Bike tourists and the homeless

Arone Garrison, pirate biker, with her cat, moving to San Francisco
On the Pacific Coast we've been treated to great facilities for touring cyclists. And there are plenty of them! They are everywhere. This must be the most popular route we've ever done. And the facilities provided for us are incredible, and cheap. We paid $4/person for camping (with showers!) in Oregon, and it's gone down to $3/person now in California. The facilities are fantastic - beautiful, running water, hot showers.

Of course, bike touring is just a case of almost-homeless. I often say it's the last acceptable form of homelessness in the U.S. But the wonderful and cheap facilities they've provided for us are attractive to others, including *real* homeless people, people who have no home to run back to and no credit card to bail them out if things get hard.

We met Ernest in California, just two weeks out of prison and living from campground to campground as he waited to get some money together. He's from Pasadena, Texas and a fine and enjoyable fellow. And we met a legend of the coast: Duggan. He rides up and down the coast every summer, panhandling a bit from bike tourists who take pity on his latest story.

But the most interesting and admirable person we met in the "homeless" category was not truly homeless. We met Arone Garrison on the road. She was pulling a large, wide trailer loaded with her (large) cat and all her worldly possessions. She found herself homeless in Bend, Oregon, but a friend in San Francisco promised her a place to stay and a job if she could get there. With no transportation and no money, and with a cat to care for, she just loaded it all up and started riding to San Francisco. What a courageous thing to do! All these bike tourists are just recreating. And the few real "homeless" people are just passing the time. But Arone is using her bicycle to move on with her life. We're rooting for you, Arone! We think you'll be successful and it will be an incredible turning point in your life.