Sunday, November 11, 2018

Peace


October 13, 2018

October 15, 2018 Not only is it amazing that everything would still be green and growing this late in the year, the sunrise lit the snowy leaves with gold.  It is sorcery of the highest order!
At some point in time all the available valuable limestone will finally be removed from this valley. For over three years they have been grinding, smashing, scraping, hauling and unequivocally disturbing the peace directly across the road. This operation would be loud in the city, but here where there is nothing to mask it or compete, it is enormously loud. The sound bounces off the bluff/hill behind my house so I think it doubles the industrial growling and the piercing back-up warning on all the heavy equipment. When they break the limestone, the enormous percussion of whatever they slam into the rock rattles my windows. It does not shake my house but the windows flex and rattle.

It could be worse as I have complained before. It could be a permanent mining operation, a hog lot, a brothel, a crack house, or noisy gun-blastin', chainsaw-wielding permanent neighbors... or any number of even more horrible things. They have restored the land directly across from me which means they will soon be out of there for good, but they continue to dig to the west in the same pasture. Before I could celebrate the return of peace and quiet, I discovered one of their signs hanging on the neighbors gate 3/4's of a mile to the east. I am not sure how much I will hear when they have moved operations there. The sound may be funneled away from my house. I should be so lucky.

I have tried not to resent the limestone mining but I do. I hate that they are disturbing soil that took millions of years to develop. They are utterly destroying a tall grass root system that took tens of thousands of year to evolve, to establish itself. Though they seed back native grasses it will never be the same. It will not be genuine prairie but a thin man-made imitation of a tall grass prairie. I heard this valley was plowed up during the war so that lessened my anxiety a great deal regarding the destruction. At least they are not destroying untouched prairie simply to dump a giant slab of Flint Hills limestone in a Kansas City shopping mall parking lot. (The mining company is owned by a landscape company based in Kansas City according to the signs.)

The landowner is getting a huge amount of money from the sale of rock 20 feet deep beneath his land - pure gravy for him. The men who show up every day to scrape the earth and dig the limestone are earning a living. And, as far as destruction of the environment goes, this is fairly benign. In a few years's time only a true expert of the tall grass biome will be able to tell it was mined. My farmer neighbor said cattle will avoid the new growth, so the cattle can tell a difference. I guess they are experts, too.

Even though the mining is a huge Disturbance in The Force around here, I still sit at the barn listening to my horses quietly eat their hay. I can watch the crows wheel around the tree tops monitoring the resident hawk when he is perched on the electric pole. The crows are silent so they must not have young in the nest or fledglings. I am not certain hawks prey on young crows but normally the crows raise holy hell whenever the hawks are around. Crows are very smart so perhaps they are merely warning EVERYONE that a hawk is in the air.

The other day I enjoyed seeing the hawk on the utility pole. From the barn I had a front row seat. He faced the wind so his feathers would not ruffle. He still needed to shake his tail and wings to settle his plumage. He seemed to be resting in the sunshine just like I was. His keen eyes caught something at the base of the pole and in one liquid movement he simply plummeted like a stone to the ground. If he caught anything I could not tell. He lifted a few feet and winged out of sight to the west. I hoped he had reduced the mouse nation numbers! A few minutes later he was back at the top of the pole. Now that I knew he was hunting I did not want to disturb him. If I moved at all, he would calmly fly away. I resigned to wait but he was there for only a few more minutes. He has lived here for many years. It is his home, too, and a guy has to eat.

A day or so before, I moved a hay bale causing a little critter to scurry into hiding. I think it was a prairie vole because it was smaller than a rat but much larger than a mouse. It came out of hiding in full view, within reach of me, despite the bright sunlight. It watched me carefully as I cut the baling twine on the bale. I thought maybe there was a nest in the bale itself and that is why it was so brave. Maybe I was the first human it had ever seen. I did not find a nest so I do not think I tossed any newborns onto the horse side of the fence.

