Monthly Archives: December 2008


Plenty of folks will tell you about Gainesville, and particularly the rural areas of Alachua County. There is something powerful going on down that way. One night many years ago I had the whole thing explained to me just perfectly by a Rainbow family traveler at a Gracie Mansion party. I think that is what the place was called.

Certain lines, or meridians, of cosmic energy intersect in the Paynes Prairie area. This is why you see buffalo there, and you always happen to run into exactly who you didn’t know, but needed to meet when you walk into the Top.

You can get tangled up in G’ville. I know I have.

One time my car broke down on I-75 and I stayed a week with Danny Lyons. Thanks again for that Danny Boy.
Those Alachuans know their lines well. “Why don’t you just stay and look for a place? “I want you to meet (insert clever, sexy woman’s name here.)”

Another time I saw James Brown and then walked all night lost trying to get back to my cousin’s place. Best walk I ever had. I met a lot of nice, nocturnal people.

Then there is San Felasco.

With all of that fresh, clean spring water moving beneath the surface of the earth down there the air is just so charged and vital. I think that Rainbow girl was right.

There is something about that place, and Danny took this picture with his phone. Click the title to see more of his artwork.


Miguel Angel Blanco

The only time I remember participating in a mass gathering was in Barcelona, 1997.

The Basque Separatist Movement, known as ETA, kidnapped a man almost my same age- Miguel Angel Blanco. If he was American we would call him Mike White and forget the middle names. Mike was a small-time city councilman for some political party or another, and I guess that is why he was kidnapped. He played drums in a couple of rock bands and used to work construction with his dad.

I know all of this thanks to Wikipedia, because at the time it happened nobody mentioned the rock bands or his dad.

ETA demanded that all ETA prisoners be transferred to prisons located within traditional Pais Vasco land. The government of Spain refused to negotiate with terrorists. ETA issued an ultimatum and a deadline. Meet the demands or Miguel Blanco dies from a bullet to the back of the head.

Barcelona you may know, is not part of the Basque tradition, it is part of Catalunya and has a rich heritage and distinctive cultural identity from Castillo-Leon and the world of Madrid. In fact, Spain is made up of many distinct cultures and historically separate territories just like we in the United States. You think Austin, TX and Sheboygan, WI are different then try Bilbao and Asturias.

As the deadline approached with no movement on the part of the government (what could they do?) people began massing in the streets and plazas all over the country. The people were begging for mercy.

I was an English teacher at a shady language academy full of mostly Irish instructors and we drank wine early in the mornings with our coffee and cigarettes murmuring foreboding thoughts about what might happen.

The evening of July 11 it seemed all of Spain was outside and on their feet.

On July 12 someone shot Mike White in the back of the head twice and dumped him on the side of a rural highway somewhere from what I remember.

I am not certain it was the next day, as it may have taken a few days for the grief and shock to coalesce into something different, but a national moment of mourning was declared. I was teaching a 14 year-old girl some good American slang and coaxing her to repeat, “Y’all come back now, ya’ hear” or something like that when she put her pencil down and went to the window of the classroom. She said it was almost time so we better go outside.

Down on the streets people were massing again, but not towards a central point. We just stood there together. At exactly 11:47 A:M (or whatever time Miguel’s body was discovered earlier that week) all of the cars, scooters, bicycles, and metro-rails stopped moving.

As far as I know the entire nation stood still for a moment and we all thought of this one person. I don’t remember how we knew when it was over, but all of a sudden Spain moved as one back into their lives and busy routines.


Can’t Stand It

I want San Felasco now. I want my new president now. I want all the promise and hard work of the last year to pay off right now.

Too bad I have to wait. It ain’t the first time I haven’t gotten what I wanted.

I’m taking my Obama t-shirt to the inauguration. I received it for making my first donation to the campaign, which was also the first donation I have made to any campaign, excluding the campaign to pay the utilities bill at The Warehouse. I have a long history with that particular operation.

My plan is to bring a pocket of Sharpies and invite people to sign the shirt, being sure to sign where they are from. Out on the Mall, with 3 million of my closest friends. We are going to have a good time I believe. I am still working on what to do about urine.

My San Felasco t-shirt? I don’t think anybody is signing that one, but you never know. Once I go all Key Club on you there is no telling how far I might take it.

