Day 23 Monday June 13, 2005, 17 miles (27 km) – Total so far: 1,237 miles (1,991 km)
1:47 Pedal time and 17 Miles
I woke up at 8am. This morning I must have made 4 trips to the continental breakfast. When I was in Italy I learned to take full advantage of these continental breakfasts. It’s the best way to start the day. During breakfast I cranked out a ton of emails.
I quickly packed up my cross country convoy and left the motel at around 9:50am. It smelled like a hot day. I rode my bike really slow to downtown Carbondale and eventually found the bike surgeon. I pulled off all my equipment and handed over my bike.
The mechanic looked at my rear wheel pretty hard and told me it’s a disaster. He researched for a little while and then eventually he pulled a new wheel down that was hanging off the ceiling. The new wheel has a beefier rim so it is sturdier then my last wheel. So I gave him the go ahead to put on the wheel and give my bike a good tune up.
I left the bike shop and walked around downtown Carbondale. I found a camping store in town but they didn’t deal with tents. I grabbed a sandwich and a coke at some deli. Went to the other bike shops in town and bought a water bottle and looked at gloves. I’m unimpressed with all the cycling gloves I see. EMS used to make a good glove but they stopped making it. I went back to the bike shop and they were still working on my bike.
I took my old wheel outside and started removing all the spokes from the rim. I went to loosen one of the spokes and the whole rim exploded in my hands. I turned around and my new wheel was installed and he was putting new cork tape on my bars. Beautiful.
While I was sitting there this guy sat down next to me and started talking to me about the Transam. Turns out he was Mark Robinson the original Bike Surgeon. He told me his life story and all about the rise and fall of the Bike Surgeon bike shop in Carbondale and he is actually originally from long island. He retired from the bike business and now peddles greyhound bus tickets, and loves it. We sat and talked on the sidewalk in front of the bike shop for about 45 minutes. I had a good time talking to him he was a very charismatic guy, who had lived a really interesting life in little Carbondale, Illinois.
After I got my bike back it felt like new bike. They charged me a lot less then I was expecting them too. It was around 1pm when I got it back. I rode out to the edge of town to this camping store that was going out of business to see if they could help me with my tent pole problem. They weren’t too helpful. In fact they didn’t care about my problems at all. I think it was their last day in business. I had them give me the eureka tent catalog and I took the 800 number off that and called it
The lady I spoke with on the phone said they will send me new poles. I’m going to upgrade to aluminum poles and its going to cost $16. I could get fiberglass poles for free but they melted. I just want my tent to work and not have my poles melt. This is dumb. I have to call her back tomorrow and tell her where to send them.
After I left the camping store I went to the bookstore. I almost bought an architecture book that I feel like reading. But decided not to cause it’s been an expensive day. I found $35 a night motel room with high speed internet. They didn’t tell me it wasn’t wireless, so I had to go over to staples and buy a cat 5 wire for $8. I’m going to try to return it tomorrow before I ride out of Carbondale.
It was such a nice night and I was fed with being in a motel room looking at all my gear. I got on my bike and rode all over Carbondale. It was a great night to go for a bike ride. The bike feels completely different without all the gear strapped to it. It’s a lot faster and my balance is a little tipsy. I really miss my track bike and riding like a maniac in the city traffic.
I stopped at Walmart to buy envelopes. When I was unlocking my bike and about to leave a couple came up to me and asked if I was riding cross country. They were from California and riding eastbound to Virginia. They weren’t following the Transam maps and kind of making up their own route using good maps. I talked to them for a good 15 minutes sharing tips about good roads to check out. Then they had to go so they could catch their movie. It feels so great meeting all these other travelers, everyone is so interesting.
I can’t wait to get back on the bike tomorrow. I kind of didn’t know what to do with myself today. I hate shopping. Walmart gives me a headache, yet they always have what I need. Funny how that works. I tried to take a nap but couldn’t fall asleep. Tomorrow I’m riding to Chester. Chester is the home of the guy that created Popeye.