Thursday, June 2, 2011

Culmination

I'm about to leave on the final 23 mile leg of this trip to work a music festival for this horrible company that I will complain about later. I have to get some kind of closure for this fucking journey. If they turn me away at the gates for some reason then so be it, you'll hear about it pretty soon I guess. If I get in then don't expect to hear from me for maybe another week. Wakarusa is June 2-5 and I am scheduled to do post-fest cleanup on June 6 and 7. I think Bonnaroo is definitely out for me. They overlapped my schedules so it's their fault and I should get my money back. At this point I don't fucking care. I just want to see friendly faces and have a good time with someone other than myself.

Keith.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Trip Re-Cap: Part II, The Natural State Of Things.

Well, I had to take a break after getting my dander all up over that situation with the mother lovin' pigs back in Yazoo City, MS. May they only live long enough to bury their own children, that's what I fucking say about cops. This is one of the last cultural milestones I passed in Mississippi.
If you're wondering, it was out of bizness.
Once I got into Arkansas things were much better, no wind, an actual shoulder on the fucking highway, and lots of pitifully stupid rednecks to laugh at constantly. One thing about the fine people of Arkansas that I've always liked, they never fail to make beautifying their state the top priority. Arkansas doesn't need much help in the beauty department as it is already a great looking place, but the state obviously has been able to find the funding to take care of it's parks and recreation areas. I got some good pics of the Hwy 82 bridge coming over from Shitsville, errrehgh I mean, Mississippi, and even though it was a hot ride through there it was still scenic as all hell.
Yep, the rivers up a bit.
There's not supposed to be water there, that's a road.

I got to Lake Village for my mid-day riding break, but instead of taking a break I just farted around town and felt bad about how fucked most of this country's people are even though they don't know it yet because they're too busy with scratch off tickets and putting louder pipes on their Harley Davidson motor bikes.
Finally.
Let me make this clear, the South isn't gonna do anything again.
I bedded down for the day in Dumas, AR after making a 90 mile ride feel easy for the first time of the trip. I had yet to ride a 100 miles in one day but I really thought I could do it on this day if I didn't want to sleep in air conditioning. The next day was pleasantly overcast and the temps were fairly cool, maybe lower to mid 80's so I predicted another big day of riding. I had to ride from Dumas, to Pine Bluff, and then on to Little Rock. Because of my detour in Mississippi due to flooding I had messed my route up and now I would have to struggle to get all the way through Little Rock in one day AND find a place to stay for the night all without going too many miles in one day. Had I known this day, 5/28, would have been so horrible I would have just opened a vein back at the hotel room and been done with it.

As soon as I got through Pine Bluff I realized that there was nothing but the interstate between where I was and Little Rock so I had to get off and ride on Hwy 365 which had no fucking shoulder. OH ARKANSAS! You were doing so much better than your neighbor Mississippi in the shoulder department and now this, a skinny two lane country highway with no shoulder and the blacktop is so rough it may as well be fucking gravel. Well at least I can't slip on this so I continue on, getting my ass literally pounded by my saddle every 6 feet by the fucking seams in the roadway. Before I know it there's a bunch of traffic, most people are getting over, some aren't, and then some jackass just starts honking at me, laying on the fucking horn. I turn around and see a guy from Hollywood Central Casting. He looks like the prototypical crazy old coot you see in movies. Big bushy white beard, buggy eyes, overalls and a flannel shirt and he's driving a fucking dumptruck. He passes me and doesn't look too kind, but I'm not scared because at this point I'm the most dangerous animal in 7 states so he does himself a favor and toots along. Several minutes later he comes at me in the other direction down the highway and I try to invite him off the road for a meeting but he just glares at me again and goes by. Good for him, he just avoided the first ever lobotomy performed with a Park Tool 3 way allen wrench. I wonder why he turned around and then, sure enough, I pass a liquor store, (how can there be one business open in 10 miles of highway and that business is a liquor store, Answer: You're in the South), and then I realize I was impeding that old fart in getting to his whiskey.

