Back on the road at 9:30 am ... fighting strong headwinds all the way into Calais.
Arrived Calais 2:45 pm
5 € - 2 liters
I think it means 'no dumping'
Belgians are a cold, unfriendly, and apparently xenophobic people. Touring though Belgium makes you appreciate being in a country and among a culture that is openly friendly toward strangers. Sorry, but that's the truth.
It's not as if they are rude and disrespectful, as are the Italians, rather Belgians simply seem dead, except for their blank stares.
They say people are the same wherever you go. In some respects that's true, but in other ways, a people and culture can be very different.
In all my worldly experience and travels as a lowly, wandering cyclist, Cambodians still rank as the friendliest, most welcoming people on earth.
Could it be that recent memories of war and famine can instill humility and generosity in a people?
When the wounds of war begin to heal, with each passing generation, the horror of dis-harmony and dis-unity slowly fades away.
France has a different feel to it, a different architecture, a different infrastructure, as does each country.
At first glance, Germany appears to have the most wealth and engineering abilities. Italy has the newest cars and big boy toys. Czech and eastern Germany seem to be the most sensible, practical, courteous.
France also has an issue with speeding motorbikes sharing the bicycle and walking paths with cyclists and trekers.
On the other hand, I for receive nods of acknowledgment that I exist from some passing cyclists, and so a nod is returned with a friendly smile and nod back.
France has a lousy bicycle infrastructure.
Looks like I have little choice but to sleep here.
New requirement to carry - a universal spoke wrench. I should have learned to true a wheel long ago, but never really tried. Was quoted 25 € to do the work in Belgium (or was it Netherlands?). Way too much for a few turns of a wrench - less than ten minutes.
Every tour cyclists must carry a spoke wrench and practice truing up a wheel. I should have learned and done this back in Czech when the loose spoke problem first appeared. Lesson learned.
True-ing up the rear wheel, finally ...
23 June 2018
-- Sleep June 22 Friday -- . Same as last night. I am about 300 meters from the perimeter of the tunnel entrance complex.
The tunnel entrance is a huge complex surrounded by a security fence as like a prison, or national security border.
Police patrol the perimeter in vehicles and on foot with dogs. They have seen me here and there, but just pass me by ... gray haired elderly Caucasian male with French made touring bicycle (Peugeot) ... looking more like an adventuresome local and not suspicious at all.
I suppose the tunnel is a terrorist target, and that's why it's so heavily protected and patrolled. Refugees also are probably looking for opportunities to catch or steal a ride into the UK.
The tunnel is not only for motor vehicles, but also trains pass through in and out continually.
Passing through the tunnel means leaving the European Union Schenzen Zone, and I have just about used up my 90 day stay in the zone.
I can see the tunnel perimeter security fence from my campsite. At night there are extremely bright lights illuminating the perimeter, but I am out of the range of these lights.
There are also small aircraft patrolling overhead, but I don't think the use infrared sensors because they haven't found me for three nights. Or maybe they've just missed me. Infrared sensing from aircraft is such a common technology, I don't see why they wouldn't be using it.
I think I'm on private property or public lands, but tunnel security vehicles patrol ands pass by here, and I'm sure they have jurisdiction.
The sun is still out, and will set soon, about 9:30 pm. There is a half moon in the sky. Rabbits everywhere and slight chemtrails are scattered through the sky.
While in Czech and Germany the days and nights were warm. Since leaving Germany, and especially since entering France, it's been pretty cold, enough to need an additional shirt.
tunnel complex perimeter, setting sun, and half moon as seen from my campsite. Leaving France tomorrow ... will return in 2 or 3 months to continue onto Spain and Portugal.
Tunnel bus leaves in 2 hours.
Today is a bit warmer.
Held in at UK customs in detention for 4 hours.
Just released ...
Fingerprinted .... interrogated ... held for 4 hours .... in the end, everything okay ... free to go ...
Did not search my bike or access my phone data.
They were very kind.
Free meals, drinks .... treated with respect all the time.
They could not believe a man could be so free to travel as I do.
Wanted to be sure I wasn't going to stay in the UK or work there.
First problem -
Bus did not show up at 12:30 pm as reservered ...
Waited 'till 1:00 pm then went to the tunnel information station.
