I'm going to try something a little different with the blog for a while here. Let me know what you think. I promise to return with my normal blather when I ride somewhere worth telling you about, or when my participles stop dangling.
Captain's Log. AGRO (After Gas Ran Out) Date 843.
I gave myself a battlefield promotion today, all the way to the rank of Captain. I considered being a General, but that seemed a bit much ... even for my ego. Colonel always makes me think of corn, and Major makes me feel too old to be a minor.
All right. To be honest, the Star Trek nerd inside of me just wanted to start titling these things "Captain's Log." Sue me.
About an hour after breaking camp this morning I ran into a band of wandering skateboarders. They were foraging for food at a Costco, but not having much luck. All they seemed to have found were big flat screen TVs and office supplies. They'd hauled the TVs into the parking lot and taped them together to make a skate park, and seemed to be trying to kill themselves there.
I stayed about 100 yards away. They ignored me at first, but then asked what I had in my panniers and trailer. When I told them it was mostly food and water, they began moving my way whining, "Hey, uh ... hey, bicycle man, uh ..." I slowly climbed back on the bike and began leisurely pedaling away.
In a world without gas, bicycles rule.
I played with them for a couple of miles, letting them get a little closer, and then dropping them again. When they stopped in exhaustion, I circled back and searched the Costco for stuff that I could use. I found some cheap bikes in the back, and took the tires and tubes.
On my way out, I got a big bag of spicy Cheetos and a couple of Red Bulls out of the trailer, leaving them in the middle of the makeshift skate part. The poor kids were doomed, but maybe it will keep them going for a few days. Besides, I needed room for the tires and tubes.
Soon I was back on the interstate, headed north. I plugged my iPod into the DynaHub for a while to listen to some music. The weather was good, and the wind was at my back. I was another great day to be out riding a bicycle on another smooth empty road.
Late in the afternoon, I stopped at an abandoned car in the middle of the road. The corpse of the driver was still at the wheel -- an all-too-common scene over the past couple of years. In the last days of gasoline, people would drive aimlessly until the gauge hit empty. When their car stopped running they would just sit there, staring into space, hands on the wheel, slowly starving to death.
Maybe they were waiting for OnStar to send a tow truck. More likely, however, is that they just didn't want to live in a world without cars.
Some earlier scavenger had already popped the hood. That was common, too, as people desperately scrounged for the last drops of gasoline. I pulled the dipstick and checked the oil -- good and fresh. I removed the oil filter to get a cup full, and then lubed my chain and the rest of the bike's drive train. I put the car in neutral and pushed it off the road before I left, so that future cyclists would not hit it.
Cars belong on the shoulder in this world after the Autocalypse.
Tonight, I'm camping in some woods near an overpass. Dinner was a can of corned beef hash, seasoned with wild onions that I picked nearby. The air here is fresh and clean, smelling of pine trees and dandelions. The stars are getting brighter, too, now that there is no car exhaust and less noise pollution from towns. I barely need my little LED lamp to write this entry, even though the DynaHub topped off the batteries during the ride.
Tomorrow or the day after, I should reach the first of the farms up north. I've got some good stuff to trade, and am looking forward to fresh fruit and vegetables. Then, I may head east again.