This highway sucked a big dick most of the way and I drove through some of the most depressing shit I've ever seen. Trailers and crushed houses with hot rodded out crown victorias in the front pumping loud hip hop music; the cars and the stereos cost more than the houses and I know these kind of people too well. They will never leave this area unless they go to jail, join the service, or become street gang foot soldiers in Little Rock which pretty much means death or jail. What a fucked place. It's not the land of opportunity for everybody. You have to be willing to sell your soul for the opportunity. I found this little cemetery outside of Little Rock, just off to the side of the road not even behind a fence, it was literally roadside by a few feet. I only saw the two markers but it was so overgrown I couldn't see much; maybe there was more there but I wasn't going to pick up some ticks to find out.
Soon enough I was rolling into Little Rock and doing my best not to think about those documentaries HBO made about how violent the gangs are in this town. I had to ride up the two steepest hills of the trip while in Little Rock and one came right after the other, but I somehow managed to roll both of them and continue on through town. I eventually called it a day when I found a motel in a little place called Amboy which is just outside of Little Rock on the northwest side. The "motel" I stayed at was clearly the kind of place that is not really a motel but a cheap place for people to pay by the week or month to live at, and they only took cash. Still, out of all the places I've stayed at so far, the people who ran this place were the nicest so I could care less if the accommodations were filthier and more broken down than anything I've ever seen in my life. The proprietor was Indian which wasn't shocking, but what was shocking was how much his beautiful daughter seemed to find interesting about me and my trip. Shit, she probably just wants to get the fuck out of here. The big news for that day was that I did 100 miles, it was the longest and most brutal day for me in terms of how I felt physically and mentally. I don't know if I am giving this trip enough credit when it comes to breaking me down mentally but the final three days of this trip were hard to make it through and I think it was mostly mental.
This is a fighter plane in the Arkansas Air Force.
OH, choices, I really wanted to see what Toad Suck was like.
Sunday the 29th I was truly broken and I had to struggle to make it 75 miles to a town called Russellville where I desperately tried to rehydrate and refuel my body with food and rest. I hadn't realized it until most of the day was over but I hadn't really eaten anything. This bike tour shit is really killing my appetite. Something about being in 90+ degree heat all day, drinking warm water out of my bottles, and breathing hot air doesn't make me want to eat anything, ......except popsicles. I finally made it here to Ozark on Monday at 1800 and checked into The Ozark Inn which is right at the junction of Hwy 23 where I will ride out tomorrow to get to the festival site and work at Wakarusa, hopefully. I still think that shit will go all wrong and I am ready to turn around at any second and head for sweet, sweet Oklahoma.

Keith.

Trip Re-Cap: Part I, The Mississippi Blues.

I'm finally going to tackle the obviously huge task of re-capping the last week of my bike tour through the South, my last post was on May 24th and it was the day after my first 90 mile day on the road. I was pretty beat, but little did I know that I didn't even know what being beat was going to feel like a week later.
"Remember when the road had a shoulder?"
Magee was in the south central part of the state of Mississippi and on 5/25 my riding goal was to travel from Magee all the way through the capital city of Jackson and then stop for the day in Yazoo City. This was going to put me at about 90 miles for the day and while that was a long distance I was benefiting from splitting up my riding day into a morning and evening portion so I could skip the really hot part of the mid-day. I took my mid day break at a Pilot truck stop on the north side of Jackson and then continued on from there at about 1600. One thing about Mississippi that pissed me off the whole time was there almost complete lack of shoulder on the highway. They have a hard pack gravel shoulder but the paved roadway ends about 20 inches outside of the yellow line. A good half of that 20 inches is taken up with a rumble strip to alert drivers that they have left the roadway and are about to kill the bearded bridge troll on the touring bike.
The sign approaching this site said, "YARD SALE DAILY".
Thanks Mississippi. It was during these hateful times riding along the MS highway that I began to hear in my head the voices of all of those news anchors reciting national statistics of any kind and how the state of Mississippi was always dead last in every statistical category. Education - last. Emergency funding - last. Healthcare funding - last. Obesity - First! (but that's really last isn't it) I did see more fatter than fuck people in Mississippi than I see in Arizona or even in my home state of Oklahoma; it was a regularity to see a 400lb dumpling ass every time I stopped to get more Powerade.
Without this shit I'd be dead.
Mississippi is a true shit hole and it is my hope that nothing is done to help that state or it's people in any way. Just let that fruit rot on the vine and eventually it will fall off for good. Fuck Mississippi. As I was getting closer to Yazoo City for my daily stop the sky started to get lit up with lightening. GREAT! Maybe it will rain on me and make me hate this fucking state even more. Maybe a turd-nado will pick me up and deliver me to northern Arkansas and I won't have to ride all the way there. NOPE. What really happened was that I got pulled over by the cops.