Finally had bus arrangements to cross at 1:50 pm ....
Before entering tunnel, had to pass through UK immigration.
That's where I was detained ... by UK immigration officers.
They took my phone when they sent me to the detention room.
I wish I could have taken photos to show you ...
Now it is 6:30 pm and they are trying to rearrange my ride through the tunnel.
No solution as yet ... still in France at UK immigration check point ... waiting for them to find a solution on how I will cross through the tunnel.
Detained for questioning ...
The bus ... before being detained at UK immigration (on the French side of the tunnel).
Nice bus ...
Packed my bike nicely.
Had high hopes at this point.
But then, problems ...
Tunnel promo poster ...
Have been informed a ride is arranged at 9 pm, one and one half hours from now.
Will arrive in the UK after dark, which potentially poses a problem for finding a campsite.
They are bringing a sandwich and bottle of water as well.
Never would this happen at any USA government agency.
A person would be billed for everything.
High security area ...
Water, sandwich, cookie, chips, and an apology for my detention.
Looks like they went out special to buy it ...
I have been very impressed with their concern for my well-being all along the way.
I told them I was blogging about my experiences, so maybe they wanted to be sure to make a good impression.
24 June 2018
In the tunnel transport van, just after 9 pm. I'm going to do a whole webpage on this tunnel experience.
The ride through the tunnel was uneventful, although I had an interesting conversation with the driver, who collects antiques and has an eBay store.
Trucks and automobiles do not drive through the tunnel, only trains.
Motor vehicles drive onto a long trainman parked end to end, and the trains transport all vehicles through the tunnel, both eastbound and westbound.
I arrived in UK just as it began to grow dark.
Through the process I was interrogated by three different agents, with the first passing me up to a higher level agent, and the second doing the same.
The first two agents could not fit me in to any of their standard visitor profiles, as my answers to their questions never matched what the lower level agents expected or wanted to hear.
The third agent was apparently the highest level next to the commander (he wore two stars on his shoulder lapels).
With him I told my whole story beginning with my work in Cambodia, rather than just answer stock questions thrown at me.
He listened, took notes, spoke to his superior, and agreed I was very unusual and fortunate to live such a free and unhindered lifestyle.
So in the end all worked out, because although I'm unusual, I had nothing to hide and was truthful all the way.
They were concerned that I might stay in the UK, try to find work and|or claim benefits.
Little do they understand is that the last thong I would want for myself is to be employed, bound to a location, or dependent upon a state.
Being truthful can often pose a problem for free agents such as myself, because I don't fit easily into any specific mold, so security agents are confused, don't know what to do but pass me up to a higher command and let them decide rather than jeopardize their careers.
Now I have been granted a 6 month tourist visa for the UK.
-- Sleep June 23 Saturday --
First night in UK. New time zone. Tent up ay 11 pm.
Some Brits are quite patronizing, with a deep seated need to instruct strangers in rules, proper behaviour and protocol.
Dog rant (caution) -
There is no question Brits love their dogs.
With Mega stores dedicated to selling supplies and accoutrements, we see no end to dogs leading people along paths and in fields, with the people right behind cleaning up after them, or not, whichever the case may be.
One can't help to wonder whether they speak to their children in the same manner and tone as they speak to their dogs, or the other way around.
The dogs are not so vicious as they are in some countries and cultures, but as with most all dogs, they are a nuisance just the same, in spite of how dog lover's feel about the matter.
Pets are a diversion, a replacement for something else that's missing in life.
Pets offer security and companionship when none can be found elsewhere in the right measure.
Pouring money into pet ownership each month for supplies and medical treatments is good for the general economy as well.
In societies based primarily on leisure and retirement, pet ownership fills an important emotional and even spiritual need.
With the world today being in the state that it is, to show kindness and compassion to domesticated animals can go a long way toward this end, so it is believed.
Not to be accused of disliking dogs or lacking compassion, but the world has grown fanatical with dog ownership, just as it has become fanatical with spectator sports.
Do I see a profit motive? Indeed I do, but not for the dog owner who is led about.
One hundred years ago, a dog may have been a necessity on a farm, but today, pet ownership has grown into an obsession.
