the American spirit of adventure alive and well

I met Willie and Puppy back on Feb 19th but I lost the little doohickey that plugs into the slot thingy on my computer that lets me upload my pics from my camera. (Sorry for using that technical jargon on y’all… just tryin to impress you with my computer prowess)

Anyway so I finally found it and am now able to put the pics along with this post so here you go.

I saw these two as I was driving on my way to work last week and as I passed them up I saw a little cardboard sign in the basket of this guy’s bike that said, “BIKING ACROSS AMERICA”.I had to stop and meet this guy to see what he was all about and why he had a dog in tow. Luckily I had my camera so I waited for him a few minutes up the road. Which, this particular road, by the way is extremely heavy with traffic.

I got to talking to him and was perplexed by what he was doing and his lack of planning. I mean, I’m a pretty spontanious person but even I have my limits.

And I’m not naive, I mean he looks like a homeless guy whose come up with a new way to make a few tax free bucks off of people who give the benefit of the doubt.

People kinda like me.

He told me he started in Alvin, Tx which is only about 25 or so miles south of downtown Houston but knowing the route he took and where I caught up with him in the Northwest part of the suburbs he had traveled about 50 miles so far. He said he was making about 20 to 25 miles a day. I asked him where he was going and he said, “i don’t know.”

So I continued by asking him why he had decided to do this. He eagerly whipped out his wallet and proceeded to show me a Round Tuit. His Round Tuit that he hand found on the shop floor of some place he had been working.

He was quite proud of it as he held out for me to take a picture.He said, “you ever seen one of these?

“no, what it is it?”

“It’s a Round Tuit.”

“hmmm… looks pretty worn.”

“yessir… and now it’s mine. you know what it does?”

“Not really I’ve nev…”

“IT HELPS YOU GET THINGS DONE!” Willie interrupted, quite excitedly.

He began to explain how so many people put things off and life takes over and things just happen and all those things you dreamed doing you say you’ll get to when you get around to it… a round tuit.

He flipped it over and showed me the back.

I know you can’t see what it says from that little picture but I wanted to include this pic because it kinda shows the little three wheeled, rickety contraption he was riding with the little basket in the back. I’m not sure what he had in the basket but he did show me some extra inner tubes he had. He said he needed new tires because his were pretty low on tread.

Besides the inner tubes and a safety vest it doesn’t really seem like Willie planned much for his trip. He said he wished he had a bigger basket so he could put Puppy in it. I’m sure Puppy was thinkin the same damn thing and was thinkin this walkin’ thing sucks! I think the garbage bag bungee corded to the handle bars may have contained some extra clothes.

I’ve been thinkin about Willie and Puppy every day since I met them. I wonder how they’re doing. I wonder how far they’ve gotten. I wonder if they’re safe. I’ve prayed every night they don’t get hit while on the road and that they find enough people every day who give their fellow man the benefit of the doubt and offer up a few bucks. I know they did that day they met me as I gave them what I had before he pedaled off towards the east.

Good luck Willie and Puppy wherever you are.

5 responses to “the American spirit of adventure alive and well

  1. Shades of Jack Kerouac’s Dharma Bums; it seems such a different America where people took off like this.

    There is a northern California writer named William Vollman who is just finishing a book about people who ride the rails; hoboes they used to call them. He took trains himself, to research the book as he got ‘a round tuit.’ (But I’ll bet he had a health insurance card rather than a wooden coin … )

  2. Jules, that’s such a cool story, and I really like that you stopped and talked to the guy. Let him show you this thing he had that was his equivalent of magic beans.

    Sometimes I wonder about the nature of faith. If we don’t sometimes actually create a different world just by taking the risk of believing in one.

    A Rount Tuit… *shakes head* Pretty awesome.

  3. Ombud… you know it’s funny you mention the train hoppers. A couple of times I’ve written about a restlessness I have and there have been times where I thought, “maybe for vacation I’ll hop trains. grab the guitar and just go.” I even did research last year on it, saw some YouTube vids and apparently it’s VERY dangerous and one can lose limbs if luck doesn’t shine on them. Meh… guess i can live vicariously through Willie and others.

    Amuirin… hello love. it seems like forever since I’ve said hello to you. His “Round Tuit” IS kinda like a magic bean, huh. Good way of putting that. I suppose sometimes that’s all we need to get something done, or be confident or feel completely able to do something is the comfort and encouragement of something that is essentially a placebo.

  4. What a great story! And it’s great that you stopped and talked to that guy. I think there ar a lot of interesting characters out there, but we miss their stories because perhaps they make us nervous or scare us because they are on the outside of “normal” society.

    Just as an aside, my boyfriend used to hop freights back in the 60’s. Traveled across the country a few times that way. Even though he hasn’t done it for years, everytime a train passes he gets this look in his eye, and I half expect him to make a break for it.

  5. Pingback: stuff that penetrated my self absorption « Stop & Wander

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