Show Posts

This section allows you to view all posts made by this member. Note that you can only see posts made in areas you currently have access to.


Messages - Westinghouse

Pages: 1 [2] 3 4 ... 102

ALL VOICE TO TEXT, some errors.  My flight from New York to Paris touched down in Orly airport at 6:20 a.m.. the sky was dark gray. A moderate rain cooled the air fully wetting the tarmac around the jet. Customs and immigrations were a breeze. There was hardly a check or a question as we moved through the various lines and booths to the luggage area. The French did not even require a Visa which was surprising. In 1988 I had gone to France to enlist in the French foreign legion. Then the French required everyone to have a Visa because of terrorist threats they were keeping a close watch on everyone's comings and goings. There had been a waiting in line at a special office in London along with other people who had gotten themselves and Tangled in the Visa crunch. Now though it was just walk through and get it done. Two cardboard boxes weighted at baggage claim. One contained a chromoly touring bicycle and the other held the remainder of the gear. Because the other passengers had made off with all the baggage carts the best way to move them was by placing the smaller box on top of the box containing the bicycle and skidding them along the smooth tile floor. To some people it might have had an effect similar to screeching ones fingernails across a chalkboard but that was the only way. The immediate goal was getting into Paris to some discernible point from which to begin the journey. People at the airport said to take an Orly bus to somewhere in downtown Paris but where I did not know. With the two boxes loaded onto the bus it was necessary to hold them tightly as they swayed from side to side during the serpentine 20 minute ride into the City of lights. The first likely place was a rain drenched sidewalk in front of a city bus station in the small square d e n f e r t r o c h e r e a u. There was a clear plexiglass bus stop shelter there to keep out of the rain. The first plan was to unpack the bikes there assemble the bike and be ready to go when the rain stopped. However the shelter was so small and so many people kept coming and going from the buses that it was not possible. There was a small green park with an earthen footpath running through it just across the street that would make a good assembly point when the rain stopped.

Two young women from California were in the shelter. One was crying. She said their vacation had turned out miserably. She described their experience as a horror a nightmare. She said she and her friend were lost and penniless nearly late for their flight home and unable to speak French without a way to the airport. That did not seem to qualify as a genuine horror or a nightmare. It was more the case of the spoiled poor little rich girl who upon experiencing some minor inconveniences overreacts and blows they predicament completely out of perspective and proportion. But there was no use saying anything about that. however her words did bring back memories of August the 1st 1980 in buttevant Ireland when my train was derailed resulting in the worst railroad disaster in the history of Ireland with 18 people who were killed and more than 75 who were injured. Those injuries were truly horrible and appalling. For 6 months before that there were clear terrorists threats and warnings from soldiers in the United States army who were protected by the United States government. That was a horror and a nightmare. A few minutes later both of them were speaking French and boarding their bus to the airport. They made a quick recovery.

Hunger was setting in. The red neon lights of a pizza restaurant down the street to the left called out and made the stomach growl and set the juices to flowing. The questions were these. Was eating worth the trouble of carrying all that weight for a block? If not was it safe to leave everything unattended? The answer or the best answer to both questions was no. Had to besides that a frugal budget was necessary as usual and eating in Paris is notoriously expensive. The rain stopped in 2 hours and a dark gray sky remained.

It took only 30 minutes to move the boxes to the park and spread out everything on two benches. The ground was a drenched red clay that had splattered up on everything and stuck there. Moving carefully to avoid dropping any parts into the sticky clay it took about 2 hours to assemble the bike pack the panniers and then put everything together. A man and a woman two benches away we're smoking marijuana. The camping gear clothing and other items weighing about 60 lb were distributed in two large rear panniers two smaller front panners and a handlebar bag with the rest stacked onto a rack mounted over the rear wheel. The bike itself weighing about 32 lb seemed to wobble under the strain of body and gear.

When I pulled out for the first time onto the streets of Paris it must have been a site. Straddling the bike at some street corner to confer with a map of Paris, it was time to set out through the bustling City traffic following road signs to Led Halle, g a r e. du  nord, there was a right turn to parallel a quay at the S e i n e River and after that there was a canal. Somewhere in town was a McDonald's which charge $6.50 for hamburger Coke and fries. The streets of Paris were lined with apartment houses, businesses of all sorts, and sites of historic interest.

