Monday, June 29, 2009

The bike plan

Unlike a novel things in real life just don't happen all at once. In real life you live a day with nothing significant happening. Like I can sit on that pier everyday of my life and just think about life, but you can only describe that a couple of times. After that it get boring. I spent at least two days at a time riding around the park at night and sitting on the pier during the days. I was not one bit bored.

The more I rode the bike to the beach the better I got at it. After a while I decided that high speed was not what I needed. What I really needed was longer range. I didn't want to pedal a lot, but I didn't mind traveling at 10mph or so. I needed to stretch the battery power just as far as possible. I had the rear wheel already set up, so I just needed to find the right motor for the DIY bike and then switch out.

I knew from my tests at home that the motor would probably be something even smaller than the hub motor I used. The hub motor bike was my compromise bike. It had good range and good climbing ability but was only good not exceptional at either. The 500 watt motor was great at speed and climbing hill, but was also a battery killer. It was time to experiment again.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

I spent a couple of days waiting to see if the other shoe would fall. I am happy to say that just like in the majority of altercations I have had, it ended with a wimper. I had dinner with Laura one of the nights and a frozen pizza with a bag of salad the other night...

I even watched a couple of TV shows on the internet. If I didn't mind waiting a bit, I could watch last weeks shows on my laptop. All in all it was a pretty good existence I had worked out. I was careful not to say it out loud though. No sense risking a jinx.

Since I planned to be around a while, I began the perfect DIY bike. Well the perfect one for me. I began by bidding on a 750 watt motor. At 24 volts I would most like have to have a large battery pack to support it. Even that might not be a real problem.

Mary Barker the woman much less than half my age called. She wasn't having any water problem she just wanted to talk. It was a good thing that I had free use of the office phone after 6pm. I had her call me there.

Mary was one of those women who want you to know everything about her. She also wants you to know it whether you care or not. Worst of all she wants you to know it all at once. She obviously had too much time on her hands after the divorce.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

a day of rest

After the noisy party incident I decided to take the day off and just hang out at the trailer. If the kid wanted to make good on his threats, I wanted to be sure he had a chance to face me, not burn the trailer because I was at the pier meditating.

Of course he never showed up. "Oh CJ your drunk came by to apologize and beg me not to evict him."

"And what did you decide."

"I told him to make it right with you, then to never have another party. One complaint from any of his neighbors and he is history."

"You know, once I drunk always a nasty drunk," I suggested.

"Yeah but it will be on him not on us. I almost always have to face these guys in small claims court. The are trying to make me pay for their move."

"I hope you documented it."

"Oh yes and CJ write me a statement please. Just as much as you can remember."

"You want the ass kicking comment as well?"

"Damn right I do." She smiled.

It wasn't that she didn't want him out, she just wanted some paper to wave at the judge.

I didn't expect him to 'make it right'. After all he was still a nasty drunk. What I expected was for him to run me off some lonely stretch of road one day.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

The day after the great flood..

I could learn to like this job, I thought that after finding the chocolate cake on my picnic table. The note read. I got here to late to catch you. The park manager said you go to the beach every day. I wanted you to know how much I appreciated you turning off the water. Even more for waiting till dad finished the repair than turning it back on. I hate cold showers.

Mom said the best way to say thank you to a bachelor was food. The cake is the best I could do on short notice.


Yes, I thought, I could learn to like this job.

All that changed later that night when I was called to handle a noise complaint. I spoke to a group of young people about the music at their cookout.

"Hey who is in charge here?" I asked it of a guy standing at the edge of the mobile home space.

"Who are you?"

"I'm the night manager, who are you."

"I rent this space so I can do whatever I want." It was pretty obvious that he had been drinking.

"No actually you can't. Did you read the park rules?... I know you signed them, but did you read them?"

"What rule am I breaking.

"The loud noise rule."

"It's early I can make all the noise I want till 11pm."

"How can one man be so wrong so often?" I asked. "You are quoting law not rules. See you agreed to abide by the rule that says loud and unusual noises are not permitted and are reason for eviction.'


I showed him the rule. "Now if I'm not mistaken they charge about a grand to move and reset a mobile home. Not to mention the wiring and other costs. So unless you want to have to deal with that, I suggest you move the party indoors and keep the noise down to a roar. Then kill it all by 11pm or you can also deal with the Sheriff. I do not give but one warning."

"What if I just kick your ass old man?"

"Then you go from disturbing the peace misdemeanor to assault and battery a class a felony. You get to move from a fine to prison time. Your next party would be with a 300 pound guy named Bubba. A dance in the shower I expect."

