Mystery Pee (and we’re riding cross country)

“I think I left your water bottle in the mini van, let me grab it,” Colleen says.

It looks like someone filled the bottle with beer. She unscrews the top. Scrunches up her nose.

“This is full.” She pauses and makes another face. Kinda the face you’d make if you’d just sniffed 24 ounces of stale pee. “Of piss. Oh my god, so gross. I need to go wash my hands.” She sets the bottle down and fast walks to the bathroom.

I inspect the bottle, which until a few seconds ago was my cleanest and least-mouldy bike bottle. It’s one of those nice Salsa bottles with an orange top and blue body and says “Limestone Cowboy”, which I thought was funny because I wrangle people on rail trail tours.

Sniff. Yep, warm, stale pee. This bottle is no longer my cleanest bottle. Although it is still the least mouldy.

“Big T!” I yell to my friend Big T. “Did you piss in my water bottle?”

He walks over from his van. Inspects the pee bottle. Sniffs it, scrunches his face.

“That’s honestly one of the weirdest things I’ve seen around here.” Big T says. Big T did not pee in my water bottle. We discuss likely suspects, and there aren’t many since raft and bike season are over and town is mostly cleared out. My friend Zig Zag walks out of the house.

“Zig Zag!” I yell. “Did you piss in my water bottle?”

He keeps walking and strokes his beard. 

“Nope. There’s pee in your bottle?”

“Yes.” And as the second and last suspect, Zig Zag’s denial is where we’ll have to leave the mystery of the pee filled Limestone Cowboy bottle. Unsolved. Although Zig Zag did find a condom on the floor of the van about an hour later (but I’m having trouble imagining how the pee bottle and the condom are connected.)

And that’s the end of the dirty river town season. Colleen said it best. Oh my god, so gross. I do love it though (just can’t beat the place for entertainment).

One more large festive evening, in which I kinda toasted my hand trying to push a flaming mattress farther onto the fire (melted mattress sure does stick to fingers), all the horrible furniture in the guide house was purged (by flames), there may have been urination from the roof of the house, car wheels tossed and raced down the hill, and some grogginess the next day courtesy of Zig Zag’s dad’s homemade apple poison (wine).

It’s a nice life.

After a day of recovery, I packed up the Shark, and our friend Josh kindly drive us to the train station in Pittsburgh at three in the morning. 

We train rode all day and all night, and now we’re in Charleston, South Carolina. As soon as this super cold rainy weather system clears out, we’re going to start riding cross country.

Since bike tour guiding wrapped up at the end of October, I’ve been doing some sewing to get ready for our winter tour.

Everything took at least three tries to get right, and I still don’t really know what I’m doing, but I think the stuff should hold up pretty good.

Frame bags are lace up (just because it looks cool, they’re a total pain to get on and off the bike) and zipper-less with a Velcro flap.

I modified some PDW Bindle racks (cut the front loops off and ground down some Salsa post locks, because the seatpost clamp that comes with the Bindle is terrible), and sewed some camstrap harnesses and seat bags.

I’m really excited about the handlebar bag though- it’s something I spent a lot of time last year thinking about. Easy to load on or off the bike, tons of space, and completely wiggle free. It should be so much better than trying to get a dry bag stuffed and compressed every morning.

It has room for our Tarp Tent, my sleeping bag, pad, sandals, cooking kit, and Crazy Creek chair. I’m going to have a chair this year! I’m pretty excited to be able to let my back loosen up when camp. Even has a hat loop (we rode backwards 8 miles looking for my hat on the loose once, I want to avoid doing that again).

Cam straps are the same weight as the Voile straps we used to use, and a bunch easier to get tight, because the Voile straps were just barely big enough to go around our front rolls.

From Charleston, we’ll ride the Palmetto Trail (which my friend Andy tells me is “kinda fucked and in a swamp”), then Trans North Georgia, then something else.

I’ve never really spent any time down south or in Texas, and haven’t ridden cross country before. Can’t wait to see what we find. Hopefully no more mystery pee.

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