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Is he really petting his bicycle? Where in the hell is that kid? That might be the worst song I've ever heard. Is he really sitting by himself laughing at the sky? He must be insane.

If you had the ability to "tap into" someone's senses at will, what would you find? I bet you'd learn a lot of things that normally people hide from one another for fear of being judged. Lately, if you were to tap into my senses, it'd be one hell of a show.


Click PLAY to watch the video.


Ok... and you're in this tunnel because... why?



In about 30 seconds, this hobbit-looking dude on a bicycle is going to be racing up and down these hills and not a soul on Earth will witness it.


It's the hypnotic bounce of his shadow under a blazing sun; an image of never-ending determination and unlimited confidence in his quest. He's a machine. Unstoppable. There is no foreseeable destination ahead and yet he moves as though it's the final sprint and the culmination of a life-long journey. Watching his shadow work tirelessly is an extraordinarily inspiring sight even to me... and I'm the one casting the shadow. He's like a train out of control, accelerating up an impossible incline towards the crest of the world. I can only imagine what it looks like to a passing motorist as he's charging up a hill by himself in the middle of nowhere with nothing but a maddening smile upon his face. He's enraged with power; strength only once accessible through fear of fatality now flows freely in his muscles like a man possessed. His destination is not of this world. He stands on his pedals to hasten the already unnatural velocity all the while keeping his eyes focused on the point where the road falls off into blue sky and the beyond. Never in his life has he moved with such certitude and each stroke is unfeasibly more forceful than the last. The road's horizon is close. Exposing his teeth, it would appear that he was drawing near the critical point of his power but the man knows no limits; nothing is going to slow him down. As he approaches the final crest, every molecule of the body is beyond capacity as he pulls back on the handlebars, stretching ligaments in his arms and shoulders. Its summit will undoubtably bring him before the infinite; his horse is about to spill over this Earth and sail off into a weightless oblivion. In a final frenzy of rage, he throws back his head, looks up towards the heavens and engages his entire being into the machine. An overwhelming chill surges in his pores. And then it happens.

In the collision of a literal and figurative disconnect, the landscape violently bursts like a sheet of shattering glass. The sound alone is enough to stop time and is so unexpected that he immediately concludes he has passed into the afterlife. The fragments of painted glass decelerate as all motion has come to a crawl. He falls over backwards and off the mighty steed. In a fit of bewilderment and confusion, he extends his right hand and grasps the horses tail only to look down and see that the world is removed and the remaining glass shimmers for the last time before dimishing into nothingness. Gravity no longer interferes. The wheels on the bicycle turn in slow motion and the pedals continue to revolve completely removed of any resistance. They're sailing in the company of the stars. He pulls himself towards the machine in order to remount but soon finds that he has instead pulled it behind himself and now drifts along in front of it, gaining speed as the bike begins to fade into black. He begins to mouth a word but is overcome by astonishment. His eyes could not comprehend its magnificence. It's a confusing surrenity of wonder; the nexus between two worlds.

Okay, so maybe that's not exactly how it happened, but that's the only way I can express what it was to be there at that time. I've conquered the mountain and the immediate ride down is an overwhelming happiness. A deep breath of accomplishment fills my lungs and the new mountain scenery before me is perfected by a departing sun just beyond. Really, I have no choice but to rock out. I let go of the handlebars and arch my back over the bike with my hands outstretched as ShadowFax gallops onwards into the postcard of a landscape. It's most definitely a feeling of bliss, and when I return to look onward, song floods my mind accompanied by a short drum solo of the hands and an air guitar wherever I see fit. I made several voice recordings in this moment and replaying them now is like listening to someone who merrily overdosed on their bottle of happy pills. I kept saying "THIS IS WHAT IT'S ALL ABOUT! THIS IS WHY I'M HERE!". It may seem mildly insane in retrospect, but trust me, it was as pure as could be.

Uh, hey Chuck... what the hell is this one about?
This time my imagination dealt out more fear than inspiration.


Night came (imagine that) and here I am biking along (also imagine that) through Texas (again...) looking for a good place to pitch thee ol' tenteroo. I pulled into another picnic area but wasn't happy to know that people could see me from the road and possibly harass me if they desired. So, I walked along the edge of the picnic area and was very surprised to find that a large part of it was not fenced from the surrounding ranch. As I walked beyond the fencing, I didn't know if I was going onto somebody's land or if this was simply unowned property. Either way, I'd be completely unnoticed by anyone, so it didn't really matter. I found my way under an overpass and decided to make camp by a couple burnt and broken couches. I wasn't totally happy with my camp site since it was exposed on every side, so I decided to make a fire and stay up late to ensure that nobody was about to wander by. How are you going to make a fire without firewood? Simple -- use the couches. I have a lot of experience from the House Of Pain when it comes to burning couches, but I decided to ration these buggers by chopping them to size. I came upon a 2ft iron rod and quickly hacked firewood from these two sofas and managed a small fire. It's not often that I get to watch the sunset since I'm usually focused on remaining stealthy in the woods somewhere, but this time I'd be treated by the sight depicted in the photograph featured above.

