

I stopped at a thrift store - who knows what treasures lie within a thrift store. There was a Ninja Hamster 'works, needs batteries' for less than a dollar. Carole likes the hamster best – serendipity rules.

I asked at a hotel if I could use their WIFI. Before I got in the door, four groups of people wanted to know what I was about. Smile

They took pictures and got the dance; “Las Vegas, Salt Lake City, Albuequeque, Santa Fe, Carlsbad Caverns, Austin Texas, Tulsa Oklahoma, Springfield Missouri, all around Missouri, Omaha, Sioux City, Sioux Falls, Fargo, Grand Forks, the Canadian border,” :Take a breatth: “You don't get to come through here without more money, Minneapolis, Madison, Chicago, Hi Mom!, Odessa Texas, No, there's no work here for me, but I got my passport! I am out of here! Oh wait, I got to see Key West, everybody said Key West this, Key West that.” :Take a breatth: “OK Key West, along the Gulf Coast, got to do the scenic route. I should have gone snorkeling or scuba diving but the friends I made that had the equipment were too drunk for that, so was I. It was fun.” :Take a breatth: “Time to talk with the sailors; Where is that sail boat to cross over the Atlantic into Europe? I rode north along the East Coast talking with captains at the marinas until I got to Myrtle Beach South Carolina, where I met this guy, PeterNein.com.” :Take a breatth: “He said You oughta come with me to Pottsville Pennsylvania. I thought 600 miles in 18 hours without pedaling and I am a month behind schedule to get to Newport Rhode Island by July... when do we leave?” :Take a breatth: “Tomorrow. Three days later we were on the road! I rode 200 miles east of Pottsville to New York City, hang a left, grabbed my mail from the Yonkers Post Office and rode along the coast until I got here!”

Well, I did manage to get in and surf their WIFI wave, but when I stepped out, it was raining, my stuff was soaked. Soon enough, so was I. I was wearing bike clothing; I was shivering violently. My body was not getting warmer. I stopped at a gas station, met Shawn Overend working his last day at the cash register. Got to talking, accidentally left my beloved coffee cup there. Got the OK to camp the night free at Burlingame State Park across the street.

I wrestled with sad, grumpy moods setting up my camp in the rain. But, at least I knew where not to camp – there were big puddles all over the place. I tried to keep my stuff as dry as possible while setting up my tarp and then tent in the rain.

In the morning, I checked NOAA toll free weather with my cell phone and saw things would dry out that day. If I could stay another day and dry out... I went to the park office and asked for another day. What? Who? No. Oh well, don't be hard on the ones that said yes; the weather was miserable last night and my loaded down bike is a convincing argument.

I packed up and rode on. I called homeless shelters in the area (211 on the phone connects to the local United Way Crisis Help Line), they were all either full up or take referrals during business hours. I stopped at a gas station and asked if I (riding my bicycle across country) could camp out behind their business – worked several times before. “Sure.” But the wilderness back there was too dense, keep that as a back up plan. I asked at the plant nursery. As soon as I walked in, the guy working there asked me if I was riding my bicycle around the world or something. “Yep, around the world” and I turned around to show off my BikeToAustralia sign. He is the owner of the nursery, he asked his wife, the other boss, sitting right there what she thought. She was more non-commital and less enthusiastic but did not see any harm.

I rode on looking for a grocery store and found a Panera bread shop next to a Shaw's grocery. I had free WIFI and a bottomless cup of coffee next to a grocery store. I felt cuddled by the gods. Iwent into the grocery store first. Should I come back to Panera in the morning? It was not that far away. When I came out of Shaw's, a slender, energetic woman with perky hair – not quite a mohawk, was standing next to my bike. “What do you want to know?” I said with a sparkly smile. We talked for a bit while she judged how crazy I might be. I was not very reassuring. Cool

She invited me into Panera to have something to eat on her. She's the manager. I told her who's doing all the writing on my blog and gave her my calling card. I decided I really like grilled feta cheese sandwiches. She gave me a bunch of stuff to take with; a impromptu care package. I might just be a lunatic...

I setup camp as if it were going to rain hard. No such thing in the forecast but that's been wrong enough times in the past. It was a beautiful, uneventful night. I packed up and even got to wave at the owner before I left.

Just down the road was the Clairborne Pell Newport Bridge, I knew I had to hitch hike across that. It wasn't long before a guy in a pickup truck stopped. He figured he was one of the few that could fit my loaded down bike in his vehicle. His old yellow Labrador retriever approved getting someone new in to pet her. He dropped me off at the Newport Tourist Information Center.

I was in Newport! Finally! Let's see, TV, radio, newspaper, bike shops, contacts in Newport... what else was on my Newport bucket list?

