Language alert - parental guidance.
My day started out in thick Humid mist. Strangely it's the first time I've encountered this here. I was actually getting soaked as water droplets were forming all over me. My helmet was dripping from the visa!
It kept the temperature down under 20C for an hour or 2 but once it cleared things got hotter. And wow, it got really hot. The last 3 hours kicked my backside. The riding from 1-4pm was just painful. I was melting away. I managed 66 miles in the end.
One of the most repetitive aspects of this trip is repeating your story to people. Everyone means well and I genuinely enjoy each interaction but the after 7th tim, in any given day that you explain you are going across country - it can get a bit boring. The conversation normally goes;
Random - where ya headin?
Me - Jackson
Random - wherdya come from?
Me - Kalamazoo
Random - (obviously a detective) but you're not from round here? (Looks puzzled)
Me - (after as long a pause as possible) No I'm heading to Maine
Random - WOW, and where dya come from?
Me - San Francisco
Random - Wooow
It's almost impossible to stop anywhere with the bike, without being asked. I'm not complaining though. When this journey is all over I won't have such a great conversation starter in my armour. It is also really fun meeting new people and getting their reactions and story's etc
I wanted to avoid talking about driving standards on this blog and I think I have done very well so far.
I'm going to have a little rant though because I had my 2nd close encounter with a truck today.
Before I go any further I would like to point out that every single time I have had a close encounter with anything I have seen it coming in my mirror. I'm always watching what is approaching behind me. If any of these close encounters had been any closer I would have moved voluntarily into the ditch rather than being pushed.
Soon after my first encounter (which I didn't mention to spare the worriers) back in Kansas, I met three lads from England coming in the other direction.
They were raising money for a charity and doing this trip before Uni. None of them had mirrors and all of then were listening to music on their headphones, directly in their ears. I thought this was completely crazy and suggested they get a mirror each. My mirror is the one item I would not go without. I messaged them on twitter the next day offering sponsorship for every mirror they bought themselves but did not hear back - this was a relief because I really didn't want to sponsor them ;)
Truck drivers seem to be the best and worst of road users. The majority of trucks don't just move over to go round you, they actually get as far over to the other side as possible giving you the whole lane to avoid potholes, fight the wind and generally wobble about in. That's the safest way to overtake and better than most cars manage.
Very occasionally though, drivers seem to get a kick out of giving you a close call. That, or they just don't like cyclists for whatever reason. No one likes being held up by someone slow I guess.
So anyway, today's driver had the entire other side of the road to move into as nothing was coming in the other direction. There was also a 2ft wide shoulder that I could ride in meaning I wasn't in the road. This dick decided to skim as close to me as he could.
As I said, I saw him coming but it's still always gets the adrenalin pumping when a huge trailer follows behind. The whole time I could have reached out and touched it, with my elbow!!
I did my best with sign language to express my, err, dissapointment, but he just kept on driving.
Straight after this the road split into two. 1 route heading to the highway and the othe to a nice quiet road that I planned to take. With my adrenalin pumping I opted to follow the trucks route a short distance, just in case he was stopped at lights. In the distance I saw there was a truckstop and I saw the top of this truck pulling into it. Bingo I thought.
I headed over and by the time I arrived Mr Dickhead had left his truck, door ajar, and headed into the stop.
I circled his truck raging to myself not sure what to do. If this was Hollywood I would have had a shit in his glovebox, snapped a key in his ignition and shafted a banana in his exhaust.
Unfortunately this isn't Hollywood and I don't have balls big enough to do that. Had there not been lots of other truckers watching me circle I may have tried the banana, exhaust trick.
I didn't fancy walking into the truck stop either so instead I took the boring and most sensible option.
I took the number on the side of the lorry and called his boss to express what I thought of his driver.
Me - hi, just calling to let you know about the terrible dangerous driving of one of your trucks.
Boss - ok, where's your location.
Me - I'm near Marshall, your driver deliberately drove as close to me as possible, he was inches from hitting me. It's a disgrace. If he didn't do it deliberately he was texting or watching tv which is worse
Boss - I know who that is, I'm sure he wouldn't do it deliberately but I will speak to him.
Me - you have to understand how bad this driver is, I have ridden nearly 3,000 miles and your driver is the most dangerous I have come across.
Boss - wait, are you on a bicycle?
Me - yes, and I have never..
Boss - wow, and your riding across country?
Me - yes, it's a disgrace, he's the worst...
Boss - where did you start?
Me - San Francisco, and in all that time I ...
Boss - and your heading to the east coast? Wow
On the plus side though, got a couple more readers of the blog ;)
Ps. My intention was only ever to get a number from the truck. I'm not an idiot looking for a fight. I never did see the driver, but I'm pleased I alerted his boss. Maybe next time he gets a complaint he will be taken off the road.