Pittsburgh, Pa: Three Seasons in the Hometown and a Tool Trailer

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Getting muddy in Frick Park riding my new Surly ECR.

Tomorrow morning, I board a train to New York City with my Great Aunt and Uncle. Then, in thirteen days, the real adventure begins. It actually starts in eleven, as that’s when I board the bus, but who’s counting. For this trek I’m headed to Maine for the second time in my life. The first time was in 2012 when I pedaled a bike to Bar Harbor from Pittsburgh, Pa. This time, I’m a wa’kin from Georgia. Thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail is one of my oldest dreams. It’s time to check it off the list.

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The hike begins March 9th, 2016 at Amicalola Falls State Park in Northern Georgia’s Chattahoochee National Forest, the same National Forest I suffered through for days during the TNGA (Trans North Georgia Adventure, a grueling bike race across the state.) I know the pain I’m in for and it’s gonna be awesome!!! I cannot wait.

I’ll go into more details in future posts. In this one I want to get caught up on the time I spent in my hometown after cycling from the Canada border in Washington state to El Salvador. 

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My first task upon returning home was transcribing my journals. Typing nearly 200,000 words was a lot of work but was worth the effort. Now, not only do I have a backup in case something happens to the originals, but I have access wherever I am. This will be helpful if I ever sit down to write a book… I thought I would write it before leaving on the next trip, but I need a break after all that typing.

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My second chore was to get rid of as much stuff as possible. I have a lot of hobbies and it’s led to an accumulation of crap. This was not fun. I repeat, it was awful! Thankfully, I have a wonderful Mother willing to store my things free of charge so I didn’t have to toss everything. Thanks Mom!

My third chore:

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Tree work is fun.

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I play with chainsaws.

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Some are bigger than others. The bar on this one is 5ft long.

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It’s a monster!

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I also climb trees.

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And play with chainsaws in those trees. We climb them and safely lower sections to the ground.

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The climber runs the show from high above in the tree. He is explaining to Guillermo the plan for the rest of the tree.

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Here, Guillermo allows the rope to slide through his hands bringing this section of tree to a slow stop. If he doesn’t allow the log “room to run,” it will slam into the trunk and knock the climber off the tree possibly breaking the rope as well. Not good for the climber or anything underneath! The rope is wrapped around “the gimp” (a GRCS — Good Rigging Conrol System — but we call it the gimp). You can see the device strapped to the tree in the lower right corner of the image. It adds friction to the system and allows one person to control a log weighing many times more than the person.

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Fransisco mounts the trunk to untie the rope. He probably needed a break… I was busy taking photos so he had to pick up my slack. Kidding! This was an easy day for us on the ground. The climber was having a real bad day though. He was the only one really working.

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The brush is lowered in the same manner. Here you can see the wraps of rope on the gimp.

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Brush is then fed through the chipper and into “Big Bertha,” a Ford F-650 roll-off. Fransisco poses for the photo.

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Rob cuts a notch to fell the remaining section of tree.

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Guillermo holds a rope anchored to the base of the trunk to keep the cut log from rolling down the hill. Timbeeerrrrrr!!!

What have I been up besides watching others work? Well…

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Riding my bike as much as possible. I ended up selling this one. So sad to see it go!

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But, I bought a new one with three inch tires. I’ll use it to ride the length of South America beginning in the fall.

I rode this bike the length of Georgia in the TNGA. I finished in just over three days. It was crazy! I was hallucinating at the end from not sleeping for three nights.

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Here I am at the finish. Such a wonderful feeling.

Photos: The “party crew” and myself at B&D’s Crossing. They stayed open to feed hungry cyclists. I puked before this photo was taken; two photos of me cuddling with a tombstone in a cemetery the night before the race; I took a bus to Chattanooga, assembled my bike, and rode to the start. Not the best idea…

I got away as often as I could.

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And I moved into this tool trailer.

Life in a tool trailer. Acquiring that mattress was the best thing EVER. Before that, I was sleeping on a foam camping mat. Eventually, I even got a desk. I wasn’t able to use it for long though. Winter came.

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Staying warm inside my trailer.

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I traveled with my brother.

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We went camping at Lake Erie.

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And we flew to San Fransisco for a week.

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My brother worries about me. He thinks I’m going to end up like this…

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Santa con coincided with our trip. Thousands of people dressed as Santa and took over the city.

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My wonderful Aunt and Uncle have been kind enough to host me for the last month offering a quiet place to work and plan.

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And the best food EVER. I’m not kidding. I’ve never eaten this well in my entire life. Sorry Mom and Dad. This mornings breakfast was eggs served in rings of pepper. Fruit is served with every meal as desert and comes topped with yogurt or ice-cream and sometimes chocolate.

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I’ve never eaten crab so they took me out for my first. They sure are a lot of work but man are they good.

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Aunt Jane serenades us as we work, talk, and goof around. Sometimes we even join in, my Uncle Bill on guitar and me on the harmonica. Good times!

A few weeks ago, we received over two feet of snow. They used backhoes and bulldozers to clear the streets.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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