Friday, November 30, 2007

I love it!

As you know, I seek out the "characters" in life and genuinely enjoy the encounters with these people. People that fit in the mold of everyday life hold very little entertainment value. Heck, I might as well just look in the mirror if I seek a plain vanilla person.

One of the blogs I regularly read is "Randy and Diana" and Randy also loves eccentrics and often writes about them (hmmm, does that sound familiar?).

Here, Randy gets the story is his latest. Homeless doesn't seem so bad to this guy, because I am sure he doesn't consider himself "homeless" and I would have to agree with him.

Monday, November 26, 2007


Saturday on my way to work as I exited the frontage road for my 3 mile use of the interstate, I noticed a bicyclist pulling a trailer I would have passed had I stayed on the frontage road. I pulled off the interstate and waited for him to reach me, expecting once more to talk to a touring biker.

"Steve" stopped and we talked a few minutes. I didn't ask his age but I would guess him to be at or near retirement (62years) age. He was riding an older mountain bike (its make hidden by what appeared to be several repaints) and pulling a modified child type two wheel trailer. I had a hard time reading him and his setup. Either he had been doing this for some time or had bought a used mountain bike with a few added features. All the extras were as used as the bike and I can only assume they were added when the bike was new.

The weather was just above freezing and Steve was wrapped up for it. He said he had spent Thursday night in a homeless shelter in Little Rock and headed south and spent Friday night in a church in Benton (20 miles southwest). The Benton police had told him that rain (maybe sleet) was forecast for the next 2 days so he had decided to head back to Little Rock.

I usually ask more questions but Steve seemed "homeless" and just had a bike to carry his possessions. The last thing I wanted to do was embarrass him. He could have been a traveling homeless person or from Little Rock, either way he was doing the best he could do. Several things did point to him as being a roadie. He was wearing a helmet and his trailer had a "caution, slow moving vehicle triangle" on it.

I wished I could have invited him into the nearby convenient store for a hot coffee and more conversation but I was running late (as usual). He said he was wanting to head south after the rains and I explained the best way out of town.

If indeed he were homeless and traveling, then he was rather ingenious because most police will not bother a touring bicyclist that is camping out except to tell them that camping is not permitted in their jurisdiction and ask them to move on. The public will offer to help where they would turn up their noses at a homeless person.

When I gave Steve some money I did not want it to look like a handout so I said, "Steve, I ride a bike and would someday like to hit the road for a trip, so please let me buy you a warm meal". He thanks me and we parted ways.

Homelessness in America is a big problem and just to get by on SS takes more creativeness, but I am not so naive as to think when I help someone it is about "them", helping strokes ones own ego and we all like be feel better about ourselves. I pick and choice and it does feel good to think you have helped someone that needs it as opposed to someone only there for a handout.

Sunday, November 18, 2007


"c2c", what on earth could that stand for? Well, "c2c" stands for "Coast to Coast" or "Sea to Sea", meaning a trip across America. These are terms used by bicyclist (among others) to identify the epic adventure in terms of traveling across America.

This idea first became popular (due to media coverage) in 1976 because of the 4000 bicyclists that cycled across America to celebrate the bicentennial of America. From this event the Adventure Cycling Association was formed and the rest is cycling history.

Cyclist now just refer to the trip as "going across".

Adventure Cycling Association sells detailed maps of several routes including a map of the original bicentennial route,

also the northern route,

and southern tier.

In the past I have written about John and Jerry
but Friday was the first cyclist I have met that was "going across".

Bryan was not using the bike maps but was playing it by ear and using a small road atlas for general directions. I met him on highway US64 that parallels I-40 across Arkansas, just to the south of I-40 from the western edge of the state until Conway (nearly in the center of the state) and then north of I-40 (moving farther north of the Interstate) for the remaining route to the eastern side of the state. Most of this road has a nice wide shoulder to ride on.