Mary ettinger and I had been tourists in Paris in the summer of 1982. We were on a one month rail pass in Western Europe and visiting in Paris many of the attractions to tourists go there to see. Now those places no longer held an allure. For this was the commencement of a major bicycling Odyssey whose first task required cycling successfully through the world's fourth most densely populated city with its more than 4,082 streets, 314 places, 8,016 intersections, and more than 2.2 million people distributed at more than 54,000 per square mile. That according to an encyclopedia. And already there were feelings of apprehension about what conditions might be encountered in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet republics.

General Discussion / Re: TAT and mental health
« on: July 28, 2023, 02:14:24 am »
I don't know about bi-polar disorder. Well, except for this one girlfriend.  It did not last long, that relationship.  She had these times of elation, and super positive attitude, and bubbly, and highly intelligent and conversational, and everything about life was agreeable, etc.  Then she would plunge into depths of far-off-the-charts hate, negativity, screaming, vulgarity, epithets of any kinds.  It was wild.  When we first met, she was on the upswing. I had no idea what I was going to experience. I had been 13 years in 37 countries, and had never seen anything like it.  As for bicycle touring, I would not trust her at all.  I suppose there are different levels of severity of BPPD.  I am not a doctor.

General Discussion / Re: Stay Bear Aware
« on: July 28, 2023, 02:02:26 am »
Davey Crocket killed him a bear when he was only three.  Not sure I ever saw one on tour.  If I ever do see one, I will turn around. Hopefully it will be down hill.  There was a flyer at a national park out west on the northern tier.  It said grizzlies could hit 35 to 40 mph.  It was not comforting knowing my top downhill speed was 37.  I think I heard one in the woods at night.  I was speeding downhill west to east over Logan pass on going to the sun highway.

General Discussion / Cycling Ukraine September 10, 1994.
« on: July 25, 2023, 02:16:29 am »
I pushed the heavily loaded bicycle out to the road where a tall thin bearded man was cycling by on the highway. There was no luck cycling West looking for the campground, but there was that tall bearded man talking with another man across the highway. Both men were on bicycles which is normal for Ukraine. Perhaps my cycling across the road to ask some questions would elicit some useful answers. "Do you speak English?" "Yes I do," replied the bearded man. And indeed he did this fellow named Viktor. Not only did he speak English well, he was also an interpreter in Kiev for a US News agency called Intel news. Viktor was a native-born Ukrainian, and his friend Leonid, Russian, was a retired pilot and testing engineer for an aircraft company. Viktor said the campground was very expensive and reserved for tourists. He said hotels were running about $65 a day, but that there was one cheaper hotel near where we were. We cycled to the hotel which was only a few minutes away.

The hotel a dull, drab looking, few stories kind of place was located in a sports complex surrounded by a car race track. Viktor informed me that he cycled on the track on weekends. After going in and looking at the rooms Viktor negotiated a price of $12 a day. He explained to the woman at the desk about The travelers checks and how they would be exchanged for coupons the following day. The Ukrainian renter paid 50 cents a day. The American paid $12. Or the Ukrainian paid 25,000 coupons a day and the American 600,000. Frankly the room was not worth it and it would be too much even for the United States. However, a poor Ukrainian, seeing a foreign tourist in his market, especially an American, is like a hungry shark sensing blood in the water. He goes crazy. And who is without guilt that he can cast the first stone? It was a market economy. They do the same thing in Florida every year when the tourist season rolls around.

 Agreeing to meet Viktor later outside, I repaired first to the room to get cleaned up while he cycled around the track.  It was a little confusing where we had agreed to meet. First, I cycled along a rocky road and then doubled back and cycled to the top of a concrete bridge over the track. There was no discernible way of getting from the bridge onto the track. They showed up and gave me directions on which road to follow and which gate to go around and where to turn and soon I too was on the track and cycling leisurely along. During our one lap of the track Victor talked about the sports complex and answered questions about Ukraine. We cycled over to a set of bleachers near an airfield and sat a while. Sitting prominently in a green grassy field about 200 ft in front of us was an old flat-green biplane. Large black letters were printed on the plane's fuselage, and a large painted red star adorned its rear rudder. It looked like a relic from a bygone era of aviation history, like a display in a museum for looks only. At the rear of the plane five young people sat and lay in the grass. Suddenly, along with a billowing cloud of gray smoke, the two engines burst into a well-oiled well-maintained and very loud roar. It was surprising as hell. "You mean that thing actually runs," I exclaimed. "Of course it runs," said Viktor. He went on to explain that students from Nepal used the plane to practice skydiving.

