No Name Tour: Day 25 – Resting Hard

I am staying at a motel just outside Salida. Last night the place was quiet. I slept well so I booked the room for tonight as well.

The motel manager told me of a breakfast place down the road but I couldn’t find it. The wind was blowing hard from the east and it was 53 degrees. Not shorts weather.

I headed into town letting the wind push me. I visited two coffee shops. Neither served a proper breakfast so I made do with coffee, a breakfast bagel (it had an egg in the middle), and a blueberry scone. After that I went to a grocery store and bought some things for tomorrow’s ride as well as a salad for lunch.

Salida mural

Then I went back to my hotel room and loafed. About mid afternoon I took my pulse to see if it was high from the altitude. Nope. 50. Just about right.

I heard from Corey. He reports that Mark and he crossed 11,000+ foot Hoosier Pass this morning after camping overnight at 9,000 feet. I’ll bet they are relieved.

I stayed in my room all day trying to avoid any more physical activity and to stay warm.

After too much TV (I sent my book home yesterday), meditation, and failed napping, I headed out for dinner. There is a McDonalds about a mile downhill from the motel so I headed into the still blowing wind. Even with long pants and a jacket I was cold.

I stopped short of McDonalds at 50 Burger which was about twice the cost. The food was twice as good. And I turned down a beer with dinner because I don’t need my tummy tossing all day tomorrow.

The ride back was a breeze, literally. I didn’t notice the incline. Since temperatures in the morning will be in the high 40s, I stopped at a gas station convenience store to buy some hand and foot warmers. They were out of stock so I did what any sane person would do: I bought some Bugles and some M&Ms.

I am trying to not get anxious about tomorrow. Just looking at the mountains is enough to freak me out. I plan on wearing March commuting gear minus the holey sweater.

Miles today: 6.5

Tour miles: 1,491

Any Road Tour: Day 60 – Most peculiar, Momma

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!

Lordy.

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.

Any Road Tour: Day 54 – Furthur

Today is the third rest day of my trip. It’s hard to imagine a better place for it than Tim and Michele’s house here in Camano Island. The weather is perfect: low humidity, 70s, light breezes, clear blue skies.

At 8 a.m. we had a FaceTime chat with a mutual old friend from our school days. Next we went out to brunch and took a motor tour of island. We walked briefly at a beach and observed an episode of HGTV’s Island Life being filmed.

After some ice cream we came back to the house to talk and sit on the deck watching critters (including a family of raccoons) pass by. Mount Baker showed off its snowy top all day.

Tonight we’re doing burgers on the barbee.

Tomorrow it’s back to the bike for my ride to begin a brief (550 mile) ride to the Pacific coast and, ultimately, Portland to catch a flight home on the 26th.

Miles: Nada

Tour miles: 3,796

Average daily miles while on the bike: 75.9

Average daily miles including 3 rest days: 71.6

Any Road Tour: Day 42 – Missoula rest day off

Last night I laid out my wet things in my huge room at the Holiday Inn. And passed out.

I awoke and laid about, checking on flights home from Seattle and Portland. I packed up and went next door for coffee and a breakfast burrito.

Then I hit the bank because sometimes only cash will work in the hinterlands ahead.

I rolled over to the mothership, the headquarters of the Adventure Cycling Association. A friendly young man whose name I forgot took my picture with The Mule for the legendary Adventure Cycling wall of bike tourists.

Next I met Emma Wimmer, a former resident of DC and mutual friend of about a dozen #bikedc folks. She started by giving me routing advice for the next several days. Exactly what I needed. Then she gave me the cook’s tour of the place. I’ve been a member for at least 20 years so it was fun to see how it all works. I even met Ginny Sullivan who works on nationwide bike routes. We also have lots of mutual connections and interests.

After over an hour I posed with Emma for a picture outside. Thank you, Emma. What a treat it was meeting you.

Emma gave me recommendations on a camping store where I bought seam sealer for my tent. And on a restaurant (The Catalyst) where I bought lunch. Grilled cheese on vegan bread? Well, despite the dairy anomaly it tasted great.

Next on the advice of a Twitter follower I went to the Big Dipper for some ice cream. It was chilly out so I put on my jacket while I ate.

A block away I found Missoula Bicycle Works. They replaced my pedals (they’ve been squeaking since Minnesota) and tightened my rear hub.

