Bike touring is strangely like having a job. You get up. Eat. Pack up your things. Ride for hours and hours. Find your bed. Go to sleep.
Over and over again.
It’s quite a grind but somehow you only really notice when you stop.
I’m in Astoria. My legs, mostly my quads, are sore. I spent the morning walking around, stopping here and there for coffee.
After a break in the hotel, I went out for lunch. The restaurant was short one cook. I ordered and waited an hour for a sandwich and fries. I didn’t care. I had no place to go. The waitress zeroed out my bill because of the wait. (I left a generous tip, of course.)
I’m back in my room. It has four huge double hung windows. The walls and bedspread are white. It’s the perfect temperature for a nap which I sorely need.
And I took one and it was glorious.
I went out to dinner at the Fort George Brewery down the street. Last night I ate pizza in their upstairs taproom; this time I went into the downstairs pub. Being alone meant I could skip the half hour wait and sit at the bar.
Conversation ensued with Julie, an artist visiting from Juneau. She wore a floppy hat and bragged about her boys, 16 and 9. As we talked I could feel my right hamstring going into and out of spasm.
We were asked to move over one stool to make room for a couple. No problem. I stood up and my right hamstring went bonkers. A massive muscle spasm. My right leg gave way beneath me. I stifled a yell and fell hard on my butt, all the while grabbing my hamstring.
I don’t know what hurt more, my pride, my butt cheek, or my leg.
I felt like a complete idiot. I hadn’t even finished a pint of beer and I fell off a bar stool. If your going to fall off a bar stool, you should at least be piss drunk. I mean you should get your money’s worth for the humiliation. I was robbed!
After Julie left, a young man sat down. He was a pharmacist. We talked about blood clots and various blood thinning medications. He told me about the clinical studies of various blood thinners and aspirin. Recent studies suggest that discontinuing certain blood thinners might cause a rebound effect, a surge in clotting. Eek! I think I’ll just take aspirin for my flight home.
We also talked about opioids. Doctors and pharmacists in Oregon are required to tell their patients they after only five days, certain opioids can be addictive. I was on Percocet for weeks before and after back surgery. I hated the disorientation that drug caused. And I still went through withdrawal when I switched to acetaminophen.
I walked back to the hotel without the slightest limp. I doubt my leg will cause me trouble on the bike tomorrow. The plane next week might be interesting though.
So my last night in Astoria involved falling off a bar stool and geeking out about prescription blood thinners and opioids.
Nobody told me there’d be days like these. Strange days indeed.