Sunday, October 30, 2011

A Ride Report In Three Parts (Unless I Forget): The Beginning

Coffee Can Fix Anything,  Almost
I crawled out of my bunk this morning and after stopping by that one little room I went into the big (for a trailer) kitchen/office/bike shop room to make some coffee and try to piece together events from the night before.. It was the last Sunday of the month so I had a long ride to do and I also figured it was high time for a blog post but the high time of the previous evening was creating something of a fog in the area of my brain.

“No problem,” I thought, “I'll just make the coffee extra strong and fire up the Ol' Quaz to see What's What on this fine Sunday Morning in the Year of Our Lord 2012.”

2011, said the Voice.

“What, Voice? I thought I told you to keep quiet until I get my first cup in the morning.”

It's 2011, not 2012. And how on earth did you manage to drink most of that jug of wine?

“Wine? What wine?” But I knew. I had already seen the way-less-than-half -full jug of cheap screw-top sitting on the counter. I got down the coffee filters and the coffee and threw an approximate amount together, filled the pot and poured it in. It hurt to do this and out of the corner of my eye I was certain that I had seen Earnest & Julio smirking at me from the label. Note to self: never drink wine that is bottled in New Jersey.

Ya Gotta Keep the Home Fires Burnin'
While the Mr. Coffee started doing that gurgling thing it does I went over to my trusty Quasitron 6000 Steam Powered Search Engine. With the right amount of lever pulling and knob turning, with a judicious pull on this chain and a tap on that dial, followed by a firm kick in the right spot, the Ol' Quaz can be counted on to spit out some juicy fact or rumor or photo or some tidbit or another that I can then weave into a Blog Post of Magic and Delight.

But not today.

Tales of Brave Prometheus (Revised)
The night before, while fascinating Miss Daisy the Yellow Dog with tales of my Victories and Exploits in Days Long Gone, while waiting for Uncle Bill the Gator-Slayer to hurry up and get those ribs off the grill and while yelling at the Blonde to get another fruit jar because Coyote's comin' over...while thus occupied with the busy business of a Trailer Park Pundit I had forgotten to put to bed the Quasitron 6000 by filling and banking her night coal and That Was Bad. I ran out to see if there were any coals left in Bill's cooker and tripped over an apparent corpse on the front porch.

“Bill!  Wake up,  Dangit!  The Quaz has Gone Out!   This Is Bad! And leave my dog alone!"  Billy mumbled something about Dale Earnhardt and went back to snuggling happily with Miss Daisy. We always joke about how if Uncle Bill and his Old Lady ever split up him and Daisy could get married. If he keeps hangin' out with me at the Park on Saturday nights that might happen sooner than later. On my way back inside Daisy growled at me as I awkwardly stepped over the two of them. “Good Girl,” I said absent-mindedly. I knew it was useless.

Better drink some coffee, said the Voice.

When In Trouble,  When In Doubt,  Saddle Up and Head On Out
“Good idea, Voice. And shut up. I gotta think.” The voice has this highly aggravating trick he does of fading away while laughing anytime he wants to let me know that  I'm screwed. I poured a big mug of black coffee and sat at the table gazing forlornly at the Quasitron 6000. One would think that after going to all the trouble to get a three-ton antique steam-powered search engine installed in a forty-five foot long single wide trailer, I would take care of the thing. But, Hey, I'm the Trailer Park Cyclist, and we all know what that means. So now there was only one thing to do.

Follow Standard Operating Procedure
I got my Goodwill messenger bag down from the hook over my repair bench and threw in my pump and a spare tube. I got a couple bananas and put them in too. I already knew I didn't have any trail mix. I checked the pressure in both tires and added forty (!) pounds to the front and fifteen to the rear.

