Playing the odds

25 Jan

When we last left our JustAdventures heroine, she was contending with electrified fire-bolts assaulting her head. She’s happy to report that she’s been 100% jolt-free for 6 days now, which is great news given that she’s been ~450 miles away from home for 3 of those days.

If you ask her, the jolts stopped because she resumed riding her bicycle on a regular basis, which allowed her to reestablish the funky sort of electrical equilibrium that she depends on. (It’s really too bad that she can’t serve as her own neuroscience research subject! — She’s got SO much data that could be mined…) And, since neither of the neurosurgeons could see her before she left for her Epic Homeless Vagabond Couch-Surfing Road Trip (and, in fact, neither of them even bothered to call her back…), no one can refute her theory that regular doses of sustained road cycling (specifically) help to promote healthy synaptic activity.

Yes, her skull is still shifted and that screw is quite literally loose.

And, yes, that’s probably a problem that needs to be fixed in the not-too-distant future.

And yes, it’s likely that “but for” the shifted skull issue she might not have even noticed that her brain’s electrical system was mis-firing (because properly positioned skull plates likely would have more adequately insulated her from the electrical system short-outs).

But what’s done is done and if it ain’t broke don’t fix it, right? Y’all will just have to take her word for it and believe her when she tells you she’s fine.

In fact, she’s actually BETTER than fine!


Because this Epic Homeless Vagabond Couch-Surfing Road Trip thing is even better than she ever imagined!

Her dog is happy and well behaved — except for when she remembers that she’s currently sharing a house with a C-A-T at which point shenanigans reliably ensue. “Luckily,” however, Zolie’s memory appears to be made with the same Etch-a-Sketch materials as her caretaker, so she keeps forgetting about the C-A-T and she’s having a really good time with her new pony-dog friend. See photo, below:

L-to-R (top-to-bottom): Pony, AJ, Zolie (looking for C-A-T), and Baby Chunk.

L-to-R (top-to-bottom): Pony, AJ, Zolie (looking for C-A-T), and Baby Chunk.

In fact, Zolie is having SUCH a good time that she’s decided to commemorate some of her experiences on Facebook. She’s still trying to get a hang of the whole writing thing, but if she makes progress, you may see a “guest post” from her on this blog in the future, too.

You can follow her on FB at:

Zolie earns a TON of credit for getting me out of a situation that really could have put a major damper on the whole Epic Homeless Vagabond Couch-Surfing Road Trip thing. We were less than 200 miles into our adventure when the dreaded red-white-and-blue/red-white-and-blue flashers and the whoop-whoop siren shook me out of my This American Life podcast reverie.



(California Highway Patrol)

Clearly pulling me over. How fast was I going? I had NO idea. I was in the zone — and it clearly wasn’t the “paying attention” zone. Shit. This was NOT in the plan at all. Grrrrr…

And, speaking of “grrrrr,” I had nightmarish visions of Zolie going full-postal on the CHP officer like she does with, well, postal folks. That would be super suboptimal — especially when the officer approached us on her (Zolie’s) side of the car. As I lowered the window, I used my best eye-flutter and sheepish, flirty voice to warn the officer that the dog might “go crazy.”

Instead of lunging at him with fangs bared, however, Zolie offered a half-hearted “hey, you know I’m here, right?” kind of bark to simply let the officer know that she might assert herself if necessary. Then she promptly sat down and somehow managed to give him sweet doe-eyes AND wag her tail while sitting! GOOD DOG, Zolie!

The officer was clearly charmed and when he spied Av sitting so regally in the backseat, he was moved to gaga:

Is that an S-Works? Is that your bike?

Yes, it is, officer.

That’s a sweet machine.

Her name’s Avengelyne and I love her. If I could, I would get rid of this car and just ride her everywhere, but that would make it hard to transport the dog and I don’t think I could ride her on this highway, which would really make it tough for me to do the cross-country road trip that I just began a few hours ago.

Whoa there. Hold up. You and the dog are driving cross-country? Alone? How far?

Well, we’re staying with friends at each point along the way, so we’re not really “alone.” We just started today and need to get to Phoenix tonight and then we’ll just keep driving for 4 months or so until I start school in June.

Aren’t you a little old to be going to school?

Well, officer, it’s kind of a long story, but let’s just say that I don’t think anyone is ever too old to do what they want in life. You only go around once, you know? Might as well enjoy it.

You know, I’ve been patrolling this stretch of highway for 26 years, it’s not glamorous, but I enjoy it. I enjoy talking to people like you. People who know where they’re going. You seem like a really nice gal. And you’ve got a good dog there [Zolie had continued to maintain her “sweet, adorable, well-behaved puppy” act throughout this whole exchange]. Tell you what I’m going to do, I clocked you going 89, but I’m going to knock 10 off of that. I can’t just let you off because my rear radar shows that someone broke the law big time and I’d get in trouble if I didn’t do at least something. So I’m going to put you down for 79, no, let’s make it 77 and if I run your license and registration and it comes back clean, you can just take care of that in traffic school so it doesn’t go on your record.

So he goes and runs everything in his computer and I take a picture of his patrol car and put it on Instagram (if you’re not following me there, then you are SERIOUSLY missing out on the whole Epic Homeless Vagabond Couch-Surfing Road Trip thing — check it out, here:, because the universe (and my mom) needs to know that OF COURSE I got a speeding ticket less than 200 miles into my ~8,500mi trip. What are the odds?!

And when he came back with the ticket, he launched into another round of questions about my bike and I explained to him that I ride it A LOT now because I’m “semi-retired” and then he shared how worried he is about finding something to do in his retirement and I suggest that he get a bike and he let me know that he’s always wanted a bike and he envies all the people he sees riding along this stretch of highway and I LOSE MY MIND because I cannot fathom that people would ride their bikes along U.S. Interstate-10 with big rigs flying next to them at 70+mph and he says:

Bikes are safer than cars. Close to 35,000 people die in automobile accidents each year in the U.S. and I think less than 1,000 die on bikes. I like your odds on the bike.

And I grin the biggest grin imaginable and say: Me, too, officer. Me, too.

Beating the odds, that’s what I do.

7 Responses to “Playing the odds”

  1. Carissa Barker January 25, 2015 at 5:50 pm #

    Nice job Zolie! Did you give the cop your blog info?

  2. justadventures January 25, 2015 at 5:53 pm #

    No! I totally missed that opportunity. I gave a JA business card to the Tamale lady today tho 😉

  3. Tina McEvoy January 25, 2015 at 8:37 pm #

    Great blog!!

    Sent from my iPhone

  4. Anonymous January 26, 2015 at 10:18 am #

    More chunk pics!

    • justadventures January 26, 2015 at 10:25 am #

      Baby Chunk’s parents are not fans of social media.

    • Anonymous January 26, 2015 at 9:53 pm #

      BabyChunk’s parents approved 2 new pics to be posted on my Instagram account. Check ’em out…

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