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Colin's log starting 2003-09-07

Details and economy of a nomadic life.

Added by colin #442 on 2003-09-20. Last modified 2008-03-05 08:17. Originally created 2003-09-20. F1 License: Attribution
Location: World
xregion: North America

Topics: activism, cycling, diet, Human Powered Vehicles (HPV), nomadism, primitive skills, research, log or journal

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for background visit hoboschool


I`ve been telling people that my trip is an experiment in nomadic/homeless lifestyles. The goal is in part to keep living expenses minimal (<$2000 / year) by not paying rent, and learning to hunt and gather, while also maintaining a migratory/nomadic lifeway. And to find ways of maintaining this lifestyle indefinitely. This log is to help me and others evaluate this experiment. This log should also help others interested in doing something similar. Following Thoreau's economy chapter in Walden :

Cost of equipment and financial status going in:

  • Savings accessible in cash: ~$5,000
  • Savings in Roth IRA (sitting in a moneymarket), not easily accessible: ~$5,000
  • Recumbent Bicycle: $1,550
  • Outdoor Research advanced bivy: $300 (?), donated by Chip at bellehaven after I was telling him how my $100 llbean bivy was no longer waterproof (I had a tarp to cover me, the bivy still provided warmth and kept out bugs).
  • Other equipment: ancient panniers, and other things. Cost ?? long underwear, tools, shirt, shoes, pad, glasses
  • adventure cycling maps: $100 & old AAA maps from parents' collection
  • iscard calling card: $25

2003-09-07 Sunday

  • Day: 0
  • Expenses to date: $0
  • Expenses this day: $12

This morning, I finished the hoboschool article at around 9:30 and biked away from earthaven. I stopped by the light center, and went through the sequence of lights and music 1.5 times. I had begun writing the last parts of hoboschool at 1 a.m., and had some leftover lentils and millet and greens about that time. My next food was some apples from a tree along rte 9. I biked 9 to Black Mountain, and went into Asheville on 70. I recommend this route to Earthaven cyclists. It is flat and wide- 2 lanes each way, so it is easy for cars to pass.

I stopped by Warren Wilson. There is Butoh dance practice on Sunday evenings. A Sally Fallon soy alert was also posted on a bulletin board. The library was nice, and I looked at a topo map to find a route into Asheville from Warren Wilson.

In Asheville, the ACRC was not open (I wanted to do some bike work), but I was late. However, I did meet Poemwriter Clarence Diggs, who works in the Asheville Mayor's office and shares his secretary (For real, I called to follow up on what he told me about the bikes used in the special olympics). I gave Jules a call. Heading over to Food Not Bombs with Sequoia, I found Jules, and we ate together at FNB (5pm Sunday and Thurs(?)) by courthouse. My first FNB meal!

Jules and I rode to her place in West Asheville, and eventually went to a coop near by. I got rolled oats and butter (8 sticks), spending ~$12. Organic Valley Cultured Unsalted.

We cooked polenta from corn we ground in her hand grinder. She toasted hers and cooked some over her electric range, and I gathered wild greens from her backyard (smartweed, wildlettuce, dandelion, plantain), and cooked some over my hobostove. For the morning we started soaking some oats. I also ate some butter and cod liver oil (see hoboschool, Sally Fallon section-- it's something she recommends), and tamari, and a bit of olive oil (both hers), and some, a small amount, of Tequila.

2003-09-08 Monday

  • Day: 1
  • Expenses to date: $12
  • Expenses this day: $17

In the morning she boiled oats, and also some apples with cinnamon (very good). Sometimes she cooks on a solar oven! She had to go to work, and I ate lots of oats (too much), and some butter, and patched holes in my shorts, and cleaned pots. Jules was back for lunch, and I left soon after that.

I went to the ACRC and began work on repacking the bearings in my hubs. After a long ordeal, some help from Biowheels and Andy of the ACRC, and the guy at Hearn's, I had wheels that rolled again. I replaced cups and bearings on both front and rear hubs.

Cost was $12 for six bearing cups (got one extra), and $5 for a donation to the ACRC.

I left the ACRC after it closed, and since I hadn't adjusted my rear wheel right, rolled my bike to the Edible Forest, where I ate Asian Pears, and spent the night. The Edible Forest is a project of Asheville's Bountiful Cities Project. There are many fruit trees. I also ate more oats and butter, and soaked some oats for morning as well.

Eating the unchilled butter straight from the block reminded me of cunnilingus, it felt that sensuous. Not necessarily a good thing if one is concerned about one's weight (but I'm not, really).

2003-09-09 Tuesday

  • Day: 2
  • Expenses to date: $29
  • Expenses this day: $6

I woke up, and did my full morning exercises (itp kata +) for the first time in two days, it was wonderful! Then, about 11, went by Biowheels to ask for help. They couldn't help. Then, mailed some stuff back to parents from the post office $6. The ACRC was closed. The guy at Hearns said I'd locked my cassette on by tightening the lock ring too tight. I met Joseph of the deadthings on his xtra-bike, and he said I could spend the night at his place. I tinkered some more and got my wheel rolling! Biowheels (Jody) tightened the locknut on the non-cassette side for me. I hoped the quick release would keep the other in place. I set off for wildroots . I stopped by the kleiworks composting toilet project, and saw Katie again. She's off to work for Orion mag in the Berkshires come Thursday. The only woman I've met who said she has hermit tendencies. She's pretty too, and plays the feminine appearance game well... even while spending all day building with cob. And I saw Max and Janelle, and Leslie, and Richard, and Alex (buff restaurant worker who'd lived in SF, Seattle, and LA?), Emily (warren wilson student), Adams (documentary maker). Max said check out what Kahlil Gibran (sp?) had to say about houses in his book the prophet.

Then I biked to wild roots, following the route I walked with frank, and staying on bear creek road. At wildroots I met alba, then James (deedee's partner), and the next morning, Don.

I cooked 4 eggs left from Earthaven, with barley, lentils (that had been soaked), and wild greens: smartweed, violet, and ??, and butter and codliver oil as well.

2003-09-10 Wednesday

  • Day: 3
  • Expenses to date: $35
  • Expenses this day: $25

Woke up, I'd eaten too much butter (spit some out), but walked around wildroots, and went and sat in stream. Then did full morning exercises and some more bike maintenance. By 12 p.m. I left.

Following 209, I made it to Balsam Gap on the Blue Ridge Parkway. On the way found a health food store, and spent $25 on 1 doz. organic eggs, figs, apricots, date+coconut, millet, lentils, and 4 sticks salted, uncultured, organic valley butter. I camped after biking onto the parkway a bit.

Found some apples along the route that day.

2003-09-11 Thursday

  • Day: 4
  • Expenses to date: $60
  • Expenses this day: $1

Did full exercises. In addition to traffic on parkway had to listen to woman abusing (in hysterics) annoying barking dogs. Yes barking dogs and the people who own them (in addition to those with cars) are a scourge of the populated countryside. Left around 11? Made it to an incredibly beautiful spot (that involved long steep climbs) with a trickling stream in a national forest, well removed from road. Was so tired from climbs that day, went to bed early, eating little.

I had stopped by a post office along the way and wrote Chip, Rick Stearns, and Jim Richardson (Floyd, VA), and mailed some papers to my parents. $1

2003-09-12 Friday

  • Day: 5
  • Expenses to date: $61
  • Expenses this day: $0

Woke, cooked (rice and lentils and eggs, last of the butter (which was nasty--no more salted butter for me)?). Did full exercises. Left around 11? Was still somewhat worn out.

Swam in Nantahala lake (first swim in a long time). Did not eat a dead fish I found. Did not catch a big black snake I saw (though I tried). Felt more fat around middle than in my New York City days, but knew that was likely, and don't really feel bad about it.

Biked by library and stopped to check email, work on web site. Added first link about sea kayaking to site. Got an email from someone interested in the nomadic way, as well (Jerome).

In library till 6pm, was rushed to find place, and slept in some woods between houses in somewhat suburban area. Cooked Lentils and millet that night, with kudzu??

2003-09-13 Saturday

  • Day: 6
  • Expenses to date: $61
  • Expenses this day: $7

Rose, and split (did not do morning exercises-- I do quite a few exercises to strengthen and protect knees in addition to the ITP Kata, and some dance and strength exercises). Went into Murphy (where survivalist and Atlanta '96 olympics bombing suspect Eric Randolf (?) was caught while dumpster diving), and stopped by Murphy School of Dance (nothing was going on). Went through Ocee and past site of '96 Olympics Whitewater competition. Watched kayakers play in manufactured/engineered rapids. Many buses filled with rafters. Almost all downhill.

