Dream of a dream…
After a day in Yosemite we decided to bolt back to Long Beach. As much as we wanted to stay an extra day and pedal further south, Long Beach was calling. We needed to make some money. My birthday was on Friday and I wanted to spend it with friends. After almost four months on the road, we both had a need to see some familiar friendly faces.
So we took a bus. Then a train. Then another bus.
We watch the scenery change from a warm, temperature controlled seat with a window. First the majesty of Yosemite’s great peaks shrouded in morning rain. It is mysterious and poignant. We want to stay but we can’t.
The scenery flattens to foothills, to rolling farm land, to nothing. We take a combination of the YART bus from Yosemite to Merced, to an Amtrak train from Merced to Bakersfield and then an Amtrak bus from Bakersfield to Long Beach. We are traveling at what feels like incredible speeds compared to our pace during the last four months.
We pass through the grapevine at night. It is black except for the lights of cars on the road. At some point we peak the pass and there are city lights. Los Angeles is near. The amount of pavement compared to uncovered earth increases until it is all asphalt, concrete and glass. The only trees are those confined to four foot squares of dirt in sidewalks.
Soon we are home, or rather close to where our last home was – before we sold everything. It feels strange to be back, knowing that we don’t want to be done yet. Have we failed? Did we succeed? What does it mean to be back?
As we ride home I notice all the changes. The city is largely the same, but slightly different – a Bizzaro Long Beach. There are more med pot collectives, the small art supply store I use to frequent is going out of business, some storefronts are shuttered, some are different. It’s as if you went to bed and while you were sleeping, someone moved your furniture without telling you.
We’ve been here a few days now – transients in our old city. We’ve been to Happy Hour and it felt good. It felt like “home” or as close to home as we are allowed to feel. It was good to see old friends, to tell stories, to catch up on what is happening. For the last four months we’ve been without our network of friends or family, sort of roaming untethered in our vast land. While extremely liberating, it can also be extremely lonely. We are social animals.
I’m updating from what use to be my local coffeeshop. I am falling back into my old routines and it feels strange.
I can’t tell if being in Long Beach again is a dream or if our bicycling for the last four months is the dream. Things are infinitely strange like this.
The plan now, dear readers and fans is to make some cold hard cash and keep going – to monetize. It sounds so crass to think of it in those terms, to think that all that stands between us and this beautifully fluid life is petty cash.
We are working on some e-books and real books about our journey, Laura is selling her jewelry and bike mustaches. I’m trying to book some photoshoots.
We want to go, to keep moving and we will. But for a few weeks, atleast, we will be here in Long Beach. If you have any suggestions for products, books, etc., Send us an email. If you are an outdoor/bicycle/clothing company and want to see your gear tested, photographed and ridden across these united states, email us. If you’ve got any leads or ideas to help us keep the momentum, email us.
DC November 16, 2009 at 11:42 am
I don’t know how many followers you
have but, I would try this: You know what direction you are heading next, Prebook some portrait shoots along your route with a very vague time frame. i.e.
I’ll be in fresno the week of Jan 7…
Give a discount if the shoot is paid for in advance. Your Photos are great word of mouth will travel!
Just a thought
Yoshiyahu November 16, 2009 at 2:40 pm
Wow. I have been reading your posts for the past few weeks, and used to you tooling around Up North, so for you to be in Long Beach suddenly gives ME some cognitive dissonance. 🙂 Hope you enjoy your time back here, and that you are back on the road soon.
BB November 16, 2009 at 3:04 pm
How to save money while touring? 4 months how much did you burn through? I was able to knock it down to 12 dollars a day on a three month tour. Write some road report books. Like ACA does. Money isn’t so hard it is the health/teeth insurance that is the bane.
Dylster November 16, 2009 at 3:52 pm
Wow, Russ. These few photos capture the mood of your writing as best I can empathize with what’s going on. Laura’s face in that shot, the rainy-paned view of fading mountains, and the blur of another vehicle escaping in some different direction…three shots that say so much.
No doubt in my mind that you’ll be back on the road soon. It’s in your blood now.
Eric Benjamin November 16, 2009 at 7:07 pm
Russ, have you thought of selling prints? Maybe on Etsy.com or something similiar?
Eric From Portland November 16, 2009 at 8:34 pm
Focus on that thing that makes you happy.
– This blog has made me happy – I would buy an e-book / compilation. For example, this blog posts put together in a slightly edited form with linking photos is worth $20 to me.
I will keep checking back to this site…..
Adam November 17, 2009 at 8:58 am
I second Eric’s suggestion. You have been telling your story so well that many of us have become hooked.
There are many books you could write. The story of this tour, books about the lessons the road had taught you, about the many aspects of touring and life.
Wishing you two well.
Adam and Julia
Guy November 17, 2009 at 12:04 pm
You have great pictures. National Geographic or some other magazines you could sell to.
sara November 19, 2009 at 8:02 am
How I wish you could photograph my family, Russ. And the truth is I am NEVER in photos– and even I would want to have you capture on film a few moments of me with my boys….
The Everyday Minimalist November 25, 2009 at 5:27 am
What wonderful photos! I think the black and white really adds another dimension of emotion.
Jolene October 29, 2013 at 10:27 pm
My my…how far you have come since this post. I love it!
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Whether you end up staying permanently, or just long enough to take a break and make some money, you certainly haven’t failed. You set out to see where your journey would take you, and you’ve done that. There’s nothing wrong with returning home.
I have enjoyed reading about your travels and will certainly continue to follow them. Thanks for sharing your trip with us.