Counting Coup, Part Two : A chat with Ill Odor about life on the road, doing time, Bigfoot, cops & roadkill. Read Part One here.
Once upon a time, personal power was tested against the backdrop of the wilderness. In this age whatever environment you find yourself in will do. I don’t want you to think urban exploration is the only way to go – so I want to mention Bill Soder (aka Ill Odor), a fellow I met on a recent bicycle tour while camping in the Redwoods. At the age when many people retire & buy an R.V. he has been pitting himself against the adventures of the road and the wild continuously FOR EIGHT STRAIGHT YEARS – bicycling from state to state, carrying everything he owns, and camping night after night. Before he started he was terribly overweight and sickly, and suffering from regular seizures. One of those cases where the doctor pronounces, “the end is near.” One day while watching TV he was seized with the inspiration to ride his bike into town for a cup of coffee. He told his son he was going to bike into town and his son scoffed, “C’mon Dad, you’re too lazy and fat to make it into town.”
Whereupon he vowed, “I’ll make it to the coffee shop – not only that, I’m gonna bike to the original Starbucks in Seattle . . . and get a fucking cappuccino!”
Since he had never done any bike touring before, and he lived in Boston, this statement was an intention of Counting Coup. Thousands of miles later he called his son from the Starbucks in Seattle and had the barista confirm his location and order. Since that day he has lost a ton of weight, and is feeling in better health than he has his entire life, and he says he is also happier now than he has ever been. He has cycled coast to coast a few times, and been up and down the Pacific innumerable times, and has (in his sixties) explored the deserts of New Mexico and the snowy mountain peaks of the Cascades, all of which his doctors would have pronounced impossible for a man with his conditions. Castaneda’s Don Juan would have said he has grown in personal power.
Here is a short audio interview conducted with Bill Soder about some of his adventures. The interview was conducted at Standish-Hickey Park, California by the author as well as two road companions who can also be heard asking questions during the interview—and who incidentally went down into the tunnel described in Part One.
Ill Odor Interview – STREAM :
[audio:http://www.arthurmag.com/magpie/wp-content/uploads/2010/08/short-ILL-Odor-interview.mp3|titles=(short) ILL Odor interview]
Loving this series. Keep it coming.
Just being a bike nerd – is he riding a Surly big dummy?
Cheers Ill Odor, you have inspired another “Old” man
Salut, Bill! You’re fucking nuts. Someday I’ll laugh like you.
Great column Anthony.