I stayed at Jason's apartment complex the following night which was awesome. He bought the building about 4 years ago in a totally condemned state with all the money he could round up. He went "all in" so to speak. After 4 years of fixing it up pretty much single handed, he turned the building into a sweet complex and was renting to about 20 people. It was definitely an inspirational story and got me thinking about how what it would be like to be a landlord. I didn't take enough pictures of the complex but it was truly one of a kind. Instead of a smoking patio, Jason built a room in the basement that you access via walking through a door made out of an old soda machine. It's hard to describe but so cool. Pretty much everything in the building is built from scratch including a lot of the lighting fixtures. There are a lot of characters that live there including this guy named Chuck who somebody should make a movie about. Apparently Chuck has three testicles and likes to tell girls at the bar about this.
Jason let me crash at his place that night and the following night as well and fed me several meals. The following day he drove me all the way to Bozeman (4 hour drive away) where my flight was departing from on Tuesday. It was perfect because he was going there to attend a wedding anyways! It's crazy how these things can work out. We drove with Dram (his dog) and Amber his girlfriend who I haven't mentioned yet but is a nurse and also really fucking cool. I felt like part of the family. Dram took up as much space as physically possible in the back seat and directed his hot and stinky breath right towards Amber's face when she was driving.
I ended up crashing his friends wedding that took place at a campground out of Bozeman. It was pretty hillbilly but I think I'd rather have a wedding at a campground than spend 20,000 dollars renting a hotel personally. The next day I parted ways with Amber and Jason and went over to Bob and Pat's place in Bozeman. Bob and Pat were cyclists that were friends with some cyclists that I had met at Jason's friends wedding. I know it's hard to follow. The point is they were strangers but took me in for two nights, fed me every meal of the day, helped me box my bike, and drove me to the airport. What wonderful people. Only on a bike tour do you meet people like that. The best part was, they had a golden retriever named Mgee who I got to sleep with the last night.
Today I spent at various airports as I made my way towards NC. Finally arrived at RDU at about 8 and got picked up by the rents. It was great to see them! They were surprised by my beard. When I got home it was amazing to have some hot food catch up with the family. When I got out of the shower I looked down on my black mountain biking shorts which I've worn every single day since May 20th and thought "I don't have to wear these anymore!" A smile spread across my face.
Anyways, this is the end of the end I guess. No more camping in the wilderness for a while. No more eating ice cream cakes at Walmart. No more sleeping on strangers couches. No more being able to blog about my feelings and have people actually care what I say. haha. It's bittersweet I guess. I'm just really happy to have been able to experience all that I've experienced these past 7 ish weeks. I've learned to expect nothing and then be thankful for whatever you get. I've learned that maybe I don't have what it takes to ride the GDT trail. Maybe pavement is more for me. Oh well! I've learned that there isn't any better way to see the world and meet people than on a bike.
I tend to get so carried away writing about my own adventures I forget to talk about RSD. I guess another thing I've learned is to never take for granted good health. I've been blessed with good health but a lot of people haven't. They have to live in pain all the time with RSD. I think at least a couple people have heard of this disease that hadn't before we started this trip and so I'm content. We raised a lot of money (5000 dollars) and that is pretty awesome. I can't wait to walk around town wearing my Ride for RSD T shirt. A special thanks to everyone who has supported us throughout this journey. We couldn't have made it without you! Till next time!