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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.
Then I hit NJ - my first time in the state. Unfortunately by this stage I was beginning to realise that I was moving much slower than I'd been expecting, and Sloatsburg NY, my destination, was seeming further than ever. My traffic control abilities were feeling saturated after the city, so it was relief when I finally made it into a more rural part of Jersey. Veggie burger, bananas and peanut butter sent me back on my way. But I was definitely concerned about reaching Sloatsburg before nightfall, so filming and photography became a casualty of my haste. Luckily this shouldn't happen often, because rarely will I have a set destination like I did yesterday. But I was very, very thankful to have a warm, friendly house to be staying in, and the DeMaggio family are certainly that. Having only met one member, my cousin's girlfriend, I couldn't have expected such a warm reception as that which I received. But they welcomed me in, fed me, and made me cosy for the night.
That leaves me still here today, and I've decided to take either half a day or a full day off to reorganise and shed a few pounds on the bike. It really is too heavy. Having to completely empty my apartment of all my belongings probably contributed to this because many things probably migrated to the bike when they have no need to be there, but it's time to lose some of the excess weight or I'll never get anywhere fast.
The main highlight of yesterday was definitely the people. So many friends folks came up to talk to me about my trip, and were really interested in following it online. There were too many to list here, but to everyone I met, thanks for making my journey feel worthwhile, I loved every conversation. And to the woman on Delancey St. who slowed down, pulled up along side and then gave me the fingers, thank you also, it gave me a good chuckle. And the final message I guess should go to the lucky recipient of the book bag which fell off my bike (containing all my reading material for the trip) - may Dashiell Hammett enrich your life as much as he did mine.
I'll update again when I know where I'm going, but for now suffice to say I've made it out of the city and am on my way.
Farewell, New York. It's been wild.
Don't forget to check out the rest of the photos of this day by visiting the Photos section of the site here