I figured him to be a reasonable man, so I turned my back on him. I also ignored the nasty names he called me. What I didn't ignore was him following me to the truck. He was in my face so I did what any good night manager would do, I called the day manager. She shared a few words with him over the phone.

"I might as well finish the party, she is going to evict me. I hope you're satisfied old man."

"You made the decision I just made the call. She would have let you back down anytime. Whatever happens now is between you two. But if this noise is still going on at 11pm, it will be between you and the sheriff." With that I drove away,

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

I was back doing the on call thing, when my phone rang on Tuesday evening. Since Laura and I had not been able to connect since Sunday, I thought that life might be about to change again. I hadn't put a lot of faith in our relationship so I wasn't really hurt.

"Hello," I said into the phone.

"This is Mary Barker in lot 17. My water line broke. Can you come turn off the water please."

It was one thing I had been taught to do. The park provided water as part of the rent. The Management did not want to be providing it to tenant with a broken line.

"I'll be right down just hold on." The broken pipe thing happened more in the winter but it happened enough so that the pickup had a valve handle under the driver's seat.

I hustled out and drove to lot 17. Sure enough water was dripping from underneath the mobile home. Actually it was doing more than dripping. I found the valve and used the rusty handle to shut the water off.

"Thank you so much," The much younger woman said.

"Nothing to it," I replied. My curiosity was aroused. So what happened to the water line?

"My father," she said with a chuckle. She noted my curious look. "He was trying to move my refrigerator and broke the ice maker line."

"Ah, well let me know when he has it fixed and I'll turn your water back on."

"Very well," she replied.

"Hey, do you have a 3/8" wrench?" The voice came from a man about my age.

"I might have one at the house, Hold on I'll take a look." I found a 3/8" wrench in my took kit pretty easily. It isn't often that I can do that. The drive back to the Barker home was quick. I did wait until the old man was finished with my tool before I left. When I left the water was on and the refrigerator no longer leaked. Mary Barker was busy mopping water when I left.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Monday morning blues

It was a nice quiet weekend. It was extremely pleasant to spend the weekend with someone rather than all alone. Not to mention that it was great to have real food for three days straight. Well Sunday morning it was doughnuts in bed with the morning paper. Nonetheless there was a lot of good food. Much more than I had eaten in weeks.

I managed to work in some long walks even though my new friend was more the sedentary type. I tried to burn off some of those calories, since I wasn't sure from one day to the next if the my new friendship would last.

I had pretty much spent the entire weekend with my new friend Laura. I was more than a little sad when the weekend ended and I returned home. Laura worked third shift at a sewing plant so she needed to rest on Monday. I needed to get back to my own life as well. It had been fun being 16 again but it was time to return to the real world of toil and strife.

While Laura did her resting thing, I rode the bike to the beach. I spent the morning just hanging out on the pier. I noticed an older man walking along the water's edge with a metal detector. I thought one of those might be fun, then pushed it from my mind.

I rode my bike home in time for a frozen dinner. Those things weren't quite great but at least they had improved a lot since I was a kid. My ride around the park was uneventful. I checked on Laura twice before I went home.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

dinner and a lady

I showed up right on time with a bottle of Lambrusco and a healthy appetite. "Come in." the rather harsh female voice came from inside the mobile home.

"Hello," I said it holding out the wine. "I hope this is what you had in mind."

"Ah well I won't know until I taste it." She said that as she turned her back to me. She also reached into the cabinet for over sized wine glasses.

Dinner was quite good. Some kind of pasta thing that wasn't quite spaghetti but was very close. I ate it hungrily since I hadn't had home made anything in weeks. The conversation was interesting as well. Laura Evans was a divorced mother of two children. She informed me that her son was doing his residency in a Big time New York hospital and that her daughter would be graduating college at the end of the fall term. She had stayed one extra semester to finish a second degree. I didn't ask what the degrees were, since I really didn't care.

"So CJ would you like to take a ride. I hear you are partial to walking on piers,"

"Ah I see my secret is out."

"Yes it is. At this time of night the piers will either be empty or there might be a few die hard fishermen."

"Then let's go see what die hard fishermen look like."

Standing with her on the end of the pier on a night with the moon hanging over the water was about as good as it gets for an old guy like me.

Friday, June 19, 2009

after the call

"Hello in the house please stay calm both of you. I have called 911 and the sheriff's car is on the way." They both looked scared to death, but I couldn't help either of them by rushing into the house. I had no idea who they were or why she was holding him at gun point. I decided that it would be better for everyone to let the sheriff's deputy figure it out.

I hung around because I was nosy. It took the deputy several minutes to arrive. I just kept an eye on the man and woman in the mobile home. When the deputy arrived I informed him of what I knew. I did not speculate on the situation in the house.