Fairly hungry, stopped by a FoodValue (or something) market, and bought oats, hydrogenated and sugared peanut butter (only kind they had), and olive oil (cheap), two banannas. $7

Still tired, on 11 south to Chattanooga, passed patch of forest and stopped there at 3p.m.. Over ate oats and olive oil (spit some out), explored a bit, read books, looked at maps.

2003-09-14 Sunday

  • Day: 7
  • Expenses to date: $67
  • Expenses this day: $0

Rose, set up tarp for first time (it was starting to drizzle). Did full morning exercises (looking back the previous day wasn't such a good one because I hadn't done my exercises). By 11 or so had left. Called my dad (often call home once a week on 800 number my parents pay for- sometimes I use my card number with iscard.com).

Rode into chatanooga. Found some people in a square hanging out, with bicycles... then found library and spent afternoon till 6 or 6 30 there. Then asked a guy about the electric trolleys and found out about the community kitchen. Biked out of town and found a place to sleep at racoon mountain pumped storage facility. That day ate mostly oats, olive oil. Cooked millet, lentils, kudzu for dinner & set up tarp as trees were dripping.

2003-09-15 Monday

  • Day: 8
  • Expenses to date: $67
  • Expenses this day: $7

Did full morning exercises. Around 10:30 or so biked to see where road led. Followed road to visitor's center. It kept going and going, up and up. And there was a reservoir on top of the mountain! Went to visitor's center and learned about Racoon Mtn and the TVA and the local water ways. A beautiful place. Got two apples from volunteers at visitors' center (hardly anyone goes all the way up there to visit it, at least that monday afternoon). A beautiful day. The TVA history is partly the history of the manufacture of bombs and chemical fertilizers and the rise of chemical farming.

Rode on into Sequatchie valley, had some muscadine grapes on the way. Did not feel like visiting moonshadow . Spent $7 on salsa, corn tortillas (with preservatives), a can of Jack Mackerel, a can of sardines, and a jar of natural peanutbutter (salt, peanuts only).

Following my AAA map from 1984 (got from my parents) biked out to martin springs. But now there no longer is a way to proceed except by interstate (the highway was widened, and now took over the previously non-highway road). Illegally rode on interstate to monteagle, TN. Didn't think it was as far (or as uphill) as it actually was. Stopped to rest on a part of the remaining old road.

In monteagle, picking Kudzu, was molested by monteagle police:

"what are you doing?"

"Picking kudzu."


"To eat."

"Now that just don't sound right.... Where are you headed? .... I'll give you a suggestion: be off this mountain by sunset."

"I was planning to."

"When are you leaving?"

"As soon as I finish this."

"I'll escort you through town."

So I booked out of there, then he flashed his lights and I pulled over. Eventually, he just said, "I had to make another call... Just be careful out there."

It was getting dark but I found a good spot in a forest in Sewanee. I ate the rest of my tortillas and salsa and sardines. I wasn't sleeping quick because of the intense ride up the interstate and then the police encounter.

2003-09-16 Tuesday

  • Day: 9
  • Expenses to date: $72
  • Expenses this day: $0
  • Income this day $20

I did my full morning exercises. And went to explore the University of the South . I found the library and researched my route through tennesse on their topo map. Researched the U.S. canal system. Skimmed through a copy of John Dowd's kayaking book and bicycling in mexico (in sewanee's online library). Sewanee makes you feel you're in the south: most students look like the frat/sorority type, and are required to wear coat and tie to class (or female equivalent). Historic markers remember how the place was trashed by the Northern army during the civil war. "Rebel's rest" is there. It is a beautiful campus. Attractive women (of the NYC variety, as opposed to ecovillage chic (Katie)).

I found a note in my helmet, "Great Job, you are one with the Earth. Good Luck! - Grant" The sign for this website was on the bike, so maybe he saw that. Thanks Grant!

Left there around 4 or 5 p.m. and rode down the hill. Carolyn Hoagland of Jump Off Community Land Trust stopped me and thought what I was doing was cool (but a bit dangerous). She filled me in on Jump Off, Sewanee and St. Andrews (a local prep school). And gave me $20! She runs a server farm in Atlanta . I wanted to give her a hug, but didn't really see a graceful way of doing so (and my shorts needed washing).

It was getting late. I found a place in some suburbs (Woody Acres) after a few tries, and passing by a nice spot near tim's ford lake because it wasn't forested! And got some more thorn scrapes for my efforts (trying to get in/out of brush without being that obvious, carrying loaded bike).

For dinner, I had jack mackerel and leftover rice and lentils and kudzu. I did mail back my canopener to parents thinking I'd get a pocket knife, but as it is I still have to use scissors, and a screwdriver. I do sort of wish to avoid canned food anyways, though.

2003-09-17 Wednesday

  • Day: 10
  • Expenses to date: $72
  • Expenses this day: $4
  • Income to date: $20

Left Woody Acres by 7:30 a.m. (EDT). Swam for almost one hour in Tim's Ford Lake near Tim's Ford State Park. Did not do morning exercises otherwise. Went to Tim's Ford SP and chatted with southern christian Ted. A former General Mills salesman, he said he used to sell poison "Wheaties." He was inclined to share the doctrine, and since I'd encountered other Xians earlier at the Raccoon Mtn Visitor's Center, I'd thought of some things to try ("what would jesus drive?" "Would Jesus drive?"). We went through quite a bit of theology and found where we agreed and where differences were. He did come to say (something like this), "Well, yes, Lucifer is part of God's work as well" (Moving beyond the dual to the non-dual). It was an interesting conversation, but took a while, and not sure that it had much lasting effect on either of us since both was sort of out to change the other (or at least have our viewpoints heard).

One thing we agreed on: #1 love G-d, #2 love others as you love G-d, and " all the other commandments follow." I pointed out that the Bible ("tomorrow's newspaper") doesn't necessarily follow, nor does being against abortion. I told a bit of the story of progoff . And discussed his practice (his morning devotion), and his experience of religion, and intimated that some of what he and others were expressing in language didn't necessarily follow from that experience. And the whole encounters with Chinese hermits lesson: those we have the most to learn from often have the least to say.

My recumbent seat broke, and I rigged something with some cord to keep it together.

In Lynchburg, I spent $2 on some o.k. plums (first food since yesterday evening). I went on the jack daniel's tour . My picture should be on there for 2003-09-17-1508 by the following Thursday afternoon (one of their gimmicks). Much taxes are made off that hard liquor.

That evening, I spent $2 on a ham and cheese (processed) on whitebread with pickles, iceberg lettuce, tomatoes, mayo, in a small joint about 12 mi from Lynchburg where 129 intersects with 43, I think. I told them about sally fallon and weston a price. (just a dad and his daughter... "If I made our biscuits, probably no one would eat them"). It was good to eat. Good for me? I found a place to camp a bit further along and realized I still had some millet, so cooked millet, and peas (had been soaked), and kudzu. I had found some unripe pears along the way (eat them like apples).

The cows were bellowing that night.

2003-09-18 Thursday

  • Day: 11
  • Expenses to date: $76
  • Expenses this day: $16
  • Income to date: $20

Rose and got out of there. But had a flat (had walked through lots of thorns), and walked down road a bit, which was nice. Many people stopped to ask if I could use help (129West was beautiful, low traffic, and cool people). Ricky stopped and we talked a long while. He lived in the area, knew of the farm (where I was headed), and had bicycle toured in England, and had grown crimson clover. He gave me directions to his place in case I wanted to rest or do laundry. He gave me a bag of pecans (1 lb, $4), and shared some black tea (I only had a bit, sally fallon says only use it for kombucha!). He was also involved in getting some toxic chemicals in the area cleaned up... I fixed the flat, and set off, but did not see the sign for Coffey Branch, and sort of felt like moving on anyways. Beautiful country and hardly had to pedal. I found some Osage Orange trees, and looked them up in the books I lug around, but nothing about eating it, only about using it for fences before barbed wire.

In Lynnville, I called Pilar Robinson (she's still well! an old 90 (?) feisty smoker friend from childhood and later in monterey, ca), and the farm, and david Ceaser to talk about carfreecity.us. Then I went into a market, spent $5 even- (she rounded down!): .69 fatback (fat from back of hog), .99 white rice, souse, 1 onion, and 2 sweet potatos at .59/lb. And got directions (and a free chamber of commerce map) to get to summertown.

