Friday, May 16, 2008

Kickin it at the Ritz

So, way back in March, I lived for almost a month on my bicycle. Panniers on the front and back full of 60 pounds of food and camping equipment and bike repair sundries, I toured the Gila Wilderness of southwestern New Mexico. (Photos here, in case you don't remember.)

At the end of March I got the sad news that my granpa had died. So I hauled ass home to WV for the funeral and to spend time with the fam. One thing that came out of the trip home was that I inherited my grandpa's truck, which otherwise would just fall into complete disuse. I had no wheels, and the truck has a camper top, so I thought, "Perfect! I could live in that!"

That idea got the expected response from friends and family, accustomed to, as it were, conventional house living. But from the perspective of a dude who just lived a whole month out of a pair of bicycle panniers (I didn't even have a tent - just a tarp, ground pad and sleeping bag), moving into a pickup truck was like moving into the Ritz Carlton.

So I loaded up the '85 powder blue Chevy S-10 decorated with rust spots and primer artwork all up and down the sides and rolled into Raleigh, NC for my summer gig as a "Visiting Research Scientist" at NC State U with the intention of pulling up somewhere in a State Park or off-the-beaten-track stand of pine trees, firing up the Coleman stove, and makin myself a nice little life, livin in the back of the truck and bicycle commuting all over the Research Triangle area.

I dialed up my college buddy Eric on my way into town to let him know I'd be in the area for a few months, and that we oughta hang out, go running, relive the glory days of College, etc.

Of course Eric, being Eric, said, "You're livin in Raleigh? In a truck? Screw that, you can live at my house!"

So I moved into Eric's place, which is a super nice townhouse out by the airport. I got my own room, even my own bathroom. He's got a great kitchen, a deck, even an exercise room. When I moved in, I had to say to myself, "Man, after livin in a pickup truck, this is like moving into the Ritz Carlton!"

And then just today, courtesy of the bash thrown by the foundation that's giving me a grant for the water filtration project work, I grabbed a few necessary items out of my room at Eric's house, chucked them into the back of the powder blue '85 Chevy S-10 with the rust spots, primer artwork and camper top, and trundled down I-85 South to the very upscale Buckhead district of Atlanta, and moved into the Ritz Carlton.

Don't that just beat all?

Another anecdote that confirms my theory that the Universe is a fundamentally groovy place.

The '85 powder blue Chevy S-10 keeping the luxury cars company in the lot outside the Ritz.

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