There is great anger and frustration among middle aged, middle class men in the UK.
As an international tour cyclist, a person can observe a wide range of different behaviours among different drivers of different cultures and nations.
In a way, as a tour cyclist, you're in a unique position on the front line of society, as all sorts of people drive automobiles, while an automobile gives an otherwise placid person a sense of power and security.
The tour cyclist, being much less powerful and very vulnerable, can read much into the behaviours of the motorist.
UK is a very sick society; not all, mind you, but enough to make it the sort of place I'd rather not live, or even visit again for that matter.
Aside from the natural beauty and historical charm, there are much better places in the world.
Looks like you have developed quite a system there, Charles.
I have bicycle camping and touring down to a science.
The biggest advancement I would say since I first became interested in bicycle touring (mid 1990s) is the smartphone with wifi, GPS, open source mapping, messaging ... a powerful office and research library I can hold in my hand as well as mount on my handlebars.
A very affordable, absolutely incredible and empowering device not available just a few years ago.
I can charge by day while gathering world and economic news from YouTube for offline listening ...
Who know the story of the lost sheep, or the good shepherd?
An abandoned wreck, in the estuary or quay at Plymouth, the mouth of the Ply river, where the persecuted Pilgrims set sail for Plymouth Rock, in America.
Saint Christopher medal, patron saint of the Voyager, along the coast, at the docks in Plymouth.
2 September 2018
Wish to have one of these in Cambodia.
3 September 2018
These are easy, bold and spectacular tours, lacking nothing but the likes of the Grand Canyon.
Forests, rivers, canyons, and old viaduct infrastructures.
The ride from Tavistock to Plymouth could be sold as an adventure tour.
Additionally, the Camel trail and Bodmin area to the coast ...
5 September 2018
The close-up seem to work sometimes.
Only one visible homeless, and this is because why?
I can't tell from the surface.
Plain and simple food service operation ... eating prepared food is costly, but 10 £ seems to be nothing for people.
I understand they're either struggling or in debt.
CCTV is everywhere you would expect it to be, but most often it is only recording and not monitored.
One o'clock in the morning, clear night sky. Food stores fully stocked and selling million by day.
These are full service shopping centers, with everything from bakery to banking.
Not good places to be around, but necessary at this stage of the game.
John s DiBella
Chas, If leaving in late September for the continent, consider the Camino to Santiago. A pilgrim’s passport from the Confraternity of St James would be wise. Credentials are free and offer benefits along the way. Www.csj.org.uk. Bike from mountains to Santiago, Muxia, Finisterre, down to Porto and beyond. Rains in Spain could be a problem.
6 September 2018
Shed and workbench, secret Sunnybank cottage, next to the river in Tiverton.
My stuff, Sunnybank cottage, abandoned workshop.
Tent setup looking out the workshop window, Sunnybank cottage.
Tent and tarp setup, Sunnybank cottage.
7 September 2018
Clock tower near the mysterious Sunnybank cottage.
Saintly figure on clock tower above.
Empty and abandoned "Sunnybank" cottage behind the police station and bordering the Lowman River in Tiverton ...
Road to the abandoned "Sunnybank" cottage, Tiverton
Precise location, next to the river, near the clock tower, behind the Police station.
Hi Charlie, I haven't seen anything from you in a while. I hope all is well. I've been teaching a lot lately, and then I caught a cold from the kids, so now I'm just getting back to some kind of normal. Every weekend has been busy, so I haven't had the time to go up to Santa Fe and check out the few sites I have in mind for our reunion, but I will as soon as a couple of days open up. I hope to have everything decided before the end of the year. What's going on with you? Margaret
Fatima campsite. Extended stay. Minimal noise. Zero visitors. Nice.
Fatima public library. Absolute strict silent. Always same man librarian. Always reading. He whispers when he speaks. I believe he is a Catholic priest. Love the atmosphere. Could retire here. Every strict, orderly, quite. Citizens are aware of nuisance noise. Apparently somewhat enlightened civic population.
Hi, very cold, near Madrid Spain, fly to Los Angeles January 14 with bicycle ...
Charles 04.01.2019 03:44:09
Santa Barbara & Palm Springs
Charles 04.01.2019 04:51:01
Then Arizona & New Mexico .... then on to New York State ....