At that moment a group of 15 young men and women walk single file from a building to the plane and boarded. With its twin engines purring The relic took to the air like an eagle. It flew completely out of sight. At the same time a green military helicopter landed on a round concrete landing pad near us.

Victor, Leonid and I cycled into the center of Kiev. We came across a store selling cheese and yogurt, which, of course, I snapped up immediately. There is no better yogurt than Ukrainian yogurt, and the same goes for their coffee, cheese and their bread but that is all. The store had a second story which sold sundry items including soap powder. I drank down all of the yogurt in front of the store. Victor said that Intel news would pay me to write an article on my first impressions cycling through Ukraine. I made no promises but told him I would write one if I could find the time. The most important thing on my agenda was getting a few days of sound sleep. I did not want to get tied into someone else's agenda. Most always I am better off deciding my own course and making my own decisions. Victor promised to introduce me to the editor of Intel news tomorrow. We made plans to meet on Sunday to cycle out to the area's lake district.

It was a relief heading back to the hotel back to rest and relaxation. While cycling up to the front door, seven mangy snarling curs charged from behind a hedge in the hotel's front yard. They were mean vicious acting mongrels, but they backed away when I stopped cycling and yelled at them. They acted as though they would have liked nothing better than tearing me apart limb from limb. A new woman at the front desk claimed to have no knowledge of the agreement to cash the checks and pay later. She started arguing about paying, insisting that I come up with the money then. It was pointless trying to communicate with each other. Neither one of us spoke the other's language. She finally called a female interpreter.  Over the phone we got things straightened out. I carried the bicycle up the stairs and kept it inside the room. Dinner was composed of Nutella sandwiches and cheese.

The room itself was abuzz with flies. There were no screens on the windows. The TV was a fuzzy black and white affair that brought in two channels with no sound. The small refrigerator did not work at all. A brown colored crud coated the walls of the shower room all the way to the bottom of the tub. There was running water, all of it cold as ice. There was a sit toilet that flushed. Pull the overhead handle and a powerful stream rushed into the bowl onto the floor against the wall and all over anyone standing in front of the thing.

This 34th day was spent cycling about 10 miles around the city of Kiev. I rented a hotel room for an exorbitant price for 2 days and saw kiev's sports complex. Cheese and yogurt from a local store were an unexpected treat. This was the first full body ablution, cold as it was, in 5 days. A pack of nasty mean curs had menaced. An old woman at a reception desk had hassled and harassed. What a reception. Welcome to Ukraine.

General Discussion / Re: Kickstands
« on: July 18, 2023, 04:01:06 am »
Walmart has, in some stores, adjustable, steel kickstands.

General Discussion / Re: cost per day to tour
« on: July 13, 2023, 10:19:34 pm »
I forgot to mention the so-called Continental breakfasts in the motels. For the most part it is garbage. You might see an orange here or an apple or a banana. Maybe maybe. It's not what you would call a breakfast at all. It's the kind of food that nutritionists and nutritional science warn you against taking at all. Mostly it's the kind of food that will shorten your lifespan if eaten continuously over a long period of time.

General Discussion / Re: Boxed Bike on Delta Airlines
« on: July 11, 2023, 03:10:39 am »
Call Delta and ask.

General Discussion / Re: cost per day to tour
« on: July 11, 2023, 01:11:24 am »

I like the idea of the Planet Fitness thought, I will have to get a card, now that I'm a senior citizen and a member of Silver Sneakers, but some Planet Fitness places accept Silver Sneakers and some don't, so I'll still need a card.  The only problem I see with this, is finding one near my route.
Planet Fittness' business model relies heavily on volume, volume, volume, so they tend to not be in places with relatively low population densities.  Also, unlimited access is for your home club only.

Unless you are touring a lot in highly populated areas, you would probably be better off trying to purchase showers from private campgrounds.  There is even a hotel along the GAP in Connellsville that sells showers to people camping at the nearby free camping area. The restaurant in Rexford, MT, on the Northern Tier, sells showers.  (The nearby federal campground has plumbed restrooms but no showers.)  Truck stops and local pools are other possible options. Rivers and lakes are usually free.  :)

Not quite. The black card membership gets you access to any Planet Fitness in the country.  Not only that, you can bring a nonmember guest.  Small towns will not have a PF, and probably not any chain clubs, only privately owned.  That is why you google your route, then decide for yourself.