While hanging out in the yard I learned that the situation was a burglary gone terribly wrong. The man had no idea anyone was home. He certainly had no inkling that the woman in the house slept with a gun on her night stand. The trailer looked as though there was no one at home because the woman worked third shift at one of the local sewing plants. At the time the bad guy chose to enter her house the lights were all out because she was napping prior to leaving for work. The house did appear empty for sure.

The deputies took statements from me and the lady of the house. The bad guy didn't need to make a statement. He was caught with his hand in the cookie jar. The only hope he had was that the prosecutor got laid the night before he went to trial. He would have to be in a really good mood to cut the yahoo any slack.

I drove the pickup back to my trailer then turned in for the night. As usual I was awake at 6am like I said before habits of a lifetime are hard to break. After I delivered the truck, I went out to breakfast. It was about 8am when I returned to the trailer. I skipped the ocean only because I wanted to talk to the park manager about the events of the night before.

"That's him. He's the one who sat outside while I was in danger." The woman from the night before turned her words away from the park manager. She directed them to me. "Why the hell didn't you come help me?"

"Well for one thing you had it under control. If I had come in there it would have just led to more confusion and the bad guy might have taken advantage of the confusion. I sat outside to keep on eye on you. If the situation had changed, I would have helped." She didn't look satisfied. "I'm sorry that's the best I can tell you."

"CJ is not a security officer. His job is to ride thought the part and if he sees anything unusual to call the sheriff. Which is exactly what he did."

"If I had rushed in there I could have gotten someone killed. Even if it was the bad guy, it still would have been a tragedy. Nobody wanted it to end any other way than how it did."

"I suppose you are right. I just felt so helpless."

"I know. You had the tiger by the tail alright."

"Lucy tells me you are a transient."


"You know living in one of the trailers. You aren't going to be here too long."

"That's true. I will probably move on when her dad finishes his fishing trip."

"Well I'm off tonight, how about I fix you dinner?"

"You don't have to do that."

"I know I don't, but I would like to."

"Well I do like to eat,"

"You know where I live. How about you come over about eight and bring a bottle of wine."

"Red or white?"

"Red, something sweet please."

And that's how I got my first date in forty years.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Into a habit

Good habits or bad habits are easy to get into and hard to bet out of. Over the next week I fell into a routine. I would sit at home on the net from five till I made the tour of the park around midnight. After which I just went to bed. I usually had a little noise or something similar to investigate sometime during the evening, but midnight generally marked an end to that. People who lived in the park, for the most part, were hard workers. They obviously needed their sleep. The camper spaces were filled with fishermen who needed to sleep since they arose early to meet their chartered boat. They wanted to squeeze every second out of their charter time.

When I awoke I would deliver the truck to the office for the maintenance man. Then I would ride my bike to breakfast. Usually that was on the way to the beach. I sat on the pier reading some mystery or adventure novel. Those I bought second hand at the news stand. No it wasn't a small newspaper vendor, it was a warehouse of newspapers and used books. You know, one of those buy it for have price trade it in for half of the half price.

I had taken on a rather pleasant existence. I was also getting way too comfortable. Something had to happen and it did in the third week of my two month job.

One of the main things I was hired to do was to determine what needed a cop and what I could calm down myself. The woman standing in the kitchen of the mobile home with a rather nasty automatic pistol trained on a much larger man, was one I felt sure needed a cop. I sat on her picnic table to place the 911 call.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

The summer job

The job was only for the summer since the owner/on call man was going fishing in Florida for most of the summer. I had a couple of months to work but only if it worked out okay. Otherwise I would just get a Uhaul truck and move on down the line.

My first night was simple. It was a quick ride on my bike to the office. There I picked up the truck. I left my bike and took the truck to the campsite. It would stay in the drive until I made the tour of the park around midnight. After that it would return to my drive until morning when I would return it to the office parking lot. That was the manager's grand plan anyway.

The park was quiet on that first night. Nobody had maintenance issues and there were no parties on the weeknights. I had a feeling that the loud parties would be Friday and Saturday nights. Even that wasn't much of an issue. A simple warning to quiet down or the sheriff would be visiting should work, if not then it was call the sheriff's office.

I was standing on the visitors side of the manager's desk when she asked, "So how was it."

"Nothing to it. The park was quiet and no one called. Are you sure you had the calls forwarded to me."

"Oh yes, it was just a quiet night on the plantation," she said it with a smile. "Some nights are like that."

"Well I'm awake so I guess I'll head on down to the beach."

"Are you a fisherman to?"

