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Essentially it came down to survival. Making it through the first day only made it even more apparent how much more there still was to do. I spent much of the second day busying myself with trying to repack the bike in the hope that I wouldn't have to think about the logistics in too much detail. I was able a guest of the DeMaggio household, family friends who make me feel very much at home. And, for one of the first times I can ever remember, I felt a little homesick. Not a whole lot, but spending time with such a lovely family reminded me of some of the things I'd left behind to take this journey.
Hopefully I'll be able to keep this up to date very regularly with WiFi spots - so here's where I am now!
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Well, it actually happened. After all the time spent dreaming and pretending, I'm now on a bike heading in one direction with no intention of turning round. And, indeed, nothing to turn back for. In the USA, I am in that category of 'no fixed address' - that's a though I'm still coming to terms with.
I started relatively early, but not perhaps as early as I should have. Opting to hang out with some great people in Brooklyn on Saturday night was definitely the right choice though - it managed to de-stress me so much that I was able to at least make the most of the 3 hours I had to sleep. So, after minimal shut-eye and more last minute packing and apartment cleaning, I managed to get out my front door by 9am. It took me seemingly forever to get through Manhattan and up the west side to the George Washington Bridge - a leviathon of a structure, proudly spanning the Hudson at the very north tip of the island.
It's Saturday evening in New York...and I'm still in New York. I just ended up being under-prepared for a departure this morning, and luckily my roommate allowed me to stay an extra day. But worry not, I'm perfectly on course for leaving tomorrow.
My head swims with emotions and feelings I can't articulate. I am at once electrified and terrified; positive and doubtful. My mental state is struggling to deal with the logistics of packing everything I own onto a bike, combined with planning a trip into the unknown. It is pushed to breaking point when I actually consider the realities of what lies beyond the front door.
But this is my dream. Undoubtedly I have been unsuccessful in some key areas of my organisation, and it is a matter of fact that I will fail in many more over the coming days and weeks. But isn't this the learning curve? I sure hope so. The happiest I have been in the last few days has been on my practice rides, with various stages of a fully loaded bike. This comforts me no end. I am prepared for loneliness, discomfort, uncertainty and fear. I have been dealing with them to a certain degree during my planning stages. But wait...I am also ready for exhilaration, euphoria, experiences that will blow me away. The two-edged sword of the 'unknown' I guess.
Anyway, enough of this....I shall depart for real tomorrow...updates soon....
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It looks like, as predicted by the optimists (and even realists) among you, I will get everything I need to depart on time. There are a number of components to this, few of which I can take credit for. I've been humbled many times already during my preparation, but the last couple of weeks have shown me the kindness of others on an entirely new level.
Let me paint you a picture - at home in Ireland I live in a small village, barely more like a hamlet. To get to the house you must turn off the main road passing through, and take your chances on a winding, steep, narrow laneway. Once you have mastered the art of these conditions, you must then factor in the unpaved surface - regular rainfall erodes the gravelly surface to create a sloping effect on both sides, and potholes big enough to lose a wheel into. Negotiating this for well over half a mile will take you past the most inclined section, where you must avoid the temptation to turn onto a more attractive looking offshoot. Eventually you will arrive through the farm gate to the McCarron homestead, where you will inevitably be greeted by a wild bounding brown blur of what is most likely an over-excitable dog. Dog it is, and a most beautiful and friendly one at that once you get to know it. But imagine for a second you are a postman - to me this does not seem like an ideal scenario; in fact I believe if this was on my route as a postie, I'd probably dump the letters at the bottom of the lane and take my chances.
It's true - One week to go! I've been slightly dubious about putting an exact departure date on this thing since last time. For those of you new to the blog, my previous attempt to leave ended with hospitalisation and a four month lay-off! But, the procrastination can continue no longer. When next Saturday rolls around, I will no longer have anywhere to live in New York City. I will have my bike and my belongings, and I must ride.
I expect many of you will find this piece of news very exciting, especially those close to me. I am too of course, but currently the buzz lives deep down, stifled by a seemingly insurmountable mound of stressful last minute preparations and gear-gathering. At the minute it feels like it will be more of a relief than anything else to get on the road. It's not an ideal frame of mind to be entering into the trip with, but I guess given the scale of what lies ahead, it's somewhat inevitable. And even as I write this I can sense that bubbling feeling of unspeakable exhileration rising up. Yes, I will enjoy it. And I'm ready.
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Don’t listen to what anyone says. It is a magical place, full of unique sights, sounds, smells, people. I don’t think there’s anywhere else quite like it, and this is something to be thankful for. A couple of days ago I was blessed with a rare morning off from the normal rigours of my current routine, and I decided that instead of my standard morning cycle, I would make the trip that thousands of New Yorkers do every year when the sun reappears in the sky – I was headed for Coney Island.
I awoke early enough to avoid fellow revelers who had a similar idea of sun, sand and sea, but I couldn't avoid the Brooklyn Rush Hour Traffic. My route takes me from down Myrtle Avenue until I hit Vanderbilt –a street that transforms midway from a pothole-ridden nightmare full of badly parked cars, into a road characteristic of why Brooklyn is becoming a veritable biker’s inner-city paradise. A broad cycle path leads me smoothly to the Grand Army Plaza. Consisting of concentric circles arrange as streets, this is not only the Brooklyn equivalent of the Arc d’Triompe, but also forms the entrance to Prospect Park.