Friday, October 26, 2012


And Comes A Storm
The Trailer Park Cyclist is hitting a good lick, pedaling strong into a shifting headwind. He is in Shiloh, a ghost town in the purest sense: here there are no houses, no stables, no ghost town saloons. Here there is nothing except the ability of the powerful machine that is the US government to make anything that it no longer needs or that is in its way disappear.

Shiloh is gone.

But what of that? He hits another stroke on the pedals. This wonderful machine beneath his legs is old. This machine beneath his legs is old, and the Trailer Park Cyclist, himself, is old. But not so old that he and his machine cannot stroke and blast through time and space, hitting a good lick through a piece of Florida history. Shiloh!

Curb Appeal
When it became imperative that we feeble rascals called the human race must shoot forth into space, outer space, we did what we always do: we cleared some land. A lot of land. Confident that Outer Space would be the next real estate boom property we went ahead and leveled Shiloh.
And Yet
When you are pedaling your ass off in this vast and horrid wilderness that is the Canaveral Preserve there ain't much to see. Palmettos and roadkill make up most of the scenery. There is a lot of Florida heat. Humidity and dust are your onliest friends and you wonder why you came. But then, one stroke of the pedal follows another and you remember why; you remember that where and when mean nothing; it is the stroke of the pedal and your inner world of remembering and searching that brought you here. You are here because this is where you are supposed to be and yes, and yes, but what about Shiloh?

What About Shilo?
Who knows? Listen, mates, a late season storm named Sandy is scratching at the door and me, your old buddy Tim Joe, thought he would live up to his reputation as a Rough Rider and hit a lick Way Out There with a storm coming in. And thus, as ever, I survived and am here to tell the tale. Sadly, this little bluster and blow failed to meet our expectations and sixty miles later I have nothing much to tell about except a new trick I learned. Reverse Flow Track Stand.

Yeah. With a forty mile per hour head wind thirty miles from the Trailer Park you gain character. A lot of character. This is a post season storm and the wind is whipping around like a rabid wolverine and I may need to be put in a Home if I ever GET this sucks...

And still, what about Shiloh?

It's Good Enough For Me
I cannot say. There was an early little school in Shiloh Village. There was an educator there who had once been a slave but somehow magically transformed his fate into that of a teacher of the little white kids who lived in the area. That's pretty cool, wouldn't you say? There is a grave there that I looked at, a pioneer lady who now sleeps alone, because of our efforts to conquer Space. I learned some of these things while being blown backwards on two wheels by a bitch named Sandy who I loved all the same.

She is still here, scratching at the door.

So, yes, my friends, Shiloh still lives, I will see to that. And here am I, rum-fortified and beer-strengthened. This little fake storm scares me not, I already pushed her back harder than she pushed me. These winds come and go and they are meaningless. Here's what about Shiloh:

Shiloh Lives. As do we. Power, my friends...power, life and faith! Shiloh!

Whispering Pines Trailer Park and Preservation Society


  1. Tim Joe,

    Good words my friend. I have read here and there a bit about that which almost was in Florida and some of what was and now is not. But Shiloh, not until now. I must look further into her history and her fate.

    I am also impressed by your report of mastering the Reverse Flow Track Stand. Should I try that one at home?

    Bill Hopp, the Anonymous Hoosier

    1. Only with cushions Sir Bill. I think you should write a guest post. Bother me at trailerparkcyclist where lies the gmail. yr pal, tj

  2. I will have to look at old maps, because that is where Shiloh still lives. Glad you won your passage home, and that the trailer is upright and still in Whispering Pines.

  3. With last night's blow it was more like the Whistling Pines, Dee. Thanks for coming by.

  4. Hi TJ!
    I'm reminded of a song by Neil Diamond by the same name...believe it was about a woman named Shiloh but I'm not sure.

    Good words, indeed, sir. As always.

    I'm kind of in the path of Sandy, my ownself. I'm sitting in a hotel room in VA Beach where I've been attending the US Open 9 Ball championships and I'm debating how long I'd like to remain in town in order to miss the worst of it. I've got some large trees back home and I worry about MB being there alone with a force 5 blowing in the yard. Probably going to head home early, missing tonight's finals.

    Glad you made it through. I know I've never done a Reverse Flow Track Stand but I'm sure one is in my future.

    Your bud,

    1. Home Lad! There will always be more billiards but our hearts and responsibilites lie with our true loves and the hearth. Trust me when i say once you have sat out a hurricane they all look the same. Home!