Biking on, I found some places to fish and tried, but lacked bait, and no grasshoppers let themselves be caught, and, I didn't feel like hand fishing. But I did find some cherry tomatos growing under the bridge.

Later I found some persimmons (only good and sort of date-like if really ripe or dried out). I think they were persimmons.

I rode through Liberty Hill, and and amish community. I spent $1.50 to buy some peanuts from some Amish. Later I spent $1.59 on some dried hominy...

I made it to the farm and stayed at the campground of the inn at the ecovillage training center for $8 / night. Amanda (very friendly and helpful) told me where the swimming hole was and let me have huge duck eggs (she's vegan), which was awesome. The swimming hole is wonderful, bigger than an olympic pool and over 8 feet deep in places!

I gabbed a bit about Sally Fallon. Earlier I spoke to Thomas about what he'd done and what they were trying to do there. In effect they or people friendly to them have 3,000 contiguous acres there. 200 members (or is that residents). I don't know a lot about the farm, and haven't taken the trouble to learn, because of my new nomadic focus. It is basically a suburb, but one with its own culture, and Albert Bates has a (I believe, the only) place that has experimented with ecovillage techniques. But earthaven is miles ahead in many ways.

I went to the swimming hole, and cooked eggs, lentils, hominy, and other things (cherry tomatoes, onion, yellow squash).

I had had some apples from the tree near the gateway as well.

The souse (pig heart, snout, and who knows what else) had liquified, and now disgusted me (I had taken two bites of it earlier), so I tossed it.

2003-09-19 Friday

  • Day: 12
  • Expenses to date: $92
  • Expenses this day: $8
  • Income to date: $20

Rose and did full exercises. Walked around the ETC (ecovillage training center), neat stuff, and it is not (most of it) being used, however (the stuff at Earthaven is). Talked with Amanda. Then talked with Allison, who has been carfree a long time and who has worked with randy (carbusters), and met Ofek (economad(s?).com), and has a carfree husband and daughter, and she lived as a conservative Jew in Israel for 7 years. She's been at the farm for about 1.5 years(?), they are residents and not yet full members. Monthly dues run $60, her rent is $100 (for a good-sized if a bit funky house), and she can make money online editing a professor's material, and her husband Schmuel, has found work on the farm. The participate in the buying coop, so the farm works well for them in terms of not needing a car. When they must travel (to visit family, or Israel) things are more difficult. In Israel, public transportation is way better, but there is the risk of being blown up. They are still not sure if they will stay here or return to Israel. They left because they had a child and wanted their parents (who live in the U.S.) to be a part of her life. Allison invited me over, and I had some tofu something or other-- they were getting ready to go to a powwow for placing/blessing benches the farm school had helped to make along a trail of tears route. They are vegetarian but not vegan, attractive and seem in good shape (in their 30s probably)!

On the way back (the farm is so spread out, you bike, but the hills are nice for biking, not too steep), I found some of the most prolific russian olive trees I'd ever seen. I gobbled them down (no breakfast yet!) using my teeth to get them off, like eating grapes from a bunch.

Then... I met mika, and the farm experience weekend is happening this weekend (for people who might want to live there), and she introduced me to a few of them. There are many "youth" at the farm... people under 30-- those who were not there in the beginning, but born at the farm or came later. (that was off-topic).

I watched some of them play the fiddle and guitar-

I'd had enough socializing and was hungry, so decided to skip the community dinner (it would be vegetarian), and cook six more duck eggs, lentils, hominy, fatback, yellow squash, onion, sweet potato. Very good. Mika came by and brought me a burrito from the community dinner! We went to the swimming hole as it was getting dark and swam (she came in later), and hung out for a bit enjoying the night. And found our way back in the dark through the forest, mostly holding hands.

We said good night, I ate the burrito, went to bed, ate some (unsoaked) amish peanuts... Imagined mika coming back (i heard footsteps), and she did! We shared some physical intimacy- my first such since august in NYC, and some thoughts, and we both probably learned something. That was only last night, so who knows.

It may mean something or not that she is not tall, and she is black (and she is carfree).

2003-09-20 Saturday

  • Day: 13
  • Expenses to date: $100
  • Expenses this day: $8
  • Income to date: $20

I first got up and tried using the computer here to find bikable bridges into new orleans-- spent too long on that, but then got to this, and here I am. Talked a bit with Amanda about various things. Cooked six more duck eggs, fatback, hominy, lentils, yellow squash, onion. It is a beautiful day, but I've been in here, and not done my exercises!!

I think I'll write up a bit for the neoprimitivism page, but that will be it. Amanda might let me stay another night (no pay) and I might take her up on that and leave first thing tomorrow. Amanda recommends Finite and Infinite Games: a vision of life as infinite possibility by James P. Carse. And Mountain People and Forest People by Colin Turnbull (I've been talking about the migratory kayaking idea and already have some contacts along the mississippi!).

So long!

Oh, healthwise, my knees have been feeling good, eating has been alright, my swimming's been feeling better... but I have a cut or something on my tongue, raised moles on my lower back. The tongue thing hasn't been getting better. I may get some h202 to rinse with. Raised moles may not matter.

I still need to do something better about my bike seat.

2003-09-21 Sunday

  • Day: 14
  • Expenses to date: $108
  • Expenses this day: $8
  • Income to date: $20

Spent the whole day till about 5pm CDT working on Colin's current philosophical framework (anarcho / neo primitivism, with an eye out for the integral), and its development

I met Frank, and Lonnie J. Burris

I also got to walk a bit with Dana, here for "farm Experience" weekend, from Houston-

And went to bed in the rain (set up a tarp). I've been eating duck eggs and sweet potatos and rice and other things I'd bought before. Also those peanuts in the shell.

2003-09-22 Monday

  • Day: 15
  • Expenses to date: $116
  • Expenses this day: $14
  • Income to date: $20

Woke up, got ready to leave, but have a flat, and it was a challenge to fix it-- need a new tube.

Decided also to take time to fix bike seat well since there are tools here.

Now it is 1530 EDT and I managed to do a decent job fixing it! I feel more accomplished and less helpless. Will buy some food from farm store, perhaps, before heading to the trace.

I met Selena, who had also been at the twin oaks communities conference that rod and kimchi and Michel had been to.

So long!

Then I packed up and collected many shiitake mushrooms from al bates' mushroom logs (several waterlogged pounds?)

Then I went to the farm store to reprovision. After exploring what they had, and their prices, got the following:

  • 2 lb rice: $2.79
  • 2 lb lentils: $2.69
  • .5 lb butter (organic cultred unsalted) : $3.29
  • .5 lb cream cheese (organic): $3.15
  • 2 banannas: $.60

Earler, I'd eaten a ton of russian olives (a berry), and also an orange-like thing I found in an old orchard (what was that?).

Outside the store I met Ramon and Sedona(? she had two kids).

I then biked away down railroad bed road and spent the night on the old trace.

2003-09-23 Tuesday

  • Day: 16
  • Expenses to date: $130
  • Expenses this day: $0
  • Income to date: $20

Rose & departed 0837 am EDT @ milepost 380 on the Natchez trace. Rode a bit, then stopped to eat rest of cream cheese and a bit of butter. Passed snake (alive) and fresh roadkill squirrel, before making a point (feeling hungry enough) to pick up the next thing I found. It was a smashed box turtle next to scat of fox(racoon, cat?) that had eaten persimmon.

Passed some horseloggers, from missippi, in action (Dawson Logging 438-7222-662). I spoke to David Walton, the younger of the pair.

At milepost 338 Schmuel had told me to look for a rock wall on the east side (had to go east at turn to see it). I found the wall and went to visit it.

here is more about that wall:

my notes:

he's been building it for 22 years. It is the largest unmortared rock wall in the US, containing rocks from 126 countries and islands.

Tom had met other nomads including a canoeist, with a 17' canoe.

He had to build the prayer circle 7 times... it is a woman's place ... shaped as a womb, not as a circle.

A cathedral for our time? thinking about the prayer circle vs. the light center.

I felt tired that afternoon and stopped by 3pm edt. Cooked the roadkill turtle with rice and shiitake and some sort of spice apple found in a nearby orchard. Spent time in sun naked, enjoying not being bit by bugs and feeling skin being skin... ate last of butter. The no-see-ums came, and I got in bivy and dozed that afternoon, woke about 8:30 and cleaned pot (with ashes and leaves) and soaked lentils.

