The Introduction: Fifteen-and-a-Half Years After the Fact - A Most Unusual Bike Trip (By Normal Touring Standards) - CycleBlaze

February 11, 2021

The Introduction: Fifteen-and-a-Half Years After the Fact

Hi folks,

The sad work of cycling literature you are about to read is the first journal I've originally published for CycleBlaze.  All of the other ones here were first posted on a website called Crazyguyonabike.  Perhaps you've heard of it.  Over the last 2.5 years, I have also been been placing those journals, one at a time, onto Cycleblaze because I liked the idea of having them on both sites.  Instead of taking advantage of the digital transfer option that most CGOAB exiles were using, I decided to re-type them, word-for-word.  I actually had a lot of fun doing it that way, but it looks like I won't be doing it any more.  Two nights ago I suddenly got the Crazyguy Boot.

Man, I lost a lot of written words that I rashly decided not to download.  I also feel like I lost quite a few friends over there.  It's okay though,  because I feel a new sense of liberation.  And to celebrate, I decided I will take the next few days to tell the story of my very first bike tour.  

Don't worry, I'm not going to try to relate the details of a 16-year-old trip based on nothing but my unreliable memory.  Oh no, I have documentation -- it's a printed version of the journal I kept with pen & notebook while on the road.  Until now, nobody on earth has ever read it (except for me) and there is good reason for that.  Almost everything about this tour was just too embarrassing to share with anybody else.

I rode a mountain bike with knobby tires, for god's sake.  I wore a T-shirt, cargo shorts and hiking shoes.  (The same ones every day.)  The gear I carried -- and how I carried it -- was very odd by cycle touring standards.  So was my diet.  I took pictures with a camera that used film. [1] It didn't take place in an exotic location and it was only four-days long.  Throughout the journal I referred to what I was doing as "a bike trip."  At the time I didn't know bicycle TOURING was even a thing, which might seem strange for a guy who had been a pretty serious bike rider for most of his life.  I had also been a wilderness backpacking enthusiast and I  considered this trip to be sort of a backpacking trip . . . only on a bike.  Yeah, a self-styled combination of my two favorite outdoor activities.

"I certainly can't post something like this on any serious cycle touring website with a sophisticated cycle touring readership," I thought.  So it sat in a box with all my other travel journals for the last 15 years.

UNTIL TODAY!  I sat up in my bed this morning and decided, "what the hell?  There are plenty of examples of my touring naivete (and outright incompetence) in my other on-line journals, so why not just put my first-tour out there for everybody to marvel at, to scorn, to ridicule?"

On the other hand, maybe somebody might look back at his or her own first-time tour and remember how it was conducted in the same clueless fashion.  Whatever the reason, I hope you continue to the next page.

This is a picture of my printed journal just to show you it really exists. But I have to admit to something that's at least as embarrassing as all the other stuff I mentioned above. Perhaps you noticed that the title page is whiter than the rest of the pages.
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Here is the true, actual, original, unedited title page (with today's corrected title page lurking below.) Until I pulled it out of my box of journals this morning, I never once noticed the glaring mistake I made 16 years ago. Oh well, what's one more huge embarrassment at this point, eh?
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[1]  Film was a magical roll of plastic onto which an old fashioned camera could project images.  That roll of plastic could then be brought to the drug store to be processed into a batch of 24 pictures.  It was a pretty cool system, but not as cool as the new picture-taking technology.  It is that technology that allowed me to take pictures of the drug store pictures  WITH MY PHONE!  Those pictures of pictures are what you'll be seeing in the next few pages.  

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Comment on this entry Comment 20
Mike AylingHi Gregory,

East/West, if you hadn't brought it to our attention very few of us would have noticed!
I thought that Neil was giving the banned the option to down load their journals, he must be really cracking down now!

Mike
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4 months ago
Scott AndersonVery much looking forward o this. Is this even before G-2 came into existence?
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4 months ago
Gregory GarceauHello Mike,

I might not have stated it correctly. Neil DID grant me time to download everything, but I decided to delete the account immediately. Call it rash, call it defiant, but I thought it was the right thing to do if he didn't want me there.

