Idaho, Made with Real Potatoes

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I found a wallet, then lost my own. God has a sense of humor. That's the way I look at it. I wasn't more than a couple miles in today when I spotted a woman's wallet in the middle of the highway (I'm assuming she was riding on the back of a motorcycle). No phone number inside, just an ID. She's a Missoula girl but it was way out of my way, so I called the police to come pick it up at the Subway in Lolo.

I bought a footlong at the Subway, then headed across the street to the gas station to get a lot of water and Pop Tarts. I set my wallet on a ledge to put the stuff in my bags; it took ten miles before it dawned on me. By the time I got back, it was gone. The attendant did not hear about it. I can only hope whoever found it has the intentions of mailing it to me. Not to brag, but I really think I have (had?) one of the best driver's license photos in the state.

Do not let today's lesson be lost on you. Stop reading, rip a little slip of paper off of whatever, and write a little note with your phone number and email on it. Put that in your wallet.

Some of you may be thinking, "Is he down for the count?". There is an airport in Missoula; I could have my dad buy me a plane ticket and be on my way home.

Not so fast my friends (Lee Corso voice). Before the trip I packed an unactivated version of my credit card in my bag for just this scenario. A quick call and my lost card was canceled, the replacement in hand. I still will have to figure out the whole airplane scenario without an ID. It may require my dad to mail my social security card to my final destination.

That destination is now officially locked in as Seattle, Washington. I had thought long and hard about riding the coast to San Francisco, but I've already been there, and I haven't even stepped foot in Washington state. I'm still hitting the finish line in Florence, Oregon. Then I'm going to ride up the coast on the 101, through Astoria (the other TransAm finish line, Florence is an alternate), through Olympia, and fly out of Seattle. That whole process will add almost 500 miles onto the TransAm. I will still have some summer to spare, probably locked inside in front of a Playstation.

Losing my wallet out here made me think of the time my car was broken into. The center console smashed, CD player ripped out, I was back to the Model T days (by the way, they stole all the rap CDs, left the country, but took Darrius Rucker, who is a black country musician). Anyway, it made me think at how wrong people are when they say, "Just Be Happy!". You can't just "be" happy. You have to work at it every day of your life.

When I saw my car vandalized, I shrugged it off and went on with my day. When I lost my wallet 2,000 miles from home, I reminded myself how lucky I am to even be in that position. I had those reactions instead of a fit of self pity because I have the mindset that everything will be alright. I will get what I truly need. When you know that you will always get what you need, then you can truly be happy. That takes time; you have to build up the positive momentum (it's possible to slow that momentum if you slip up).

That mindset is built by reinforcing it everyday. You can reinforce it by instantly establishing the negative situations as facts, and noting that these facts in no way entitle you to any pity from yourself or others (you don't "deserve" anything). When you make it a point to remember that you don't get anything for feeling sorry for yourself, you'll be surprised by how much less you do it. Feeling sorry for yourself is a burden. When you lift that burden, you can stop taking life's negatives so seriously.

I still get real worked up though by the political issues; unfortunately the country will not always get what it needs.

I'm not one of those super positive freaks. I just like working with the truth. And the truth is, sometimes shit happens.

Well now that the Dr. Phil moment is over. I made it into Idaho today, as well as the Pacific Time Zone. I had another beautiful descent down several miles of a mountain pass (this time Lolo). It seems that I'm taking one step up and two steps down when it comes to elevation. I still have some more thousand plus foot climbs ahead, but in general I'm sinking closer to sea level.

No cash means more grown man camping. I found an old dirt road (forest service, not private). It was chained up so I'm betting that no one will be through while I'm there). Down the road I found a small clearing about the size of my tent. I didn't know if I should worry about the bears so I just set up like I needed to.

I'll start my day tomorrow with a 60 mile ride to the nearest anything (Lowell). From there, who knows? This trip is wrapping up faster that I could have imagined. I'm having the time of my life. Whoever says that about high school really needs to think about never giving anyone advice.

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