"No, I like to think that I'm the next Ernest Hemingway but more likely I'm just killing time till the end." I gave her my sad look.

"Do you have anything I can read?"

I found an old card in my wallet and gave it to her. It had my web address on it. "Lots of stuff there you can read."

That pretty much ended the conversation so I unhooked the battery charger. I carried it and the batteries over to my bike which I had left in the storage area of the office. It took me a couple of minutes to install the batteries and stow the charger in basket on the rear of my bike.

I didn't even go back home I rode to the pier instead. There it was hook up the bike, pay the lady for the charge, get my free coffee and walk onto the pier. I opened the cheap laptop and began writing in my journal. I always hoped the journal would lead me into some serious writing but it hadn't in months. I had a serious case of writer's block. Okay writer wannabe's block I supposed.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

The proposition

The proposition turned out to be a night patrol of the park. The mobile home village as well as the camp spaces. The idea was that I would be called to assess a non emergency situation before the manager was bothered. If it could wait, I would leave a message if not I would call the manager. I could even call the police if it was something serious.

She tried to get a lot of work for no money but I vetoed that. I really didn't need to work at all. We agreed on one tour of the park around midnight then be on call for problems the rest of the night. From five till seven the next morning was a lot of time on call, but nothing much was likely to happen. At least it seemed that way to me.

We agreed on $10 per call out. The ride through the park every night looking for trouble was in exchange for half my space rent. With a little luck at the end of the month the park would owe me money. The ride through the park took about fifteen minutes. If there was a loud party I should spot it on the drive by or someone would call me for sure.

I spent the afternoon at the beach to celebrate. I had quit drinking years before so a double chocolate milkshake was the celebration beverage of choice.

Monday, June 15, 2009

day eight

I woke to the sun in my eyes. I knew I should have bought something to use as curtains. I made it out of bed and turned on the coffee, before the idea hit me. As the coffee dripped, I tore paper towels to the proper length then attached them to a bit of string. Attaching it to the cheap paneling wasn't a big issue since I had a roll of duct tape which I had packed to use in building battery packs.

Tomorrow, I thought, I can sleep a little later maybe. The coffee was finished so I took a cup out to the spot under the awning. The morning was cool but the day was going to be hot and muggy. All that water laying about would guarantee the humidity would be high.

After the coffee and a few minutes to get my mind and body in sync, I hooked up the grocery getter bike. The grocery getter was the hub motor bike with a combination battery and grocery basket trailer attached to the rear. I could get a couple of days groceries in the trailer at least. Gathering groceries for me was probably a lot like it had been for cavemen and women. I had to go hunt and gather food almost every day. Well at least three times a week. However, I had accumulated enough extra food for rainy days.

"You Charlie Williams," the young woman in the pickup asked through the truck's window.

"Yes ma'am," I replied. I expected that she was a park employee, No one else would know my name.

The next thing she did was to climb out of the small pickup. "My name is Lana Sims. I'm the park manager."

"Nice to meet you Ms Sims. I didn't see you when I arrived. Of course I did most of it by email. The guy who showed me the space must have been an employee of yours."

"Yes that would have been my father. He kind of owns the place. He is also the night manager/security guard."

"Ah I see." I waited but when she didn't go on I asked. "So Ms Sims what can I do for you."

"Well I hope we can do something for each other."

"Oh what do you mean?" I just knew I wasn't going to be lucky enough for her to mean anything personal.

"Dad said you were a cop," She replied.

"Oh that was a while back. I only told him that to explain about the bikes." She looked bewildered. He asked if I was staying a while since I was driving a uhaul. I don't guess you see that too often. I told him I was retired but that I used to be a cop."

"Right that's about what he said. So I have a proposition for you."

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Day seven was a rainout.

I woke to the sound of rain on my tin roof. Okay it isn't tin but the illusion is better that way. I just rolled over and tried to go back to sleep. When that failed I dressed, made myself a rain poncho from a black trash bag, then ran to the bathroom. Obviously the bathroom had not been high priority or I wouldn't have waited to make the poncho. It helped only marginally.

I made sure both the bikes were covered, then I Scrambled an egg. I made myself and egg sandwich along with my coffee. It was a dark day but there was enough light for me to read while sitting under the awning.

The male member of the younger couple worked between rain showers to hook up his camper. Evidently he and his girlfriend were headed home.

"Hey CJ, we are ready to leave would you like this stuff. I'm just going to toss it if you don't." He asked that holding a plastic garbage bag.

"Sure, I'll toss what I can't use. Thanks. So you headed home today?"

"Yeah back to the grind. Worst thing about vacations is that they end." With that he left. He didn't look as though he really minded the vacation coming to an end. Hell he probably needed the rest.