  5. My husband and I once visited a town that had been abandoned because of mine fire burning beneath the ground. It was fascinating to drive through the abandoned town and see the vacant lots reclaimed by nature. When we were there, seven inhabitated homes remained. The town is called Centralia and its located in PA.

    The most exciting thing was we saw the smoke of the still burning fires rising up through the ground. We smelled sulfur. And we walked along a road that had been torn apart as in an earthquake and eventually rerouted and closed. Fascinating stuff!

    I've read two books on the town and watched a documentary. The towns people were very divided during the years that the fire raged. Many attempts were made to stop it, but it was always too small of a fix, too late.

    I have no way to link it with biking so I can't really blog about it. I've done so much research on the story though, and its a shame to never write about it. Maybe someday ill go back there and bring my bike. I could go a "Centralia: Then and Now".

    But for right now, it's time to get in a bike ride before Hurticane Sandy arrives. No point in going out to get milk and bread. The stores have already been raided as a result of the news stations' fear tactics!

    1. I know about Centralia, Angie. And don't waste your research effort. If you have a fire burning beneath the surface and a story you need to tell, lock yourself away somewhere for three or five days and type up "Wheels of Fire, the Search for Salvation." Fictionalize it from top to bottom and the Truth, as always, will come through.

      Milk and bread? Angie, this is a late season hurricane. I suggest rum and beer and extra toilet paper. We always seem to be out of toilet paper after a blow.


  6. I'm still chuckling....the VERY FIRST thought when I saw the title was the Neil Diamond song (hat tip to Brian in VA). And my second thought was that you were up in Tennessee at the battleground of Shiloh. So color me surprised to find out there is a Shiloh in FL! (I've been in some of the Canaveral Preserves during prior work-trips out to the Cape).

    And I will say WOW...riding into a 40mph headwind...that's up there in the Lt. Dan (Run Forest, RUN) ranting at God during a hurricane...("You call this a WIND?!!!!)

    I do my own little Lt. Dan rants here and there when I'm riding alone (typical), as we seemingly ALWAYS have wind here...however it was a lowly 20mph'ish breeze on my Thurs after-work-ride...fighting my way up the final 7% 3/4 mile climb (Pine Cyn rd, coming up from Lompoc Prison) directly into the teeth of the tiger...They say wind gives you character, and I agree...a BAD one! Unless it's a tailwind, then it's a rare GIFT. Just seems to me that the wind is the ultimate it can feel like it's ALWAYS a head/cross-wind.

    But you lived to tell the tale, and toast the storm properly with rum and beer. You WIN!

    1. Hey Matt! There was a bit of walking getting out of there until the road took its one little change of direction and it became a cross wind...heading back North it would be cross, then head then a minute of tail (I took advantage of that, I'll tell ya.) Stopping for beer three times on the run home also helped. A lot. Only the second time in my history when it felt like I could actually be blown over, or into the traffic on U.S. One.

      It became a kind of isolation experience. I was so busy staying alive and pedaling and focusing on moving forward and not being killed...I didn't put the front deraileur back on after the paint job and would have appreciated the granny. Next time I will definitely go back out but I will stay a LOT closer to home so I can run in and laugh at the wind through my trailer window. Thanks for coming by.


  7. We have a place not too far from here that was named Ellenton, but then the government needed to make some stuff to go in bombs that nobody was supposed to know about, so now Ellenton is just a sign on a road that allows driving, but no stopping.

    That's the thing, though. Even the places that still exist aren't the places they were before. Time changes everything, even our memories of what was.

    Let's just keep riding.

    Thanks for making me think, TJ. I always appreciate it.

    1. There is something fascinating about how a town can just go away. The isolated graves were especially poignant.

      Thanks for stopping by the Park, Berry.

  8. TJ,

    I've always been fascinated by abandoned places. Places where we made our mark and then moved on. With all my wanderings chasing creeks and trails I've come across some interesting places.

    There's a ghost town in PA from the original oil boom, called Pithole. Once the home of thousands, now all that remains is the shapes of the roads.

    Not far outside my hometown there was a town called Freedom Center. Then the guvment decided they needed a place to make bombs and ammo. They built a fence around a huge section of land, right through the middle of Freedom Center, and made it into the Ravenna Arsenal. You can still drive back near the fence and see the few houses that remain. Eerie.

    Keep on riding.

    Steve Z


    1. Now that you mention it, Steve, I am reminded that here in Florida we have a kind of pre-packaged ghost town: the planned development that never got built. The developers would go in and put in the infrastructure, the streets, fire hydrants, streetlights and so forth but for one reason or another no homes were built. There are two such places on one of my regular rides. In a way, they are a bit creepy.

