Homeless in Owego - Owego - 7/13/2006

Well rested.  My bed in the presidential suite lived up to its name.  When I went outside, Dave had my chain in 1/2 - somehow the chain has slipped between the chainrings (not slipping past granny gear, but actually between the chainrings).  He tried for a long time to get the chain out.  30 seconds with my little fingers and finesse, I got the chain out no problem.  After we put the chain back together with our handy dandy chain tool, I test rode what he had attempted to fix while I was still sleeping earlier.  Again, during my test ride, all seemed fine.  We also took the opportunity at our host family's house to wash our bikes.  Remember how I said I couldn't get used to people leaving their doors wide open?  When we left the house, we 1/2 closed the door behind us.  I didn't want to completely close the door because what if they didn't have a key to their own house?  Crazy.

So down to the restaurant we went.  There, Marian offered to make us anything we wanted.  We opted for ham, eggs, toast and pancakes.  Remember, I can eat like a horse these days.  After breakfast, Marian insisted on making us subs for lunch.  I tell you, the hospitality is endless.  We wanted to get out fast before she kept on offering to give us things.  Here's a picture of our wonderful host family in their restaurant.

Onward with the pedaling, I continued to have problems with my shifting.  We ran into these 4 cyclists who immediately stopped and talked with us because they saw our loaded bikes.  The gentleman immediately offered us a place to stay, giving us his cell and home numbers, should we wanted to stay in Binghamton.  Too bad Binghamton was too little of a distance for the day.  We still took the info because who knows what the bike shop will tell us - a few hours vs pick it up tomorrow.  We made it to Binghamton where I took my bike in to a shop - Chenango Point Cycles, to be exact.  The guys there were so nice and helpful.  They immediately took my bike onto the operating table and started surgery.  On one of the guy's test ride, the chain slipped for him, too.  They blamed my chain slipping due to the fact that I replaced my stock 26 toothed granny with a 24.  To remedy the slippage, they put on a guard of sorts between my granny and the frame so it makes it nearly impossible for the chain to slip.  They also replaced my cable because we tried to tighten it so many times that the cable was fraying a bit.  I'm so happy.  During my test ride, I was able to shift without much effort!  Finally, peace of mind.

Armed with the ability to change my front gears again, we headed towards Owego, NY.  Another small town, another challenge to find housing.  Today, even if we wanted to pay for housing, we couldn't.  The camp sites were flooded and all the h/motels were filled with relief workers.  We found a police station where I really tried to work it.  The policeman called a few bed and breakfastes and h/motels but no vacancy.  I even asked if there was a jailhouse where I could sleep in (how fun would that be?).  Last resort was the police station itself.  I did see that the officer's office had a sleeping bag and pillow so obviously people do sleep there.  I didn't press too hard, but I should have.  Anyhow, I asked about the firehouse across the street.  The officer called the fire chief and unfortunately, the fire chief suggested a local park.  So, the police said we could camp in the park (which is normally off limits after dark).  They told the night shift guys so they night shift guys wouldn't harrass us.

We went to the Marvin Park and it was pretty ghetto.  Ghetto as in it was gross.  Gross as in it was flooded a week or so ago and it was pretty smelly.  Gross as in the bathroom was just plain nasty.  Gross as in mosquitoes everywhere because of the dampness.  We didn't have a choice because there just wasn't any other option.  After we set up the tent, I opted to take another ghetto shower at the Price Chopper across the street.  You know the drill - soaping and rinsing myself in the bathroom sink, laundry in the sink, taking out my contacts, the whole 9 yards.

After buying dinner at Price Chopper, I headed back to our G.O. accommodations.  Inside our tent and away from the bugs, we dined on a rotisserie chicken, rice, spinach salad and peach.  Although I didn't do the cooking, I'm still proud of a fine dinner I was able to put together.  I am reminded of Barefoot Contessa's start.  I learned this on the Food Network's Chefography special - Ina Garten and her husband traveled around Europe back when they were young, sleeping in tents, etc.  They always ate well as Ina was still able to make gourmet meals on a little camping stove.  I'm trying to do the same.  So far, I'm very happy with all our meals.

Tonight was a true test of what I am able to put up with.  If anyone even dares to say I am high maintenance or a princess, I want to smack you.  You have no idea the G.O. conditions I had to put up with today.  I hope ghetto camping is far and few in my future...