|The scene of the crime?|
It can't be much hotter.
Then again, this is like a cheap and effective diet plan. Forget Jenny Craig. Just pedal 242 miles in three days when it's about 100 degrees.
The good news is that I've been meeting a lot of nice peoole. Even the deputies in are nice. I don't hold it against them, just because they handcuffed me briefly and thought I might be a suspect in an armed robbery. I mean, how many times do we have to pick up the papers and read about another criminal bicycler making his or her getaway, pedaling like Lance Armstrong on a good day?
It's a two-wheeled crime wave.
Here's the story, ripped from the police files. After riding about 70 miles, out of , the first day, I got caught in a thunderous downpour. Normally, I hate getting drenched; but since I had been broiling all day, I was glad to cool down. Still, it was a deluge. So I pulled in behind one of those fenced electrical transfer stations and threw up my tent as fast as I could. Even then rain poured through the opening in the top before I could get the flap attached and poured in the door as I threw gear inside.
At this point I had to use my shirt to mop up all the water inside my tent and then ride out the storm. Fifteen minutes and it passed. So I crawled out from cover like a sopping wet Punxatawnie Phil and surveyed the situation. As I was calling my wife to tell her where I was a cop car came skidding to a halt on the road in front of the fence.
I admit I do "stealth" camping whenever I can (camping for free in isolated spots). So I was planning on staying where I was. Now the deputy jumped out of his cruiser, gun drawn, and shouted, "Hands up!"
"Huh?" I responded, like Clyde (with no Bonnie).
"Hands up!" the officer yelled again, and shook his pistol at me.
I reached for the sky.
The deputy called me out from behind the fence, told me to turn around so he could see if I had a gun in my waist band, and then cuffed me.
I must say it seemed like a bit of an over-reaction to, at worst, a victimless case of trespassing.
Keep in mind, I'm in shorts and bicycling shoes...so I explain I'm riding for JDRF. (By now a second officer has arrived.) They can't arrest me can they? I'm doing a good deed.
Not impressed. The cuffs stay on.
They explain that there has just been an armed robbery, ten minutes ago, in . I want to point out that's six miles south. I don't quibble with armed men. I start laughing, though, adding quickly, "I'm not laughing at you. You're just doing your job. But this will make a good story later."
They checked my ID and then called in for a description of the suspect. White male...
...in his 20s.
Well, close. Now I can see why they thought I was their man.
Really, the four officers (two more had now come flying up) were all friendly and they simply told me I'd have to camp elsewhere.
I pedaled five miles down the road, with darkness coming on fast, and threw up my tent in some woods where NO ONE could see me.
Somewhere an armed robber is still loose. He may be riding a green bicycle.
I will post again soon to tell you about some of the cool people I've been meeting, like Sam Cline, 7, who likes baseball, and Ralph Kruger, who was celebrating his 82 birthday with his family when I met them eating lunch.
I'll even explain how I spent a night sleeping in a dog kennel.
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