There are generations of animals that make Spiritcreek home. There are generations of coyotes. They raise their young in my pasture. They come up close to howl - just below the bank behind the house. I love hearing them. I love catching an occasional glimpse of them during the day. I hope the cotton tail rabbits are plentiful for the coyotes to eat.

Just before it turned cold, I was wading through the tall grass around the barn and happened to see a tiny snake trying to escape the human giant thrashing ever closer. I was not even afraid (but I did carefully watch for any larger snake that might have also been in the grass!)

There are generations of song birds born and raised in the trees surrounding my house. There are humming birds that return every year to raise their young - and pee all over the front window and the porch boards below the feeder. There are crows and opossum and squirrels and skunks. There are fox and bob cat who travel the creek hidden from the eyes of hunters. There are surely creatures I am not even aware of - such as wood chucks, one of which was high in a thin tree one afternoon. Amazingly enough, I had never seen one and did not know what it was.

There are lizards, toads and at least two kinds of frogs. Turtles and fish and crawdads. Butterflies, including Monarchs, and one lunar moth that hatched on the front door. There are a multitude of dragon flies and an infinite supply of fireflies. Every summer I happen upon another insect species that I have never seen before in my entire life as a Kansan. And spiders of all shapes and sizes and colors. Spiders.

The animals were here long before my great-to-the-100th-power grandmother was born... long before this land was "owned" by any human being. If humans do not utterly destroy the soil and water here, the generations of animals will continue to flourish long after my dogs and horses are gone, long after I have returned to ash and stardust. I am most grateful to be here now - even with the mining across the road. The animals will outlast that, too.

A year ago, October sunrise. The clouds bear the shape of a mighty red tailed hawk.

Monday, October 29, 2018

Is Laughter Truly the Best Medicine?

One of the best things in life is laughter. I am talking about those nearly hysterical, stomach aching, tears-in-your eyes bouts of laughter. If you are lucky, there are people in your life who enter into the hilarity easily and often with you. My daughter is one of my main constituents. It does not take much to set us off.

My dear friend Bernie, may he rest in peace, and I often had one another in tears at work, which made it even better because we tried mightily to not let it get to that suffocating level - we were at work in the cube farm! We always failed. Bernie and I maintained a file of newspaper articles we collected of the weirdly absurd - stories we were certain would make the other laugh out loud. Over the years, as it turned out, all of the articles involved drunk people. (What are the odds?) Bernie was a quiet and good-natured man but his laughter was so infectious that once he started genuinely laughing, I was lost. I miss my good friend. I wish he was here right now so we could laugh ourselves into stomach aches and tears.

Another colleague/good friend, Mr. Hamm and I have lived through a fair share of these snorting, suffering, catch-your-breath episodes, most often in a car... traveling 75 miles an hour. If we had crashed, we would have died laughing, literally!

The first time I remember laughing "hysterically", I was very young. We were at an amusement park in Wichita, Kansas known as Kiddie Land. My mother and father dotingly put me in a tiny train car that traveled on a miniature track in a series of circles. For some reason I found the entire experience so much fun that I began laughing and could not stop. I remember feeling a tinge of embarrassment. Perhaps it was a portent of things to come because, believe me, since then there have been dozens of times I needed to stop laughing but simply could not. Not to save my soul.

I still remember the President of our company division and his secretary carrying on two conversations at once that took a turn. This happened decades ago, before HR was much of a factor in the corporate world because the secretary had a new Playgirl magazine at her desk for some reason. She had just mentioned to him there was birthday cake in the break room, and almost simultaneously he had asked about the magazine. She pushed the closed magazine toward him as he asks "Anyone we know?" She retrieves the magazine to begin flipping the pages, solemnly saying "Gee, I don't know. Let me look." He says, "I mean is the birthday cake for anyone we know?" Those two began laughing and could not stop for at least 10 minutes. This could never happen in modern corporate times!