2003-09-24 Wednesday

  • Day: 17
  • Expenses to date: $130
  • Expenses this day: $8
  • Income to date: $20

0730am edt awake, cooked shiitake, turtlebones, rice, spiceapples, and 1 duck egg from the farm. I'd been sitting under wild blueberries I noticed, and had some. Because of no-see-ums, left, and biked to rock spring, where I did full exercises and weights (with band) (12:58: "my body and I let eachother know how much we love eachother") from about 10:30 to 1:30, and refilled my water from the spring, without treating it.

I stopped also after passing the Tennessee river to try to fish, and to swim. got stung by millipede I was using for bait. The decision of whether to stop and fish and swim and so on, is not detailed here-- it is sort of a drawn-out, indecisive thing, as with the decision of whether to harvest a roadkill was at first.

There were fish jumping after smaller fish, under the bridge, and right near me as I swam, but I caught none.

On, into cherokee, I stopped for more food, dismayed at not having any wild food yet. There were 3 dead armadillos and one large cat-like thing on the highway to the Piggly Wiggly where I bought:

  • 3 14oz brown rice: $2.09
  • keta (what is difference between keta and pink?) salmon: 418g $.95
  • Smuckers natural creamy peanut butter 454g in glass (way more expensive than hydrodgenated varieties, but I've noticed the hydrogenated makes me feel nastier than the natural): $2.65
  • ground beef (has more fat than chuck) (probably irradiated?): $1.55
  • tax: $.61

I ate some peanut butter.

Further on, I passed into Alabama (or was I already there?), and met Tim from Maude, AL. He had taken a class on trapping at Freed Hardiman University in Henderson, TN. I should have asked what he learned, but was not in the mood to stop and talk. I'd picked up (after some deliberation), a roadkill racoon aged since the morning in the sun. It didn't smell too good, and I didn't want questions. I got the feeling he was gay, which was later corroboated by experiences in Tupelo, with other males hanging out along the trace historic stops.

He did tell me about Jibi who'd been that way maybe two weeks before.

At the overlook south of cherokee, I found many large acorns (chestnut oak, I think), and collected these to try eating them.

An old couple had stopped by a huckleberry bush, I had some of these as well.

Saw leaping deer..

Found nice camp site, and, following rod's exaple with the rabbit, made quick (30-45 min) work of the raccoon, even though my blade was some old hair-cutting scissors. I kept everything but the skin, claws, and stomach on down, for my pot (including liver and kidneys, etc.). Cutting its stomach I saw it ate persimmons and something yellow-hulled, which I later realized were probably acorns like the ones I'd collected.

It was pretty nasty as it smelled, had maggots in the fur, and bits of hair stuck to the body. I thought of Michel (inanunpredictableway.com) making that French "delicious" gesture at the mention of finding old meat, as well as the raw paleo folks who put meat in a jar and let it rot... and wondered how they managed.

The liver had bubbles or something- rod had advised not eating unfresh liver, but I'd be cooking it.

Nothing wrong with feet, but didn't feel like having them in pot (I left the ones on my first squirrel), and used my wire cutters to remove them.

I also thought of David Alloway's mention of a college fritnd who had a trap line, and who had died of the bubonic plague... but ticks and fleas leave a cold carcass, the survival manual said.

I'd eaten too much Peanut butter and ended up spitting some out.

the racoon & organs fit nicely in my small steel pot, and I boiled it, flipping it at least once.

I wasn't that hungry after all that, but later in the night did eat some.

2003-09-25 Thursday

  • Day: 18
  • Expenses to date: $138
  • Expenses this day: $31
  • Income to date: $20

0730am edt awake

I'd eaten much of the raccoon, and added rice to the pot to cook with the rest. I also cooked the ground beef on the lid, in its own grease, and drank down the grease (I wanted fat).

I had tried doing my exercises first thing, but wanted to eat.

After the grease I didn't feel like doing exercises, and so shelled my acorns (at least a few pounds worth). I had also eaten some rice. Don't forget I still had some cod liver oil sips on occasion.

Then I got philosophical, examining the lack of enthusiasm I was feeling at that time.

my notes:

What do I have to look forward to?

visualize a life you will love?


with- [water?]

what could keep you going, or do you just need to exercise?

Dance, Sing, Violin,

Affirmations ??

we'll keep them in mind.

migratory or stationary?

Madre Grande?

I decided to get on the road, no exercises, as I heard a mower approaching, and wanted to move. I'd also been stung by a wasp that morning, and felt it for a few days afterward. I noted as well about a large nodule at right groin.. I have a smaller one on the other side, and another inside right bicep. They're not lymph nodes I'm almost certain. I think of cancer. On days when I'm sick of the challenge of loving living, I envision cancer engulfing my body-- the opposite of what cancer patients are supposed to do.

1515edt had a flat, near some muscadine grapes. I patched it twice with no success, and ended up tying a knot in the tube. That got me into tupelo, where I visited the visitors center and the free bike campground, and went to a bike store and spent:

  • 20" tube: $6
  • 2 x 26" tube: $8
  • tire levers: $4
  • 2 patch kits: $5
  • derailler cable and brake cable: $6
  • tax: $2

I went back to the chiksaw village site, and then the knotted 26" tube in my 20" tire went flat so I fixed it. Walked the plant walk. Avoided the gay/bi lurkers, and headed out and by smell found a tree surrounded by ripe persimmons on the ground (the ones still in the tree are nasty), and ate many.

Biked madly to escape tupelo in the dusk (the traffic was miserable, the trace is used for intra-city traffic there), and found a spot in the woods before too long.

2003-09-26 Friday

  • Day: 19
  • Expenses to date: $169
  • Expenses this day: $0
  • Income to date: $20

0730edt rise, 0806 leave after eating racoon remnants. Biked along, greatful for less traffic, looking for persimmons. But under the trees I found there was nothing-- did the animals vacuum under them in the night? from the scats and racoon stomach contents that seemed likely.

I did find some wild grapes (I looked them up to check-- they're different from muscadines), and some persimmons. I ate what was left of the peanut butter. and some wendys french fries I found when I went to throw the bottle away (not something I like to do... but I was hungry, and was in the process of researching the grapes). Then I ate lots of grapes. and two persimmons. and left (black belt overlook) by 0922. remembered hating cars and a driver the night before who'd spewed exhaust in my face after being delayed behind me (and perhaps having a chance to read my sign).

At witch dance, I decided to finally drop my fishing pole, in the hopes that I'd be faster, and that it had already taught me what it would.

I also met Earnest and Marion Foster, who told me that about 10 years ago they'd met sandra lawson (they would email me the right name), an engineer from near Salt Lake cit who was walking across the united states. She'd been going 3 months, they said, when she made it to their place in Mississippi. She wore her long hair up, and carried a pistol (she'd spent a night at their place and done her laundry there). She had dried food mailed to her along the way and had spent $1000 on topo maps.

1250edt At Jeff Busby (another stop), I learned more about how the indians used plants from an exhibit... including that they made dugout canoes from bald cypress and yellow poplar (but the trees were old-growth then). I found a chicksaw plum tree and ate some. Dogwood bark was used for malaria (quinine). I also ate something on the ground like a small plum, but it was nasty, and I spit it out.

I started feeling sick then--

Off the parkway, I'd caught a chicken snake, and found a roadkill boxturtle that had not been crushed (and still had reflexes when I picked it up, though its head was bloody).

I'd been trying for a 100 mile day, but after biking a bit longer, felt like I had to stop.

I did-- maybe it was the heat, and no salt, maybe it was that prune-like thing, or the fermented racoon, whose stench was still on my gloves... I was also hungry and started cooking lentils (sprouted, from long ago), chicken snake, and box turtle. Later I realized it could have been over-chlorinated water from the Jeff Busby stop, when I opened one of my water bottles the following morning. I felt totally without energy and "like I was going to die," I wrote.

1659edt I ate the snake (the whole thing, cooked, including gall bladder) and some lentils. It was good and worthy of its name (chicken), except for the gallbladder-

I rested, and later expored my surroundings finding a not-so-giant-puffball (id'd with my petersen book), and some Lactuca Floridana. I also found some sweet goldenrod, that the guide said was good for tea.

I ate the turtle cracking open its box (including gall-bladder again, not because I wanted to). It was very good and reminded me of lobster. I ate all its parts but the claws.

