If I had a dollar for every animal carcass we’ve cycled by, I could purchase this country we are crossing. Along with roadkill we have seen a wide variety of things on the side of the road. Millions of bags of trash =[ , brand new hats, all types of gloves, shoes, boots, banana peels, glasses, jewelry, cd’s, and even a rifle.
Chill is in the air the morning of January 25. As Taylor unzips his inner tent, a cold wind stands the hairs on his neck. Every breath lets out a cloud of condensed water droplets forming from the gases in his lungs. “It’s cold”, a voice mutters from a tent a few feet away. Picking the crusty gunk from the crevasse of his eyes, Taylor feels for his phone. The cellular clock displays 7:12 a.m. Attempting to run his slow moving fingers through his snarly hair, Taylor searches for his crusty jeans. As he wrestles to get the pants up his leg, he feels the hairs on his body stand like roman soldiers. He notices shuffling from the other tent. More often than not, Steve is nearly done packing his belongings by the time Taylor begins. “How close to ready are you”, Taylor asks as he throws over a stain covered t-shirt. A vintage bicycle imprinted on a blue canvas. “Just about done.”, Steve replies. “Great…”, Taylor mumbles with a sense of sarcasm.
The next ten minutes, he bustles to get ready. He rolls up his sleeping bag just well enough to jam it into it’s sack. Taylor shakes the crumbs from his sleeping mat, and takes out the stakes to his small tent. The condensation drips off the outer tent. Steve is attaching the last of his belongings as Taylor rolls his tent.”What’s the temperature?” Steve asks. Taylor checks his phone. “38”. “But it was just 75…” The two roll their heavy bikes out of the frosted forest. When they come to the highway, both mount their bikes and begin their 90 mile trek to Savannah Georgia.
As the sun grew less shy, warmth greeted Steve and Taylor. Soon, they removed their outer layers, revealing just t-shirts and shorts. Both stomaches were aching to get some food. With a growl as a constant reminder, they decided it was time to pull over. Steve looked back and signaled that he was hungry. The original plan was to wait and find a restaurant to eat at, but neither could wait any longer and it seemed it would be miles before a hot meal would present itself. Bananas, apples, pecan pie, and donuts were on the menu. “I’m not nearly full…we will need to stop as soon as we see a place”, Taylor insisted. Steve agreed.
It was about 11 o clock and the two filth covered men were making great time. With iPods blasting, both were filled with energy and smiles. Along with the sun, spirits were high. It seemed to Taylor and Steve, nothing could go wrong.
At this time, Taylor is tailing closely behind Steve. As Steve signals the rough road ahead, Taylor avoids gravel and 3 large orange cones. The road seems safe and clear for at least a hundred feet, so Taylor takes the moment to appreciate a patch of palm trees to his left. Trailing too closely to Steve, Taylor failed to see one last cone. Before he could get a hold of his bearings, the wheel bent and Taylor was flung from his bike. Blood poured from his hip, his hand, and his arm. Though, Steve was listening to his iPod, the crash created a greater volume. Steve quickly braked and turned his head to see Taylor lying on the ground several feet in front of his sad looking vehicle. The front left pannier had been ripped open and supplies were sprawled about the tar.”I’m alright”, Taylor shouted shaking off embarrassment. As he tried to stand, a sharp pain from his hip brought him down. “Well, in a minute I will be”, he chuckled. Steve walked to Taylor’s bike and dusted off the sand and mud. “I’ll get the first aid kit”. Gritting his teeth, Taylor took notice of his leg. With a gaping hole in his spandex shorts, a red and purple combination of bruise and blood was revealed. After applying ointment and bandages, Taylor got to his feet and was ready to finish the day. The moment he started to push his bike, he knew they were in trouble. The wheel has been warped. There is no way they are going anywhere. “That’s really bent”, Steve says with a dismal look on his face. Guilt and sorrow overwhelmed Taylor. He does not want to be the one responsible for holding the two back. Shaking his head, Taylor began to nervously chew his fingers. “I don’t know how to true a wheel…so, why don’t we look it up on your phone.” The battery was less than 10% on Taylor’s phone. I am not sure if you know how quickly iPhones lose their power, but it’s fast. It’s even faster when using internet. Taylor Quickly searched Youtube for “how to true a wheel”. The both observed the video and Steve took action. Taylor, in pain and in shame, stood at the sidelines feeling inferior. To watch someone else try desperately to solve the problem he caused, was a difficult pill to swallow. Taylor decided to be useful and pray. Taylor prayed for someone to help…anyone. Then, Taylor proceeded to make Steve a Pb&J sandwich. He felt it was the least he could do.
