Road Surprises, Just a Few
As we spend our third evening here in New England, I thought it would be a good time to go back and talk about some unexpected things we encountered on the road. Sometimes what you think is going to happen, that just doesn't materialize. Sometimes, things you didn't expect appear without warning. A Warmshowers host said it best, sometimes you just go from "rags to riches, and sometimes, the other way around. In general, it's a good thing, but you have to be ready for when it is not. Here are a few road surprises we encountered.
This could have turned out really badly for all of us. Sarah's bike experienced two completely cracked rims. Both times we were somewhere flat, approaching a town, so it was just time that was lost, though when you are on a tight schedule, this can be a source of stress. But this could have been really bad. I don't know if the rim could have completely come apart while traveling at a high rate of speed, but if so, things could have been much worse. I don't like to think about it. Still, this definitely added a road surprise of almost 400.00, that we certainly could have used for something else.
12 Mile Climb
This one goes back to our first week of cycling. Two days before this happened, we had spent and entire day climbing up Mt Hood. And the day prior was no picnic either, with a few multi mile climbs in the heat. We had camped at a cyclist hostel in Mitchel, OR, and the woman running it told us as we were heading out that we had a 12 mile climb. None of us were too happy to hear that news, but we pedaled on.
We were definitely grunting up the climb when we decided to take a break at around mile 5. I was trying to make it to mile 6, but I knew others were beat. But as I started looking around, I just couldn't see how we could climb for another 7 miles. It seemed like I could see the top of the Mesa everywhere I looked. BUT, we were given this info by a woman running a bike hoste! Of course she knew the distance to the top!. So we continued up, expecting to see another Mesa once we reached the top of the one we could see. But as we reached the top at about mile 6, I could see far into the distance to know we were done climbing. Not only that but about a mile later, we started down this canyon that would generally go down for about 15 miles! Great surprise!
The Giving Stranger
We were cycling in Iowa and were about two days before we crossed into Illinois. We were caught in a horrible rain storm, and the road just didn't seem that safe, so when we came upon a dirt bike path going to where we were hoping to get second breakfast, we jumped on it, even though it was a muddy mess. Needless to say, when we arrived at the only eatery in town that was open (it was Sunday, afterall), we were looking really dirty. The place was packed, and we were definitely a scene for more reasons than our muddy and wet cycling outfits showed.
We sat and ate our food and the meal was more or less uneventful. I just assume that people just moved on as they were hungry too. But when we left the restaurant, a family chatted us up just outside. I think it was a dad, his two sons, their wives, but I'm not 100% They were very nice and as it turned out, one of the sons was s cyclist who was going to do RAGBRAI at the end of the July. We parted ways with them wishing us good luck. But that evening, I got an email through this blog, it was the brother who was doing the ride, and he wanted to know how he could send us some money to pay for a hotel night. People are nice, I know that, but even he surprised me completely! Thanks again Samuel! I still feel so thankful when as I write about this.
Well, we have only two more cycling days to go. And even though the miles will be very manageable, I should probably finish this off and get some rest to close out this trip strong. I'll check back in here with some final facts of the trip, such as miles and such, and hopefully with some closing thoughts or stories. Sleep well New England