2003-09-27 Saturday

  • Day: 20
  • Expenses to date: $169
  • Expenses this day: $15
  • Income to date: $20

0611edt rose and cooked rice and turtle and racoon bones, plus puffball and wild greens (first in a while, unfortunately). Oh, I made sweet goldenrod tea, first, but did not like it as well as teas (the cold, overnight ones?) I'd had with Frank Cook.

My led light finally went out.

Made note that maybe I should get portable filter to filter out chlorine-- how could I do that?

0847edt left camp, after a brief rain (I'd set up tarp due to short showers the evening before).

0926edt found persimmons

0940 at french camp and did my exercises (not full but, ITP and some strength)

1100 left.

Reading the historic markers along the way is reading tales of genocide.

1426 made it to Kosciusco, and went to library, to read books and forget about cycling for a while. I read about all sorts of amazing walks and trips and found some John Muir "all the world was before me, and every day was a holiday" (the yosemite). Read the nat. geog. article on slavery. Soft in comparison to derrick Jensen, mentioned anti slavery international, free the slaves, bellvue program for survivors of torture. And read of Biologist Mike Fay's 2000 mile walk (megatransect) across central africa.

Muir in his 20's walked to the gulf from wisconsin. Noted for living without trying to change his surroundings to fit his needs.

p27 in that book (a photo tribute to Muir & yosemite), muir's goal was to get his experience fixed forever into his being.

I also re-read about thor hyerdahl's kon-tiki expedition.

0500edt, the library closed, and I went to the walmart supersaver to get some food and then to head to the free bike campground. I wandered around the store amazed, and bought:

  • regular oats (~2lbs): $1.86
  • 1 quart plain dannon yogurt: $1.98
  • ragu pasta sauce light (the only with no added sugar!!): $1.50
  • a pint (?) os extra virgin olive oil: $2.76
  • a container of garlic salt (my sea salt had run out): $.50
  • .88 lb brown rice: $ 0.76
  • replacement alkaline batteries size n: $3.23
  • red onion: $0.47
  • sweet potato: $0.72
  • tax: 0.72

earlier I'd bought two .37 cent stamps to send my mom some stuff.

I went to the campground- it was very nice, and started soaking and cooking some oats. I'd been wanting oats and olive oil (my junk food) for a while, and a break from wild food as well.

I started with the cooked oats and yogurt and pasta sauce mixed, but then went to the old dry oats and olive oil mixed (how I like them, but does feel like a nutrient sap, now that I'm more aware of phytic acid and such), and ate more than half my olive oil that way.

Perhaps because of the yogurt, no serious digestive problems due to that, but did have more energy so stayed awake a while.

2003-09-28 Sunday

  • Day: 21
  • Expenses to date: $184
  • Expenses this day: $7
  • Income to date: $20

Rose around 0730edt, and got up, and felt like jogging. Beautiful california weather. Went and found payphone, and called parents (they have an 1800 number), and talked to mom and sister. Then jogged to wal-mart and explored some more, and read some books (atkins diet, and guiness book of world records). Looked at prices and what could be bought there.

Jack Smith crossed US on skateboard in 1976 and 1984. Russell Moncreif on inline skates in 1991(?). Robert Torline went from brownsville, TX to Maida, ND on his wind powered street sailer in 2001.

Neil Hutchinson, and Maoincovik kite-sailed 88 nautical miles to Varadero Cuba from Key West, Florida on 2001-12-21 in 8 hours and 38 min with an average speed of 12 knots. There is an ocean rowing society.

Oguri Jukichi floated for 484 days at sea in the early 1900s(?).

Akira Matsushima unicycled across the US in 23 days in 1992.

Emmanuel Gentinetta, biked, solo, the whole pan-american highway. 261 days, 24,516 km, 15,234 miles. And now I find his phenomenal site

The earliest bicycle was between 1839 and 1840, made by Kirkpatrick Mackillen (sp?) in the UK.

There is a german extreme ironing society.

I bought:

  • a new toothbrush: $0.87
  • a knife sharpening stone: $3.97
  • a travel dental pik (to scrape/pik teeth): $1.84
  • tax: $0.47

these were all things I thought about buying long ago-

I also saw a small am/fm/weather/tv radio... I thought of weather.

--Then I went back to the campsite and ate the rest of my oats and olive oil and spaghetti sauce. Then I just enjoyed the beautiful day, and lay there in the sun watching the trees move. Unfortunately, this time the oats and olive oil didn't digest well (no yoghurt), and I was spitting bits up most of the day.

I also went to visit the visitors' center and learned about the town and the person for whom it is named.

I also attempted to do my exercises, but went very slowly and my mind was wandering, and here are some notes:

  if all of civilization is madness, what's a sane person left to do?

  (1) If you're reading this, your existence is most likely due that madness.

  (a) go on living till you die, participating in the madness as you feel moved.


  Violin  song

  what do adults do that kids do not? childlike mind

  kids are fresher, more is new.

  they do not have [?????], agendas, goals, but what is put on them by the outside.

  as a kid, I was fed & had free time & access to resources (not all do)

  If I had money or friends, I could go on trips away

  how can we play together

  'more evolved

  where I am in physical space and all opportunities available there.

  zen perspectives on amotivation.

I thought about this trouble I had of trying to do my exercises...

And how I did not want to bike, and so I was sitting here in this beautiful camp.

I did think of Dana (in Houston) and of the possibility of visiting her, and whether I really wanted to or not (not really, but she is fun to think about...).

at 2100 I evaluated the day as not good-- I hadn't exercised in a way I know makes me feel good, and what was wrong and how could I avoid it again? One possibility was to not be in places where I could be comfortable staying in one place for so long.

or to have a mode of travel that I didn't wish to avoid-- maybe canoing would be better?

But by then I'd started to boil my acorns to remove the tannin, and that was a good project, and the fire in hobo stove at night was as beautiful to watch as the blue sky and shadows and wind in the trees had been to watch during the day.

I changed the water 5 or 6 times, but there was still tannin, and finally I decided to go to sleep. I'd also been breaking the nuts apart with my teeth to make them smaller.

I spilled some tannin-water on my notepad and now it is died brown in places.

2003-09-29 Monday

  • Day: 22
  • Expenses to date: $191
  • Expenses this day: $8
  • Income to date: $20

Rose 0730edt, and boiled acorns again in new water, then mushed them and dried in top of pot over hobostove. The flour is edible, but not something I'm in danger of eating too much of. Packed and left. Made it to library at 1040edt, and have been absorbed, working on this since. It is now 1645edt. and school looks to be out.

So... I can stay here till six, and lose myself in the library some more. I can stay in the campground again, and do the same tomorrow, till I really feel like biking on, or it gets too cold.

I did think that maybe I'd go to new orleans and switch to a canoe then...

I'm not going to have any more useful thoughts in this way right now, but we'll see what happens. This has been a decent overview of what I've been up to and where my mind has been.

I'd like to spend more time in zones like I've been much of this day: knowing what I'm doing and wanting to be doing it, without a lot of wondering.

But when you play on the fringe and explore unknown, and unusual possibilities, I expect the sort of time like yesterday. Out of that aimlessness and wondering can come something truly new-- perhaps I will be moved to start canoeing when I get to new orleans. Or maybe I'll go all the way to san diego, or maybe I'll start walking. Bicycling and San Diego are not futures that are drawing me though, but would canoeing? Or is there something else entirely? And it is dissatisfaction that motivates this fringe playing, and in a way, I value what is definitely a bad attitude about many things. Who knows what's next. Clearly I value writing here.

So... I left the library shortly after that, and, hungry, went by wall-mart:

  • 12oz. brown rice: $.76
  • garlic powder: $1.67
  • lentils 1lb: $0.57
  • unsalted butter 1 lb: $0.57
  • 1 doz christopher eggs: $2.07
  • tax: $0.48

Since I didn't find the food I wanted, and it was late, I went back to the same campground, and cooked rice, lentils, eggs, keta salmon (from can), sweet potato and ate butter (3.5 sticks). I eventually ate the whole pound by morning. My goal was to ride big miles the next day, and I was eating with that in mind.