I've never been fired from a job in my life, but sometimes during my 33-year career with the same company I worried about it. I thought about what I would do if I did get released and I determined I would just walk away. The LAST thing I'd do would be to beg for my job back or ask for another chance.
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4 months ago
Paul MulveyTo Gregory GarceauThanks for posting your tour here. You're in good company as CGOAB exiles. I got the boot, too, just for posting on this site. I was charged as guilty simply because I posted on this site with "overtly hostile" folks. I cannot ever remember posting anything overtly hostile in my life. I, too, was saddened to leave a good bike touring site but since he who owns the site makes the rules, so off I went.

I plan to re-enter my tours here, and go through the pictures and "re-experience" them. Plan is to do that over the next few months as I get ready for a spring, then summer, tour. Who knows, I may even add limericks to each entry :-)
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4 months ago
Gregory GarceauTo Scott AndersonYes, this was well before the G-2 era. Thanks for the message, but I should warn you that whatever weirdness you might find on this journal probably won't be as weird as some of the stuff you Cycle365ers have seen from me.
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4 months ago
Scott AndersonTo Gregory GarceauPhew!
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4 months ago
Gregory GarceauTo Mike AylingHey Mike, I forgot to hit the "reply to this comment" thing before replying to your comment. So this is just a heads-up to go back and check out my actual reply.
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4 months ago
Gregory GarceauTo Paul MulveyPaul, I sympathize with your CGOAB rejection. More hopefully, however, I look forward to your new tours . . . and your limericks.
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4 months ago
Rachael AndersonLooking forward to reading this!
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4 months ago
Jon AylingAh, now this is something to look forward to. Great to have you here Gregory!
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4 months ago
Jeff LeeTo Gregory GarceauHey Gregory,

I'm pretty sure that your journals can still be acquired, and then uploaded here, if you want.

If you are interested, send me an email (jwaynelee66 at gmail dot com).

Jeff
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4 months ago
Gregory GarceauTo Jeff LeeThank you very much for the offer, Jeff, but I'm OK. I have all my journals posted on Cycle Blaze, and I have print versions of most of my articles. I was mostly referring to the stuff I had on the other Topicwise sites. I had quite a lot on the Cooking, Bicycle Life, Hiking, and Paddling topics, but nothing of any serious importance.
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4 months ago
Jeff LeeTo Gregory GarceauCool. I'd hate it if some of your entertaining journals were lost forever :)

Jeff
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4 months ago
Gregory GarceauTo Jon AylingThank you, Jon. I hope the journal lives up to your expectations.
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4 months ago
Gregory GarceauTo Rachael AndersonThanks, Rocky, but probably not any more than I am looking forward to what you guys are gonna do next.
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4 months ago
Bob DistelbergThis is pretty much the best news I've gotten today. I am very much looking forward to reading this. I'm feeling a little left out that I was never kicked off of CGOAB. Perhaps it was because I never posted journals there...
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4 months ago
Gregory GarceauTo Bob DistelbergOh, Bob, the very fact that you sent me this very nice message might get you the boot.

A few months ago on Cycle365 I hinted at possibly writing up this tour, but I don't remember exactly where. I'm just glad I finally got around to it. I think it's going to be fun.
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4 months ago
Keith KleinHi Greg,
Well I would have noticed your glaring error of confusing east with west, especially because in southern Minnesota we all know that trees grow WILD in the east while we on the prairie had to plant each and every one of our trees, that is if you don’t count cottonwoods and I for one don’t ‘cause they only grow along the creeks and what use are they anyway? But I’m looking forward to the rest of the story mostly to see if you really were as big of a doofus as you say, which might be a bit of an exaggeration. I’ll be watchin’.
Cheers,
Keith
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3 months ago
Marian RosenbergWelcome to the club!
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2 months ago
Gregory GarceauTo Marian RosenbergThanks Marian. It's always nice to belong to a club, or something, or anything. I managed to last longer on Crazyguy than I thought I would, but I knew my banishment was inevitable.
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2 months ago