Bryan had been on the road about 45 days since leaving Oregon and mostly camping with a few motel nights mixed in, he was in no hurry and just heading east to the Atlantic Ocean. He works as a campground maintenance man and his campground was closed for the winter. He had plans to head south and hit US82 and follow it east. Again his bike was not the traditional touring bike but part of his equipment was top notch. Any bike in decent shape can be used for touring but a traditional touring bike is designed to carry the load and be comfortable mile after mile. His Ortlieb bags (panniers) are some of the most popular used by touring cyclist. His tire pump was another thing altogether. He was carrying a "floor type" tire pump.

While they do an excellent job, they are a little heavy compared to

this small and easily carried model.

Since Little Rock and crossing the Arkansas River can be a challenge, I helped him devise a plan to stay on US64 past Little Rock and showed him the route I thought (again, not always the same on a bike as in a car) would be best for him as he headed south to US82, mindful that crossing the Mississippi River can also be a challenge on a bike.

Bicycling across America would be physically challenging but the mental challenge would be even greater. As a teenager I hitchhiked all over the west and as a man I have taken many motorcycle trips but when on a bicycle you are hours away from changing what ever situation you find yourself in.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Bad Boy

Long before I was diagnosed with type II diabetes, I would have spells about once a year where I would be "mad at the whole world". It would build to a point that I could not stand myself. I would start taking a multi-vitamin and in a week or so realize my attitude had changed.

I now believe this was really early signs of diabetes. Now when my sugar gets a little high, I get depressed and mad at the world.

After being diagnosed with diabetes, I lost about 75 lbs. in 12 weeks, started riding a bicycle 45 to 70 miles a week. My sugar would be in the upper 70's in the morning and I felt better than I had in years (except for the fact that I no strength at 175 lbs).

Over the next year or so I let my weight ease up to 185 lbs., my sugar around 95, and my blood pressure about 110/70 and I gained my strength back. I would check it every day and it was always the same.

Slowly I rode the bike less, didn't watch my diet as closely, and checked my sugar only occasionally. The weight started easing up but it stayed below 200 lbs.

Fast forward and I haven't ridden my bike in two years, eat anything I want, weight on the wrong side of 225 lbs, and for the last month my depression and anger have returned. My blood sugar is too high @125 and something has to be done.

The world is not a pretty place when seen thru my miserable eyes. Blogger has been giving me fits, but the real truth is for the last month I have not had anything "good" to say about my life or the world.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Peggy Walters Lemons

This afternoon as I opened my e-mail I was shocked to find one of my "Gurdon High Class of 1966" had passed away. She was married to Huey Lemons.

Peggy was more than a classmate, she was the one that took my innocence (no, not that kind), she was the first girl to break my heart.

I moved to Gurdon my senior year but this story starts earlier than that. I knew Huey long before I knew Peggy. Huey moved to Bearden while I still lived there and we became friends. It has been so long ago but I think he only lived in Bearden a few months. Peggy has actually known Huey long before he moved to Bearden.

After moving to Gurdon and making a total ass out of myself for several months, I found myself seated next to Peggy in science class. After a few months I asked her out and she said she would have to get back to me on it. Later she broke the news, I had to meet her parents (things were different in 1966).

The Beatles were popular and I had "the hair" but was smart enough (with Peggy's
suggestion) to wet it down and comb it in a more traditional style when around her parents. Her mom seems to like me but I can't say the same for her dad, but dads never like the daughter's boyfriends. Mom won off and we were now a "couple".

We started dating and she was my date for "senior prom". We didn't actually go because I was having brake troubles with my 1957 Plymouth and found we were late to the prom and decided not to go in after arriving at Arkadelphia.

After graduation Peggy attended Ouachita Baptist College and moved back to Bearden and found a job. We dated for several more weeks but she finally dumped me (smart girl).

"Puppy Love" always holds a place in ones heart. I will always cherish her friendship and am truly saddened by her passing. My thoughts are with Huey and her family.

Free Web Counters
South Beach Diet Food