That's right, I got pulled over by the cops because someone called them and told them I "almost got hit" by a car. Well, I wonder who it was who fucking called them? I bet it was the cocksucker who almost hit me because these Mississippi drivers, (last in the country in education remember?), don't think they need to get over and give me some space. Fuck me and my faggoty ass bike riding on the highway, right? Well, I get two cops who roll up on me with lights and sirens and spotlights like I'm an escaped convict and I pull over to talk to them and wow them with my beyond high school education. The first cop I see is a black guy and he is built like a donut. Literally. He wouldn't even need a costume if he wanted to be a chocolate donut for Halloween. He tells me someone called them because I almost got hit and I tell him that yes it's true, some people aren't getting over when they pass me and it gets really close. He makes a comment about me not having a lot of lights on my bike, but I have all the lights the law requires. It's a bicycle not a jet airplane fatass, I can't pack the same candlepower on this thing as you can on your fat boy cop cruiser car, it just won't happen. I told him where I was riding on the road, and I used to word "side" to describe where I was and then his little clogged artery cop heart got all excited because he thought he caught me in a lie. He came back with this statement, "well, when I pulled up behind you, you were in the road." Apparently to 'ol gravy brain here, the side of the road is the same thing as the shoulder of the road, I try to clarify it for him but he's not listening because his jaw is on the ground after I tell him I'm riding to north central Arkansas from Mobile, AL.
Then it comes finally, he asks me if I have any ID. I want to say, "What for," but this is Amerika and you must carry your fucking papers. I give him my fucking ID and stand there trying to entertain the other sub-human for close to 10 fucking minutes while he checks every conceivable database just so he can have the opportunity to arrest me and take me back to his fucked up county jail. You see, I represent revenue to him, and if I can be detained that's just money in his department's pocket. Makes me fucking sick this fucked up country. Full of fat idiots who are all shitty salesmen for shitty products so now this is how we have to do business, "You can't ride a bike here, that's a fine. Oh, you can't ride a bike there either, that's a fine." There's a fucking fine for everything. I am buying a handgun when I get back to Flagstaff. I will never be pulled over again and have my fucking time wasted. This fat waste of life probably has to use a personal mobility cart to check the mailbox. I'll bet it's common in his household to hear him crying out for help, "honey, I'm stuck, battery's dead, HELP." Fuck Mississippi, Fuck the Police, Fuck Fat People, Fuck Cars, Fuck Cell Phones, Fuck People Who Use Their Phones While Driving, and Fuck People Who Don't Move The Fuck Over For Cyclists.
The cops told me I had to ride on the shoulder for safety and as I only had about 7 miles to go before I was done for the day I figured I'd do my best just so I wouldn't be hassled anymore. I crashed twice in less than 5 minutes. The first time was the worst, I was going at about 15mph and I destroyed my headlight. OH THE FUCKING IRONY. NOW I DON'T HAVE VERY MUCH LIGHT ON THIS THING OFFICER DUMBSHIT! I continue on after making sure I didn't break nothing and then soon found myself on the ground again. Now I just said fuck them and rode the rest of the way in the road like a normal human being. Captain Bear Claw and his lil' buddy are already back in town looking for a snack because they don't really give a fuck about my safety and a thorough search for any reason to arrest me had not been found during my background search. Fuck This Country and it's people.

The next day wasn't much better as I had to detour due to flooding. My highway was closed so I had to ride way off track and add 40 useless miles to my trip. The entire day of 5/26 was spent going really slow on really flat roads while a steady wind blew in my face and I thought about killing myself. I did see other bike riders though, and they were tourers as well. I saw four of them and they looked to be having just as much fun as I was having. "Hey, do you fellas have any razor blades?" I made it to Indianola that evening, which turned out to be a nice place to stop for the day. I had a sixer of Budweiser, god that beer is shit, and some pizza and got a pretty decent night's rest. There was a neat looking pizza place on the outskirts of Indianola that I wanted to eat at but I was filthy and alone (as always) and I didn't want to bum out the nice looking people eating supper so I just ordered Pizza Hut to my room. They even had in impaled VW bus in the parking lot to show people how hip and fun their restaurant is for family gatherings.

Friday was much better because I was finally going to get the fuck out of Mississippi. Before I left Mississippi I was fortunate enough to find this poor discarded smut item on the shoulder of the highway.

It was another 90 mile day and I made it over the Hwy 82 bridge over the bloated and brown Mississippi river and I stopped at a rest station in Lake Village, AR. I talked to a nice fella at the visitor's info center and got some good travel info before riding on into the town. Soon after taking these pics of the Confederate States of America memorial statue I decided to mess around and just ride down random residential streets to check out this small lakeside town.
It was the same I had seen all through MS; a broken town, closed for business. The South Will Not Rise Again. Churches seem to be doing well, always brand new Dodge Charger cop cars, most of the buildings vacant and no attempt to lease them out because no one has any money to open a business, the only money these people have is to buy more fuel for their fucked up cars so they can drive to the next biggest town and go to the fucking mall and then realize they should have just stayed home. The people are rotting in the ground. Strangely enough, there is a vibrant culture down in the South. That seems to happen when people are really struggling, when they are really fucked, multi-generational fucking, the kind of hypocritical non-justice that is passed on to sons and daughters, those people seem more alive than the suburbanite dwelling, new car driving, good job having, half-wits who have to buy all their cheap plastic shit at corporate shit-box superstores. At least these small town people have local cafes and diners, and they know their neighbors too. In a hundred years you will be able to walk across the south without ever touching the ground, you will step only on the roofs of auto body shops, mechanics shops, and liquor stores. Every once in awhile you'll get to stop and take a break at the mini-mall and you can buy some knock off cologne at the Dollar General, or Family Dollar, every damn town I went through had one each of those dollar stores. No dignity was for sale and I didn't see any on display anywhere either. I was very depressed and angry riding through these places. Hopefully the rest of Arkansas will be better.

Keith.