There was a time when I exercised every molecule of will power not to laugh, even biting my tongue. I was in the backseat of the work van, a coworker was driving, and our supervisor was riding shot gun. We had closed the hotel bar down the night before which may or may not have contributed to this fantastic chain of events. After a hearty breakfast we were driving toward the job site in what was essentially an old beater of a van (nothing too good for the survey crew!). We were bumping along over cobble stones, or old red bricks to be more precise. Riding in the van was like riding in a paint shaker anyway, then to add a lumpy, potholed road to the mix and we were vigorously bouncing in our seats. The supervisor was speaking when suddenly, without warning, he vomited all over the dash. I wanted to laugh. I wanted to laugh so desperately! But I was new in that job and it was the boss who just lost his breakfast. I was biting my tongue and hugging myself so I would not laugh.

The driver looks over, his shoulders rolling with laughter already. "I would have pulled over."

The supervisor, poor guy, feebly offers, "I thought that was just a burp."

That was it for me. No power in the universe could have prevented me from laughing at that point.

So many times the story simply does not translate to either the written or spoken word. You simply had to have been there, and I am thankful for every time I was there.

Saturday, October 6, 2018

An Emotional Hangover of Sorts

Well, the disappointment over our government seating a man such as Brett Kavanaugh to the country's highest court is rather acute this morning. We made our best logical arguments but in the end emotions won over everything. It feels as if common sense and decency lost to a mob mentality, or perhaps it was just a bunch of old white men in Washington flexing their power yet one more time, the rest of us be damned.

To me it seems that people can not stop feeling long enough to think, to carefully consider and understand the larger context but I could be wrong. Maybe Kavanaugh supporters see the big picture, too, but they just do not give a good goddamn. When the best arguments fail, all that is left is for people to find out for themselves.

I felt this way when Brownback was elected as Governor of Kansas, both times. All the arguments against his extreme agenda fell on deaf ears. I resigned myself to sit back and tick off all the things I knew would happen. Kansas lost its excellent credit rating. Our schools had to be funded by court order. Our economic growth fell below the rates of Nebraska, Colorado, Missouri and Oklahoma. An enormous fiscal deficit formed that will take years of recovery. State services remain curtailed and are a true aggravation for even something as simple as needing a phone answered in a state office somewhere. It is not the State employees' fault. There are so few to serve so many. Most tragically, the most vulnerable people, the young, the ill, the elderly had their lives severely impacted by Mr. Brownback's run as Governor. Cuts to all manner of medical and social services were implemented, disqualifying families from critical services, placing others on long waiting lists, and most certainly making life even more difficult for the working poor. Supply side economics simply do not work but people forget that, time and time again. The point is everyone lives with the consequences of the majority rule. If "your side" does not win, it is at least a palatable loss if the majority rule was won fair and square.

State economics aside, through various underhanded shenanigans, the radical conservatives in Washington have been systematically chipping away at all the checks and balances that have made our form of government work pretty damned well - up to now. For twenty years or more this decline has been picking up speed. Now we have rampant gerrymandering, dark money, and 24 hour cycles of Fox News propaganda steering the national debate in whatever direction they require to accomplish whatever foul deed they are up to next. Some very powerful special interests have managed to wrest our democracy away from us while overseeing the largest transfer of wealth in human history - right in plain sight of every adult American citizen. At least half of us are okay with it. Ironically, it appears the half who are suffering the most are the same people who are okay with it.

Now we are well on the way to a truly radicalized Supreme Court. People have no idea what that is going to mean. They do not understand that their lives and the lives of their families will be changed in very real ways - sooner AND later. Who will stand for us, we the people, before the highest court in the land now that it has been bought and paid for by the greediest, most unprincipled pack of sharks to ever run the free world? No one. The Republicans in Washington wanted THAT man, that particular man, for a pre-determined reason, and we will find out soon enough what that reason is. It will be ugly.

