A nice overnight backpack…

…for me in national forest. I was near water on some stretches of the trail.

It was nice to sleep in the deep woods again.

I awoke to temperatures in the high 30s F on this August morning at about 4500 ft., then warmed myself with a hot brew.

But the ongoing political unrest. I guess it’s just one part of the perfect storm underscoring the inevitability of universal basic income (UBI). The storm being the lack of jobs increased by the pandemic, swift rise in unemployment, and political unrest in which years of insufficient income and unaffordable housing and health care factor in. Many of the jobs existing pre-pandemic won’t return. Judging from my town, many people have recently joined the ranks of the homeless. Cars are now parked at homeless encampments, and I think some may have been parked in their lots and driveways not long ago. Blocks where there were sporadic tents near businesses now have shuttered storefronts with side walks lined with tents, in some parts of town. It’s not as hidden as it was, either because the pandemic is causing municipalities to stop scattering and pushing around the homeless, or shelters more easily reach capacity due to social distancing requirements. Many homeless are not what I call needy. I can’t call anyone needy who simply has the same needs as I have: access to food, water, shelter and a toilet and shower. To me a needy person is someone who’s after the unnecessary; like a bullying or controlling individual addicted to the control, an addict needing unnecessary chemicals, other excesses, etc.

But back to the political unrest, on the electoral level. It doesn’t take a lot of imagination to envision the worst case November scenario. We’ve got a president with a real estate development and entertainment background who wants a show, be it his reelection inauguration or a dramatic rejection of defeat. If he can’t have an inauguration, he’ll have a bigger show. Worst case, I’m imagining. If he holes up in the white house after his defeat, I can see white supremacist and other right wing militia trying to guard the white house. But retired military brass oppose his reelection. Powell has said the president’s “drifted from the constitution” (and Powell said he’s voting for the Democrat instead). Mattis is not voting Republican in November and has said the president is actively dividing the country, which smells slightly of succession. These are politically heavy endorsements of the Democrat. Retired military brass are likely in touch with current military brass. If the defeated president holes up in the white house guarded by right wing militia after the Democratic win, the USA military may very well shew away the militias and evict the squatting president to vacate the building for the president elect.

The president could lose in November. Prominent Republicans including the agriculture-tied Lincoln Project, and the retired military brass, have abandoned him and endorsed the Democrat. Libertarian-Republican Weld is now endorsing the Democrat. Evangelicals haven’t abandoned the president, yet. If the president loses the evangelicals, all he’ll have left is the white supremacists, which are too small a voting block for success. I’m sure I’m leaving out some voters.

The current chaos threatens domestic and world markets. The market will be protected, maintained, propped back up. UBI may play a role in the USA.

I admittedly think about in-town life when I’m in the deep woods.

I noticed while riding how…

…different it feels exploring knowing that sit-down stops at a diners or coffee shops are not yet again routine, not quite yet allowed. A stop for the magic of something as simple as a chocolate chip cookie dipped in coffee, and that partially dissolved chocolate found in the last sip. All these tricks we’ve done over the centuries with plant matter. And then this loss of access to these stops leads me to wonder why I would even leave my neighborhood when such establishments are here; sometimes I think I could be a tourist just in my own neighborhood, and then I contemplate the meaning and purpose of tourism or exploring. I guess such establishments are the conduit and commonality between and among places, cultures and micro-cultures. And it’s these places I want to see because they tie things together.

Typically I would ride with a riding buddy. But last weekend I rode solo, actually passing through a riding buddy’s town, enjoying the aesthetic of the little berg, but unable to try any of the coffee joints. I’ve been riding strictly solo while restrictions seem to still be in place.

Now that I think about it, even when I’ve been overseas in quite different cultures, even if still western, I’ve actually not been that interested in food even though I enjoy it there. I’m more interested in being in the midst of the cultures’ age, history. Its age compared to young US culture is what has intrigued me. Sometimes I’d think US culture was ahead, and sometimes behind, whatever the place I visited. Even in the one eastern country I visited. Then I’d realize this inconsistency (“behind” versus “ahead”) was just pointing out that people are alike, which ties everything back together through similarity between places and cultures old and new. But then if I just walk into the woods for two days, any cultural differences are impossible, not even on the radar. The critters think and act mainly about and on food; but that’s what I’m frequently seeking out in small US towns: food — the connection between US micro-cultures.

But back to the “cultures’ ages” thing. Without that age/history of older towns by comparison to US ones — even western places like London — exploration of towns and culture here consists of absorbing a little town as a microcosm differing slightly in story from neighboring towns. Different stories, but similar or same routines and cafes, diners. People in general just seem to have the same pastimes regardless of where I am. On one level, these towns are all indistinguishable from any western culture on earth, and on another, each is its own thing: a microcosm which is separate by time-frame/history/story. Personal histories that make up neighborhood history, town history. Any larger scale than that and it tends to all blur again with the world’s western civilization in general.

People in my riding buddy’s town seemed to want the same thing as anyone else. To be out in the sun, to swim, to treat themselves to a restaurant meal or ice cream. To have a break from work life. To avoid or spend time with family, depending on their circumstances. These are my guesses about people while riding through, unable to hear through ear plugs let alone my helmet. A snapshot with assumptions built on learned and perceived histories.

All I’m saying is I rode through my friend’s town last weekend.