2003-09-30 Tuesday

  • Day: 23
  • Expenses to date: $199
  • Expenses this day: $11
  • Income to date: $20

I digested the butter reasonably well. I did put in big miles. At the beautiful cypress swamp nature walk (1134edt), I saw a small aligator, and stopped to eat two eggs that had been broken accidentaly, mixed with acorn flour and garlic salt. Around MP 108 on the natchez trace parkway (west florida boundary historic site), I studied my maps, and decided to book it straight south, and enter new orleans from the west, instead of following the trace west, and then going back east. I had also decided the day before to focus on putting on miles and make it to the coast quickly, and decided what to do from there... I didn't want to hang in the Mississippi backwaters any longer, and in New Orleans, I could switch over to a kayak if I wished. And visiting new orleans was a goal I'd had for a while. So, if you look at your map, for that day and the next, I mostly followed 43 south from the Ross Barnett reservoir to the coast. This day I went from Kosciusko, MS to past Pinola. Mapquest says that is between 105 and 125 miles. At 1800edt I stopped for food. Earlier I'd picked up a small roadkill racoon, but ended up not using it. At budget saver in mendenhall, ms I bought:

  • cheese: $2.60
  • landolakes unsalted butter, 1 lb: $2.95
  • hunt's spaghetti sauce, canned, no sugar added: $.99
  • ~2lbs rolled oats: $2.25
  • mustard: $0.57
  • 2 bannanas: $ 0.42
  • 1 plum: $0.34
  • 1 red onion: $0.16
  • tax: $0.72

Past pinola, I found a southern pine pulp forest to sleep in. In D'Lo, MS, I'd stopped by a very small library (the smallest I've been in), and the librarian there let me take an old sierra club magazine with me (I'd asked if they had any john muir).

I ate the rest of my cheese and mustard ( I don't really like cheese), cooked oats and the onion, and ate oats, tomato sauce and butter, and read the magazine. There was an article on old growth forests of the east that I'd missed (neglected to visit).

route info: 43s to brandon (I backtracked on the trace). 18 w to st johns (Johns). R on rocky hill (?) road. L at intersection (cato rd? I was following my compass. Sick of the dead straight 18w). straight across the big highway into D'lo. Past the city hall, turn left. Head Into mendenhall. camping available at D'lo water park $8. go right onto 13s and take first right following 43 s.

2003-10-01 Wednesday

  • Day: 24
  • Expenses to date: $210
  • Expenses this day: $1.52
  • Income to date: $20

Rose 0730edt and boiled 5 eggs for lunch. Another high mileage day (mapquest says 125 miles, but that is the long way), and some unpleasant riding. I made to past Picayune. The stretch on 13s was especially annoying. And I found I couldn't ride through the nasa missile test center, so I backtracked to what is now a 12 mile long dirt road. It was difficult to ride as my rear tire slips out from under me on the more sandy parts, but I made it a good way in by nightfall. And it was a wonderful break from roads with traffic. Often the dirt road riding is the most memorable of the trip, but the loaded recumbent is especially unwieldy on such roads... I was happy to get in some dirt road riding. That night, I cooked some oats. I had planned the next day to be easy and a break from all that butter... Also the butter had not digested well this last time, and I had what I think people call heart burn most of the day until I stopped for lunch around 1350edt and ate the 5 eggs, some oats, and the rest of the spaghetti sauce (actually most of it as I'd eaten little the night before).

The coyotes were howling that night. A buffer area (mostly forested) surrounds the missle test place for at least a 6 mile radius.

Somewhere in there I mailed an envelope to my mom with maps she might like, and some maps I did not need:

  • postage: $1.52

2003-10-02 Thursday

  • Day: 25
  • Expenses to date: $212
  • Expenses this day: $0
  • Income to date: $20

Rose 0700edt and got on the road quickly. I had little water, so did not cook. Got off the dirt road and on to 603 s to waveland, which was miserable, but I survived to get to 90, which had a whole separate access lane that was nice to ride on, and I encountered my first cyclist since 300 miles or so? I soon turned off to follow a smaller and less dead-straight road to clermont harbor and lakeshore.

Back on dead straight and flat 90, the wind was at my back, and I made it to Fort Pike State Park by about 1230 edt(?). There was a fresh (not-smelling) roadkill racoon by the entrance, water in the restrooms, and a picnic area with grills that people did not go near, and I was hungry and not enthusiastic about plain rice and lentils. I skinned it with my scissors, and (did wish I had something to cut bones easier to get it into smaller pieces) cooked the bottom half of it and liver and kidneys. I saved the top half for later. I played with the stomach (some sort of berries inside), and thought of making a pouch, but I think I accidentally threw it out. Then I cooked my rice and lentils in the water I'd boiled the racoon in.

I'd not been careful about where I'd cleaned it and got glitter on the meat... next time I'll be more careful. So this one was good to eat and not smelling of bacteria!

Paul showed up and shared some rice and lentils and racoon. He's a fugitive artist from New Orleans. Fugitive from what I'm not sure. He's 37, and had two kids earlier on in a messed up marriage, and is sprightlier and more energetic and able to put up with miserable bicycling than I. He's been carfree for over two years. One of his treks was to get out of Laredo. He had $40 in his pocket after a bus trip through mexico and some (apparently low-paying) produce-handling work in laredo (where he'd gone to check out some artist's work) where he was sleeping in a shelter on a person-shelf for $4/night. He bought a bike for $35 from a pawn-shop, and made it as far as south padre island, I think. Where he got another job (as a dishwasher or restaurant guy of some kind). Eventually he biked on (December?, after a month) and left his $35 bike in galveston, I think and caught the bus the rest of the way to new orleans. He bailed on New Orleans, and left in a rush at 1030 this morning (or the day before?) from westwego... He was in a running club in new orleans. He's crazier than I am in a way... and said he was headed to Virginia, probably going up the coast.

He eventually took off, I packed up, did my exercises (full kata movement, plus some strength), and swam/washed off in that inlet between Lake Pontchartrain and Lake Borgne, which did taste like fresh water.

I made it into New Orleans and spent the night near Pontchartrain beach, where I cooked the rest of the racoon, and some rice and lentils and acorn flour. I cooked the racoon separately first, set it aside and then the rice, etc.

2003-10-03 Friday

  • Day: 26
  • Expenses to date: $212
  • Expenses this day: $29
  • Income to date: $20

I'm now in the University of New Orleans library writing this, and will be exploring N.O. more later, after looking at maps of mexico, and maybe some more john muir... I intend to visit laidbacktours.com.

So, I got out of the library and went to this carfree place along the shore of Lake Ponchartrain, and ate the rest of the raccoon, and did my exercises, and felt very good (1328edt: "yes! this is what I'm supposed to be doing!"). The weather was beautiful, and I was facing into a cool breeze.

I biked over to laidbacktours. They were closed, but another store was nearby, and I checked out tires... Then I went to look for maps of mexico, and rode to Borders Books and Music and a map store along veterans memorial highway. At Borders, I read peoples guide to mexico and bought the rough guide mexico map and a phrase book:

  • Rough guide mexico map: $8.95
  • Jiffy Phrasebook Spanish: $7.95
  • tax: $1.48

I thought a lot about buying other guide books, but did not.

It was getting dark. I went to the Sav a center and bought:

  • .5 lb butter $1.89
  • free range eggs 1 doz: $2.29
  • yogurt plain: $2.49
  • rolled oats: $2.69
  • 1 banana: $ .20
  • tax $.33

In the glooming I madly rode back to where I spent the night before, and stressfully made a fire and cooked my oats. A helicopter flew right over, and people were not far off... I ate the yogurt and then oats and butter. And went to sleep.

Well, I was a bit too excited by thoughts of mexico, and had a headache, a little, and did not go to sleep till late.

2003-10-04 Saturday

  • Day: 27
  • Expenses to date: $241
  • Expenses this day: $73
  • Income to date: $20

I was awoken by army rotc people marching by (well, not exactly, but almost), as I'd slept in (0730edt?) quickly I got out of there. I rode through central park to check out downtown. I looked for other placed to camp, and saw some. I broke the "g" off the carfreeuniverse sign by accident. I called my family and talked to mom, dad, erin. I went to laidback cycles and spent:

  • front tire (primo comet 20"): $21
  • rear tire (irc metro 26x1.5): $21
  • tube 20x 1.25: $3.75
  • park tire patches: $3.5
  • cyco rear red light with batteries: $11.50
  • tax: $5.47

Then, having enough of madly car-infested new orleans I biked away down the mississippi river levee bike trail, passing through the car-free oasis of the Tulane Quad. Audobon park was nice, but marred by a golf course ( as was central park). The roads in New orleans are in disrepair.

I had to carry my bike around one place where someone had put a fence across the trail to do construction.