His girlfriend emerged from the trailer an hour later all red eyed and bedraggled looking, as usual. She got into the passenger seat of the pickup and waited for her boyfriend who joined her in short order. They waved as the pulled the trailer from the site and disappeared into the mist.

After I sorted through the bag, I spent the rest of the day reading. Well I did find time to do my laundry. The basket of dirty clothes was running over.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Day six

I loaded up the two battery packs and took off for the beach again. I stopped in the pier parking lot to do a quick walk around. I was looking at the light posts. I was hoping to find one with an electrical outlet. Sometimes the plans call for one so that the electricians can use their power tools to work on the outside lights.

Sure enough I found a light pole with a receptacle at the bottom. I went from that spot to the snack bar.

"Good morning," I said to the woman behind the counter. She was at least fifty so I felt pretty comfortable talking to her. "I ride an electric bike down from Brunswick. I would like to come down more often but I need a place to charge my batteries."

She had a blank look so I went on. "I noticed that you have a light post with an electrical receptacle on it. I was wondering if I could charge my batteries there."

"Whats it worth to you?" She asked it without batting an eye.

"Well they say it costs about a nickle an hour to charge those batteries. How about I give you double that?"

"How long is it gonna take," she asked.

"Three or four hours I would think."

"What you gonna be doing while it charges?"

"Most likely I will be looking at the ocean from your pier. I might even try fishing."

"Then you will be a customer while you wait?"

"Most likely yes," I agreed.

"Then the price will be a dollar a day."

"Throw in one free cup of coffee and I can do that."

"Fair enough," she replied. "You gonna plug it in today."

"Not today, I brought a double pack today. I will charge it up next time I come down."

I chatted with the fishermen, enjoyed my feelings of insignificance, and took a walk on the sand. It was all in all a good day.

Back home that night I saw and spoke to both sets of my neighbors. I had a bowl of quick soup for dinner then went to bed.

Quick soup is made with two strips of bacon cooked in a toaster oven. It is then added to a can of mixed veggies and salted liberally. It actually isn't too bad with corn chips.

I slept on that camp bed again and swore at it again.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Day four

The day started late for me. I woke up early enough but I just couldn't seem to get it together. My body was still tired from the twenty five mile ride the day before. And of course the folding cot was like sleeping on a board.

The folding cot was really no more than an aluminum tube frame the same as those found in a fold lawn chair. Over the frame someone had stretched a couple of pieces of a canvas like material. It was pretty darn miserable sleeping. I kept a running list of things to buy on the wall over the cabinet I used as a dry sink area. I wrote air mattress/sleeping pad. Of the two my preference would be the pad. Once it made the list I forgot about it.

So around noon I heard the noises in the space beside me. It wasn't the side with the couple who couldn't seem to stay out of bed, it was the space on the other side of me. Looked out my one window on that side of the trailer and saw them backing a trailer in. The them was an couple pretty much my age. Both of them looked as though the were retired. My guess was that they were down for the fishing.

Since I am a friendly kind of guy, I went to speak to them after they spotted the travel trailer. That trailer of theirs made mine look like a toy. there's had to be twenty five feet long and at least ten feet wide. It was a real beauty.

The woman was in here sixties I'm sure. She had dyed blond hair and most likely a cast iron bra. She did look pretty good for an old lady I would have to admit. Her husband was equally fit looking. They could have been on the cover of the AARP magazine.

They weren't very friendly though. I spoke but they barely acknowledged my presence. I returned to my trailer pretty much chastised. During the afternoon I rode to the grocery store for a couple of days worth of food. Riding a bike meant frequent trips to the store.

That evening I played around on the internet. I emailed my daughter to let her know I was alive and doing fine. I almost never turned on the cell phone so email was our only reliable means of communication.

I was in bed by eleven. Even on the uncomfortable bed I was sounds asleep within minutes.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

the beach finally

Day three

I just couldn't wait any longer. I was up at 6am and finished the small coffee pot by seven. I couldn't stand the wait any longer so I installed both sets of 12ah batteries into the trailer of the store bought bike and off I went.

The store bought bike is slower and it uses power a little differently, but it handles easier. Since I had no idea what the roads were like, I opted for the safer bike.

I left the house before 7:30 headed first for breakfast then to the beach. I ate the biscuit too fast but I was in a hurry. I made the 12 mile trip in just over an hour. Part of it was the bike speed and part of it was I just wasn't in a hurry.

The roads were almost pancake flat which made the ride a lot more fun. It made power consumption lower as well. I found a fishing pier and sat my butt down on a dirty bench. I sat for a couple of hours marveling at the ocean. The sight and smell of the ocean is overwhelming. Anytime I get near it I feel insignificant. It was impossible for me to sit on a fishing pier and think life is all about me.