As for the national discussion of the issues of sexual abusers and sexual abuse victims, the Republicans in our government literally got away with doing the most underhanded move of the last 50 years in American Government. Well, there are consequences for that, too. I just wish the half of us who are appalled by the blatant disregard for the Supreme Court, and for simple decency, did not have to suffer with those who think it is okay to subvert our government.

How long did Congress investigate Hillary Clinton? How much time and money? And what was the result? How many people are going to jail due to that investigation? But the same rabid people cannot take the time to genuinely and fairly investigate the very disturbing claims against Brett Kavanaugh - the very same man whose public behavior clearly and unequivocally demonstrated that he is temperamentally unfit to be a Supreme Court Justice? There should have been a full, genuine, apolitical investigation carried out in the best interest of our country. If innocent, Kavanaugh could have been exonerated. If Dr. Ford was lying, she could have been held accountable. (NO ONE wants to see an innocent man accused of crimes he did not commit.) Now we will never know and a there is a very real possibility that a wholly inappropriate man will be awarded a lifetime position on what should be the highest, most unimpeachable source of law interpretation for all Americans.

If you are okay with all of it - with the blatant whitewash and misuse of the FBI carried out by the Republicans in Washington this week, then I am sad to say you deserve everything coming your way. I will be sorrowfully ticking off the boxes as the ugliness arises, quite likely for the rest of my life.

Friday, October 5, 2018

Even If We Tried ...

Every day of my life since I moved to Wabaunsee County, despite whatever else is going on in my life, I have been graced with the awareness of the Kansas sky, nature's magnificent living art installation.

I have hundreds and hundreds of photos but so little space or time to share even a fraction of them. It does not matter because anyone on the planet can simply step outside to appreciate the view. Why bother with a camera?

Even if we used every ounce of our collective imagination we could never invent anything as mutable, ephemeral, heart-breakingly beautiful as the sky full of movement and drama and ever-changing light. Even if we tried.

Beautiful late summer skies over Joplin, Missouri
Sunset from Snokomo Road

Above Manhattan, Kansas. Mid August.
Leaving Kansas City, Missouri. Late May.

Feeding the horses at dawn.  January 9, 2018
Looking east from Vera Road at sunset, November, 2017

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

A Toto By Any Other Name

Wamego is an enchanting small town in Kansas that hosts a Wizard of Oz museum, a beautifully restored wild west opera house, several lovely parks and a variety of wonderful places to visit, things to do, and events that seem far too extravagant for such a small town.  

The most endearing project consists of fifteen small statues of the little dog Toto. I do not know the history of this community effort except that local students and artists submitted designs.  The results are whimsical.  These little fellows make everyone happy.  I always see people (of all ages) taking photos and otherwise admiring the statues.  One warm summer night I saw two young boys, 11 or so, riding their bicycles on the main street sidewalks. As he rolled past, one of the boys gently high-fived the statues outside the Wizard of Oz museum.  That small gesture certainly seemed like magic to me.  Imagine the memories he will have of warm summer nights spent riding bikes with his best friend in a hometown decorated with Totos.  

This is Community Toto.  He guards the southern approach to the city, a couple of blocks north of the Kansas River bridge.
A companion for Community Toto, bedecked in red slippers.
This Toto is in the city park where there is a collection of old west buildings.
Star spangled Toto faithfully bears witness to the formal Veterans memorial, which includes a replica of the Vietnam War Memorial Wall.
"Toto-ally Gingham"  waits with all the children wanting to ride the small train around the park.
Letter jacket Toto stands in the center of the wonderful sports complex where soccer, baseball, softball and tennis are played - all at the same time if needed!
Covered in candy, this Toto is across from the city park and next to Friendship House. (Notice the yellow brick road?).
Outside one of the banks on Main Street.
Also outside the bank...
You might guess this Toto is before the Public Library
Toto beside his own yellow brick road.
Another Toto on Main Street.
One of the two statues guarding the Wizard of Oz museum.
Outside the Wizard of Oz Museum.  The perfect height for a gentle high-five... 
Sunflower Toto greeting visitors who arrive via Highway 24.

