Friday, August 19, 2011

Tourist Traps

Knoxville, TN

Yesterday I had a long day on the bike - started riding at 8:30am, got into Knoxville around 7pm. There were a couple reasons for the long ride, but the primary reason was that I was riding through the mountains, and it's slow going (though extremely fun). Add in some bad rain that I had to stop for, a lack of gas stations that mandated a detour to get to one, and some really slow, annoying cars in front of me, and the day turned pretty long.

In fact, the last few days have been pretty taxing as far as riding goes. Since leaving Tallahassee, I've had three days of at least six hours on the bike. Each one has been almost exclusively on back-roads, which means lots of little towns, lowered speed limits, stoplights, and curvy roads. It's definitely more fun on the back-roads, but it takes a toll, especially so many days in a row. And it doesn't help that the people I stayed with each night had to be out of the house early, so I woke up at 5:30 two of them, and 8 the other one.

Yesterday, after coming out of the Smoky Mountains, I went through Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge. Gatlinburg is right on the edge of the Smoky Mountain National Park, and Pigeon Forge is a little ways away, but they have one thing in common: they're both seemed to be giant tourist traps. And they were my least favorite parts of the entire ride yesterday.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Dear Panera

Greenville, SC

Dear Greenville Panera,

This isn't the post I was originally writing. The post I was originally writing got lost when you cut off my internet, thanks a bunch.

Look, I understand that you're probably worried about people sitting around taking up tables and not buying anything. Not that I've ever walked into a Panera and decided not to order because it seemed full, but maybe it happens. Having a bunch of free-riders who didn't buy anything but sit around on their laptops for hours is probably a pain for you guys - though I would argue that's the price you pay for offering (and advertising) free Wi-Fi.

Monday, August 15, 2011

I Believe I Can Fly

Tallahassee, FL

I'm working on a long post on my packing list, so tonight nothing big. Just an awesome video below the break.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

NOLA - 1 Eric and Mark - 0

Sandestin, FL

Wow. New Orleans kicked our butts last night.

We were pretty lazy yesterday - after I posted, we walked around the city, got some food, checked out smoke shops looking for a pipe for Mark, and then went back to the hotel around 4. It was interesting because yesterday was the "Red Dress Run" - a fundraising event where everyone, guys included, dons a red dress and goes running through the streets. Many cities do this event, but none like New Orleans. I'm told people start drinking around 9:30am, and the race isn't until 4:00pm. It's quite a spectacle, and people come up with some interesting outfits. I'm pretty sure there's a large group of people who don't actually run, they just show up to drink in a red dress. (We overheard two people talking - "Are you going to run?" "Nah, I'm too drunk.")

Mark ended up sleeping for a couple hours in the evening and I sat around and relaxed, and we finally headed out on the town at about 10. Just before we headed out though, I got an email from the Couchsurfing website, and it was from the New Orleans "Last Minute Request" group, which I joined to try to find someplace to stay. It was from a girl who was road tripping across the country and hadn't found anything, and was just driving around town hoping someone responded, which resonated with me. I've done that in a few cities, and usually just ended up camping (Salt Lake City, Fargo, Rapid City). So I figured I'd offer the floor in our hotel room - it isn't much, but slightly better than sleeping in a car on the streets of New Orleans.