Greetings and salutations! You have suddenly found yourself thrown (willingly?) into the middle of a murky pond, a primordial soup, if you will, of bicycle travel documentation. It is not unlike the murky pond your father threw you into when you were a child to teach you how to swim. Like you, I am unsure whether I will, out of necessity, learn to tread water and even out-swim the snapping turtles or, floundering, sink to the bottom and have an underwater tea party with primitive creatures. Ok, maybe a tea party in primordial soup would be unlikely, but my point is it will be an adventure either way and you will experience it as unexpectedly as I.
This I do know: As I prepare for this solo cross-country pedal-a-thon,I often find myself thinking, "wow, this is going to be so great!", which is immediately followed by the devil (or could it be an angel? - no, on second thought, it's probably a miniature version of my parents) on my shoulder shouting something like, "WHAT ARE YOU DOING?! THIS IS RIDICULOUS!" That devil has been seconded by several people close to me. Well, it's a good thing I learned to be stubborn at an early age.

Now, for some specifics:
* Date of departure: Tentatively, February 17th
* Duration: ~2 months
* Intensity: On scale of Drinking Mai Tais on a beach in Hawaii to Pooping my Pants out of fear, I'm gonna have to go with: Part I will need a beer and ice cream at the end of every day or I will lose my mind, part I am feeling awesome. 50/50
* Frequency: ~6 days a week
* Average miles per day: ~70
* Accomodations: Mostly camping with occasional hotels and warmshowers.org hosts.
* Calories I will need to consume daily to avoid attempting to throw my bicycle into a precipice in a fit of low blood sugar: ~6,000
* Pounds I will lose: Probably 20
* Chaffing: Yes, let's be honest, it will happen and I will write about how much it sucks.
* Cursing: Fair warning - there will be a few days it cannot be avoided.
* Estimated number of dogs I will spray with mace daily, broken down by state:
Florida: 1
Alabama: 3
Mississippi: 8
Louisiana: 17
Texas: 4
Arizona: 2
New Mexico: 1
California!: 2
* Odds I will run into Chuck Norris in Texas: 5%
* Chance of loneliness: 60%
* Highest point: 8,500 feet
* Lowest point: ~ -200 feet (Imperial Valley, CA)
* My weather prediction: 50-60 in FL, LA, MS, AL, FREAKING HOT in TX, Warm in AZ, Hot and Cold in NM, varying with elevation, mostly Warm in CA. Rain on every day I reaaaally don't want it to rain.
* How I will react when I see the Pacific Ocean again: Lots of crying, smiling, laughing, and flipping off the high mountains I just came over. I will also crack a ceremonial beer and pour the vial of Atlantic ocean water I will carry with me across the country into the Pacific ocean (provided there is no risk of transporting anything that will be an ecological disaster). Then I will get on a train and go to San Francisco because coastal southern California sucks.

Things you might expect from this blog:
* Daily stats
* Photos of weird things that fascinate me
* Photos of giant plates of food that don't fill me up coupled with snide remarks about how I can eat whatever I want and it doesn't even matter, mwahaha. Just kidding. I'll probably only make snide remarks once.
* Daily experiences with dogs, locals, and nature
* Photos of me on my bike and next to state line signs, jumping in the air and looking like a dork.
* Thoughts on the state of the union intermingled with thoughts on how long it has been since I've showered and how OK I am with that length of time.
* I'm not too philosophical, but with all that head time, head's up, it's coming.
* A running tally of how many times I get honked at in Alabama.
* And, most importantly, the daily comment on how much fun I'm having, balanced perfectly, in accordance with natural laws, by the comment on how much I hurt and would just like to sleep for three days, undisturbed.

Well, folks. I have ranted and raved enough for this introductory piece of mind. But it is a taste of what is to come. I hope you will enjoy following along. Oh, I almost forgot. I will be posting addresses where you may mail me letters, trinkets, messages of love and encouragement, whatever your heart desires that can either be eaten or will fit on a bike. I'll look to have one up about once every week or two. I look forward to reading your comments and words of encouragement as I inch my way across this great country. I leave you with an airy ode to my absolute favorite part of bicycling: The Downhill! And the namesake of this blog

Going down Hill on a Bicycle, A Boy's Song
By Henry Charles Beeching

WITH lifted feet, hands still,
I am poised, and down the hill
Dart, with heedful mind;
The air goes by in a wind.

Swifter and yet more swift,
Till the heart with a mighty lift
Makes the lungs laugh, the throat cry:--
'O bird, see; see, bird, I fly.

'Is this, is this your joy?
O bird, then I, though a boy
For a golden moment share
Your feathery life in air!'

Say, heart, is there aught like this
In a world that is full of bliss?
'Tis more than skating, bound
Steel-shod to the level ground.

Speed slackens now, I float
Awhile in my airy boat;
Till, when the wheels scarce crawl,
My feet to the treadles fall.

Alas, that the longest hill
Must end in a vale; but still,
Who climbs with toil, wheresoe'er,
Shall find wings waiting there.

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