I tickled the chain but I knew she was lubed just fine and I took Me Darlin' down from the stand and went out into the sun. Uncle Bill was sitting on his cooking stool and rolling a cigarette. “Hey Bill, do me a favor and fire up the Quaz on your way out, if you don't mind.” He just smiled and nodded and bent over to fish through the cooler, looking for any survivors of the previous night. I did that Stepping Off of the Porch and Onto the Bike Thing that I do and headed out.

Here There Is Magic
All of you know the feeling. You make those first few pedal strokes and just like that, you're flying. Just like that you are not a Normal Human anymore, because now you can fly. My morning start is beautiful: about six pedal strokes puts me on a gentle downhill to the Morning river and birdsong and river mist and I adjust the straps on my toe clips and wiggle around saying hello to my saddle and feeling the grip of that Cinelli cork tape and I am transitioning from my incarnation as a hungover, worn-out, past-his-prime Trailer Park Refugee into  something swift and sleek and swooping and free and ready to go.

I hit the river road and today the wind is from the East and I am so wrapped up in self-indulgence and happy-to-be-here-ness that I Head West,  against all convention, letting that breeze push me along like,  like, uh, push...dang cheap wine!  It is a pretty stiff late-morning East Wind on the Atlantic coast and I know just the road that I can use to ride West on this sunny Sunday and be alone. I have only been pedaling for ten minutes and I am sailing along at twenty-three miles per hour and yeah, baby, I'm in Church and This Is My Religion and I know I'm cheating but it is okay: I'm going west for about ten miles of Mind-Erasing wind-filled Glory and then I will start angling around in a sneaky roundabout fashion that will cheat the Wind.  I'll ease my way into the Northeast and by then I will have the Stuff, the Stuff we cyclists get for free; but not really; it isn't free at all. It feels free on a Sunday Morning like This One but it is very much earned. We earn it by riding our bikes for miles and miles and we earn it by thinking about bicycling and we earn it by learning about bicycles and keeping our bicycles clean and lubed and ready and the Stuff is the reward. The Stuff is that kick, that feeling of strength that makes us speed up when we see a hill.

Up Yours,  Aeolus
And I've got it now, I'm turning into that angled crosswind that I knew would be there and I say “Hello, Aeolus, good morning, how ya doin'?   Now excuse me if I just shoulder on through and you might want to step aside, pal.”   'Cause it's Sunday Morning and I got the Stuff and I got Miles To Go.

Aeolus said something I won't repeat,  even if it was in Greek.

Whispering Pines Trailer Park and Temple of the Stuff.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Too Little Miles and Too Many Links: Blame Bill & Aeolus

What I Didn't Do
Man what a beautiful day! It is seventy-three degrees Fahrenheit out of doors, right now, the sun is crisp and the day is clear and fine. I just got back from a little eighteen mile ride on my bicycle. I am a bit disconcerted at the short mileage: there is only one Sunday left in the month and I have yet to ride a Monthly Sunday Century, a custom I have been loyally observing since I got my “81 Schwinn Super Le Tour back in April, I think it was...of course, there have been a few occasions when that Sunday Century happened on a Saturday, if I check my records I think there is a Wednesday Sunday Century also, an accidental Century...

But the point of course is to get out there and just do it, get the ride in and log the mileage.

What I Did Do
But not today. I did not set out with the idea of doing a hundred miles today. I was only planning my usual 25 mile “training” run. I didn't take any beer money or food. Also, I have been guilty of quite a bit of Practice Carousing in celebration of the changing of the season and as a warm up for the strenuous, professional-level carousing that takes place in the coming Holiday Season.

It starts with the Waiting for the Great Pumpkin down at Uncle Bill's house. Sometimes I think that dang UB likes beer as much as I do even though he is always trying to convince me that he only drinks beer when I am around. What a crock. That little rascal always has a case or two of Bud when he shows up here at the Park.

After the Pumpkin doesn't come, we start the pre-Thanksgiving eating and drinking. Hams and ribs (always ribs) and whatever else comes around. This necessitates the Drinking of the Beer and along about sundown the Rum comes out. What a bunch of sinners.

