Two Wheels - Six Strings

Random news and thoughts about various two-wheeled projects and music, especially my band, Skull Full Of Blues.

Friday, July 08, 2011

Five days On the Road - Part 3

The Ride!

Brad and I woke up, early the next morning, in the basement of the Johnson home.  We could hear movement on the floor above us, so we each got dressed and made our ways upstairs.  There, we were greeted by the sight of breakfast mostly on the table, and the smell of good coffee.

I can't over-emphasize just how gracious a hostess Sarah is.  She cooked up a breakfast buffet to suit all tastes, and presented it to us as though we were family.

I won't go into a mile-by-mile description of the ride.  Michael, Tim, Asher and Bill have each written fantastic reports of the route we took, the hills we climbed and the conditions we encountered.  I am unfamiliar with the road names, and the area in general, so I would only be repeating info from their blogs, anyway.

 I picked this bike up from a coffee-shop friend, with no idea what size it was.  iIwas hoping that it would fit me, but when I saw it, I immediately realized it was too big.  I posted on the blog, about the bike, and Bill commented that he would like to buy it.

So, I tuned it up a bit, and replaced a broken spoke, rewrapped the bars, etc., then loaded it into the Nissan for delivery.  I was really hoping that Bill would like it as much, in person, as he had on the internet.  I think that the smile on his face might mean that he did.

I was really glad to finally meet Bill.  He's one of those bloggers I immediately felt a kinship with, the first time I chanced upon his blog.  I have a feeling we will ride together, again.

 I have to admit that I wasn't familiar with Ashers's blog, before we met.  He's an interesting guy, easy to ride with, and enthusiastic about training and racing.  His borrowed bike was a bit of a pill, throughout the day, but he rode it strongly and without complaint.  I like guys like that.

 Tim is a monster, on the bike.  I gave him some kidding about beating his chain up (after he broke it), but it was only partly in jest.  He rode strong, all day, and ran away from me at the end of the day. He's one of those Long haul Trucker guys...

 Michael's LHT.

 My traveling companion presented a dapper appearance, as usual.

Sometimes, I love the challenge of riding off-road and taking photos or video, at speed.  It makes me feel like the Cinema Verite' guys, with their hand-held movie cams and jangly viewpoint. 

 Box turtle? Terrapin?  I don't know.  But, it was, without a doubt, the most photographed reptile in Mellencamp Woods, on Sunday.  We all descended on him like the paparazzi on Sean Penn, although we managed to get away without getting punched-out.  At one point, I think six of us were either taking pictures of him, or of each other taking pictures of him.

We said our goodbyes to the Ninja turtle, and continued on.

 I raced to the bottom of  a hill to try and get some snaps of the other guys.  Here, I display my awesome photograhic skills with which I can make a simple snapshot of my best friend look like a Bigfoot sighting...

 I think Asher was aware that I was attempting to steal his soul, with my magic box.  Luckily for him, the humidity prevented the transfer of aether, and he rode on with his essence intact.

 One of the reasons that Brad and I wanted to ride with Michael, in his home territory, was that Michael's photos of his rides are so compelling.  The terrain, the vegetation, the views and the roads all look like Oz (L. Frank baum's Oz, not the land down under), on his blog.  This is about the only photo that I took which came close to capturing a little of that.

I can tell you, though, that even Micahel's photos don't do total justice to just how lovely the countryside is.  Brad and I live in a place that people travel to from around the world, in order to have outdoor adventures, but both of us were somewhat in awe of the area we rode through.  It seems that, no matter what kind of natural beauty surrounds you, there is always more to found in this world.

Kinda makes me think I'm pretty lucky to be able to sample even more than what I live with.

 This is the kind of stuff we just don't see, at home.  Sure, we have the Rocky Mountains just outside of town, and desert riding a few hours away in Fruita and Moab.  But lakes, with deciduous forest leading down to the water's edge?  Not so much.

We both lived in a similar environment, for years, but we didn't appreciate it until we left it.  At least, that's how I feel.

 Dave told me that the northernmost cypress knees in the country were growing in the backwaters of this lake.  I looked for alligators, but I didn't see any.