      "Pithole"? I can only imagine what the jail was like there.

    2. We also have a Pittsville not too far from here. Lovely place.

      The 140 acres that we're building trails on was partially developed in the 60's. Some land was cleared, streets laid out (but never paved), storm sewer lines, phone poles and water lines were put in - and then it was abandoned and left to return to nature. So now you can ride through the woods and come across a fire hydrant just sticking out of the ground.

      Steve Z

  9. TJ,

    Thank you! I am always glad when I find a new post here. I am actually at a loss for the right words - I too find it moving when I come across some former settlement that is no more, or never was. Unfortunately here in Las Vegas, they don't value history or historical places as much as they do the new and "better" so most places around here are less than 30 years old. Coming from the Motor City with some neighborhoods going back 100 or more years, I got a small sense of history and can appreciate it. Of course that is becoming one giant ghost town.

    As for riding in a 40 mph headwind, I am in awe. 20 to 25 is about my limit, but that is because I porvide so much more area for the wind to push!

    Ride on!


    1. Dan, what is happening in Detroit is a damned shame, on many levels. These things have away of self-correcting, though, given enough time. I spent some time in Brooklyn in the early seventies and now look at it. I have not been to Vegas since about that same time but I gather that a few changes have taken place there, also. Detroit is an historic place in a beautiful area and somehow I believe in a hundred years it will be something to see. I'll let ya know.


  10. Hiya TJ
    I have got an abandoned town on one of my ride routes. Once a dog charged out from a falling down house and I later wondered if it was a ghost. My tender hindquarters did not wait to find out. Sometimes when I roll past I wonder if the crooked tombstones are holding any messages for me. Our Carolina blue skies yielded up a strong headwind home on Saturday's ride. I hunkered down, but it got its licks in good.
    Yer pal

    1. Hey KAZ! It seems that ghost towns are ubiquitous. Everybody has one. If a dog came charging at me from somewhere in Shiloh you can bet I will pull an ET and make my bike fly. I hope everything is going your way at the Lake.

      By the way, I really enjoyed your last post over at the Swell Guy. Good Work!


  11. Good post!
    I am wondering what you think is the character that is built in a 40 MPH headwind?
    Good, bad, shady, Questionable??
    I know what a 40 MPH headwind would do to my attitude, not sure about my backstock of character that I have stored up in my psyche.

    There are many ghost towns to explore here in Colorado but not so much Government or disaster caused. More due to the simple economics of the mine being played out. I have some future plans (dreams!) to set myself about exploring this by bicycle!
    Hope for tailwinds for you my friend!

  12. Jim, when I left the trailer it was only a Very Windy Day. As we all know, a tailwind is the most comfortable lie we cyclists have all learned to indulge. But as is my habit, I went on out there. When it kicked up, I turned tail for home, only to find out it was too late. But the return ride was like when the fire department would crank open the hydrants on a hot summer day. Blasted around and certain of impending doom the only thing to do was laugh and survive.

    Laugh and Survive!

    Words to live by, Jim Bangs! Thanks for your support!

    Old Tim Joe

    Oh, post script: the character would be Bugs Bunny

    1. TJ,
      Laugh and Survive.
      That is all I had in my quiver when the 30+MPH headwind decided my pace should be in the 5-6MPH range 13 miles from the refuge of my truck.
      It started out two days prior packing for a conference when I thought, "I'll bring my bike so I can get in a ride in some different scenery". Innocent enough.
      It's a little over 33 miles from the outskirts of Ellensburg, WA. to the little town of Selah, WA. Beautiful ride along the Yakamia river. Wind blowing out of the north (direction of travel).
      It's out and back, I think this won't be so bad.
      Quickly I'm doing 23 then 27 MPH with the wind whistling past me. I'm starting to think maybe not one of my better ideas.
      I got to Selah fast, then got lost poking around the town.
      When I got out of town my avg. pace went from over 24 to somewhere around 11-13. With my pace reduced severely my only company was the fog line on the road and my advanced mathematics skills. 33MI/13MPH=long time, 33MI/11MPH= longer time. At one point the road turned between two rocks on each side of the road. BAM!

      Like riding into a pillow!

      I was laughing so hard i only made it another 5 feet. I just stopped on the side of the road laughing. I must have looked like an idiot.
      Still had a ways to go. Put your head down and go. It will be over soon enough.

      Happy Trails,
      Greg D

  13. I have been riding my whole life, Greg, but it is only since I became a cyclist that I have noticed the wind. I wonder what THAT is all about? As always, thanks for stopping by the Park.