Blame the Big Box
Anybody who ever goes to Wal-Mart already knows that Thanksgiving and Christmas are all one month-long holiday and there is nothing to be done about it. Except drink heavily.

Bicycles, TJ...What About the Bicycles?
But what about the Bicycles, you ask? I don't know. I was not a roadie last year. I just goofed off around the neighborhood (and beyond) on my old Mongoose Alta Single Speed. Training rides? Hah! Training for what? The Apocalypse?  Then it happened. My Buddy Coyote brought me an old Schwinn and the rest is history. Suddenly I was Fast (a little) and sleek and geared up and rockin' and rollin' and staying up late shopping for bicycle parts on the Internet and thinking about bicycles and then I wrote a guest Post for Fat Cyclist and then I started this here Blog and started writing down how many miles I rode and what the weather was like during the ride and thinking about riding my old bicycle  to California to see my son and become a Movie Star and get a really nice trailer in Malibu...

By the way, last week  I wrote another Guest Post for Fatty called Life and The Wind. You can see it here, anybody who is interested.

What's the Point?
Frequent Readers have probably given up looking for any rhyme or reason to my posts. I just get on here and free-style type and what comes out comes out. Today, for example, if there is any theme, it is one of Confession and Expiation. Confessing for not riding a hundred miles today and all the boozing I have been doing. And preparatory confessing for the hell-raising I am planning to do in case I forget to feel guilty about it later. Feel free to join in, both with the guilt-producing behavior and the expiation. I won't tell.

OK, We Give Up. Send In the Sauce
As some of you are aware, Uncle Bill and I have hatched an evil plan of Gastronomic Hijacking and World Domination based on his Mother'sSuper-Secret Barbecue Sauce. She got the recipe from her mother, and that mother got it from  hers, and so on back in line to the first Lost Buccaneers to ever wash up on the shores of our remote little corner of Florida. I have applied my minimal marketing skills to the problem and it shows. While we produced a few bottles of sauce, shipping costs are such that we are at a loss as to how to get the Sauce to you guys without making it so expensive that it becomes impractical to sell over the Internet.

What I decided to do last week was to send out samples to my Booger friends in a kind of Betty Crocker Ponzi Scheme. If any of you will send me the price of shipping (about $5.00) I will send you the Sauce. Then you get your friends hooked and put together a case order. I figure if I send it out in 12 bottle or even 24 bottle cases shipping will be spread around and get the per-bottle price down to something reasonable.

This whole thing is at the embryonic stage and I didn't start this Booger to sell barbecue sauce. But Hey! I told UB that I would see what I could do and so far nobody is complaining. Anyone who wants to can write a review on your Blog or write a Guest Post Review on here or at the Uncle Bill's Site. My buddy Matt over at Dillon Bikes wrote one you can see here. We swapped Sauce for a T shirt.

Aeolus LOVES Uncle Bill's Gator Sauce
Not really. I don't know if Aeolus ever even tasted barbecue.   He's a Greek God and me,  I don't know any Greek Gods:  I just hang out with Uncle Bill and various Pirates and Cyclists and Boogers. But I would bribe Old Aeolus  with a whole case of sauce if he would just make up his mind and blow from one direction or another. Part of why I ended up taking such an abbreviated ride this morning was that the wind was doing that blowing from everywhere thing so that no matter which way I turned the wind was in my face and frankly, I had a gentle but persistent hangover.  I also had a nagging list of chores waiting at home so I just packed it in and pedaled on back to the Park. It's not the first time this has happened, on the same route. It happened back when Agent KAZ visited, so I have a witness.  Sometimes the best way to beat the wind is to not be in it.

Tired of Typing (How Do I Blame the Wind for THAT One?)
Blah. It's a beautiful day but here I am saying Blah. There were a lot of Links in today's post, which I don't like to do, but I wanted you guys to see some of those Other Places. This Sauce thing, I don't know. I want to shift from talking it about here and move the ordering and promoting over to the Uncle Bill's site. You can link to it from my Blogroll. I want to set up a little bit slicker package but right now I don't know how, there's no money in it and let's face it, I'm basically giving it away. I'm giving it away to you guys for fun and something to do and I also think it is Good Stuff.