After the trail ended, thanks to some advice of some cyclists, I biked through the suburb to airline hwy (61), and on the way found some tangerines and pears(apple-like). At the spillway I saw there was nice camping and went in to Norco to buy some food:

  • green cabbage: $0.67
  • roma tomatoes: $0.50
  • 2lbs brown rice: $1.05
  • .5 lb butter (unsalted): $2.05
  • 1 lb field peas: $0.83
  • bic lighter: $0.69
  • tax: $0.32

I biked on.. Realizing the detour to airline highway probably wasn't the best route. I ended up crossing the spillway. And finding a place to camp in the back of a suburb under construction by 4pm edt or so. There was poison ivy (sister ivy) I uprooted. I cooked my rice and 6 eggs and cabbage and tomatoes, and added garlic salt and garlic and butter. Very good. Many mosquitos that night.

2003-10-05 Sunday

  • Day: 28
  • Expenses to date: $314
  • Expenses this day: $0
  • Income to date: $20

Rose early, boiled and ate other six eggs, and harrased by mosquitoes was annoyed that I'd lost the white LED headlight that I'd recently bought batteries for... spent a lot of time looking for it. Reminded myself that I should get one that I tie around neck. It was lost in the leaves somewhere...

By 9, I'd left. Rode past refineries and other plants. Found a bridge not on my map to cross over. Passed two koreans(?) in white hard hats walking with arm around eachother near that bridge, away from plant. In a store I stopped at for water was an asian family, and the kids, two sons, seemed happy, while dad watched eating noodles. the older son filled my water for me.

called Mom, and asked her to send the people's guide general delivery to port la vaca texas.

In thibodeax I stopped by the acadian wetlands visitors' center and spent a lot of time there. It is about the people, some of whom may still live car-free in the bayous of the Lower Atchafalaya Basin.

There was a documentary, "Anything I Catch.. the handfishing story", by Pat Mire - researcher and Charles bush (cinematographer), about Cajuns who wade in murky bayou waters to catch huge catfish and turtles by reaching into hollow logs and stumps with their bare hands.

I spent a lot of time reading Greg Guirard's books. In Cajun Families of the Atchafalya (1999?) he gives some detail to how these people live out there in the bayous. I'm interested, because I'm considering doing so myself...

On page 29 of that book, there is a very cool chart "Recreational and Provisional seasonal activities for families" and on the bottoms half of the same page the same thing, but "livlihood-related" It shows you what they catch or harvest for fun and profit in the various seasons. One thing they used to harvest was moss.

Here's a list of animals they go after:

  • chopique
  • crabs
  • squirrels
  • doves
  • rabbits
  • venison
  • geese
  • turtles
  • garfish
  • catfish
  • gaspargou
  • buffalofish
  • crawfish
  • shrimp
  • frogs
  • oysters
  • alligators
  • gamefish salt and freshwater
  • some things that aren't legal (heron/egret)

Everyone north of Alexandria Louisiana they refer to as "american." They're cajun.

To contact greg guirard (this is how to get those books):

  1470-A Bayou Mercier Rd
  St Martinsville, LA 70582

His other book that I looked at was Atchafalya Autumn (1995). A point that you get is that the bayous and marshes in the area are dying because of past clearcutting of bald cypress and (primarily) due to army corps of engineers efforts to tame the Mississippi. on p. 42 of that book, he writes: "Do I myself lack the awareness that would compel me to do something beneficial with respect to the earth that I'm not doing now, something that might be of vital importance to those who will live here many years from today?" Of his grandfather, who was around during the clearcutting of the cypress: "Why didn't he try to stop it? ... He was wise and good."

The name of the park was "Jean Lafitte National Park and Preserve."

Other relevant books for sale were:

  • Saving Louisiana by Bill Streever (2001) - about LA environmental issues.
  • how to make and mend cast nets by Ted Dahlem.

I do think carfree nomadic living would be possible in this area. Drawbacks are: mosquitos (tons), heat, and chilly winters on the water. A "camp" in the bayou might be desirable, though that might require land purchase and all the bureacracy of that. Some means of dealing with mosquitos would be good to find. Other issues are: people using motor boats, and the dying of the wetlands and the productive fishing grounds.

Outside the building I was hungry and practiced some "freeganism," eating from the trashcan. There were several deli lunches only partway eaten, with greasy chicken skins and such... not something I'm happy to have done. One of the lunches was over two days old.. and I ate it, (including the chicken) and am still here.

I biked on, not feeling like doing my exercises and found some kudzu along the way, and found a place to camp by 1700edt along rt398. I'd been seeing dead owls (4) and in the oak tree above, got to see a live one. I cooked rice cabbage, field beans (soaked the night before), lentils (now sprouted), kudzu, and some thistle.

Mosquitos were out in force. I took the time to stand near the web of a huge spider and watch it devour the mosquitos unfortunate enough to fly into its web.

2003-10-06 Monday

  • Day: 29
  • Expenses to date: $314
  • Expenses this day: $12
  • Income to date: $20

Rose and left quickly as I was tormented by mosquitos. Some hairy riding along 90.. And I'd not eaten breakfast. Found a walmart supercenter and bought:

  • 12oz brown rice: $0.76
  • 1 lb lentils: $0.57
  • hunts spaghetti sauce no sugar added (does have soy oil though): $0.83
  • 1 quart dannon plain yoghurt: $1.98
  • rolled oats: $1.86
  • apple vinegar: $0.55
  • 1lb unsalted butter: $1.77
  • wirecutters (to make animal processing easier): $1.88
  • can opener (like the one I'd mailed back in asheville): $0.88
  • tax: $0.55

I yet again avoided buying a knife or multitool, though I considered it--there's a winchester brand for $14 I might get but they were out.

I biked a ways, slowly, laden down, and hungry, and eventually found a place where I could stop and make a fire. I cooked oats, butter, kudzu, thistle, and added the spaghetti sauce.

Now i'm in the Franklin library.

I read "Mongolia Crossing" p 102 in National Geographic October 2003. It is about the (possible) dying of another nomadic lifeway, and about how the nomads themselves would rather migrate via truck than deal with the risks of the winter passage.

I got an email from JiBi.. Maybe I'll be able to catch him and I'll have a parnter for heading into mexico!

so long.

That night (on 330) I found a place near a field of sugar cane. The mosquitos weren't as bad (but still were bad). I chewed on some cane. I spent some time reading the edible plant book... and realized there is a whole lot in the swamps that I could have been eating. Great Bulrush, water hyacinth, and on and on...

2003-10-07 Tuesday

  • Day: 30
  • Expenses to date: $326
  • Expenses this day: $0
  • Income to date: $20

I didn't make it to Texas this day, as I'd told Jibi I might. I rose, and got out of there, because of mosquitos, and because I didn't feel like staying there. Unlike the randmcnally atlas, I had to go back into abbeville before going south on 82.. Hmm. It says there is a toll ferry. The guy in the store I stopped to ask didn't mention one, but, who knows.

There was a lot of road construction (rough riding). One of the women stopping the traffic said a cyclist from canada had been this way. So I rode that long road numbered 82 that you see on the bottom left of maps of louisiana.

There was a lot of long flat riding on endlessly straight roads through marshes. At one point I found a place to stop and rest, but there were too many mosquitos. I got a flat right there, and had to fix it in the hot, hot sun. I decided to try my new tire. There was now alligator roadkill in addition to other kinds.

In Grand Chernier I tried to buy some crabs to add to my pot, but the people at the end of the trail of signs I followed said they were out. I got a few oranges from their tree though.

I found a place to camp just past Grand Chernier, and cooked rice, sprouted field beans, and the rest of my wild greens: dock, kudzu, thistle. + garlic, garlic salt, and vinegar.

2003-10-08 Wednesday

  • Day: 31
  • Expenses to date: $326
  • Expenses this day: $22
  • Income to date: $20

I rose and left quickly due to mosquitos, and lack of food. I've been getting up at 0700edt, but light doesn't come for another .5 hour. It was terribly foggy. I turned on my flasher, and people seemed to be seeing me fine. I was hungry and stopped to eat some prickly pear fruit from a cactus.

In addition to bits of poison ivy, bug bites, fire ants in my panniers, I now had little needles from the prickly pear to distract me from the other woes.

By a school, police stopped me, and looked up my record, and said they wanted me to go wait for an hour at a store for the fog to lift. I was hungry and tired and happy to hear there was a store, so I agreed. I also had a flat.