Monday, September 24, 2018

Big Dog - Cane Corso

The Big Guys
My son asked if I could look after his dog, a Cane Corso, while he was on vacation. He said he knew it was a lot to ask but he was in a bind. I was glad to do it though I was a bit worried that the dog might not mind me. I was also worried that he might drag me down the front steps. He weighs over 130 pounds. I could certainly hold him on his leash, having a few pounds on him, but navigating the front steps could be a disaster. He was a great dog and obediently agreed to everything. (I wish my own dogs would mind as well!) And, as if he knew I had trouble with the stairs, Big Dog patiently waited for me on each step. (I call him Big Dog, but that is not his name).

He is such a good dog! He has an awareness that no dog I have ever known possessed. I told my son that the dog must surely be an old soul, a buddha.

On the second night, the big dog was very depressed, realizing his human was not coming back right away. I suppose to a dog it might seem as if their human is gone forever. They have no way to be assured a situation is temporary.

I enjoyed that big goof ball so much! He carefully agreed to everything at first but after a few days he realized he could get away with a thing or two, especially if he was acting goofy! He liked to sit with his back to me then try to look at me by lifting his head up and back. I guess simply turning his head was too mundane!

I had two big kennels in the house so I could sleep at night - Mattie in one and Big Dog in the other. After a couple of nights, Big Dog was allowed to sleep beside my bed. I knew he would not chew up anything while I was sleeping... the way a certain female German Shepherd would do! The last night he felt comfortable enough to buck the rules entirely. He carefully threaded his big, 130 pound bulk between the sofa and the small table loaded with all the paints and brushes including a big cup of dirty water, to sleep on the couch. Since he was so careful to not disturb anything on that table, amazingly, I did not say anything. After all, he was a guest - a very beloved guest - a beloved, well behaved guest.

My son has done an excellent job socializing and teaching his dog manners. When my son came home and Big Dog realized who was coming up the steps, he excitedly jumped against the glass in the front door! I was horrified he was going to break the glass and cut himself to ribbons so I shouted for the dog to get down - the only time the entire week I raised my voice to him. My son did not like that I yelled at his dog - duly noted in case of future grandchildren. (As if I would EVER shout at my grandchildren!)

I missed the big goof ball for a few days after he had gone back to the city. He also missed me and the farm and his two dog buddies. My son said he moped around for a couple of days after they were home. When I next visited them, the big dog almost knocked me down in his enthusiasm to see me again. We are buds now, too.

After he realized Ian wasn't coming back for him immediately. He rested his big head on the chair and stared at me, the saddest sad sack in the world!

He had his own bed in the middle of the living room so he could chill while I was painting.  He fell asleep watching tv upside down and chewing on a dog toy.  My own dogs do not have it this good!


Tuesday, September 11, 2018

My Daughter is Iron Woman!


My daughter's account of her long-distance bicycling adventures, in her own words - published on Facebook, 2018 

Coulee Challenge 1200K - August 2018

“90% of Life is Showing Up”