After two hours of sitting in one spot, I took a walk along the ocean. It was just a marvelous day for me. I stopped at the snack bar on the pier for a hot dog and coke before I headed home on the bike.

When I got back to the trailer I noticed that I had a new neighbor. NO the kids weren't gone, someone had moved in on the other side of me. They appeared to be gone since there was no car in sight. Fishermen most likely, I thought.

I spent the afternoon reading a cheap novel while the batteries recharged. I had a set ready to go if I had needed them, but I had nowhere I wanted to go.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Checkin out the hood.

The first thing I needed to know was where the heck I was going to get a meal. Second was where to get my groceries. I needed to know those things even before I looked at the beach or the town of Brunswick. Yes that was the name of the town where I found myself. The beach was actually about eight miles outside of town. From the campground it was 12 miles. At least that is what the website told me.

I put the two 12ah batteries in the holders of my homemade ebike only after I had unlocked it from the frame of the travel trailer. It tested out okay, so I took off.

I didn't get very far because the office of the mobile home park/campground was only a couple of hundred yards from my trailer space. I pulled the bike near the office so I wouldn't have to lock it. The office was over a storage area. Lots of low lying building were made that way to minimize flood damage I supposed.

"Hey there," I said to the slight past middle aged woman behind the desk.

"Good morning," she replied in a non committal voice.

"I'm in one of the travel trailer spaces,"

"Ah? So what can I do for you?"

"Could you tell me where the closest grocery store is located."

"There is a convenience store down the road about half a mile," she replied with a smile.

"I plan to be here a little longer, so I need a complete grocery," I suggested.

"The food lion is on hwy 17 about three miles south of here. It's in a small shopping center."

"That sounds good, how about a restaurant that serves more than burgers and fries?"

"For that you need to go into Brunswick. There are three or four family style places. Just drive into town and ask anyone. I'm sure their directions will be better than mine would be."

"Thanks for the information." I was about to leave when she spoke again.

"So you aren't here for the fishing?"

"No just on a sight seeing trip." I could see the question in her eyes. "I sight see very slowly so it will probably take me a couple of months to see everything." I smiles as I turned to leave.

The homemade bike had a pusher motor with the batteries on the trailer. That configuration left me enough room for a basket on the rear and another on the handlebars. I could in fact carry quite a few things.

I found the Food Lion store right where she said it would be. Instead of stopping I rode the half mile farther and into downtown Brunswick. Brunswick had been build in the late seventeen hundreds. It was actually six or seven miles inland and on a river. It had been a safe place for the merchants to build a transfer point for good to be shipped inland up the river. In other words the town was old, very old. I liked that about it at first sight.

Since I had only been about five miles I had plenty of juice in the batteries so I stopped at the riverside park. It was beautiful and surprisingly empty. I sat on a bench and looked at the wide expanse of water. There was also a view of traffic crossing the obviously new river bridge. It was peaceful and I would have continued to sit in the sun but I had things to do.

As I passed through the downtown I spotted a small cafe. It obviously served the working people of the downtown area. It lacked the large parking lot of a fast food restaurant so there would be no truck of trailer customers. I decided to give it a try.

"What'll it be?" The teenaged waitress with the bad teeth asked.

"What's good?" I asked in return.

"Most everything, what you in the mood for?"

"The grilled cheese with bacon sounds pretty good."

"Fine what to drink?" She was all business.

"Make it iced tea." I replied.

"Sweet or not?"

"Sweetened tea."

The sandwich was good but it was also too expensive. On the way out I got directions to the goodwill store from the cashier. I did that because usually the goodwill has all kinds of small appliances. You know those oddball things we are all given at one time or another. The toasted sandwich makers ect usually found their way to the Goodwill store.

I stopped by the Goodwill store but had no luck in my search for an electric frying pan. I did find a book or two that caught my interest. Since I had brought my dishes and some clothes from home, there was little else of interest to me. I planned to keep an eye out since I never knew what might turn up.

I stopped at the grocery for heat and eat can food and frozen dinners. I didn't get much since I couldn't carry a great deal. I limited myself to two bags half filled.

I bought half a dozen cans of cooked navy and pinto beans. Those could be eaten as a complete meal or easily turned into soup. I bought a pound of pork sausage and three dry mac and cheese dinners. I bought a small bag of coffee for my small coffee maker. I found that the Food Lion would sell half a dozen eggs in a small carton, so I bought one of those and a bag of hamburger rolls. The bill was almost twenty dollars for those few items.

