In north central Texas where I live, summer overnighters are much tougher than those in winter. But they must not be left undone. Here’s a summary of this one…
- Blazing hot departure
- Arrival after sundown soaked in sweat
- Some kind of cattle operation at a nearby ranch resulted in bellowing cows until late in the dark, moonless night
- A grey, windless morning
- Trailside breakfast and a hilltop view
- Would it rain? Yes.
- Clouds and light rain kept the heat away…yay!
- Sleep was lacking, but it was SO worth it
- Another micro-tour success
Sometimes the difference between bitter regret and sweet satisfaction is the ability to quickly formulate a backup plan.
When life circumstances come and crush your plans, can you analyze the new constraints and find another way?
Maybe it is best not to dwell on an opportunity lost…
…but instead develop the mental agility to maximize the opportunity that remains.
This is in contrast with last evening. Then, I was dining at a picnic table at the State Park, and oh, the noise. It was a confusing mix of boat motors, overlapping music sources, conversation, and the happy screams of children at the swimming beach. It was a summer weekend at the lake, filled with crowds. It was happy noise, but not the more subtle and natural sounds I had in mind when I left the house.
This morning was completely different. It was the sounds of the summer breeze, the birds, rustling grass, and cows on the hills.
Apparently, places that energize some folks, make me weary. Places that others find boring are, for me, like being plugged into that which powers the universe.
Sometimes my otherwise completely normal and healthy lifestyle of cycling, camping, and coffee intersects with Mrs. Pondero’s bizarre world of dog agility. I enjoy those outings with her. It is an opportunity to spend time with her, to learn a little more about her interests, and to support her. Finally, and most importantly, it is an opportunity to establish (refresh?) conclusively which of our loving twosome has the strongest hold on sanity.
Dog agility people have their own bizarre culture. They have special clothes, vocabulary, and buy all manner of obscure gear for their dog-related activities. It seems they make up any kind of excuse to get together and do things with their dogs. Some of these activities include running through complicated courses, and they have a wide variety of intricate rules for doing so. They talk endlessly about things that happened at their last gathering, and where they plan to take their dogs next. Although I get the idea that some of them are “unusually focused” on this activity, it is fascinating to watch these wonderfully warm people enjoy their rituals.
But I always bring a bicycle along. It is a security beacon that helps keep me on firm footing. It is a lifeline that helps me return back to a sane world.
“Sure, I’ll be happy to provide logistics support for your agility trial…but first coffee.”
Sometimes…several consecutive attempts to get away for refreshment can be thwarted. My attitude is bruised, and life looks dark. With a few defeats, the value of the reward fades, and the energy to try again evades me.
Then, according to His good time, an opportunity arises. I can again soak in the glory of what He has made.
So, by force of will, I go. And when I return, hope surges through me, steady and strong like a river.
I hinted way back in THIS POST that this bike reconnected me back to a vision I had of the perfect bicycle in the 1970s. I went riding and had a sort of flashback. Now that I’ve been riding it for a couple of months, I am finding this re-connection with my younger days wasn’t a one time thing. It is a mysterious and persistent characteristic of this bike. You might have noticed I also mentioned this another way in my LAST POST.
I sold a truly nice riding TREK a few years ago. It was a delightful bike that reminded me of my fitter/faster days. Unfortunately, it also reminded me of my older/slower current days. It pointed out that I was the side of the pedaling partnership that wasn’t up to delivering us to our potential. My inadequacies and flaws were exposed. So even with all the greatness of the bike itself, there was a nagging shadow…a reminder of a physical decline.
The Bantam does the opposite. It simply says, “Come on, let’s play!”. In that way, it is like the humbler bikes I had as a kid. There are no demands or expectations…except to escape, explore, and have fun.
Another good friend, and another trip to Ouachita National Forest in Arkansas. This time Steve Butcher (@graveldoc) and I teamed up with our knobby tire bikes and camping gear for 4 nights and 3 days of riding.
Now that I’ve completed two of these bikepacking trips, I can say that riding bikes off paved roads, and camping, must be what I was made to do (well, at least the way I’ve done it so far). We didn’t cover a lot of miles, but it was a few days of two buddies playing outside with bikes, camp gear, and coffee toys.
My Bantam AdventureBike is a time machine. I was 10 years old again. And when I returned to being a grandfather, I brought my 10 year old optimism back with me.
Here is a 5-6 minute video to illustrate.