Bike USA: August 9-29, 2000 – The Rally

Max’s stuff in black, Mark’s in brown.

The Rally

August 20th from 10AM to 2PM we were supposed to bike around the D.C. Mall (monument and museum central of the U.S.). After that there was a party in Mt. Ranier until the wee hours of the night. Unfortunately, Allen’s house is much much farther than I had anticipated and I arrived at 1pm. ouch. There’s nothing quite like 10 miles growing to 25 when you’re starving and sleep deprived. I thought everybody would be circling the Mall until 2pm so I just stopped in the shade and started eating Milk Duds. Met a Thai guy raised in Laos who has been bumming around in the U.S. for the past 20 years or so. Now there is a side of America I wish we had seen more of. You can learn a lot from a simple world traveller. Their values don’t include luxury cars and stability. Maybe I’m attaching too much romanticism but it’s like a modern day monk.

George did not have a bike for the rally, so while Max biked to the rally, George and I and my bike took a subway to the approximate location of the rally and looked for a bike rental place. It turned out more difficult than we had anticipated and we decided to break for lunch. By the time we finished getting our food and heading back to the rally location on the way to the bike rental, we saw that the rally turned into an impromptu podium/speaker/everyone-lounge-around-and-watch deal. So we didn’t get George a bike, and I ended up not riding one single loop of the rally route!

the rally

The rally was not very large. Maybe at most two hundred people with just a handful of trans am riders. The party was cool – live bands, local bike shop tents, food, like RAGBRAI without so much alcohol. Martin Krieg, the organizer, introduced us to the masses, but most everybody already knew us as the Chen Brothers. We were big stars among this small niche of crazy people! Meeting all the crazy people behind the log entries and email and attaching faces to words was like putting the final pieces of a puzzle together. I mainly talked to Monty and Bill, two hilarious guys who biked from Seattle. I had breakfast with them the following morning while they were wearing matching “I [heart] Intercourse (pennsylvania)” T-shirts. Our trip would have been completely different if it wasn’t just Bo and I.

Did anyone lose a blinking taillight? I’ve got it.

That night I slept outside the local rec center. Bo and George had already gone back to Allen’s earlier in the evening. It was the last time our Portland bought tent would be used for a while. The inside stank of pungent B. O. and the walls were lined with blood smears from squished mosquitos. This was it. The bike trip is finally over.

George and I spent the time watching Macross Plus and Once Upon a Time in China 6. 🙂

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