Once back home, I put the groceries away. Most went into the Rubber Maid storage box I called the pantry. Some things went into the dorm refrigerator and some went into the shelves of the cabinet currently being used as a dry sink as well.

It was after lunch so I took a nap. Why not I had nothing else to do.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

early morning misery

I got in Monday night after six. I had time to park the trailer and level it but nothing else. I took a chance and drove the truck up to a fast food drive thru for a burger and coke. Since I was just as exhausted as if I had actually worked, instead of sitting behind the wheel of an air conditioned truck, I just fell asleep on the camp bed. The weather was warm so I didn't even use the sleeping bag at all.

Tuesday morning I took the truck back and paid my bill. It was much less than half what a tow to the camp ground would have cost. I got lucky and found a campground which would let me stay as long as I liked. The space even included electricity which was figured in with the rent. It was in a less developed part of a mobile home village. My rent was $12 night or $75 a week. Since there was no water and sewer hook up, there was a small bathhouse. The bathhouse had showers that were almost clean, toilets that seemed to have toilet paper, at least they did that first morning. Just inside the bathhouse was a washer and dryer coin operated of course.

It looked as though the place would suit me fine. I was about ten miles from the ocean and ten feet from the next trailer space. I suppose that accounted for the lower price.

The fellow I bought the trailer from found time to replace the original canopy. I was glad of it. Not only would it supply at least a little protection for the bikes it would give me a little shade. The spot on my right had a small pop up camper parked at the rear end of the space. The front must have been for automobiles since there was a small pickup truck there. The space on the left was empty, but it was Tuesday, likely someone would be in before the weekend.

The young couple on my right looked to be about twenty or so. The seemed to have a lot of noisy sex. I would have thought they were on their honeymoon but who would go on honeymoon in a pop up trailer. Probably an old married couple, just not married to each other. That was my thought as I searched for dinner among the cans inside my plastic storage box pantry.

I decided on the gourmet version of beanie weenies with taco chips and a hot tomato sauce made for taco bell sauce, tomato ketchup and Tabasco sauces. After that gourmet meal I settled into the computer search for a carrier. Inside the park I found what I expected. Someone had a wireless dsl connection that was not encrypted. I just punched it into my computer and off I went to the internet.

I played around on a couple of forum sites, then went to bed. My first full day on the North Carlina coast had come to an end. I hoped that I might be able to do a little sight seeing on my second day.

Monday, June 8, 2009

moving day

8am Monday morning found me sitting on by my bike outside the thrifty rent a truck office. I had made the reservation the week before so I expected no delays in leaving the parking lot. I had used the time before the employees arrived to remove the push trailer from the bike. The bike and trailer sat beside me while I finished my McDonald's coffee.

The middle-aged woman arrived first. She had my paperwork completed before the mechanic arrived for work. I had to wait while he found the truck and pulled it to the front. He was good enough to help me load and tie down the bike. He even provided a couple of short pieces of light weight ropes left by a previous customer.

I know I said I wasn't supposed to drive but I kept my driver's license active. I told Maggie that it was in case of emergency. Well I considered saving five hundred bucks an emergency. That was the approximate difference in cost between doing it myself and hiring someone to do the move for me.

I had reserved the smallest truck available with a trailer hitch on it. The rental company had provided insurance for the truck and for the trailer I would be towing. It was expensive but I thought it would be a good idea to be careful since my driving lacked a lot to be desired.

I wasn't too dangerous when I didn't drive in traffic but the trip to the coast would be in traffic. Not so heave since it was on a Monday but still traffic.

I had allowed extra time at every stop since things never went exactly as planned. I got back home to load my junk from the house well after nine when I had hoped to be there before nine. Still it was only forty minutes or so.

I loaded my dad's large wooden tool box first. It had a pillow from Goodwill that went on top of it to make a bench. I made the decision to carry only those tools which I could pack into the toolbox. Space was going to be a premium.

I managed to pack a great deal of tools into the coffee table sized tool box. The box had a dozen coats of cotton mill green enamel paint on it. I had purposefully left it alone. It was the last reminder I had of him and where I came from.

After the toolbox came the Walmart dorm sized refrigerator. It was still packed in the unopened box. The receipt was taped to the box just in case I had to return it. beside it on the floor of the truck I placed a toaster oven from Goodwill. Then the sleeping bag, camp bed, some clothes, a five gallon plastic water container, my spare pusher trailer, the expensive electric bike, and its trailer, my large school desk with built in chair, my electronics stash and finally a couple of boxes of odds and ends which I had bought at Walmart. I bought them at the same time thatI bought the dorm frig. The truck still had room for a lot more. It seemed almost empty but that was okay, I wasn't going to have a lot of storage space.

