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The perfect scene at La Jolla just off the Pacific Coastal Highway (PCH). Standing here felt like a dream. No wind, no clouds, no insects. Just sunshine and 70 degrees with the waves crashing on the moss-covered rocks below and birds soaring in the sky above. It was obvious that the community put forth a large effort in maintaining this state of tranquility and I wasn't the only one spending hours upon hours staring alone into the blue. There was a slight breeze bringing cooler temperatures in from the north that had a tendency to heighten the sensation of peace already present in the air. It was a dreamscape in every sense of the word.


The third leg of the tour began on New Year's Eve, 2006 and the route couldn't be any easier. Go up the coast the whole way, cut in towards Modesto at some point, return west to San Francisco, go up to the northwest part of Oregon and cut in towards Portland. It should be "a part of a cake!". Sure, the route is simple, but it's the camping part that might be a little tricky. I'd soon find out everything immediately north of San Diego is entirely developed along the coast and stealth spots would be rare. I've thrown the towel in on WarmShowers for now... that was more of a Southern Tier thing since there were so few chances for recovery along the long stretches of nothingness. I landed in some town probably 60 miles north of San Diego and cycled around for an hour trying to find a place to put up the tent. Finally, I returned back to a spot that would work though I wasn't crazy about it... and with good reason -- this had definitely been someone else's spot at some point in time. "Eh, screw it", I said to myself. Up with tent, out with the sleeping bag and off to bed we go. Of course that was only until Gill showed up.

The international declaration of peace between bums is made in the greeting. "Hey buddy, what's going on?" and I said it before he could get a good look at me. The word "buddy" is key. Actually, he never did get a good look at me -- our lengthy conversation happened through the mesh of my tent and though there was hardly any light shining on him, I know for certain that there was none shining on me. He didn't seem phased. I wasn't phased. So, we talked. "So what's your story, man? What're you doing out here?", I asked. Gill was a pretty normal guy with coherent thoughts and good speech... I was kind of surprised he was in this situation. "Well, I had a business in 1986 with some friends and it went bust. I guess I just never pulled out of it and here I am. I spent probably 6 or 7 years over there about a 100 yards away, but the cops kept kicking me out. This here spot is okay, but you get a lot of Mexicans and hookers during the day." It was that simple. 20 years doing this? There was probably more to the scenario than he let on, but maybe he just didn't mind the life. He continued and told me about how he sought help through some religious organization and how it apparently brought him into more a slump than he was in before. Then out of nowhere he started talking about WWII, the Germans, Vietnam and how drugs, crime, religion, alcohol and lunacy are all one big interconnected and perpetual mess. That's kind of a far ways from where the question began, but hell, that's what makes it so interesting! I probably spoke about 25 words during the hour we talked to each other's silhouette and later he said that I was one of the more sane people he's talked to recently. Just a weird encounter... but a nice guy and someone I'll remember when I'm asked, "what did you do for new year's last year?" a year from now.

Overlooking some big ol' harbor.



CrazyGuyOnABike meets CrazyGuyInATree. He challenged me to a foot race slaloming through the trees. By some odd coincidence, this was the second bum in two days who, by no provocation of my own, had something bad to say about Germany. What's with that?



Possibly the only place in the county of LA where you can stealth camp. I found a site that was just cleared out for future construction and wrangled a shield of tumbleweed so as not to be spotted -- worked beautifully.



The first few days out of San Diego were a bike path right along the sea. Too bad you can't scratch-and-sniff this photograph... I remember it being particularly oceanerific right about here.



Being an idiot. Looking for somewhere to camp.


People often ask me, "so what do you think about with all this time by yourself?". I dunno... anything and everything -- whatever the circumstances trigger I guess. Recently I've found myself on a tired subject from other entries. In short, I have some kind of personal problem with the media. I see the news as a kind of morphine for those making their way as unfulfilled or drained professionals. Naturally, my views come from my own frustrations, so they could be skewed simply because I didn't enjoy what I was previously doing enough to want to do it 50 hours every week. However, I'd be hard-pressed to find someone who does, so maybe you can relate. I'm going out a limb here and am not real sure if I should write this, but then again, it's a journal... and the thoughts are a large part of the tour.. so what the hell. Forgive me if I come across like an ungrateful prick.

I was recently published in the local newspaper on a topic about "my generation". Without getting into too much of the detail, many of the significant points I made during the interview were omitted and the things that were included were the ones that the audience could effortlessly relate to and comprehend without any real cognition. I pointed out many things that seemed backwards to me in our society and since the article was on the mindset of my generation, I thought it would find its way into the paper. Well, they didn't... and there are good reasons why they didn't. News stations, radio stations and newspapers are all businesses and they are all driven by profit. The very last thing you want to do to your customers is to tell them that maybe they've been on a less than ideal path; maybe there are ways better suited for you that you don't know about. Maybe some of your assumptions should fall into question. Can you imagine if you read this in the newspaper that you paid to have delivered to your front door? You'd be pissed. You'd call them up and complain or you'd lash out at the interviewee if you could. Maybe you'd cancel your subscription.

