Mule Droppings

Spring continues in fits and starts around here. One week it’s unseasonably hot, the next cold and rainy. I continue to ride nearly every day. When I was working I rode no matter what the weather but now that I am retired I can time my rides to avoid unpleasant precipitation. The other day I rode in the rain anyway, just to keep from getting cocky.

The Eye Has It

In early April I went for a routine eye exam and found out that there is hemorrhaging in left eye. It was having no effect on my vision, but it was enough to give the doctor (and me) pause. I was told to come back in a month to have it re-evaluated. Last week I went back and the ophthalmologist said that the hemorrhage was still there but hadn’t worsened. He told me to carry on and come back in six months. Of course, I am to make a bee line to an emergency room if I notice any flashes or if my eye stops working normally. Get in line behind the hematologist eye man.

Buying All the Things

There are all sorts of things, mostly little, that I need for my bike tour. After Friday Coffee Club last week, I rode to REI and bought me some stuff: three small plastic squeeze bottles, some oil-based lube, and some Clif Bars. The lube will be used on everything but the chain. (I use wax lube on my chain.) I’ll use the small bottles for degreaser, castile soap (multiple uses), and sunscreen. This will save some space in my panniers. Today I bought some ear plugs – necessary for camping and motels with thin walls – and wet wipes (multiple uses).

I still need to buy a travel-sized shaving cream and a jar of PB&J (a boffo food idea from Corey from last year’s tour). I won’t need to carry much food and water since most of the ride is through populated, if not urban, areas. Just before I leave I’ll buy something to spread the PB&J on.

Making a List

I need to dig out the list I made from last year’s tour, modify it, and make sure I have everything I need. I have already selected this year’s chain rag t-shirt. I will wear it during the first week then relegate it to bike maintenance use. I don’t have to do this but it gets another worn out piece of clothing out of the closet. Last year, Mark scavenged rags from the side of the road to use on his chain. I ask for old rags at motels.

Cotton t-shirts are a necessity because technical fabrics are unpleasant to sleep in. Somewhere along the way I’ll buy another cotton t-shirt for sleeping and off-bike use.

One day each week for the last three weeks I’ve done a ride of 50 miles or more. Last Friday I signed up at the last minute for the Bike How You Like Ride in DC. It’s the spring ride of the Washington Area Bicyclist Association. WABA used to have a June ride called the Sweet Ride. I did it once. 50 miles of which about half were up short, steep hills. It was hot and I was not. I swore off riding it again.

When I showed up at the start of the BHYLR event, I discovered that it was nearly identical to the Sweet Ride except for the fact that it was a clockwise route and that it was only 70 degrees outside. I used Little Nellie and had only minor difficulty on the steepest hills. My thighs were hurting but they didn’t give out. I was pleased to find that my lungs never came close to bursting. Funny how thick sea-level air will do that for you. The ride turned out to be a good test of my fitness level. I know the hills on my tour are going to be really hard but I’m as ready as I’ll ever be. Better still, although my hill riding is pretty lame, I am much better at riding hills on The Mule than Little Nellie.

Call Me a Tourist

I’ve lived in DC for over 37 years and still haven’t seen all the sights. Last week after my REI shopping, I stopped at the Old Post Office Tower to check out the view. The tower is located at the back of the Waldorf Astoria Hotel (formerly known as the Trump International Hotel). The tower has a separate entrance and is staffed by helpful National Park Service employees. With clear skies the views were quite good. It’s a good place to get your bearings if you are new to DC. And, like so many other DC attractions, it is free.

Old Post Office Tower views
The Pencil

In the before times, I visited the Smithsonian Museum of the American Indian. I didn’t have time to see everything. Now that I’ve ridden out west, I need to go back and see what the Museum has to say about the places I saw during my tours.

One Concert Down, One to Go

My wife and I saw KT Tunstall perform the other night. She was terrific as usual. Martin Sexton was the opening act. He was a pleasant surprise. I had never heard of him. This is probably because he doesn’t fit into one of the music industry’s marketing boxes. He plays blues, country, rock, Americana, and folk music, often in the same song. And he yodels. He’s a talented guitarist and has an amazing vocal range. Although both Tunstall and Sexton play piano, they both stuck with guitars. No complaints.

In a couple of weeks we’ll go see Crowded House. This concert was re-scheduled from last September. That week will be a bit crazy. Drive eight hours to Albany. Do a bike ride or two. Have dinner with my siblings. Attend my 50th high school reunion. Drive back to DC. Attend the concert. Hit the road on The Mule.

The Mule Abides

The Mule is all warmed up. This happened last week

The Mule kicks ass. #odometer #nodecimals #specializedSequoia

Dave the Lizard approves

3 thoughts on “Mule Droppings

  1. There’s something about not being a tourist…My friend David spent all his life in Los Angeles but didn’t go to Disneyland until he had his own child. His parents told him Disneyland was only for tourists, so he did a lot of making up for lost time when he became a dad and found out what he’d been missing. I suspect his parents couldn’t afford to take him there and that was the story they came up with. (Diego is Dave now, eh?)

    1. With me it’s more like gaps on my local tourism bingo card. Never been to the White House or the Holocaust or African American Museums
      Yes, it’s Dave as it should always have been. In honor of a really fine human who made my little corner of the world a better place.

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