That's All For Now
That's all I got right now. There's beer in the freezer and the day is crisp and clear and cool and beautiful and Old Tim Joe is gonna go out and sit in the sun and rub Miss Daisy's ears. She likes it and I do too.

Whispering Pines Trailer Park and Bierstube

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

But What About the Bicycles?

You Have Got To Be Kidding
Last week I was thinking that maybe on my Booger I should try to be a little more Socially Conscious and stick in some Politics, or a Statement or somehow otherwise do something except pretend that I am happy about being poor and living in a Crappy Trailer Park and being old and slow. Maybe I owe it to somebody somewhere to stick my two cents in (if I had two cents but believe it or not, I don't). But I have two beers (part of what happened to the two cents) and maybe enough energy to Rant a Little so here goes. My Booger is about Evocation of Mood, it is about Encouraging Others to Ride Their Bikes and it is about being  Grateful for What You Have by showing everyone what little I have and how happy I am about it.

But What If
And I am happy about it, pretty much. But what if things get worse? What happens when you go to the ATM and it says Go Fuck Yourself and so you go around to the bank doors and they are locked? Or you head over to the grocery store and those doors are locked too?


So you join a bunch of other people and go down to City Hall to say Hey! We need money and we need food or we will huff and puff and blow City Hall down. But they just call in the Fire Department and the Police (two groups who have jobs and plan to keep them). They hose you down and arrest a few of you and tase a couple of you and then everybody goes home to dry off, calm down and get some rest.

There's Got To Be A Morning After...Maybe
Then when you wake up in the morning the electricity is turned off and you think to yourself “That's odd” must be a transformer or something so you decide to take a shower and get dressed and then go outside to see what's what. But when you get to the shower you discover that the water is off, too.
Uh Oh
What the Hell, you think and you decide to go next door to check with your neighbor. When you step outside you are surprised to see all your neighbors milling around out there in their bathrobes and bunny-rabbit slippers looking like they need to shave and brush their teeth and looking like they damn sure need a cup of coffee but they can't, they can't do any of those things and you can't either.

Can't happen here, you say? Why not? Says who?

Cold Hard Truth
All of the suppliers of these suddenly missing things, these Banks and Water and Food and Electricity, are provided to you by who? Let's say it together:

Corporations. Really Big Corporations.

Bring In the Clowns
So right now there are a bunch of people standing around various City Centers in various cities needing a shave and needing to brush their teeth but apparently having already had way too much coffee.

Trailer Park Manifesto
The Official Trailer Park Policy on OCCUPY is this:

We're for them. 

 I like it. If I wasn't Professionally Poor Me and Uncle Bill would be out there cooking huge piles of Barbecue for them and bringing them Kegs of Beer and trying to sell them sauce. Listen up, gang, whatever those nuts are doing out there OCCUPYING they are doing SOMETHING. They're out there in the rain and the weather Raising Hell and getting arrested and doing something else: They are getting National Attention and they are on our side, they are for us, the Human Beans.

They are for Us, the People. Will the world change due to their antics? It already has. This is one of those god-awful election years and these blow-hards running for the Right To Steal the Most Money In the World will have to answer to the OWS crew in one way or the other. The only thing those so called leaders respect more than Filthy Lucre is POLLS. This Blog here at the Trailer Park is a Poll.  So go ahead and spit it out.  What do you guys think?  Don't worry,  I'll still send you some Sauce.  Speak your minds.


Coming Up Next: The Trailer Park Cyclist Explains God, the Meaning of Life, and How to Maintain a Steady Cadence.. All surprisingly related.

