Monday, July 28, 2008
The day (July the 26 '08) started off pretty badly. We had a late night party at my friend's place the previous night. With all the guys bringing their own drinks, we had a blast last night. I was down, literally down after having 2 bottles of beer and 2 pegs of Swedka( Sweden Vodka). Its the mix n' match of them that caught me. One's asking for trouble, when you mixing two different types of hard drinks. I had to pay the price the other morning.
I slept late around 5 in the morning and was woken up by my fellow friend at 9. He and his roommate has promised me to take me to Walmart. I wanted to buy a bike from the store. (I don't understand why a cycle in India turns out to be a bike in US and a bike in India turns out to be a motorbike here! ). So, they were my only friends who had a car and cared to take me to store. Thanks guys ( Hitesh and Bharat)for the ride.
It was 1 pm and we were still sitting at my home, waiting for our friend to come and take us to Walmart in his car. The guy was busy finishing his personal and important stuff. Finally, we got a call and there we were ready and all set to go to Walmart.
It took us a while to reach the Walmart store. We parked the car behind the main street, as the Walmart entry was on the other side of the road from which we came. After doing some personal clothing shopping, I went to the Second floor to check out my bike. I was really so excited to the see the Bike which I was planning to buy. It was out of stock online, thats why I had to personally visit the Walmart to buy it. Luckily it was available on stores. I was so thrilled just at the thought of owing it today. Apart from the bike, I bought some accessories. I bought a helmet, a hand pump and a pair of flashing lights to help traffic see me on my bike in the night.
The online price of the bike was for $219 but, when I bougth it from the store they just charged me $125. A discount of flat $100, I was so happy to hear the news and so were my friends. Earlier, they were kicking me when they heard that I was about to buy such an expensive bike. Now when I got it this cheap, they were happy for me. So was I. The final price of the bike was a good surprise to me.
We tried to fit the bike in the car but somehow couldn't manage. With total of 5 guys and a bike, the options we had was that either I a hire a cab and get back home alone with the bike or I be bold enough to ride the bike all alone from Walmart to my home. I decided to choose the later. :)
But, hang on a minute, I wasn't aware of the route back home. One of my friend(Hitesh) explained me the route of getting back home. It seemed to be easy, Left right left were the turns I needed to take and I will be home after riding 8 miles. It didn't seemed easy to me. Luckily my friend had a GPS in his car. Just to be on the safer side, I took the GPS from him. Imagine a GPS on a bike, even the GPS would refuse to work on such a slow vehicle.
So, there I was in the middle of nowhere. With hands on my bike, I was ready to give push to the pedals. With not a single idea of what traffic rules in US were, I thought was I foolhardy to ride 8-9 miles from Walmart to my home. Naah .. I was bold enough to take such a chance.
Initially, I rode in the parking of Walmart, to get a feel of bike and gears. It was the first time in my life I was riding a cycle with gears. I was so very excited.
With enough of practicing, I decided to make a move to my Sweet home. I tried to recall, what my friend has said me about the route back home. I double confirmed it with GPS that I was going in right direction. After getting the confirmation that I was on track, I decided to enjoy my ride on US roads. These are the roads where you actually enjoy riding a cycle. Unlike India, where roads were no more than filled pitholes, speedbreaker and pebbles, the US roads are a treat to ride on.
I went on and on with full throttle, changing gears whenever required. I was understanding the road signs as I pass them. This was another reason why I bought a cycle. I had this stupid funda in my mind, that to understand the US roads you need to get back to the basics. So, cycling was one thing from where I wanted to get started and get my basics right. I realized, you are treated like a king on road while riding a bike, no one tries to get closer to you, everyone gives some respect.
I was just pedaling and pedaling and pedaling. I was riding through some unseen roads and shops. I wondered, I was suppose to ride back on the same path from where I came from. I was no near to it. I check with my GPS, it said ".8 miles keep left for St Paul Street". St. Pual is the street I live on. I was happy that I was about to hit the street in less than a mile. I kept the GPS inside my pocket and started riding again. After another mile, I saw beautiful mountains seems to meet the end of road. Though they were very far off, I somehow starting liking the nature's paradise in front of me.
