June 18-20, 2011
It has been a long day. But let’s back up to Saturday.
1625 miles in 5 days
Saturday was spent relaxing, catching up, and watching “True Grit”. (Good stuff) It was also the day for Beach Survival Challenge in Grand Haven. This event raises awareness and funds to promote beach safety, and was started in memory of Andy Fox and Daniel Reiss. This event is an absolute blast and I have now missed it two years in a row! Visit http://www.respectthepower.org for more information or to sign up your team next summer.
Sunday we worked out at this really fancy health club that doesn’t really cost that much. It was the first time I have swam laps since I finished swimming at GVSU in 1999. Needless to say I was pretty tired, maybe I should hit the pool when I return. I then spent all afternoon working on the bike. I changed the oil, put on new tires, and changed both sprockets to get more low-end power that I’ll need to get through the mountains of Peru. The bike felt great and I am happy with the results. That night Casey made what I will consider my last great meal in the U.S. We had New York strip, corn on the cob, and his world famous cheesy potatoes. Wow. Thanks Case!
Best Meal Ever
Today (Monday) I had two major agenda items. I needed to fix the bent bracket (from the campsite in Peoria) and load the bike onto the ship headed to Lima. I met Casey at his shop at noon and two employees got right to work on the bracket. They sacrificed their lunchtime to do it. They fixed it in no time. Awesome!! Thank you so much Arcadio and Francisco. After that it was an hour drive to the port in Galveston, Casey took a half-vacation day to help me out. Now I spent a good chunk of the morning calling my shipping agent and the port itself to make sure I had all the proper documentation. Everyone assured me that it was a piece of cake. Yeah, not even close. Apparently I needed a TWIC card which is a document which gets me inside the gate. I literally could see where I needed to drop off my bike but couldn’t get there. They told me I needed to hire a TWIC escort to get past the gate. But they were all busy. We sat in front of the gate for 3 hours. At 4:03 an escort finally showed up but the dock closed at 4:00. He really tried to help me out, and offered to come in at 8:00 am tomorrow morning on his day off!!! So after finding an overnight parking lot I left the bike and will drive back early tomorrow. This stresses me out because now I will not have the title before leaving for Peru. My flight down is tomorrow at 4:00 pm. I also had a few small things to take care of tomorrow morning which will not happen. But it will all work out, right?
Houston has been interesting. This whole trip so far people who have seen me on the bike have been so nice and interested. But here without the bike it seems to be a totally different story. Maybe it is the stress of a big city, I don’t know but people seem to start every interaction with guns blazing. From the waiter at the restaurant to the port manager, it has been a battle to just get a reasonable response. But the escort guy (Gary) did drop everything to help me out. I don’t know. I suppose it is a cynical, cynical world we live in and people have been hurt so much that it is hard to have faith in others anymore. I’m sure every person I’ve ran in to over the last few days has had to deal with so much negative crap that I was just another annoying customer. To me, Grand Haven is an incredible place full of really good people. Do I think that just because it is my home? I guess I needed to get out and get a new perspective, perhaps I am just too naive. On the ride back to Houston I was feeling very deflated. After the debacle at the dock we started talking about systems of manipulation and injustice that exist. I started to feel like the world’s problems are so great that how can anyone make a difference? But Casey calmed me down. Even though me taking time off to try and help the young women at the dorm may not have a drastic impact on the world, he still feels inspired. Thanks for the pep talk Casey. I suppose that is the point. Do what you can to make the world a better place, perhaps others will see and do likewise.