Hi Charlie -
Cathy is flying into ABQ Jan 16th and we'll be here for a week or so, then she & I are driving to Santa Cruz for a wedding. On the 28th we will fly to Mexico to spend time with Carlos & Christine at their place near San Miguel de Allende. We'll fly back to CA on Feb 7 and then maybe spend a few days in Santa Rosa (where Christine & her family now live). I have to be back in NM before Feb 20. There will be room in my car and it has a bike rack, if you are interested in joining us. It will be fun!
I think you'll find a very different situation here, among the poverty & homeless in the US
It will be interesting to explore the USA homeless situation after 12 years being away ...
Many adult street beggars here (no child beggars).
Homeless tents are not allowed in Madrid.
Once in California, I will be riding into Venice Beach and Santa Barbara to access the homeless situations there.
In 2001 to 2003, I lived homeless in these areas, so it'll be interesting to observe how things are today, and maybe reconnect with old comrades.
Only 12 years? I thought it was more. ABQ had a progressive model for the homeless. Officials from other cities (and even outside the US) have come to study it, but I don't know if they've been able to maintain their standards.
I never used telegram on a MAC ... very different, seems to be more features.
I might remain at this location for a while to re-establish myself and get some work done. Ideas for mutual business ventures between USA and Cambodia are coming to me everyday.
This is the first time I've used a keyboard in about a year. The touch screen on my android broke and I needed to use a bluetooth mouse to enter every letter and word transmitted to you all thois time.
Now I see my fingers have gone numb from riding bicycle this past year ... I knew it was happening, but now that I am using a keyboard I can really feel the difference, and it feels awful to lose the ability to feel with your finger tips.
I can't even figure out how to scroll the telegram group list or discussion panel ...
The above two albums of photos ... here is where I am sleeping now. The cardboard against the wall is where I have nothing more than two blankets and a pillow which I had found in the free box (I have not yet explained to you what is the free box, and that will come later.
Last night I needed to sleep here out in the opne because there was no good place to string up my tarp or erect my tent under a shelter.
There are two drinkers sleeping nearby, as you see. From the same vantage point I turn around and snap a photo of my bike with a blue community activity center in the background, and then follow a few more photos of the church where I have established my sleeping location, but only for this incoming storm.
Now it seems these mid winter storm come in every year, and behave much the same, lasting for about 5 days, and I do recall sleeping through some during 2001 and 2002.
The storms are predictable but powerful. Lightning strikes are strong, almost on top of you, etremely loud setting car sirens off all around.
When it rains, it pours, but there is plenty of warning that the rais are coming and to take cover, which everyone does.
During the storms, homeless people can sleep anywhere shelter can be found.
Now let me continue with the photo essay above ... you've noticed the blue community activity center, and next I walk around back of the community center where you see the red barn. This natural area behind the activity center area, including the red barn, the restrooms, and the trees are called "Tipi Village" which has an interesting history of which I became a part during the homeless protests of 2003.
Presently, when it's not raining, I have my tent permanently erected under the big tree you see there. Right now I am not using a tent, so I've taken it down and and sleeping along the side of the church where you see now.
Look behind the restrooms and you'll see the drinker sleeping there. He was sleeping there before I arrived and is the only other permanent sleeper in this area. The two drunks sleeping next to me at the church have just blown in, and are not affiliated with the drunk behind the restroom.
I've only seen this solitary drunkard atanding erect once. I check his area several times an day to observe him sleeping at night, or what he has left behind during the day while he is gone.
He has a peculiar habit of leaving money (change) on the ground in plain sight. In the green plastic bag are 4 cans of sardines, and I am sure he woun't care if someone helped themselves to a can or two.
It's plain most all the homeless have drinking or addiction problems, but it's mostly drinking. I see the mental illness too, and know of only one eho doesn't smoke or drink.
1 February 2019
UCSB campus at night, Art building, Storke tower in the background ...
Ordered a new phone from Amazon, should arrive tomorrow ... hot shower today courtesy of "Showers of Blessings" ... also trimmed my facial hair.
I agree with Rithy. Write your observations from your unique points of view. Returning home you naturally see new and old things from a fresh perspective. A world traveler experiences inherently different cultures. Model it on Tocqueville’s insights. How have you and America changed since you started your travels?
