Tom, meet Tom

June 29, 2012 in Ramblings

I am safely in Tucson, AZ right now…headed to Phoenix in the morning. I wanted to share this amazing story with all of you. It happened in Sierra Blanca TX.
I was the only person staying at the Americana Inn in Sierra Blanca. It’s about a 30 room motel and other than myself, it was completely deserted. Around 9:30PM, I went outside so I could wheel my bike in my room. I heard someone singing and playing guitar. I looked to the upper end of the parking lot and saw a guy sitting outside playing music. He was singing Bette Midler’s song “The Rose”. I have not heard that song since I was 13 or 14 years old.
I grabbed my camera and started walking towards him. It was then I noticed that he was on a bicycle. Attached to that bicycle was a trailer. The conversation went something like this:

ME: Hi, I’m Tom.

HIM: I’m Tom too.

ME: I’m on a Journey.

HIM: Me too.

ME: I’m riding for charity.

HIM: Me too.

ME: I made by own cart.

HIM: Me too.

This man’s personality was so similar to mine that it was unsettling. Empathetic, open, good natured, spiritual…it was like looking in a mirror.

I felt like I was filming a scene for some strange independent film or something…I felt like I was standing there talking to myself as I was on my Journey…


Tom’s rig in front of Tom’s rig…lol.

Tom sang me a Johnny Cash song:

The more I talked to him the more similar our lives paralleled each other. At one point I said to him “Tom, don’t you find this more than a little odd”? “I mean, we have the same first name, we are both on two wheeled vehicles, we are both on a life journey, we are both riding for charity, we both made our own carts, AND we are the only two people here at this motel”.

He looked at me and smiled and said “I believe that everything happens for a reason”. “I don’t think it’s odd at all”.

This whole thing had me freaked out…then I started to think about why this could possibly be. Here’s another one of those transparency moments that makes me uncomfortable…but here goes…

For the past few days I’ve been feeling a little embarrassed and self-conscience. I decided to be transparent on this blog …as you can imagine, it’s difficult to really put yourself out there. Especially for men, it’s hard to express emotion…because we are wired by our culture NOT to do that…It is sometimes seen as a weakness, not a strength.
I’ve been concerned that maybe some of you might not want to read this thread because of my openness to express what’s really happening inside of me. To be honest, I thought about reeling it in a little. Maybe just focus on the bike more, or the food, or the scenery. But after meeting myself (lol)…I decided to keep doing what I’m doing…because I got an unusual (but blessed) look at the empathetic side of myself. It was almost as if God was telling me “Don’t touch a thing”. “You’re this way for a reason”. So, I’m goin with that :)

Tommy started his journey in Florida and will finish in Los Angeles. Fully laden, his cart weights almost 400 pounds!!! he carries about 15 gallons of water with him at all times. He had had over 50 FLAT TIRES!!! and for some odd reason, most of them in TX. He realizes that the cart is seriously overloaded and a lot of the flats were sidewall failures.

The night I met Tommy, I gave him $50 …I really did not have it to give but I knew it was the right thing to do. I figured it would pay for his room that night. The next morning as I was outside packing my trailer, a guy named John approached me, said “I believe in what you’re doing”…and handed me $50. Can this journey get any more unbelievable?

Vacant Motel

April 20, 2012 in Lodging

Journey updates for the past 2 days…rushing to publish this before my laptop dies!!!

LOCK AND LOAD!

I’ve had no Internet access or phone service for the past 2 days…was waaaay out in the sticks…so this is a big update.

Man…where to start?

I knocked out 220 miles yesterday! I was on the road the entire day! I made it into North Carolina sometime in the afternoon.

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I stopped by a Honda Motorcycle shop and bought a 3.00 x 8 inner tube for the Ruck trailer…just in case…lol. When the guys found out what I was doing, they threw me a free t-shirt!

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By evening I was beat. It started to rain and night was coming quickly. I could not find a campground ANYWHERE. I considered sleeping just off the road in the woods but it was raining hard and dark by that point. DAMN…going to have to get another hotel.
I was in such a remote area that I couldn’t even find a motel!
I came up on a convenience store and stopped to ask if there were any campgrounds or motels in the area. The attendant was really nice. He made a bunch of phone calls from the office to find me a campground or motel. His name was Tug. What a cool name…and when you see his pic below, you’ll know why they call him Tug. He is one big guy.

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Tug knew of just ONE motel in the area. It was only a half mile down the road. He made a call and they had a vacancy. I jumped on my Ruck and headed over.
I arrive and immediately have a bad feeling. The outside was really run down and there were several broken down cars in the parking lot…well, it wasn’t so much a parking lot as a big area of sand and grass.
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I went into the office…again, not so much an office as some really old lady’s LIVING ROOM.
She grabbed the key to room “1″ and said “Let me check it first”. She unlocked the door and opened it…I heard her mumble “Oh, my”. under her breath and close the door. She said “let me get a key to room “4″.
I’m thinking “What’s up with the “Oh, my”? ….she then proceeds to check room “4″. Apparently, room 4 passed and she handed me the key. She then immediately got in her car and DROVE AWAY. I thought that was weird because she was the only person at the hotel. I was the only person there. I walked in the room and almost puked. “What the hell is that smell”?!?!
It was cat urine and mold. What a pleasant combination…lol And where the hell did that lady go? I want my $40 back.
I had a feeling she was going to make herself scarce …so I though, ok try to make the best of it. Maybe look around and check out the rest of the room. Let me give you the grand tour:

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Ok, so outside of the deplorably tacky decor, it looks sort of ok, right?

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Notice the “pest control” sitting on the desk. The “refrigerator” was a styrofoam cooler covered in cat scratch marks.

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moldy ceiling

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Dead cockroaches

So I call my sister laughing my ass off…then she started laughing her ass off…”Kimmy, this is hilarious…it’s like a really bad movie”. “I think I’m stuck here for the night”.
So I try to do the Wan “I accept that” thing and I can’t. I started thinking – “Maybe I can just set up my tent in the parking lot”. After a half hour or so, I realized that I was really was stuck there for the night. So I resign myself and accept it. I got one of my tarps and put it across the bed then set my sleeping bag on the tarp. I covered my face with the sleeping bag so I would not have to smell the cat pee and mold.

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