 In my younger days, I frequented some dive bars in the South which had trough urinals.  They looked just like this water basin, but filled with ice cubes (not the rapper -  real ice) at the beginning of the evening.  I thought of this as I filled my water bottle and drank it dry, a couple of times.

I didn't hear any blues guys moaning in the background, or any bikers ordering Buds, so I figured it was clean enough.  The water was cold, clear and tasty, too.

 Nothing makes you feel quite so secure as looking down at your tire and seeing the creek 15 feet below your feet.  We had this kind of bridge around the area, when I lived in central Ohio, and I never really liked them.  At least my fat tires were less squirelly than the 27x1-1/8" tires I rode with in Ohio.

 Bonnie and Clyde took a lot of pictures, while on the run, which looked similar to this.  From the left:  Brad, Dave, Tim, Asher, Bill, me, and Michael.

Also from left to right:  Bridgestone XO-3, Motobecane 29er, Cannondale MTB with Lefty fork, Surly LHT, Cannondale Headshok MTB, Surly LHT, and an arc of the tire on a Specialized Tri Cross.

Dave,  praying to the pump gods...

 Michael, apparently thinking about Aerosmith.  (Well, that's what puts that look on my face...)

 At one point, the guys had pretty much ridden me into the ground, and I lay down to die.  I figured that the local turtles would have a feast, that evening.

 Actually, even though my legs were cramping, I was happy.  I had gone out a bit too hot (especially on the fat mountain bike tires I had on the 29er), but the ride was so awesome, and the experience was even better than what I had been anticipating for the seven months leading up to this day, that I couldn't worry too much about it.

I dream of rides like this (I may be dreaming of one, in this picture, actually).

 Once back at the hacienda, Lady Sarah, the librarian to the gods, hooked us up with food and drink, like the Vikings we are.

Mighty warriors, at the end of a day's marauding.

´╗┐Eventually, everyone said their goodbyes.  Soon after, Brad and I got cleaned up, and loaded up, ready to roll.  After an abortive attempt at fixing the wheel on Michael's Fuji (replaced one broken spoke, then found another), we hit the road.

I had gotten an email from Joy, requesting fireworks for the kids (after we drove past all of those dealers in Missouri).  So, we stopped in a defunct Hollywood Video, which was being used to peddle explosives, and spent about $80.00 on boomers, whizzers and other items of destruction.

Then, we made our way to I-70 and headed toward Ohio.  I was hoping to make the State Line, but I was just too tired.  So, we stopped in Springfield, IN, and checked into a hotel.  Then, after driving all over town in a vain attempt to find an open restaurant, we ended up noticing an open  bar and grill, across the Interstate from our accomodations.

As we walked in, we were both shocked to see/smell people smoking cigarettes inside the dining area. 

Welcome back to Marlboro Country, boys!

We ate, then went back to the room.  I wrote my story for the day, then fell asleep.  Another 18-hour day on the road was behind us.

The next day, we would head for Columbus, Ohio, to see family and friends.



At 8:52 PM , Blogger Steve A said...

I LOVE the different perspectives. Makes me want to go up to "Yankeeland" myself!

At 5:29 AM , Blogger Big Oak said...

Instead of Aerosmith, I think Micheal's got that Nazareth, "Hair of the Dog" look.

Great write-up!


At 5:36 AM , Blogger Big Oak said...

Oh yea, the blue Trek is turning out to be a much better fit than I originally thought. Now it's my primary bike!

At 5:18 PM , Blogger katina said...

yeah, it's weird going into places that allow smoking now isn't it?

At 8:54 AM , Blogger Tex69 said...

Sean Penn and the Real Oz. Pretty damned evocative ,if you ask me. Great to ride with you (and Brad), and even more thanks for the chain help. Hope to do so again down the road.

At 7:46 PM , Blogger Apertome said...

Great writeup -- your high praise for my humble midwestern homeland is much appreciated. The Rockies it's not, but I do think there's something special about this area.

Really enjoyed having you and Brad here (and everyone else!) I'm so glad we were able to do this.

I like the way you identify everyone in the photo, and then the bikes. Nice touch.

I have no idea what I'm doing in that one shot!


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