When all hope was lost, Taylor raised his head to see a man walking in there direction. “Hi there!”, the man said. He had a head of gray and a thick mustache. He stood at 5’11 and wore a forward cap. His face was kind. “Hello”, Taylor responded. curiosity and excitement began to grow in him. “I saw you when I drove by a bit ago, and I told myself I would stop and ask if you needed help if I saw you on my way back. So, is there anything you need? I have a trailer back there, there aren’t any horses in it…I could bring your bikes somewhere.” With relief Taylor looked at Steve fishing for the courage to ask if he would take us to a bike shop. “The nearest bike shop is a long ways away in Beaufort. The farthest I can take you is 12 miles from there”, he explained. The two young men looked at each other and nodded. “That would be wonderful…thank you!” Without knowing the name of this kind angel, the boys rolled their bikes toward his truck. Growling and barking exploded from the back seats. “I have some dogs in there…they are going to go a bit crazy…I’m sorry but this is the best I can do.” The dogs looked fierce and terrifying, but Taylor was not about to show his concern. He bit his lip and hopped on the canine hair covered seat. With a couple of commands from their master, the dogs’ mood changed. They became curious and began to lick Steve and Taylor’s necks and faces.
After some talking, the boys discovered that this man’s hometown is in Connecticut where he was a police officer for 35 years. “hmm…”, The man looked down at his watch. “It’s a bit out of my way, but I’ll bring you to the bike shop, because you won’t find another anywhere else around here. You are miles from anything.” The young men thanked him and offered to pay for gas, but he refused to accept. When the 3 arrived at the cycle shop, they unloaded their bikes from the trailer, rolling the wheels over horse manure. Taylor shook the mans hand and asked for his first name. “George”, he replied. “Hi George, I’m taylor. Pleased to meet you.” Steve also shook hands and told him his name. Reaching into the bottom of his camera bag, Taylor pulled out a blue bracelet. “If you want to track our progress, or see how we are doing…check this website.” “I certainly will”, George promised. “Stay safe guys.” With that, he drove away.
There wasn’t much the bike shop could do for Taylor’s bike. The damage was too great and the wheel would have to be replaced. To the boy’s dismay, this shop didn’t carry spare wheels. The two set off for Savannah. They were now 47 miles away. They agreed to visit the first bike shop they saw. “Now, let’s get some food”, Steve said. Taylor eagerly agreed.
As the sun was setting, the boys pulled to the side of the road to relieve themselves of bodily fluids and to fill up on more fuel. A triple stacker of Peanut Butter, Strawberry Jelly, and Orange marmalade was the choice for both. Yum. As the two sat on the grass and laughed, a red jeep pulled over. A young man approached. He had thick dark hair and 5 o clock shadow. He was dressed nicely and seemed friendly. “Hey guys, I saw you and thought you might have an interesting story to tell.” The men chatted briefly and Taylor offered him a bracelet. His name is Daniel.
Things became dangerous for the boys once the sun had set. With no shoulder to protect them from speeding cars, they approached the bridge that would lead them to Georgia and then, to Savannah. The night was young…and more adventure was in their future.
TO BE CONTINUED.
It appears I left my camcorder cable at the last house we stayed at. I am going to try and purchase one today. I hope to get two new Vlogs up today capturing recent events! Check the website before you head to bed tonight to finish he story!
God bless you,