Whispering Pines Trailer Park and Bully Pulpit

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Dog Days Again

Who Let the Dogs Out?
I finally got chased by dogs today. Other cyclists frequently talk about being chased by dogs and it never seems to happen to me. I was starting to get a complex about it. Am I such a wreck that I can't even get a dog to chase me? Of course, it doesn't help that I spend so little time on the bike these days that any dog that wanted to chase me would have to get in his car and drive over to Whispering Pines Trailer Park and chase me around whatever crappy trailer I am trying to put back together.

Back In the Game
Yes, it is true, Miss Jo the Trailer Park Manager had to bring me back out of retirement. The New Guy she hired to replace me made a noble effort to Be Me but let's face it. There's only one Me. 

 Not counting the Voice,  the Voice said.

"Shut up Voice.  You don't count.  And you're getting me confused."

It's So Easy Anyone Can Do It
The funny thing about carpentry is that the better you are at it the easier it looks. Take a set of stairs for instance. Nothin' to it, right? What could be simpler? Hah! The New Guy's first effort was so dynamic, so artful, so creative that it drew fascinated attention from every tenant in The Park. Plus the fact that the NG's artwork was being displayed on the side of the Blonde's trailer. This...creation was nailed to the side of the Blonde's trailer in a feeble effort to replace the rotten steps that had collapsed beneath her and Miss Daisy the Yellow Dog at bath time. (Not the Blonde's bath time. Miss Daisy's. The Blonde takes her baths inside now, and has ever since we moved into town. I do miss bath time in the country, though.)

Hey!  Eyes Up Here
While Blondie and me don't always agree, she has always respected my skill at cutting pieces of wood  into various shapes and then nailing them back together so that they are a stairway or a house (or even a nice juicy pile of money when I get a bunch of other guys to cut and nail with me).

Look at this crap,” she said, gesturing disdainfully at the NG's work. “You can build a better stairway than that even when you're drunk. Which is a good thing since you...”

Yes, yes, Honey,” I said, interrupting. “But I'm sober now and I must confess, looking at this work here before me is sobering indeed. Don't try to use these.”

Oh, don't worry. I wouldn't go near that thing. It made Toby bark.” Toby the Trouble Puppy has grown in size quite a bit since his rowdy arrival at Whispering Pines but his brain seems stuck on “Puppy”. In this instance, however, he was quite accurate in his assessment. Those steps made me want to hike my leg and bark like a dog.

It Ain't Over Till It's Over,  Rover
Later that afternoon I was sitting at my table and running my fingers listlessly over the keyboard of my computer. I had a nice clean blank screen in front of me but I also had a nice clean blank brain inside of me. Nothing was happening. Then I saw Miss Jo coming across the parking lot. Now something was happening. Miss Jo has a determined and purposeful stride that gives her the look of someone on the way to kick somebody's ass. She was coming towards my trailer. Our last meeting had been alcohol fueled and less than pleasant and I looked around for a place to hide but it was too late and she was on the porch.

Can we talk?” she said.

Of course,” I said, “And I'm sorry about the other night. You don't really remind me of a...”

Whatever,” she said. “That's water under the bridge. I want to know if you want your job back.”

Well, Jo, I don't know. I saw those stairs that Your New Guy built and I have to confess, I just don't have it in me to do that level of work. You gotta remember that I'm  only a carpenter. That guy is an artist and apparently an idiot savant, only without the savant part.”

I'm never going to hear the end of this, am I,” she said.

Never. And I demand that all my demands be met.”

Tim Joe, half of those demands are illegal and the other half physically impossible. And you're too old for that kind of stuff anyway. I don't want to be responsible for giving you a heart attack.”

I found this intriguing. The only demands I remember making was to be allowed a little more bicycle time and a new deal on my trailer rent. And a new hammer.

OK.” I said. “Where do I start?”

Where else? Replace those stupid stairs.  That Ex of yours is threatening to call the Building Department and the newspaper and PETA and anybody else she can think of that might give me more heartburn than I already have.”

