Good times don’t make good stories. They don’t sell books or movie tickets, because regardless of how much you’re rooting for the hero, you still want to see shit go wrong. I wanted to spin a tale of midget Nazis, and suitcase full of money, and a love triangle, but unfortunately none of that occurred today.
My ride to the airport showed up on time, 16 minutes early in fact. U.S Airways comp’d the $25 baggage fee. I breezed through Savannah airport security without any additional scrutiny of my handlebar bag contents (the first time ever). My flight even left on time. With the exception of a case of bubble guts on the first flight to Charlotte, the day’s events were shaping up nicely.
The layover was perfectly timed. I made my necessary head call and stepped next door to my gate that began boarding when I showed up. In line were a half dozen new Marines on their way from MCT (Marine Combat Training) in Camp Lejuene, NC to their MOS (Military Occupational Specialty) school at Fort Leonard Wood, MO. When faced with young Marines and limited time in which to impart my vast sea of Marine Corps knowledge, I’m forced to condense it to this: Stay single and go embassy duty. Cut and dried, plain and simple. They were better for it.
My arrival in St. Louis was uneventful as well. I followed the flock of Marines to the USO and grabbed a couple of chili cheese dogs and a pepsi before snatching my baggage off belt. I walked outside – the 20 degree air giving me a solid five-fingered slap across the face – and cabbed it to today’s destination.
Blue and Craig from Warmshowers.org put me up for the night. They host a lot of bicycle tourists throughout the year – Adventure Cycling Association’s TransAmerica Trail runs right through their town. I was the first in the winter though, Blue pointed out. What made them extra special was I shipped my bike and trailer to their address three days earlier. That’s looking out.
Blue and Craig run a pair of Surley Long Haul Truckers, built for touring. We spent a considerable amount of time comparing notes on gear, time on the road, and even military careers (Craig did a stint in the Navy), and soon settled in to some local microbrews and ridiculously delicious homemade pizza. Periodically, Blue kept reminding me of the next day’s temperatures as if to hint of my lunacy. At my projected departure time of 07:00, it was forecasted 0 degrees. ZERO degrees. The WNW winds at 7 mph pull that down from 14-20 below zero, and my dumb ass is on a bike. To complicated matters more, the streets are choked with snow and East St. Louis is on way out of town – yet another “warning” Blue so kindly informed me.
So, assuming I can survive the initial shock of subzero temps right out the door, I might still get jacked in the hood and end this trip before it actually begins.