I don’t think that it’s possible to eat too much ice cream. I had the biggest milkshake ever yesterday. Delicious. While sipping the strawberry treat I sat next to Pedro. He was going into 8th grade and doesn’t like school. He seems like he’d be a good student since he has the patience to sit on a street corner all day selling cherries. He said it was a slow day. Normally he would sell a whole box and make over $40. Today he’s at $20. I told him he should be happy about that because I had already spent that much on milkshakes and peanut butter for the day. As the lady who had bought cherries from him 10 minutes before walked by again he cleverly asked if now her husband would like some cherries. He was trying so hard. Once they passed without the purchase of another 5 lb bag Pedro said, “They give you diahrrea.” Oh Pedro!
Across from us is a black bear in a cage. He’s been raised in captivity. Henry is his name. When I got to our “campsite” I was surprised by how many people were there. 2 car camper tents, many women coming in and out of them. 2 new people on their bikes riding east. Will, who I met long ago in Kentucky, Adam and Chris who were in the Adventure Cycling group but left them over a week ago, and myself with the girls. A reunion at the end. A very nice way to round out the trip and a tough day.
Today may have been rough but it came with many gems. We came upon a tree filled with shoes, something my mom had told me to look for. It has been there since her trip. Eleanor and I went to the John Day Fossil Beds where we met a gentleman who has ridden from Alaska to Florida. It changed his whole lifestyle. He now lives a simple life and he’s damn proud of it! Layers upon layers of rocks stood tall and stoic around our pathway. There was more beauty than my eyes could absorb. Though I did have much time to take it in at my stellar pace of 8 mph. With 25+ miles of windy terrain, too little water, and temperatures over 100, I’m just glad I saw my surroundings and not the pavement as I crash onto it, passing out.
As an artist it’s hard to go very long without making something. It could be as simple as a well made dinner or as complex as a beautiful ceramic bowl. Either way, I must make something. For the most part I have been satisfied by repairing tires and navigating through the country to satisfy these needs. It’s the evenings when the urge emerges. I try to lay in the grass and rest, I try to read at the picnic table, I go on a walk to see if my legs still function vertically. Nothing can keep the urges at bay. I thought about bringing along some jewelry supplies and tools to piddle around with on this trip. I am so glad I opted out of that one! A friend of mine told me she and her boyfriend went on this trip on a tandem bike with one whole pannier devoted to CD’s (back when that’s all we had.) She brought along her sketch pad and charcoal and pencils to sketch. Hard to keep artists from making something! By the way, she’s a jeweler.
So at this particular spot I had a golden opportunity to play. Beside the town park there was a small stream. It was no wider than 6 feet and had a man-made stacked rock damn creating a pool of water, enough to bathe in. The girls jumped right in to rid their skin of the days’ buildup. Salt be gone! Suntan lotion be gone! I had the same intentions but was content with merely splashing myself a time or two. The water was so cold. I am so impressed by folks that don’t mind getting in cold water. No matter how hot the day may be, I’m not getting in! I digress. The rock wall was my muse. I took to it like a magnet. For over an hour I played by stacking rocks-playing with their shapes and colors. It was a blast!
I thought I would get a good nights sleep without the tent and under the pavilion. With the noise of the roudy ladies and buzzing of mosquitos I decided to pitch my tent after all and carry it clear across the park to where I could hear the stream rushing by instead. Ah, better.