Day 15: stumbling into Mississippi 

This day sucked. The morning felt like pedaling through molasses with rocks tied to my legs. Turned out my front brakes were rubbing on my tire, but even after taking care of that it still took an exhorbinant amount of effort to get anywhere. I also got my first flat, which I changed myself except for the final few pushes on the road pump, which had stopped budging the air count upward.

I wasn’t sure if I should, but I called the van. Sarah picked me up and when I tried to get reassurance that what I did was right, instead she told me I was wasting people’s time and gas money and I shouldn’t make a pattern of calling the van because it was unsustainable and she’d have to talk with the main office. I asked what she was implying and we drove silently after that. Also we passed the state line into Mississippi.

At lunch it appeared that everyone felt like defrosted shit, but for some reason I was the only one who cracked. I felt more miserable than I had trudging through each pedal stroke, but I was scared to get back on my bike for fear of having to call the van and its wrath a second time, and scared to stay in the van for fear of getting kicked out.

I reached out to a friend who did B&B a few years ago. She surprised me by relating to all my difficulties, down to the struggle to stay out of trouble for being slow in the mornings. She also said she called the van by the end of every day until the middle of the trip, when she finally started finishing the days on her own two wheels.

The rest of the afternoon was me coming close enough to sleep in the van that I felt groggy. When we got to the host site (a Baptist church) I found a little space for myself in the chapel to be alone. But luckily someone spotted me and started up a casual chat, which made me feel better instantly. Dinner was in the enormous round with a Town Hall meeting during, and then I went to a bar on Jeff Davis street (as in Jefferson, but casual) with a group. Got a whiskey ginger for $3.50. Could have upgraded to Jack Daniels for 50¢ but I don’t have strong feelings about that kind of thing. Closed out the day feeling pretty good, which fit well into my don’t go to bed until I’m at least kind of happy policy.

  

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