Time passed, all was well and I decided to call it a night around 10pm. When I was sitting around the fire for those few hours, there were no sounds of animals whatsoever, but once I laid down to rest it was a totally different story. At first, it was just a couple small noises in the surrounding bushes, but it soon escalated to the sound of large animals running swiftly by... I'm guessing it was a couple deer. Deer or not, when you know that something big is in proximity of your tent, you are alert as all hell. Coyotes are always howling in the distance around these parts and it's not helping to calm me down. Then, out of nowhere, it sounded like somebody knocked down a tower of pots and pans not far from where I was sleeping. It scared the shit out of me. Anytime I find myself getting scared, I just talk myself into rational thoughts and try to find rest once again. That usually works, but it wasn't going to work this night. Now, some kind of animal is definitely coming towards my tent -- no, it's not a bear, it was probably a pig or a racoon or something, but it still puts me on edge.

That was it, I decided I was going to take this shit from nature anymore. I ran my hand quickly over the plastic part of my tent to make a loud, sudden noise and I heard whatever it was scurry off into the woods. I then grabbed the iron bar next to me and came out of the tent half scared and half pissed off at the world. The fire was no more than a pile of embers but the light of the moon was more than enough. I started yelling into the brush and cacti around me. I know I have a habit of writing profanity throughout this journal, but to quote my words this night would be most uncomforting to those of you in InternetLand. I stood there waving around this iron bar and violently shouting vulgarity into the night in order to simultaneously scare off animals and upsurge my own confidence. Since that bear encounter way back when, I have never slept as well as I used to and it's made me more furious than fearful of approaching danger. Just as I'm at the peak of this self-sculpted aggression, here comes the choochoo train just a couple hundred feet off my camp site... this time it's a passenger train. I started to wonder what the people on the train were thinking as they stared out the windows and it was at this point that I realized I had finally done it. There I was... waving around this iron bar in the pitch black of night, under a bridge, next to the train tracks, around burnt and broken furniture and a dwindling fire while violently yelling swear words into the dark... by myself -- I had become the crazy hobo I always dreamed.

I spent a long while laughing at myself... which I tend to do a lot lately. I got back in my tent and tried to get some shut-eye, but now my imagination ran wild and the slightest sound of a leaf falling would cause my eyes to snap wide open. I didn't have a chance in hell of sleeping there that night. I decided to throw in the towel, tear down my tent and sleep closer to the picnic area. The walk back to the picnic benches was accompanied by more angry profanity into the shrubbery to keep any animals at bay. When I got to the picnic area, it was no more comforting than it was the first time I decided not to camp there. When the sun goes down and I'm not exactly sure where to pitch the tent and what's in proximity, fear often overwhelms me. It's funny though, because really it wasn't unsafe at all -- it's just that there is this instinctual connection between darkness and danger that causes me to lose my nerve. So where am I going to go now? It's just pavement and barbed wire for another 10 miles and it's pitch black outside. I didn't have a choice, I had to ride.

Back on the bicycle, I felt instantly safe once again. With the light shining on the road ahead and not a single vehicle all the way to Sanderson, it was actually one of the best rides I've had yet. The Texas sky is unbelievably clear when you're in higher elevations and the road I was traveling dissected two mountain ranges to create the most picturesque silhouettes on either side. It was a blue sky fading to black peaks and in the middle I caught glimpse of several shooting stars as I cycled places I've never before seen. Looking up towards the sky I could point out constellations without even knowing they were constellations -- the patterns just were too evident to miss. Our friend, the train, decided to return from the far left and ran parallel with the road right at the base of the the mountains. Its lights shone in a seemingly tangible beam and would catch hold of the mountainside to cast brilliant shadows where the rock receded inwards. So many beautiful sights... so many times I wish I could have shared them with somebody. As I kept moving along, I came around a bend and the lights of Sanderson made their debut into my world like a long-awaited sanctuary. It seemed I got there far too quickly; I wanted to continue in the light of shooting stars but knew I only had the energy to move a few more miles before I'd realize my own fatigue. Camping in town was a breeze.


How do you know you're crazy if nobody's around to tell you? The next day I created that PB&J video (featured above) and again spent a very long time laughing at myself. If you came upon some kid sitting out in the middle of nowhere on a picnic bench laughing by himself, wouldn't you call him crazy? I don't really think I'm crazy though, I just enjoy my own thoughts :-) It was another day of the most unbelievable views and I spent more time taking photographs than actually riding my bicycle. In all 360 degrees there were mountains. Sometimes they were far away, other times they were hugging the road. The most distant of mountains took on a surreal image as they were nothing more than a light shade of blue hardly able to be discerned from the world above. Days pass quickly when the mind is occupied with such a backdrop and the unremitting waves of golden grass. It was just beautiful to be there... to take it all in and smile.

Hope you enjoyed the madness :-)

-Charlie



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The Simple Living Guide

Written by Jane Luhrs


1997
Living simply is being fully aware of what you're doing and why you're doing it. This book will elevate you out of your own world to take an objective look at your actions.




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