At the store I bought jif peanut butter($3.59) and holsum white bread ($1.89). Big mistake. I only bought them because the store had little else, the butter was salted and $6, and I didn't want to cook eggs (or eat the whites raw). I ate that whole loaf of white bread and too much of the peanut butter... I knew that kind of Peanut Butter (hydrogenated, sugared) makes me feel bad... and in fact most peanut butters. I had eaten too much at once, so that it was pretty painful to swallow, as my esaphogous tried to move the lumps down.

I fixed the flat. The valve had separated where it attaches to the tube. It is a Trek tube. I used my other trek tube, but reinforced this part. I also met a young guy who hunts (bow, rifle, muzzle loader) and has a pickup with a camaro engine. When he asked why, I went down pretty negative on cars and car users... I don't always. Sometimes, "this is better than working."

So, I biked on, and made it to cameron, and park there which said it had a trail to the beach. I walked out the trail, swatted some mosquitos. Scared some cows, saw some ducklike birds with long snouts, and swam in the Gulf. It was wonderful. And I stayed there a good while, but I was starting to feel not right.

I walked back to the park and started doing some exercises, and a guy drove by and sat there. I ignored him. He sat there until I made a remark to myself about the huge mosquito that I'd just found on my leg. ("holy shit") which he heard, and said "big mosquito?" and then we got to talking.

He is Sea-Bob, which is my approximation of what he told me. He said it is the smallest of the shrimp they catch, and he got the name because in high school he was smaller than everyone.

He is the maintenance guy for the community park, but mostly a shrimp fisherman, and this year hadn't been good.

He told me about the weather. (it gets cold, and it is usually hotter than this). He told me about a guy that had arrived by horse and carriage in 1985 (about) and they let him stay in the park for two days. He told me about a guy that had come by small boat with outboard from nebraska... sometimes he had to lift the boat up from one roadside canal to the other. This guy knew his nature and animals, and fish, and even though he wasn't from here, the locals were learning how to fish from him.

He also told me a bit about how they spray to control the mosquitos (about once a week, with trucks and planes).

I got back on my bike to head towards the ferry, but I was starting to feel quite bad, and the heat felt intense. I made it to the cameron visitors center, and got some cold water. I couldn't really talk to the woman there-- I had to go out and lay down.

I went to the post office to mail some things away (the edible plants and trees book to my mom, and some things I didn't want to carry more to San Diego). I was barely hanging on. As soon as that was done ($7.18), I went out and, my vision was like a solarized picture... threw up. not much though. But I felt a lot better. The biggest danger of what I overate is that it kept from absorbing water, and the day was very hot.

I forgot to note (the first time I wrote this) that the woman from the visitors center found me at the post office and offered me a bag with food: a loaf of white bread, some ham, and some milk or orange juice. Now, as I write this, I would accept it, but at the time, I couldn't really stand the sight of it... I said I appreciate it, but I'm pretty picky about what I eat... And I'd have to carry it. I do appreciate what she did, it means a lot. Thank you Cameron visitor's center staff person!

Still not feeling good (my joints felt achey and not wanting to move), I caught the ferry, and roasted in the sun while waiting for it to move. I very lethargically/fatiguedly rode through the long straight swamp roads. At holly beach, I saw some shade behind a church and stopped to lay there in the grass for a good while. Eventually I got up, filled water bottles, and found a store.

  • 1 lb salted champion butter $3.09
  • one dozen white eggs $0.99
  • .5 gallon orange juice: $1.99
  • 2 potatoes $1.59
  • 12oz white rice (no brown available) $0.71
  • 2 bananas $0.46

I also picked up the Louisiana Hunting and Fishing regulation books, and found out that Holly beach is a free beach-- camping is free. The guy in the store was young, friendly, seemed gay, and more in setting in Seattle or NYC than Southwest louisiana in an isolated beach town with only 100 year-round residents. I drank down much of the orange juice and went to find a place to camp.

Relieving myself before going on the beach, I went behind some reeds and it seemed every bush I brushed had tons of mosquitos. Don't forget there's all sorts of west nile viri alerts...

I found a discarded time magazine.

on the beach there was a strong breeze, (kept most of the mosquitos at bay). I read the time magazine (yech..., but neat to know I don't want it, and why), and drank more orange juice (wonderful), ate bananas, and lay still. Some people did drive by on the beach... Happily I got to have a policeman drive by and not say anything to me, while I was camping for free!! Eventually I went to sleep. I may have been a bit feverish. At night I could see the mosquitoes attaching to my netting just waiting to get me when I had to urinate (from the orange juice). The breeze stayed all night and generally protected me though.

2003-10-09 Thursday

  • Day: 32
  • Expenses to date: $348
  • Expenses this day: $7
  • Income to date: $20

Early (0500edt) I got sick of laying there (I'd been still since 5pm the day before), and got out to cook some food and get ready to go. Because of the breeze it was hard for me to start a fire and keep it going. I ended up making a very big fire around my hobostove instead of inside it. I cooked eggs, potatoes, lentils (soaked the night before). I ate the eggs etc with butter. I packed up and as it still wasn't light, and I felt like laying down. So I took my pad and rested on the firm sand closer to the water.

When daylight came I rode 36 miles to port arthur, Texas. It was great to be in Texas (I lived there for 6 months before). Port arthur is a town of oil processing and a strange industrial place. I headed south, but asked a woman (one of the few people I happened to see amongst the refinery and shipping apparata) about the road being closed. It's been closed for years, washed out by storms and they stopped rebuilding it. She told me how to get around.

I took 73 west, and decided that I probably did not want to stick to the gulf coast which would probably be hotter and have tons of mosquitos. And I was not far off the Adventure Cycling route. My mom was sending peoples guide to mexico general delivery to Port Lavaca though. And I might need a sleeping bag. Anyways, at the intersection of 73 and 124, I headed north to Nome.

I made it past Cleveland that evening. The oppressively humid day had turned into solid rain, so I just got wet and rode. On 73w, before heading to Nome, I had a flat (snakebite from running over something in the road), and lost a piece of my falling apart panniers, and jury rigged something. This eventually broke. I had also lost my elastic strap that held my backpack on top of my rack. Generally it was fine just sitting there. Anyways, that is over 100 miles for the day for sure... the wind was at my back.

At the Cleveland Wallmart supercenter, I bought:

  • rolled oats: $1.77
  • olive oil (pint?): $2.76
  • 1 quart yoghurt plain: $1.98

I biked a bit further and then found a spot. I was wet and itchy (now add jock itch or somthing like it to the mix). I ate oats and olive oil. It was my reward, and simple (not cooked) but eating it I knew I should do better and I thought of what I might like... macaroni and cheese came to mind. I was annoyed that my long underwear pants seem to have disappeared. There were still mosquitos but not swarms.. At night it started to pour again, and I rallied to set up the tarp. I should have camped earlier, cooked dinner and set up the tarp, But I wanted to get the miles on and get back on the adventure cycling route. I did sleep that night.

I did check out my texas map that night, to see where I'd been and was going, but strangely some of the map had disappeard. I figured it was due to it getting wet. Later I realized it was because I was using the red led light to read it...

2003-10-10 Friday

  • Day: 33
  • Expenses to date: $355
  • Expenses this day: $0
  • Income to date: $20

I rose by 0700edt and got packed up though I was annoyed at how dark it was. And other things. I got packed up and went to a nearby church to better attach my ailing pannier, and ate some oats and butter. Less energetically than the day before I resolve to bike the 63 miles to Navasota before dallying. I'm here now. I sent a forwarding request to the Port Lavaca post office to send mail for me general delivery to El Paso... Maybe that will work. Now I'm in the Navasota library. Happily the terrain now has hills and elevation, so I may be out of swamps for a while. I did spit up butter on the way... will probably eat yoghurt in a bit, but may hang out here and read for a while. It's been grey and misty today, but not raining (unless it's started). So long.

Oh, I forgot to note I had fire ants in the butter. And on that long day I got to practice biking through the pain in my left hip.

I found a pear in the parkinglot. And... Biked out of navasota. Checked out Brazos on ?? state park, and in the glooming, found a place in a telephone cut. I hesitated along the road (not wanting to walk off it when someone was looking), and a guy stopped to ask if I was alright... moral: move off the road quickly! there were no "no trespassing" signs and no fences. It was a good spot. Dinner was yoghurt and oats and some butter.

Log continues here

Colin Leath <>    

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