It’s hard to find the “theme” of this 755 mile bike ride from Apple Valley, Minnesota through the North Western sections of Wisconsin in 88 hours. So much content, such beautiful landscapes, and amazing people. So, I’ll begin at the beginning and end, at the end perhaps the golden nuggets will appear.
Disclaimer: What I’m about to write is not to brag or boast by any means, but hopefully to inspire. I may one day not be able to bike or ride, but for the here and now I’ve been blessed to be of sound mind, body, and spirit and Cycling has become such a wonderful gift in my life in the here and now, that I like to share it with you. When my insides don’t’ always feel so great or my heart is broken, I’ve been given the gift to be able to ride my bike and for that I’m eternally grateful, and met such wonderful, amazing, and beautiful human beings that enjoy the simplicity of riding a bicycle under the sun and the moon too.
Before we get on the Coulee Route, I must share how I came into Randonneuring in the first place to then arrive at this juncture in the Coulee’s Minnesota.
Background: I decided to ride through the Florida Keys alone, last year. But, before I set sail alone a series of events happened: the stars aligned, a handful of people were met, to include two Randonneurs from Florida (Jackie Shellow and Rudy) in which a 3,000 mile round-trip (via car), and 5 of us road 400k through the Florida Keys and a Baby Randonneur was born.
Dec 30, 2017: 200k from Florida City to Florida Keys.
Jan 1, 2018: 200k from Florida Keys to Florida City.
Feb 3, 2018: 300k Austin, Texas Brevet
Mar 17, 2018: 200k Springfield, Missouri
Apr 14, 2018: 300k Pomona Lake (only 130 miles completed) due to rain, sleet, snow, & wind.
Apr 28, 2018: 200k Leawood, Kansas Perm
May 5, 2018: 400k Grain Valley, Missouri Brevet
May 19, 2018: 600k Grain Valley, Missouri to Paris Brevet
May 26, 2018: 200k St. Joe Crank
May 31, 2018: 1000k Nebraska Sandhills (only 473 miles due to Achilles and tremendous wind)
Jul 7, 2018: 200k Princeton Roundabout
Aug 13, 2018: 1200k Coulee Challenge Grand Brevet
It was not my intention initially to complete the whole SR Series in one year, but one thing sort of led to the next ride. As for the month of May…well, I thought if I can do a 400k, why not try a 600k, and then the 1000 and then the Big Kahuna, 1200k! Encouragement has come from various seasoned and experienced Rando’s along the way. One of which was Michael Turek in Florida, Wayne Dunlap in Texas, and our very own Rodney Geisert, David Mathews, and Gary DelNero in Missouri. Because of a few words they’ve said, I’ve pushed myself to the next rung.
I’ve also been inspired by some amazing cyclists, one of which is Superman, although he likes to keep himself anonymous, Spencer Klaassen and Joe Edwards. To be able to ride alongside these Big Rando Dude’s, an honor for sure. Wow. (Of which I’d like to tell each of their stories, they’ve been on one epic adventure after another over the years, and often times together.)
Through all of the Big Rides, my thoughts have been, “keep up, keep up….and for God’s sakes, keep on their wheel and then I just might make it.” Through all of these rides, I’ve learned how to navigate by reading a Cue Sheet and the use of a GPS system. This has been super empowering.
Nutrition has continuously evolved and changed over time and I imagine will continue to improve. For the Coulee’s I packed Hammer Ultra Fuel in baggies, drank one water bottle full per hour (give or take), it’s never exact for me, but I try to stay on target. Hammer electrolyte pills, I took 2 per hour (or so), plus one water bottle of water every 1.5 hours or so, sometimes more, sometimes less. Hammer Gue Gel (with Caffeine I saved for the late night riding, which is always the most challenging for me, when I tend to bonk or have tough time staying awake. This really helps).
In addition to these supplements what’s been of utmost importance, second only to hydration is FOOD, REAL FOOD! Although I’ve been Vegetarian and Pescatarian over the years, on ultra-distance bike rides, I eat whatever it takes to get the job done. Whatever I’m hungry for, I eat and eat often. I’ve learned if I can stay fed and watered, I’m golden on long rides. At Control’s, usually a Kwick Shop or Casey’s, the food can look pretty bad, but there are some nice options like an Apple, Lunch Meat, and a half a cup of Coke or an egg salad, crackers and a Sweet Tea or Grapes and Slim Jim and Cheese. Just little combo’s of proteins and carbs. These items have sustained me to the next control.