It was after eleven when I pulled the car from the drive. I drove the ten miles to a subdivision just outside of town. It took me a couple of minute to find the place. I had been there previously of course but only once. I found it after only one wrong turn. I spotted the old style camping trailer in the drive. As promised he had moved it to the front so that I could move it out without damaging his truck.

I had never driven a truck towing a trailer so it was no doubt going to be an adventure. The trailer was from the 1950's according to the previous owner. He had started the restoration but ran out of money so had it for sale.

He had restored the running gear and even modernized it some. He had rewired it bringing in a second circuit with breakers instead of fuses. That is the point where he ran out of money. There was no plumbing system or bathroom. Not even a closet in the trailer. Just one open room 6.5 feet by 16 feet. It was only six feet tall at one end the other was about four feet. Obviously that was meant to be the bedroom area. One spot on the wall by the door did at least have rough shelves with a wide top. It would have to serve as a dry sink for a while at least.

With the trailer attached and the safety chain hooked, I headed for the highway.

Sunday, June 7, 2009



I woke up on that Sunday morning with no plan other than to find pancakes somewhere. Showering and dressing for the day took a while, but not nearly long enough to use up the extra time. I awoke at five am, while the restaurant opened at seven on Sunday.

I chose that day to ride the bike I had built from scratch, rather than the kit bike. The bike I built was a Rube Goldberg looking contraption, but it ran faster and the batteries lasted longer than the kit bike. I didn't mind the wires exposed to the world for its inspection. It kind of make me even more eccentric looking to most folks.

I parked the bike on the sidewalk in front of the restaurant. It was the only benefit to riding a bike to breakfast. I would have driven the car except that I had promised my wife that I would stop driving over two years before. Beside in 24 hours the car would be in some other driveway.

I found my usual booth by the window occupied so I sat at my 2nd favorite one in a corner. I didn't even bother with the menu. The middle aged waitress with twenty pounds of excess weight and crooked teeth approached the table.

"I didn't think we were going be seeing you again," she said as she opened her pad.

"It's my last day in town. I thought I would have a plate of flapjacks to celebrate."

"Good, I'm glad you came by to say goodbye one more time." Her voice almost seemed to have the right tone, but there was also a hint of sarcasm in it. Her voice had held sympathy six months before, when my wife passed away. That sympathy had turned to sarcasm as I began moving away from my old life. Lots of people felt as though I had lost my mind. Most seemed to think I should be treated as a foolish child. Others like Helen saw it as some kind of betrayal. Betrayal of all those who would never just up and throw it all away. Throw it all away was their point of reference not mine.

I enjoyed the large stack of pancakes washed down with hot black coffee. Maggie would have loved it as well. I shuddered as I thought, most of the things I had done here, I had done with Maggie. I had to get out of town my present circumstances just made it too sad. If I stayed in that house or even in that town, I would be dead within a year.

I had my own health issues to deal with, but I chose to deal with them differently. I was going on the worlds longest, or maybe the worlds shortest road trip. Only God knew which it would turn out to be.

When I arrived home, I walked through the almost empty house. The Thrift store would be coming by to pick up the last of the furniture from the house as well as the tools from the shed. Everything leaving town with me was stored in the smallest of the bedrooms.

I had slept the night before in a sleeping bag laid out on a folding camp bed. The camp bed was made of nylon canvas stretched over an aluminum frame. It was hard as hell but it suited me. The sleeping bag, the camp bed, along with a few other things from the house, would be leaving town with me. Most of my possessions and all of Maggie's had been sold or given the kid. The car had gone to her along with much of the furniture.

The landfill got the bedding and Goodwill got most of the clothes both my and Maggie's. The place looked sad and dirty without the furniture and pictures on the wall. It was so sad looking that I went onto the porch for my after breakfast coffee.

While the batteries on the bike topped off the charge, I drank three cups of coffee. I also watched about a hundred cars pass the house. I had bought the place because it was on a busy street. My customers, back when I had them, could easily find the house/office. It had proved to be a good investment for me over the years. Even after its usefulness to me ended, it brought a decent price. My status had changed from owner to tenant during the last month. Even that would end the next morning shortly after 6am.

I made a couple of phone calls to say goodbye to a few people that day. It was the least I could do, since I had a few friends I might call on for help someday. I figured it would be a good think to end my time in Grover's Mill congenially.

I made it through the day with only a few thoughts of suicide. I was getting better it seemed. I slept that night peacefully, even though my life was about to turn upside down. Since it had done that once already maybe it would actually come to rest in a position with which I could live.