But, wait a minute, wasn't I suppose to see some tall buildings approaching my way(Downtown building are quite visible from my house) . Tall green mountains were the least I expected.
Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhh........ What THE HELLlllllllllllllLLLLL ... WTF .. ! Have I taken the wrong route. Have I taken the opposite direction? Have I .. on my Godddddddddd...
The stupid GPS was still showing that I was .8 miles from the Street. I said it can't be, I am already 5 miles away from my starting position and the GPS still says .8 miles. Something was wrong, I could smell it.. was it too late ??. I called my rommie Abhi(with low battery on my cellphone ) and told me the closest address I can read from where I have taken a pit-stop. After checking on maps.google.com, I got the confirmation, dudeeeeeeeeeeee you are going in the wrong direction. He repeated you are heading East, while you should have headed West.. I said to myself.... Oh man.. what have I done.. how could I ever go wrong ... ! What the F**K..
As in the map, I started from point A to reach point I as my final destination, but what the hell was I doing on point B.. ! I had just taken the road least traveled ..
View Larger Map
The only option I had was to head back in the West of East Jopa road, to a place from where I actually started(Point A). This was the longest 5.5 mile I ever spent on road. I was totally exhausted, not by the fact that I was tired riding 5.5 mile, but I was tired mentally of the fact that I am -5.5 miles from my actual starting position.
I started to ride back to Walmart. I decided to buy a Gatorade to quench my thirst. I took a 5-10 mins rest at some random Gas station, got my breath back and said to myslef " You can do it .. . U can f**king do it" .. ! That's it .......... I started again with full power on ...! I reach back to Walmart after 2 hours of needless riding... ! I started at some 3ish and was back to my starting place at 5ish.... ! The phrasee "Back to sqaure one" was the most aptly written for my present situation.
Then I realized, why I took the wrong road. I remember while parking our car, we went to the back side of Walmart and my friend told me about the route assuming we were standing on the front side. Thats actually what caused the confusion and made me responsible to take the wrong road.
After riding 11 miles for no rhime and reason, I was still 8-9 miles away from home. For one instance, I decided to return this bike back to Walmart and take a cab back home. But "Noeees" was the answer that I heard from inside.
I called that stupid friend of mine Hitesh again and gave him the status of my proceedings. I was at point D, when I called him. He was under an assumption that I have called him to give him the news that I have reached back home safely. But, no... before he could say a word, I gretted him with 'beep' 'beeeeeeeeeeep' and 'some more beeeeeeeeeeeeeeeep' . Dude, what the Hell have you done? I am still at Walmart and because of your so called route, I am still stranded in middle of no man's land. I asked him to tell me the route to get back home. And btw, the GPS was out of battery when I was at point B, so calling my friend was the only option I had. Anyways, who would have trusted and given a damn about that crappy little techie stuff. I had enough of it earlier. He sat in front of his Mac and I gave him my present location. There he was with a route back home. Google devta has come to our rescue again. My friend then explained me the route. He made sure that I remember all the roads and turns I should take for reaching home . I made doubly sure that he was telling me the correct route, this time around.... Atleast .. ! E and F were the turns which I shouldn't miss, if I ever wished to reach home for supper.
After another 8 mile of rigorous riding, I was at the crossroads of St Paul Street. I stopped there for a minute and I just smiled from inside and said to myself.. ALAAAAAAAAAAS ... I have made it ....
I was riding on roads, where I used to walk for the past 6 months.
I reached the courtyard and my rommie was coincidentally there to greet me. .. !
"Welcome Home rommie "' .. ..were his word.... ( Seing my condition , with Arms wide open, he greeted me with words "" AAa munna aaa.... ""' .. He gave me a hug and finally, I was there in living room !
I was so happy to be back home..!
After 5 hours of shifting gears and paddling I was finally home in one piece at point "I".. with my new bike offcourse!
What a day it was.. ! I litreally had my share of Tour de france.
Later I came to know that the GPS had some antenna, which I never cared to open. I mean who the hell would have thought that a device like GPS still needs an antenna to operate.