Bike Fit has helped immensely to avoid injury. I had an Achilles tendon flare up on the 1,000k in which I made worse by a piss-poor wrap job and adjusting my own cleats while on route! Big no-go. I really tweaked myself. Thus after a DNF on Day two, I was determined to get those dialed in. Going to a Bike-Fit-Person who you trust and have good experience with is ideal. And I’ve found my Golden Bike-Fit-Guy. Thus before the 1200k I had him look at me and bike on trainer one last time. We made one tiny adjustment, raising the saddle 1/8th of inch and marking the old and new seat position with a Sharpie. This paid off, zero knee and/or Achilles trouble. (Well, there were normal aches and pains of endurance cycling, but no injury). Also, flat-pedaling when conscious and aware to avoid injury helped.
Physical Therapy: I did have 6-weeks of PT after the 1,000k to ensure my Achilles healed properly and faster and I believe I DID recover faster working with the PT by stretching and one deep needling treatment. I also wore compression socks before and during the 1200k. Next big ride I may consider wearing the compression socks to bed too (but would need a clean pair) don’t want to be the stinky girl on the route.
Mind Set: It is scary to be staring down the barrel of a 1200k bike-ride at 33,000 ft of climb. The old tapes of “can I do this” are there. This is a valid question. And my honest answer at the start was, “I don’t know but let’s see if I can.” 90% of life is showing up, the rest will come. And here is the Golden Nugget.
That is precisely what I’ve done on each and every big ride, showed up. I’ve not allowed my own or others’ fears hold me back. Yes, I’ve been nervous and afraid, but I’ve shown up anyway. These rides I’ve had to dig deep and of the two that I DNF’d on, I didn’t dig quit deep enough, which bothered me a lot. Thus, I’ve been driven to go back and try again until I’ve gotten it right. Which is what we’re doing here in Earth School anyway right? Showing up and trying our best and when we fail, we learn lessons, it hurts a lot, and then we’ve really learned something of value, then thankfully, we get to try it again and this time, hopefully with success. Which has been my experience, thus far.
Mental and Emotional: Staying positive on these long rides is essential. There are many highs but some occasional lows and when I’m there, I tend to keep quiet. There is no one coddling one another on these Rando events, so if feeling blue, it’s a time of reflection for me and creating an inner fortitude to get through to the next control and as Aaron Russell in Texas said, “get fixed up.” Boy was he right! It’s important to keep yourself “fixed up” with food, mental or emotional wellness. Not an easy balance always, especially if in physical pain. Like I was on this 1200k.
Physical Discomfort: Saddle Soars for two days were the most formable for me during this ride. Although I used Butt Butter, it wasn’t enough. Along the route I picked up and used Bag Balm and Vagisil that helped save the day. It didn’t completely heal the troubled areas on route but it did relive some pain and suffering. Any tiny bit of relief was welcomed, less pain is always better than more pain.
This Mammoth Ride is a challenge to write about and to find that inner voice that was there all along the route. Hope that voice has not gone dormant, thus this ride report is more technical and physical. There was much on the inside though, as there always is for all of us I’m sure.
Day One 236.3 Miles: Apple Valley to Black River Falls One hour of sleep
Day Two 180.2 Miles: Black River Falls to Reedsburg One hour of sleep
Day Three 197 Miles: Reedsburg to Winona One point Five hours of sleep
Day Four 141.8 Miles: Winona to Apple Valley Slept good in hotel after this ride!
Lessons Learned: Bring Ear Plugs! This will help with sleeping. Get a back bag so not have to wear string bag and carry all “extras’ on my back”. Get a plastic rain jacket that balls up nice and tiny to keep onboard, just in case it rains.
There is more to unpack with this ride. But, I think the inner lessons were mine to keep and to not share at this time.
In the meantime. Thanks for reading and your support. What a great adventure this has been thus far. More to come readers. Until the next Big Deal, just keep Showing Up! Its 90% of life, right?! Tschuss! ☺