By the way, 25 solo east yesterday. 50+ east today with Tommy, so without knowing which unexpected catastrophes will take place, I am as ready as it gets. I am hoping for a good ride with friends in nice weather.

What are the odds on those conditions occurring?


A Nice Lump of Coal

At least now I know. All I want to do is ride, and all I want to write about is that.

Things I considered writing about but thankfully did not:

Picking a good grocery cart at Publix, preferred cat litter granulation (likes and dislikes as demonstrated by cat.) Why bloggers blog about blogging and at what point group suicide is the more humane option.

I will never win the Leadville 100 and this site will never be more or less than what it has been since I accidentally created it in 2005. I am very OK with that. Grateful actually. I do however intend to return to my merciless form and therefore, for the sake of art of course, if you know me in real life don’t come around here pinching my virtual cheeks and chucking me on my virtual chins. It is annoying, and this is not the place.

So let’s revisit some basics:

Racing? Don’t care.
Training tips? Might be important, but deadly boring.
Smack talk? Always welcome.

San Felasco? 16 days and counting.

If you want to write to John, I am told he is a good man and I am sure he would love to hear from you at, but Juancho?

Juancho will turn on your ass like Manuel Noriega.


A Bell-Ringer

It comes just in time.

The quiet street. The telephone that does not ring.
It is time to lay down the shield and sword, time to stop pushing.

The frantic urgency that bangs the kettle every morning is spent—or beginning to gutter like a candle at the end of an all-nighter drinking Rioja and compelling your cohorts to just listen for one second while the party just barrels on and the ashtrays fill.

We are finally passing out.

The next go-round will be a bender as well. We have just over four weeks to get our affairs in order. We need the biggest bucket brigade in the history of the world to bail out this floundering boat.

So for now I stretch my shoulders.

I could spend the next ten days sitting quietly in the grass. I could spend the next ten days on my bike, pockets full of peanut butter sandwiches, and only thoughts about our world and my place in it. I would like to hear some water moving, even if it’s the toilet.

I have a lot of shit to flush.


I have never had much use for a compass. I would never think to bother with a global positioning system either. For me, that is the kind of data that leads me astray.

I do however remember a few exact points on the planet where my life condensed and refracted the light of the universe at an angle that demonstrated exactly where I stood. As certain as a compass point, I knew who and where I was.

The Austria-Slovenian border.

I stood outside the rest stop. It was 4:00 A:M. I stare at the space recently occupied by my Hrvatskan bus, now empty. Gone- with my passport, my money, my bags. My rumbling guts wanting to void my tired and drained-out bowels. A bloody bandage crusted to a foot swollen with stitches. I felt murder in my heart for that Ustasha bus driver.

I can close my eyes and stand in that parking lot anytime I want.

Munson Hills Tallahassee, FL

It was the coldest day of the year, windy and in the 20’s. Stevie and I rode about 40 miles, so bundled I could hardly free a finger to change gears. We stopped in the forest and built a little fire. Its modest warmth was so reassuring it revived us beyond expectation. We sat there laughing and joking just as comfortable as if we were in a nice cozy den. You can truly get used to anything.

Santa Rosa, New Mexico

Moving back to Florida on a road trip from Oregon. Todd and I set up camp and went searching for a swimming hole. We found one with all the local native-american or chicano kids. They were jumping off a small cliff into the water. It was probably 40 feet. Todd peeled his shirt and went straight in. I tried and tried to muster the courage, but I didn’t do it. If I went back today I wouldn’t hesitate.

Capital City Youth Services, Tallahassee, FL

Full pandemonium under the flourescent lights. My first day working at a runaway shelter. I had no idea what to do. I stood flat-footed until someone mentioned lunch and I thought, “Hey, I can cook lunch.” I made potato salad and grilled cheese sandwiches. That was the first of thousands of meals I prepared in that place. I still love to visit that kitchen and eat chicken nuggets with ranch dressing and tater tots with hot sauce.

Sackets Harbor, NY

The city basketball court after midnight, just me and a going flat basketball. Shooting free throws that plopped through the net like sloppy scoops of ice cream, I realized I had to get out of that town right away. I was through with restaurant work forever. I packed my bags and drank a bottle of wine. I was gone two days later.

So I do not have the urge to record my exact path in linear reds and blues and overlay it with aerial photography. The route always changes, and the points on the map that matter, I remember where I left them.