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My mind must have thought that my heart was crazy. Here it was in the middle of Winter and I was Portland, Oregon at the time. It had been a mild winter with very little snow but that could change any day. I tried to get back to sleep but my mind was racing. When the sun came up, I knew that there was just one thing that I had to do and that was to "GO". Being in Winter, the only sensible direction for me to go was to head south into California and I felt that when I got there I would know which direction I would then travel and what message I might be called upon to spread.

When I arrived at work on Monday, February 15th, I just told my supervisors that I had to leave town. I couldn't really tell them what had happened because I couldn't really explain it. I couldn't tell them how long that I would be gone or even whether I would return. The only assurance that they gave me was that in the short time that I had been on the job I never gave them any problems and if it was possible they would save a spot for me if I ever came back.

Money wasn't any problem at the time. I had lived a frugal life during my time in Portland and I had accumulated around $2000.00 in my back account. This would be more than enough to let me purchase a new bicycle and the gear that I needed and still have enough to live on for a while if I didn't go overboard with my purchases.

The following day, I had gone out to buy a bicycle at one of the dealers close to where I was living along with camping equipment at a nearby sporting goods store. I wasn't really planning to buy a Schwinn but the look of the bike that I had chosen was unique. I had decided upon a Schwinn "Criss-Cross" 21-speed hybrid (a cross between a road bike and a mountain bike) with grip-shifters like the ones on motorcycles and a handlebar that was curved like a bow-tie. I found out that the handlebar was called the "Glenn-Bar" (I actually met the designer of the handlebar, Glenn Adams, at the former headquarters of Scwhinn in Boulder, Colorado in 1994).

The shifters and brake levers were in a very comfortable position near the handlebar stem and there were multiple positions for my hands. Also, the rear derailleur was even different because of it's position on the bike's frame but it was said to provide a more rapid response to shifting.

An interesting thing happened the next day. My panniers (bike bags) from last year's trip arrived by UPS the next day. They had been sent by some friends in my last town that I had spent a lot of time in and that was Spokane, WA. What was so strange about this was that I didn't call my friends to tell them that I needed them. This helped me financially since I didn't have to buy new ones but I did have to buy a specially designed handlebar bag. By the end of the second day of shopping, I had my bike bought and supplies gathered and it had only cost under $700 so I still had over a thousand in my account.


Bicyclist in Sunset


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