6 February 2019
American clothes dryers are cheap at .25 usd for 7 minutes. In Europe it will cost 2 and 3 euro ... here I dry and fluff my down sleeping bag and blanket.
I do write - on telegram - right here ... this is about as far and wide as I want to go with my opinions.
The American people are asleep, fat, lazy, stupid ... not all, of course, and much of the rest of the world is in the same boat to varying degrees.
Brainwashed cattle who have given up their liberty and who are ripe for slaughter in some form of another - by some predatory force.
All conjecture of course, but it's the world as I see it.
Among the world's highest cost of living with the greatest amount of consumerism and waste found anywhere.
Most have become completely disconnected from rational thinking rooted in the natural world.
Many suicidal addictions, pharmaceutical drug use and plain old mental illness - believed to be rooted in "epigenetic genocide".
I will not win many friends with my points of view.
Laurence, an interesting man now 75 years old whom I recall from when I was here 15 years ago.
John s DiBella
Why constrain your opinions? We have the First Amendment here. Richard Feynman’s last literary legacy is titled: “What Do You Care What Other People Think?” And Ben Franklin wrote: “If you would not be forgotten, as soon as you are dead and rotten, either write something worth reading or do things worth writing.”
7 February 2019
I have volumes of notes, both written and digital, much of which is either crazy or makes good sense.
I tend to feel helping others is the highest good. I don't know that I can help others by publishing.
Thavry is in charge of publishing, and in time maybe something will happen.
John s DiBella
Years from now you could be disappointed for not sharing the interesting experiences during your travels. Stories that might help others. Through trials and errors, and sometimes duress, you did well enough. Why not pass on the lesson learned? Why delegate it? You were lucky with good health, but old age comes fast. Life is a loan that may come due anytime. Time is more expensive than money, so make it last. Take care to live well.
I like that “life is a loan that may come due anytime”
I agree with John. Charles has so much to share. You have good intend to help people but maybe you could help people more by sharing your story through writing.
This is what you used to tell me about me publishing my book. I looked back and always feel grateful that I took the courage to write. Because through story sharing, I noticed through book, I am able to touch many lives.
Cannot publish a book about myself, but getting ready to live stream to you ... need to buy this next. Anyone know of a better way to go?
I returned the radio. Not worth the trouble, and discovered my new smartphone has an FM tuner inside.
9 February 2019
Above - long term campsite in Goleta, just north of Isla Vista (IV). The theme is blue and gold, which are the school colors for UCSB ... I've collected items from the "IV freebox" to make it appear as if someone from the university is camping there.
I have yet to describe to you the IV freebox, which is a phenomenal source of free discards supported by this ultra wealthy and wasteful student community.
I think Charles is actually sharing the interesting experiences during his travel here in this Telegram group, where most of the audience here are his students whom he has mentored and met in person individually. Charles has established a deep connection with most of us through private one-to-one mentoring. I think Charles would prefer that over educating mass group of students at once.
In 2017, at the age of 20 I had a solo bicycle trip to Thailand. A trip that changed the course of my life and lasted for 42 days and in a approximate distance of 3500km in total.
Without Charles's advice and lessons, i would have never done that. So he does pass on the lesson learned. Question is how big the audience does he find comfortable to pass the lessons to?
I think Charles just has his own way of mentoring and sharing his stories with people. And I respect that.
Talking about helping out the mass, even though it does not seem like Charles is mentoring or educating that many people. But he is actually indirectly mentoring and influencing so many lives. Think of how many people SmallWorld has produced and built. Think about how many people Bong Rithy, Bong Thavry, and his other students have and will be able to influence and educate.
This group will serve as Charles's dairy if i am correct. Even long after he is gone, it will be here. He might not have to actually write his own book by himself. Probably his stories and experiences will be written by others.
17 February 2019
Drinking fountain at UCSB with water filter for filling water bottles.
The quality of the drinking water from this dispenser is notably better.
Number of plastic bottles saved ...
18 February 2019
Vista shot ... Above and below. Less than 1 kilometer from my campsite.
It's called the Lake Los Carneros Ecological Preserve, in Goleta.