Yes, ma'am,” I said. “By the way, you didn't happen to write down any of those demands I was making, did you?'

But she was already off the porch and on her way to another meeting. With the New Guy, no doubt.

No One Here Gets Out Alive
So once again I find myself crawling around tearing out rotten floors, re-framing collapsed walls, building simple but functional non-artistic stairs and generally picking up where I left off. And getting so little time in on my bicycle that I can't even get chased by a dog.

I'll chase you, Dad.” said Toby the Trouble Puppy.

That's good of you, puppy, but I don't want you chasing bicycles. And dog's can't talk.”

That's what I was going to say, said the Voice.

Whispering Pines Trailer Park and Asylum

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Put Me In Coach

I Can't Play Center Field
I don't know, man. My desire to hit a Home Run every time I sit down to type makes it hard. But do any of you come here for a base hit? I mean baseball. I kinda remember there was some sort of drug related base hits Back In the Day but the Trailer Park Cyclist struggles to be more or less Family Friendly. And this is supposed to be a blog about cycling and I know next to nothing about baseball except that I sucked in Little League. All those late nights reading under the covers by flashlight (because I wasn't allowed to read so much because it was making me weird) caused me to be almost blind and when they stuck me out in Center Field I never knew what the hell was going on. Sometimes I would hear a "Thunk" somewhere nearby and when I looked for the source of the noise there would be a baseball laying there. Then I would hear all this yelling but what the hell, when you are way out in Center Field you can't understand what they are all yelling about so I would run in to see what they wanted. Turns out that what they wanted was the stupid baseball so  then I would have to run all the way back out there and look for the stupid thing and by then it was no longer all that important.

But luckily, my baseball career was quite short lived and later on Jane Pierce, the school librarian, figured out what was weird about me and fixed things up so I could spend all the time I wanted in the Library at good ol' Stringtown Grade School. I went through those stacks pretty quick and she later got me into a deal at the High School where I was supposed to excel and become a Great Writer but what actually happened was I met Debbie Barton and somehow got distracted. I was twelve and she was fourteen and I'm not sure she ever read a book in her life but she knew some things that may have been in all those books that I read, but that I didn't fully grasp at the time.

Miss Pierce had pulled me aside one day and said that I had a gift and to always nurture it but then Ol' Debbie pulled me aside and told me some Other Stuff and Therein Lies A Tale.

Relax,  You Won't Feel A Thing
Don't worry, I'm not going to Tell the Tale. The  Final Page ends with a Pretty Old Guy with a head full of Stories and Adventures sitting in a Little Trailer in Florida trying his best to Sort It All Out and Keep It Going even though it often feels as though it ain't worth the effort and the best thing to do would be to Saddle Up and Pedal Off Into the Sunset.

Which I sometimes do but I always come back before it gets too dark.  Like I said, I don't know,  man.  The Onset of Fall and these cool evening breezes bring out all this Nostalgia and Introspection and then I spread it around here on this so-called blog about cycling.

But then, I am, after all, writing about cycles  (in a way), life-cycles, I guess, and bottom brackets (Debbie Barton) and headsets (Miss Pierce) and boy, if I stretch this analogy any farther It's gonna snap back and smack me in the forehead like an unseen home run hit into Center Field.

I know that where some of you guys live the evenings are getting way cooler than they are around here and I also know that some of my readers are also spending  a little time Looking Inside. Go ahead. It don't hurt, much. Have a frosty libation or ten while you're at it.

It Ain't Over Till It's Over
Me, I plan to keep on pedaling and thinking about pedaling and writing about pedaling and sorting things out. I don't own a sofa or a recliner or a television and I only sit down to type this stuff or read the typings of others , mostly you guys. I plan to keep on pedaling and to stay as strong as I can because there is always another Adventure on the Horizon and I want to Be Ready.

Just Checking In.

Yer Buddy, TJ

Whispering Pines Trailer Park and Navel Gazing Retreat