Saturday, January 1, 2011
We rode 13 miles and began to climb. On my right was a lake supporting mist the sun had yet to burn. It fronted a mountain filled with fog topped with late season snow. The setting was so stunning it was a challenge to ride. We climbed through mist which turned to rain, rain to sleet, and sleet to snow. At the top of Lolo pass we stopped at a snow covered ranger station, drank hot chocolate, and headed back out for a thrilling 47 miles of downhill into Montana.
Once in Montana, it seemed odd to ride for so long at 17 miles per hour with such little effort. We passed fields of cattle running to feed through yellow fields. Rain pelted my face and teeth as I smiled a smile of freedom, of life! I experienced the outdoors today. I felt its diversity. Not long ago my reality was the sterile environment of the hospital. It was an honor to experience this day!
I'm simply amazed how things work out. Today was filled with cold, rain, and struggle. Yet, it ended with a bed, a log cabin, and a central wood burning stove. I couldn't feel my feet the entire day. My hands were in the same state. My body is now warm. A warmth enhanced from recently knowing cold. Suddenly, my only concern is the number of logs in the stove.
As we crested the peak leaving White Byrd, a Subaru apparently missed a corner and slammed into the corner of the cliff. There was steam and fluids flowing from the engine. As we helped the driver out of the car, others stopped and offered assistance. Knowing she was in good hands, we rolled on. The accident reminded me, once again, of the fragility of life. A fragility, at least for a while, I was able to forget.
The rest of the day we rode along the Snake River. Pleasant, exceptionally smooth and pleasant riding, marked the remainder of the day. I write from the porch of a rafting lodge just feet from the rushing Snake River. I can't help but watch its timeless movement, hear its fury, and feel the deep rumble of power. My life is feeling simple. I wake, I ride, I eat. Like the river, my days are both natural and timeless. I never thought I'd find such peace sleeping on the porch of a cabin.
The day was a long, tough, day in the saddle. Fatigue forced me to put additional effort into each pedal stroke. I felt like I was going to bonk this morning and initially thought I just needed to eat a big lunch. Actually, eating frequently rather than a lot proved beneficial. Hopefully my body is adapting rather than breaking down.
I watched as the landscape changed from pine trees and wind swept valleys back to mountain passes. I was struck by the wind washed land and the hardiness of both the people and the vegetation. Oregon seemed much more lush and easier on its people.
Even after a good nights sleep I didn't feel like riding this morning. I was both lethargic and unmotivated. It took a while to get my motor going especially with the initial climb. After a couple of hours I felt good. We rounded a corner with a river on the left and sheer cliffs on the right which hid the sun which dropped the temperature 10 degrees. Movement forced me to look up at the overhanging cliffs as I spotted four mountain goats looking down. As we continued into Idaho the climate changed to hot, dry, and windy. Gearing was tough as the terrain turned to rolling climb after rolling climb.
A volunteer fireman was nice enough to offer a lift to the local corner store. Later, I slept by a park bench after a killer dinner of a heated burrito, milk, Gatorade, frozen snickers, and Corona. Yes, my gut rumbled pretty good that night!
Another good day.
Tuesday, December 21, 2010
1) Move forward. Find a way. There's no point in whining about anything.
2) No matter what, you can!
3) Remain in the moment, plan for the future.
4) Don't live in the future.
it's not here yet.
it probably won't turn out how you hoped anyway.
even if things don't turn out as planned, the joy is in the process.
I was glad to leave Baker City. It was concrete, motels, junk yards and unhappy folks at dinners. There was minor climbing and the land soon leveled out. We slow pedaled across land that was harsh and dry, but not so much so to eliminate greenery. We passed ranches, cattle, cabins, rivers and canyons. We passed horses grazing in windswept grass being fed by the steady mist of irrigation.
We rolled downhill, following a river gorge, stopping to look at the vast, open land. Appearing hills soon altered the landscape once again thus limiting the view. With the town of Oxbow ahead, Idaho is near. From what I've been told, if I can handle the mountains so far, I should be O.K. One day at a time is all I can handle. The rest is too overwhelming.
Thursday, December 9, 2010
We woke in Baker City to more cold and rain. Immediately out of town we began an 8 mile, 2700 foot climb. The fog, yet untouched by sun, layered the earth with an ominous tone. The climbing was slow and rhythmic which lent for time to hear rain clicking on my helmet. My breathing was slow, healthy and alive. It felt so good to once again live so well, so healthy, so deeply! I rode with gratitude and heart felt joy.
The fog soon gave way to the suns rays shining across the valley floor. I descended hills with stinging sleet. A Blue Herring flew from the surrounding pines, silently gliding above. I saw a fox chased by dogs. I watched a cow leap a ditch and stand hillside protecting her calves. I witnessed deer and elk running across the valley floor, cutting through grass with such athletic grace you couldn't help but get off the bike and watch in stunned amazement.
The day was filled with the spectacular.