Where I've Been on My Bike

This is an interactive map. Click on the placemarks for more information. You can also zoom in and out.

** Texas and Oklahoma segment is on a separate map, accessible here. **

green: points of interest
blue: where I've stayed
red: segments on train
yellow: segments by car

The Final Leg: New Mexico to Idaho

Trans-Asian Odyssey

yellow: arrived by plane
arrived by land vehicle (car, bus, mashrutka)

blue: arrived by boat
red: arrived by train

Central American Wanderings

green: points of interest
blue: where I've stayed
yellow: SHI job sites

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Contemplating Kaleidoscopes in the Sponge Capital of the World.

About the invention of the kaleidoscope: http://www.kaleidoscopestoyou.com/hiofka1.html

Family and friends,

I have tried many times to compose a mass email to you all and have always felt it inadequate. For those of you who don't know, I left a wonderful existence in DC on March 3 to bike around the U.S. My reasons for doing this are still difficult to articulate, especially to curious folks along the road. "Is this for some benefit?" or "You lost, son?"are common questions. Fair enough, since I am unable to present myself as anything other than a ragamuffin and my bike getup is a hodgepodge of trinkets I've been given or things I've accumulated on the road. My goals are simple: to see people I miss that are scattered around the country, to be healthy, to spend a lot of time on my bike, to explore America and a little of the great beyond. You could say I took the easy route; it is impossible for me not to achieve these goals on my bike. I have engineered a journey that satisfies them all. That is, unless I get hit by a semi. (I have a running 'black list' of counties with disappearing highway shoulders)

So far I've wound my way through Piedmont to Tidewater Virginia and the Outer Banks of North Carolina with my dear friend Barrett; past inky cypress swamps and broken-down sharecropper cabins covered in spring blossoms in South Carolina and central Georgia; through the dry prairie and intoxicating citrus groves of Florida. I've seen an obscene variety of roadkill, fauna changing with latitude and longitude. I've been blessed to be hosted by some wonderful people: the Arnolds in Gloucester VA, Ben in Durham NC, Mary in Folly Beach SC, Dan and Maria in Macon GA, Emily in Fernandina Beach FL, Abby in Lorida FL, Gretchen and fam in Fruitville FL, and now Jonathan and Concepcion in Tarpon Springs FL. You've helped me process my journey to a degree I can't express, and taught me about community from your own. I've also had the opportunity to get some much needed rest and use this communication machine to reconnect a bit.

Biking is exhilarating and refreshing on most days. My mind hovers on particular impressions, flits back and forth among memories of people and places to a certain cadence, not unlike the movement of beetles along asummer highway. I try to whistle, but sometimes that requires more energy and skill than I can muster. Then there are moments when I'm bent to the pavement, cursing the bursitis in my left knee and my dysfunctional bike trailer tire, glowering at storm clouds or considering trading in my crate for a gunrack. I can always visualize the next hit of Gatorade waiting for me at the next country store. I love seeing the open sky each night, and often pretend the stars are souls like yours beaming down on me, recharging my body and spirit.

There is so much I could share, but I'll have to leave you with the simple blog below (please don't ask me to improve it- a huge undertaking for this Luddite!). It has an interactive map and slideshow of photos I will occasionally update. Much lies in between and will have to be shared in personal correspondence. http://www.streakacrossamerica.blogspot.com [Note: No 'streaking' on this trip yet, in the literal and figurative sense. I have only done so in 6% of theUnited States, previously. My average pace is somwehere between 12 and 15 mph...] I love and miss you all very much. Enjoy spring like it was your favorite ice cream cone.

- Kevin

See below for contact info and an itinerary. Come take a break from the primaries and meet me on the road.

"Get a bicycle. You will certainly not regret it, if you live." -Mark Twain

"I've never made 'Who's Who?', but I regularly appear in 'What's That?!'" - Anonymous

For those who live in DC, you can also listen in to DJ Utz and Bari's broadcast every other Sunday from 9 -11 PM on Radio CPR 97.5 FM. I will call in with a field report, hopefully with some live regional music. Next show is on April 13th. Tune in! (www.utzbari.blogspot.com)

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