General Discussion / Re: cost per day to tour
« on: July 10, 2023, 02:13:23 am »
Motels have skyrocketed in price just in the last 2 years, to about double over that time.  We had to spend $220 for one night just a couple of weeks ago, and that was the cheapest we could find without going to a dive place where I would need my 357mag to take care of the drug addicts and criminals that hang out in those places!

I like the idea of the Planet Fitness thought, I will have to get a card, now that I'm a senior citizen and a member of Silver Sneakers, but some Planet Fitness places accept Silver Sneakers and some don't, so I'll still need a card.  The only problem I see with this, is finding one near my route.

Finding any health club is as easy as 1-2-3.  Just google for them in towns on your route.  The conveniences of modern technology.  It beats stopping and asking.  The directions would be accurate.

General Discussion / Re: Hotel/motel vs camping
« on: July 10, 2023, 01:55:31 am »
Best of luck to you on your touring adventure!

Of course comfort levels will always depend on the person in question.  You don't see India on everyone's list of "must see" touring destinations do you?  :)

For Nancy and I, as well as most of our experienced touring pals.  We all carry camping gear and it varies as to how much we use it.  Hotels are much more expensive but sometimes hotels can put you right where you can't get pitching a tent.  Sometimes pitching a tent can put you right where you want to be, or with who you've met along the way.

You'll meet more fellow CTC tourers in the campgrounds.  You'll see more of the towns by staying in hotels.  Blend the two together in a fashion that suits you.


No, and it is likely you will not see India on the must do list for cyclists. Read "Miles From Nowhere" by Barbara Savage.  You will find out why. When they landed at the airport in India, and got their bicycles ready for the road, a man approached them.  He advised then NOT to cycle the Indo-Gangetic plane. He told  them, "India is a bizarre and dangerous country."  They went anyway.  The trip there was not good.

General Discussion / Re: Hotel/motel vs camping
« on: July 10, 2023, 01:48:02 am »
Some motels may be less expensive in the western states.  Van Horn TX had rooms for $25.00.  Small, clean, AC, heat.  Saw a good deal discount in El Paso.  A hotel in EL Paso was / is a hostel.   On my last tour I stayed in the Red Lion  (I think it was) in Tucson, The Hilton Double Tree in El Paso, the Alexandre in New Orleans, some overpriced rat hole in Perry FL and the Days Inn in Stuart FL.

General Discussion / Re: cost per day to tour
« on: July 06, 2023, 11:56:36 pm »
It is possible to save a considerable amount of money by doing this.  Get a black card membership with planet fitness for $20 a month. They are numerous enough that you should find them in just about any town of any size on the East Coast or elsewhere. Free camp in the woods as much as possible. Use planet fitness for hot showers. It is supposed that you could do that with most any health club chain. Planet fitness is the one which I think is most numerous.

Anyone who reads this thread should be forewarned of the small but possible danger.  It should be instructive in prevention and in enacting counter influences against attack.

General Discussion / Re: Bicycles on Via Rail in Canada
« on: July 05, 2023, 01:42:30 am »
I used Amtrak in the US in October---November 2022.  California to Tucson, AZ.   El Paso, TX to New Orleans, LA.  Approximately 1600 miles.  This is how it went with the bicycle.  Wheel bike to side of baggage car.  Remove all panniers and all else.  Hand bike up to person in baggage car.   Get receipt.  Take baggage onboard.  At the transfer or destination, go to baggage car.  Hand up receipt.  It might be a real good looking young woman who takes it.  The person hands the bike to you.  And there you are.

That what you say is more to the point.  The friendly, so-called, domestic pet dogs are known to attack and kill.  They do it inside the houses where they live.  An article online had a story like that.  A deputy sheriff watched over children of one of his friends.  It was inside in his friend's house.  A pet dog attacked and mauled him to death.   In another report, two dogs a woman had raised suddenly attacked her. It was fatal.  One thing about our canine friends.  They tend to be more aggressive and dangerous in packs, even more so if they are free-ranging, living off the land.

Pages: 1 [2] 3 4 ... 102