Day 13 – Taking 5 to Erie PA

I had another pretty smooth day today – all things considering. I woke up early in camp and managed to get ready an on the road quicker than I have to date. I appreciate that morning time because the breezes are light, traffic is light, it’s cool, and it’s just a good time to be on the road. I’m a morning person at heart.

The directions today were simple and it was nice to not have to futz with the map. Take Route 5, stay on route 5, do not deviated from route 5.

It was challenging bucking the “breezes” today. I faced a headbreeze pretty much all day which provided plenty of opportunity to meditate on “regret”. Now I understand that regret is a pretty useless way to spend one’s time. I’ve struggled with that from time to time as Megan will tell you. Today it was pretty hard escaping the thought that it would have been really easy to be going the opposite direction (advice I got frequently and disregarded). I made the choice to go Westbound so that 1) I could finish at home and 2) I wanted to follow the way that this county was settled. And not for the first time on the trip I reminded myself that I am exactly where I decided to be (for most of us fortunate to have good choices, this is always true). That may sound like I’m being hard on myself but that’s not how it feels. It’s more of an affirmation than a condemnation. It reminds me that I had a choice, and that I made it for good reasons. But part of me also thinks that I chose this direction because it is hard, not in spite of it. That is consistent with other times when I choose the “challenging” path. I like to be challenged, and if it’s difficult then we’ll get better at it, or stronger for it. Does this make me a masochist? It sounds so much worse put that way, and I don’t think so. Wanting a challenge isn’t the same as wanting pain though sometimes they coincide. But I do like to have some kind of rock to push up the hill. For many years that has been kW and this trip is an experiment in putting down that one, even if I am kind of picking up another one.

Breeze power in the Seneca Nation
The pic doesn’t do it justice but I saw a lot of vineyards today – none of them irrigated as far as I could tell.

There was a point today where the breeze, stiff as it was, stopped bothering me. That felt like something of a breakthrough and I hope I can hold that idea through Kansas.

Recently my buddy Kent W reminded me of something that I said to him on our hike through the Grand Canyon. (What an honor to have yourself quoted back to you! Thanks for that, Kent!). It’s something that I have often told myself and I kind of can’t believe that isn’t an adage already; You get better at what you do. Which really cuts more than one way. It means practice makes perfect but also that if you lie on the couch and watch TV you’ll get “good” at that too. So make good choices about how you spend your time because that will shape who you are. Nothing profound here but it occupied my thoughts today so thought I’d pass it along and see what you’ll think. Right now I’m getting better at riding “upbreeze” with no regrets.

Well howdy big gal!
Formalism!

I’ve really enjoyed the experience on this trip of paying attention to photography. Knowing that a few of you out there are watching has inspired me to “step up my game” which for me means slowing down,being more patient with the shots that I take, and paying attention. I’m getting pretty vigilant as I ride the bike to try and spot things that I think others would be interested in, or that are just simply beautiful. But I’ve also noticed that I have a tendency to focus on buildings. I’ve always loved architecture and I read a lot into the way a building is designed, and I see a lot of beauty in good design (and occasional atrocities). Also the simple form of the shapes and colors lends to an abstract beauty that draws me. But I don’t want to dwell all the time there because people are so interesting. Have you ever noticed what someone looking at your photos does if you let them control how long they look at each one? My experience is that most people flip through landscapes at a rapid clip and stop at the people.

Local Native American artist

I’ve done portraits before and, as an introvert, they’re challenging for me. To take a picture of people, on the go, as I am everyday, is hard. I don’t think it’s honest to just snap a photo of an individual without getting to know them (except maybe as a crowd or an event) so this shyness holds me back a little. I think this means that I need to slow down, get to know more people as I go, and then take their picture. I’m going to work on this. I started today – see if you can tell when.

 

I had to resist the temptation to take pictures of more huge lawns. Americans clearly love to mow which I attribute partly to our love of driving.
I have a soft spot for a classic A Frame. With a roof like that, who needs walls?

State 5 – PA! Tomorrow OH.
Couple beside the road working on his and hers top fuel dragsters. Me “who’s faster?” “I am”

I’m not crazy about the camp I picked tonight. It’s kind of RV land near Erie PA which isn’t really my taste. But they have wifi and hot showers for $20 so there’s that. It should allow me to do a quick tour in the morning of the nearby Presque Isle State Park which looks interesting.

What’s the deal with Erie PA and frogs? They’re everywhere
Wow! A classic American Diner. OK sorry, I hate sarcasm

 

16 thoughts on “Day 13 – Taking 5 to Erie PA”

  1. What’s really weird about the “Diner” picture is that there is a phone booth there. When’s the last time you used a phone booth?

  2. Challenges are indeed good for us, I know you’re working hard to push that rock up the hill. I have faith that you’ll make it. Great pictures!

  3. Hi Jim,
    I am reading every post and enjoying every picture. As I told you, my prayers for you this trip are for protection and connection. I love that you are slowing down to connect as hear people’s stories. BTW, when you hit KS, most of the winds will come from the south. You will notice the trees all bend to the North because of it and you will constantly be pulling left to drive into that pressure. You will be strong and ready so keep on peddling.

    1. Thanks, Lorrie. It’s motivating to know that you are all along for the ride.

      Ooh and good to know about the Kansas Mariah – thanks for the tip. I expected the worst as usual.

  4. Such trip would be good for me too: one can not make the head winds go away and it’s not one’s fault that they are there.

    1. I think Megan has gotten to the same place with a lot less pedaling but that’s a different path 🙂

  5. Hey neat, I’m glad it was meaningful for you too! Aristotle said something about habits making us into who we become. So the general idea has been around for a while! But your way of putting it really stuck with me. 🙂

    Keep pushing west, the pics and commentary are great! Here’s wishing you some days with good tailwi… er…mariahs…

    1. Damn that Aristotle 😠 Slightly beat me to it.

      Thanks, Kent. Hope to see you soon. I need to figure out when I’ll be closest to Indy. Soon though.

  6. Hi Jim!
    I’ve been thinking of you every time I see bikers on the side of the road. Almost every time, I’ve been in my car. Hmmmm.

    I started at the very beginning and read all of your blogs to date and all the info on this site. I have to tell you, I’m very impressed with you and what you’re doing. What an experience you are having, and by chronicling it in this way you are taking all of us with you. I look forward to each update. -your photos are amazing. Thanks for expanding my mind. Stay safe.

    1. Thanks, Wendy! I really appreciate that. I was noticing today that I think blogging this way has made me more aware of the experience too. There’s a great book called “Show Your Work” that is a quick read on that topic. But the gist of it is that by making a creative experience out of it shapes your choices, which has absolutely been the case.

  7. I love the idea of getting good at the things you do, for better or worse. I talked to Sam about it, but he thinks that getting good at sitting on the couch is a great goal. But then again, he’s 13.

  8. By the time you get to Kansas your legs will be really, really strong! And Kansas is flat so you don’t have to push the rock up the hill. Great commentary and the pictures are very, very nice.

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