Charley’s ride across America 26. Introvert, done with hazing and ghost warrior


Day 51 march 19.  76 miles   5:30. 20 mph tailwind, mostly flat , great long ride, end in Van Horn TX

Day 52 march 20    35 miles 5 hrs including multiple tire issues, end in Sierra Blanca TX, mtn time

Total miles 2059. 72% finished

Dear friends and family,

A couple of you  have asked about my solo riding for several hours and what it takes to be able to be alone for days and also to enjoy it. I consider myself an introvert and quite enjoy time spent alone. I don’t often get lonely. On this trip I spent the first 38 days riding solo, till Gregg and I decided to join forces.

I did some research and found that introverts can train themselves to have extroverted behavior to help themselves be successful for instance, but I never came across the conversion of an extrovert to become an introvert. I think I may be one- a converted extrovert.

When I was going through grade school I received decent grades all except one part- conduct. I always got a “U” for unsatisfactory in my conduct grade. Written next to that U might be “ talks constantly”. If they gave me a D or an F , I might have been concerned but the conduct grade to me didn’t really count.

In third grade of Catholic school Mrs Danko got tired of me, Theresa, and Marykay unable to shut up so first tried her method of forcing a potato into our mouths and making us sit with that all afternoon. I still fear those dental blocks that periodontists use to keep their fingers during surgery. I want to promise not 5o bite them off in exchange for no “ potato flashback “.

The other treatment she used was to wash our mouths out with apple soap, but we developed a taste for it.


I went to a diocesan seminary at age fourteen to start my path to priesthood. This seminary had a time of day for GRAND SILENCE, which went from a half hour after supper until after Mass the next morning. I, who “talked constantly “ found this quiet time particularly challenging. NO talking at all allowed. To me the extrovert. Over time I did learn to control my tendency to talk constantly and keep my mouth shut. Then I did, and enjoyed the quiet time to reflect. Like riding a bike 6-8 hours- GRAND SILENCE.

Just because we couldn’t speak in those evenings at the seminary, didn’t mean we still weren’t high schoolers full of energy. 

Our sleeping arrangements were for twenty students, five from each grade, sleep together in one big room. Twenty beds, lined up on both sides of a room with a four foot tall divider in the middle. A senior I’ll call Bill was our dorm captain. We hated Bill, who often pulled rank to haze any underclassmen and issue fake conduct violations so we would have to clean bathrooms. 

Once we were all tucked in our beds at night  Bill would get up, walk down the hallway, turn off the lights and run back to his bed leaping over the divider and landing in his bed. No words were ever spoken – GRAND SILENCE, but one day when Bill leaped over that divider his bed was moved about four feet over and he landed in a heap on the floor. If there existed a silent chuckle it would have been heard that night. 

The next night Bill was more careful. As he approached the unlighted room he cast a glance over the divider to make sure his bed wasn’t moved, using the trickle of window light available. Up he leapt over the divider and down he came onto his bed with  mighty crunch. Someone had taken the four foot long wood crucifix off the wall and placed it under Bill’s covers. If one could swear silently, we would have  heard it, followed by silent laughter.  Poor Bill!

No one in that dorm ever had fake conduct violations again and of course no one ever admitted any of their actions.

Now we had a converted introvert trying to come to Port Townsend, knowing no one  and hanging out a CPA shingle. Heres the more normal model of introvert being extroverted to survive.

This introvert rode 76 miles out of Marfa yesterday with a 20 mph tailwind after a twenty nine degree cool start. We (the Wheelman and I) made it in about five and a half hours, including breaks.Flying along.

Today started with some long uphills, a mild side wind and cold again. Gregg had tire problems later that persisted till we rented a cheap room in Sierra Blanca to take the tire apart and discover a ghost warrior, which is a piece of metal from truck tires stuck in the inside of a tire, ready to puncture any tube it presses down on. We called it a day after 5.5 hours of riding and repairing.

Only a couple of days left in Texas. Then on to New Mexico.

Now we are seeing more bikers heading east. We even saw a tour group yesterday with every one  of their dozen riders in the sag wagon except for three intrepid challengers of what to them was that big headwind.

Two young guys passed us yesterday, averaging about a hundred miles per day. They, for instance, rode through the snow a few days ago and missed all the fun of Marfa. I’ll take our pace and time to explore anytime thanks.

Sending love,


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