Day 47, redemption

I am repaired, safe and sound, and well-fed beyond belief at Pete and Barbara's in Carson City. I am proud to say that the bike, my fair Rocinante, is back in good health too after 200 odd miles of bad limping. Let's backtrack.

I burst my tire on the smallest, darkest follicle of a truck tire while riding through a meteor shower. The hole was the size of a letter a -- a as you see it now. Duct tape did the trip. I headed to the next bike shop 60 miles away only to discover the shop no longer existed. The hole was the size of a bullet wound. I went to the next town with a bike shop. This was Fallon and it was 110 miles away. I was beginning to dislike Nevada through no fault but mechanical.

The tube inside my tire pressed its way through the bullet hole -- at first like a zit, then like a tumor -- until at last the lump popped. Tube 1 dead. Fixed on the side of the road in 100 degree heat. No one slowed down. That's a lie: one woman slowed down to laugh.

I made it to 4 miles outside of Fallon and had a liter of soda at the 1st gas station. When I got back on my bike my tire was flat. Too weak to fix it. So I inflated it, rode a mile, inflated it, rode a mile, inflated it, rode on the rims for a mile. I lost 6 spokes in the process. I stayed at the first motel I saw, which was lovely. The Indian manager and I talked about his priest and the guy's many real estate holdings. I cooked everything I owned and ate it.

Of course, there was no bike shop in Fallon. All there is to Fallon is the Naval Air Base. The inland desert is an odd place for a naval base. I didn't see any soldiers. All I saw were the sad kids of soldiers, moping around in parking lot after parking lot because all kids have in Fallon are parking lots. The adults have casinos.

Sprinted to Carson City on a WalMart tire and fumes. Rode across a bit of the desert where you had to turn on your headlights because you'd be nothing but a shifting black object without them. The heat was real.

I passed a town that was just cathouses or kitten ranches or whatever you call those places where you walk in and pick a woman to screw like you would a happy meal -- number 5, please. Personally, I find nothing less unmanning than walking into a double-wide trailer and acting like you own the place.

Like the best gambler, I just knew my luck would change on my next roll. Pete spotted me from across the street and offered me a place to stay. The bike shop stayed open late, fixed my tire, and told me that we were all settled when I offered to pay. I biked through a neighborhood where the streets were all unfashionable women's names -- Ann, Ida, Marion.

Pete took 5 years off, sold his company and house, and set to traveling the world by bike. He took time off, time off to teach agriculture in the Ecuadorian rainforest or to work in an orphanage. His wife Barbara walked the length of Nepal. Nepal is the opposite of the United States, she feels; they are rich with spirituality and poor in stuff. I haven't been to Nepal, but, yes, we are very rich in stuff.

They raise chickens in their back yard.

Pete just lost a primary run for mayor on the central premise that we need more places for community than casinos. Some old boy won, but not for long. Nevada won't remain a tax free haven of ignorance forever, I think. It's too close to California for one.

And so a change has come. I feel a little guilty about breezing past Nevada because these two generous people are from Nevada, frustrated but here and living by example. More generous people are moving to Nevada. And tomorrow, I will leave it.

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