This is what it’s all about: Connecting!!…and it’s happening! My desire was not to move on from place to place each day toward a particular destination The idea was to let my experiences drive my destinations. I learned long ago that it becomes pretty lonely and unsatisfying just being a tourist and checking out “sights.” While some sights are wonderful, it’s always people that make a place. The longer I stay in a community and get to meet and observe people, the deeper and richer the experience becomes. This philosophy is already being confirmed. I wandered into a coffee shop in Point Arena a few days ago and I can honestly say, my life will never be the same (little did I know at the time).
One of the questions that I had heading into this cycling experience related to my future ideas of bringing a group of cyclists to a town: “How do you go about finding out about a town and connecting with the people in it? My thought was that you need to meet “that person in the community” who is connected to all. The person like my Aunt Ardean (my wonderful inspiration). She’s the person who everyone in her community knows, and she’s the one to introduce you to all the wonderful people in a community and tell you about the challenges and issues too. Well, in Point Arena, California, that person is Jim Koogle. He has his finger in lots of pots, and knows seemingly everyone in town. He is a kind, passionate, “connector”, who has lived in the community for a long time. I met Jim briefly as I was walking out the door of the coffee shop…and after a brief conversation about what I’m up to, he invited me to stay at a place he has in town. I was already set up at the campground, so I did not immediately take him up on his offer. I didn’t know he was a “connector” at the time I met him, just that something had struck a chord with him.
At the coffee shop, I also met an engaging fellow, Cy, who was passing through town on his motorcycle and looking to set up his slackline (tightrope type of apparatus strung between trees) and offered to introduce me to the activity. Sure, why not? That sounded like a nifty thing try once I finished up my efforts to get my technology issues sorted. Later back at the campground, we set up the slackline, and I had my first lesson. You can check out Steel & my first video from the road here (you can see that we had a few snags. “Focus, keep moving, and breath. That’s what it takes to balance,” says Cy. Great philosophies for life! I now see the attraction to this activity, despite my inability to actually do it. You absolutely must be present and focused to be able to do walk across the line –clearly I’m not there yet! Cy is a very personable sort, perhaps especially with other BMW motorcycle folks. Hence, we ended up meeting two women on BMW cycles in the campground –friends on a getaway weekend. We all spent a nice evening around their campfire.
That very cool day was followed by the next rather “off” day. I could not seem to get rolling (literally) –my stove stopped working, my straps would not behave. I had not showered in a few days, so my ripeness was bothering me (& perhaps others). After two hours of trying to pack all my stuff onto my bike, I unpacked it all and set up my camp again. I laid my solar shower out under the clouds, and hoped for the sun to come out. It did pop out later in the afternoon, but not enough to throughly warm the water. I waited for the family in the big RV rig setup next to me to leave for a hike, and then had very funny awkward moment tieing my solar shower to a low branch on a bushy tree-shrub, and squatting under it to take a very cold, fast shower in my swimsuit. Ridiculous!
I should add that by then, I was very much aware that there was one other tent in the “hike-bike” campsite, and he had not been out of his tent in over 24 hours. I caught a brief glimpse of him in the afternoon and he ducked back in. I could smell him smoking (tobacco) in there, and hear him shuffling. No car or bike around, so I presumed he walked up. Even if he was sick, that was a long time to not come out of one’s tent. I nibbled a peanut butter, honey, & banana sandwich (my new staple) for dinner. I had sort of a freakout moment heading to the outhouse in the dark – my mind perceiving that the “tent guy” was waiting for me behind every tree. I ran back to my tent, and tossed a bit before drifting off. I didn’t hear from Jim, so I was not sure if my option to stay indoors was still available, but I definitely planned to depart early the next morning.