Before I go to the media, I better drop off a calling card at my old friend, CLEFF's house. I met CLEFF playing NeverWinter Nights online computer game, We were good friends for years. But, then I introduced Carole to GuildWars, the online computer game CLEFF and I were playing at the time. Carole and I argued all the time, even playing GuildWars while talking with CLEFF on Teamspeak, a VOIP through the computer. Carole and I drove off CLEFF by arguing non-stop. That was a bitter lesson to learn. I left my calling card on the windshield of the car I thought was his. I went to the media, his privacy would remain private.

The newspaper aked me to come bacck after their deadlines were met. But, they were not really interested in doing a story about me. Some are, some are not. I will continue on with only the support of some. Smile

A lot of people met me, a lot of people honked and waved as we passed each other in the street. Were they the same people? Are they ever? Some of the people met me several times, Newport is a small town and I am very visible.

I went to the Seamen's Church Institute in Newport (Seamen's). I felt like family, a home away from home, a safe place. It was a good feeling. But, they had no idea where I could free-camp. Several people asked what I was about, I told theem and, and in turn, asked if they knew anyplace I could stay for free for a few days. Some people suggested the edge of Fort Adams but the vegetation on the edge was too densely packed for me to either enter or leave no trace if I went in. There was a fire station at the end of Thames. I had good luck asking firemen about such unofficial amenities. They enjoyed my story and told me I could camp the night behind the firehouse, at Murphy's Field.

The next day, I went back to Seamen's and used their free WIFI. A guy there, asked about my netbook. I talked techie, he wanted to know what kind of work I do. Riding my bicycle around the world was not what he expected. But, Capt. Mike Brady did have work for me on his sail boat, the Full Circle. I sanded down the teak then cleaned it, prepped it and finally, oiled it. Oiled teak is beautiful, glad I did not varnish it. That all took 3 days.

In thee meantime, I went to Salvation Army and got free loaves of bread. I told them about my adventures. A lady left a note offering me a place to stay at her house. OK! She wants to keep her privacy. I went to the Organic market looking for my coveted silicone squeeze bottles. Several people asked what I was up to. A guy overheard my story and said “I am envious of you.” We got to talking, he, Eddie Paradise, offered me storage space in town for my bike. Kevin?, the handyman / shipwright at Casey's Marina, where Capt. Mike keeps Full Circle, Kevin offered his bike for me to run errands with while in town. I took up the offers of the lady with her house, Eddie's bike garage, and Capt' Mike's boat work. I did not need Kevin's bike – I had my own. Whew, amazing how some things fall into my lap, no girlfriends yet, still praying. Wink

I met a bunch of people, got my picture taken a bunch of times, said good bye to many of them on the way out of town. I asked a lady riding her bicycle in Portsmouth what the best (bike) route was to Little Compton. She said “Are you Ari Gold?” Amazing, I almost fell off my bike. She was working on a boat next to Capt. Mike's. “Oh, that is you? You look a lot nicer riding your bike.” She showed me the only way to cross over into Tiverton. Then she said, “G'bye honey.” I said “Honey, oh I will remember that!” Good times, giving people reasons to grin and happy memories.

OK, caught up. I am packed and ready to ride out tomorrow. Plan to pick up a replacement coffee cup from Target in North Dartsmouth, MA then on to Wood's Hole. Wonder where I will sleep? Who will I meet? How will my plans match and mesh with reality? I do NOT wish I knew, better the mysterious tomorrow that unfolds and coalesces like a lotus made of mist.
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Re: My Journey - June 2011

Post  ChasingSanity on Sun Jun 26, 2011 2:28 pm

Sunday, June 26th, 2011
Rode into Wood's Hole this morning after spending the night in woods about 10 miles north. Rode the bicycle path from Falmouth into Wood's Hole. Met a pack of bicycle tourists chasing a cause, forgot what, cool meeting them though.

Went to a Wood's Hole church; Church of the Messiah, met good people there. One of them invited me to their outdoor shower. I said it time and time again, a hot shower and clean clothes are almost the best things in life, beats chocolate hands down. Going to a meditation... T word, starts with a “T” at John Wesley Methodist Church, got to go there now. Tomorrow, plan to meet and greet some of the oceanographers and schmooze. Smile Then on to Provincetown, MA.
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Re: My Journey - June 2011

Post  ChasingSanity on Tue Jun 28, 2011 7:53 am

Tuesday, June 28th, 2011
Logged on to Facebook, checked my emails. Went to a Taize recital and sing along. Was invited to stay at someone's house 20 miles away. Came back into Wood's hole, met people. Got leads to sail to Europe and made friends. Went to a WIFI hotspot... Lost my laptop?!

Where, when? Now what? Called police left description and phone number. Called pawn shop and did the same. Went back to the house, slept and rode on. Got to use someone else's computer from now on.
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