Next I rode gently to the west of town and booked a hotel room. There I sealed the seams of the rain fly of my tent. Then I went inside on an absolutely beautiful afternoon and fell sound asleep for three hours.

I guess I was tired. They call me Mr. Excitement.

After waking I watched an inning of the Sawx vs the Nats on TV. What ever is wrong with my Nats? I am sure that my Baseball Operations manager is working hard to fix it, aren’t you Katie Lee?

In the evening I walked a half mile to the Old Post, Emma’s dinner suggestion. She went three for three.

Miles: 4

Total miles: 3,048.5

Any Road Tour: Day 22 – Rest day in the Twin Cities

Showered and laundered the Rootchopper express was ready for socializing. Kathy and her husband Russ took me to dinner at Surly (I am not making this up) brewery in St Paul. We had pizza and beer and it all was so good.

The pizza restaurant was on the second floor. My cranky attitude yesterday and the Hillary step feeling of one flight of stairs convinced me to take today off and recharge my batteries.

Today Kathy made me a breakfast of mass quantities. After hanging out and enjoying her landscaped yard we took off for the Mall of America. What a strange palace to American retail excess.

After lunch at Nordstrom’s overlooking the airport and a gigantic IKEA, we headed to REI. Kathy bought clothes for her impending trip to Scotland and I restrung my tent poles after some instruction from REI staff.

It’s going to be hard to break away from this wonderful hospitality but tourers gotta tour. I am back on the road tomorrow. I have decided to rejoin the Adventure Cycling route. It’s very easy to get to from Kathy’s house. I’m hoping to make North Central Lake tomorrow night.

Big, big thanks to Kathy, Russ, and daughter Krista for much needed rest and friendship. Oh gee, I promise to seek out some cheese curds in the days ahead.

Rest Day Adulting

I know I am getting old when 4 consecutive bike commutes wear me out. I woke up sick this morning. Again. My autoimmune system better be banking sick days because I have been sick in one way or another since early December.

So I took the day off from riding. Conveniently it’s actually pretty cold outside. I know because I am inside writing this with my snuggie on. (I am not making this up.)

I woke up at 5:45. And promptly went back to sleep until 7:30. Then I started some laundry. Then I did my back exercises. (No, it’s not yoga. Okay, it involves balancing and shoulder stands and planks. But it’s not yoga.) Then I listened to a 15 minute guided meditation from the New York Times.This Dan Harris’s meditation for dummies cartoon pretty much sums it up. This is about as woo woo as I get.

Next up was showering and breakfast. Followed by swallowing the Saturday and (most of) Sunday Washington Post because I insist on getting the dead tree edition. It sucks to spill orange juice on your tablet. You can spill all you want on the paper version. After failing at both the Sudoku and crossword yesterday, I knocked off the Sudoku, and three crossword puzzles today. This was a good omen.

After helping put the groceries away, I replaced a flushing valve in a toilet. On the first try. It was a miracle. And I didn’t even flood the bathroom.

Next up came filing a claim for reimbursement from my health care flexible spending account. It was my first foray of the day into the digital age.

After wasting time online, I loaded Turbo Tax and did the taxes. I was missing a form from my brokerage so I called its 800 number and set up an electronic account. Downloaded the form and finished my taxes. In the immortal words of Dave Stoller’s dad, REFUND!  (If you’ve never watched “Breaking Away” – the movie not the TV show – stop reading and go watch it. The script won the Academy Award for best original screenplay. And, it’s the best movie ever made about bicycling. Except it’s about so much more.)

Then I spent 20 minutes trying to figure out how to do my daughter’s Indiana tax return and gave up. I think they owe her $5. (Mike Pence, if the Indiana personal income tax forms are your idea of tax simplification, you’re in deep yogurt if you become 46.) It ain’t worth the time. Keep the change, Hoosiers.

Finally, I activated a debit card that gives me free ATM withdrawals at any ATM in the US. Just the thing for my next bike tour. (I’m considering riding to Key West in the fall. Stay tuned.)

The only thing I didn’t accomplish was to go buy some bird seed. I expect that the bird seed consumption rate should pick up in a couple of weeks. Another sign that this rather tame winter is coming to an end.

Only 11 days until pitchers and catchers report to Nationals’ spring training.

Die winter die.