But I'm just a kid on a bike and this is only a local newspaper. What about larger organizations, what are they doing? What have they omitted? Was that a half-truth or an exaggeration? You're never getting the full story, it'd be far too involved and there isn't enough time to air that and all the other subjects that interest a broader audience. It's funny to think that our knowledge of worldly events comes directly from these profit-driven organizations and not directly from the source. You want to know what's really going on out there? Talk to those who know. Talk to scientists, talk to a soldier or a retired politician. Go there and learn first-hand from the people living there. Want to know what the bicycle tour is really about? A man cycled up to me the other day and began immediately questioning me on all the wrong subjects. It was an interview out of the blue and he asked a lot of questions very quickly:

"Where are you headed?"
"Where did you start?"
"How many miles do average each day?"
"How long has it taken you to get here?"
"Where do you sleep?"
"What was your motivation?"
"What kind of bike is that?"
"How much money have you spent?"

I was struggling up a mountain at the time so I didn't really mind replying with very short answers. When I answered the last question, he said "good luck" and pulled ahead of me. The questions had nothing to do with the tour... they were just the only things he could easily relate to and I'm sure he felt like he knew what the voyage was about with this new list of facts. Aside from other touring cyclists and those who have read the journal, the people I meet on the road can't begin to comprehend what it is. This tour isn't something you can get your mind around with a few short questions -- it's going to require a good amount of time and cognition. It's complicated and it's intensely meaningful to me. Quick metrics and 10-second conclusions don't have an iota of significance and serve as a tragic summation in this matter. The ride would have been better understood had I said nothing at all or perhaps answered every question with a vague response like, "I sleep on Earth" or "I average just the right mileage." This isn't the six o'clock news and I can't actually have you understand the story in a handful of sound-bytes.

But again, I'm just a kid on a bike; my experiences are relatively trivial when compared to significant, world-changing events. There are wars going on where hundreds of thousands of people are murdered and families are destroyed. What are the exact causes, what are all the external factors and how do they relate to the situation? If you feel you have a good grip on the complications of a conflict after a few newspaper articles and the evening news, surely you are mistaken. It is far too complicated to report in a couple news segments and there is an endless list of things that are not public knowledge.

The news is profiting off your false sense of newfound wisdom. They feed you whatever stories will make you feel secure about yourself, your beliefs and the choices you've made. They are not telling you about what is important, only about what will keep you obediently in line. When was the last time you heard something on the news, decided to dig for all the facts yourself, contemplated the situation from every conceivable angle, then dedicated a significant amount of your time and effort to bring about change? If you're unconcerned with discovering deeper truths on a particular topic, you're better off having never been exposed to its alleged "news" in the first place.

"He who knows nothing is closer to the truth than he whose mind is filled with falsehoods and errors." ~Thomas Jefferson

Jarhead creation station.



Glorified destruction. Still I find it to be pretty cool.
I'm a guy. What do you want from me? MURDER DEATH KILL!


Woah... easy there, killer. Bicycling... you're on a bicycle and you're touring. How 'bout we talk about that instead? Oh. Sure, I can do that.

So it would appear that I was traveling through southern California via this newfangled and mechanical horse of mine. Ah yes, up PCH amidst many a cyclist who rarely said a word or turned to nod as they passed me. Go Go GO! Faster faster faster! It's all about pace and looking good doing it! Hurry hurry! Make sure you have your headphones as loud as they'll go to make sure you don't accidentally have thoughts. Maybe it's just the section I was in at the time, but nobody was even making eye-contact with me. Meh. People seemed very fake and their attitude and style seemed to reflect how consumed they were by our unrelenting and unnatural influences. I remember taking a drink at a water fountain on a bike path when a group of "weight wienie" cyclists passed by all drafting one another in their drop-down handlebars moving as efficiently as possible. I waited and watched them all pass by in a kind of blur and then hopped on my 100lb beast intent to make a point. I started singing "Shiny Happy People" out loud as I caught up to them, let go of the handlebars, sat vertical on the saddle and passed them each one by one. "What the hell...?", one of the guys said as I rode by. Yea, it left me with a nice burn in my thighs... but there's something about people taking bicycling too seriously that aggravates me. So much for "to each his own"... Wow this update is really turning sour, haha!

I had lost the feeling of escape in the concrete jungle that is LA -- I'm just one of the many cycling around and I have to remain 100% vigilant to simply stay on my wheels. Food and water is everywhere... it's too easy. It's no longer a feeling of something extraordinary; it's just a ride up the coast... up route 1 like so many others. Already I miss the country. I miss the mountains of west Texas and New Mexico, where I was alone with my thoughts and the natural world. Everything was at the right tempo and was neither cut short or stood lingering. I miss the simplicity.

The joy is entirely in the journey.

-Charlie



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A New Earth

Written by Eckhart Tulle


2008
Transcending our ego-based state of consciousness is not only essential to personal happiness, but also the key to ending conflict and suffering throughout the world.




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My name is Charles Tronolone and I'm attempting something a bit unconventional; I'm trying to make a living by writing while on a perpetual bicycle tour. How I got to this point is a story in itself, but suffice to say that I refuse to be just another cog in the machine. There's too much important work to be done and too many eyes to open for us to be content with personal goals or riches. In late 2006, I managed to escape the machine, and now I'm setting off to help bring it down.

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