Wednesday, October 19, 2016

180: Mind your bits and pieces

The Silver Queen takes a break
When I was in my twenties, I went on a tour with my church choir to Germany to sing in the great old churches and cathedrals. We traveled around on a bus, and we had a quintessential British chap as our English-language guide and tour manager. Every day, while exiting or boarding the bus, leaving the hotel, or departing a lunch stop or other venue, Philip would remind us to "mind our bits and pieces" - by which he meant, "don't leave your wallets, passports and cameras on the bus. Make sure you have your jackets and umbrellas. Don't leave anything behind on the church pews. Check twice in your room before you return the key . . ." You get the idea. With 50 plus scatterbrained tourists coming and going, it was his way of reminding us that we needed to get our stuff together and on the bus - or say "good-bye" to it forever.

This is good advice for any tourist, and absolutely critical advice for the touring cyclist. If we ride away from something, it's a long and sometimes painful trip back for it. If we don't discover it until we are a day away - we cannot return for it. We just have to do without. In this context, my OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder) tendencies provide a reasonable offset to Roger's ADD (attention deficit disorder). I am constantly picking things up, organizing them, putting them away, while Roger is very good at pulling things out and then forgetting where they are.

I think of this teamwork as "a place for everything, and everything all over the place."

Case in point: this morning we were getting ready to depart the motel room and Roger asked where the Adventure Cycling route map was. I don't know. I haven't seen it since sometime yesterday. Where could it be? Could you have put it into the bag with the computer when you were packing it up? I don't think so. I don't know. I didn't have it out while we were here. The last time I remember seeing it was when you found my phone for me.

Well, let's search the room again - it must be here. Roger: no, it'll be in the bags somewhere. I insist on pulling back the bedspread and then pull the pillows away from the top of the bed to peer between the bed and the wall (no headboard) and voila! what do I see?  Oh, I guess I was looking at it yesterday. Yes, I guess you were.

These are the reasons why I have my little routines.  When we do laundry, I sort of count everything as it goes in the washer:  two jerseys, two sets jammies, four socks, four arm warmers, etc.  When I move them to the dryer I am checking for everything again, and when they come out of the dryer I mentally tick them off to make sure I haven't left anything behind. Because what good is one sock? It might drive you nuts when you are home to have those orphan socks, but when you are on a tour like this, losing one sock means you must literally go buy another pair. We aren't carrying that many spares.
New Mexico is "all in" for Breast Cancer Awareness Month, I guess! I've never seen a pink overpass before.

Another one of my little routines was critical yesterday. Whenever we are rolling out, I check my jersey pockets: wallet, glasses, scarf - 1, 2, 3.  My phone? in my little hanging purse/pocket. Since I am sitting right there behind him, I check Roger's pockets as well:  wallet, glasses, phone - 1, 2, 3. Everything in place! We stopped at one restaurant to get some lunch, and Roger went in ahead of me. I was still pulling my gloves off when he came back out and said, "let's go someplace else. They can't make a milkshake, and I want a milkshake."  I agree that a diner on Route 66 ought to be able to deliver a milkshake, so we get back on the bike and head for the road. I am doing my little 1, 2, 3 on Roger's pockets, and where is his phone?  Oops. I don't know.  When did we have it last?  It's okay - he has just left it on the table in the diner. Disaster is averted when I go back in there and find it lying right there.

So, between the ADD and the OCD, we find some sort of happy medium. I know my drills and routines must drive Roger crazy, and certainly I can report that he occasionally pushes me over the edge. But it usually works out. We have managed to hang onto most of our stuff, and to date, all of the really important stuff.
Open road - open vista

We what have lost, we have managed to get along without. We lost our little tablecloth, because it was stuffed in the sack with the tent that got returned to REI. Roger lost one of those scarf cooling thingies, and he left his cool head-sweats cap behind at one of our warm showers host's house. I forgot some bike shorts in the dryer once, but our hosts were kind enough to mail them forward to us. We have lost several of our scarves (the rags we tie around our wrists to mop up sweat, snot, etc.) - but I think we are running just about even on that one, as it seems the scarf gods giveth and they taketh away! At least twice we have found them lying on the side of the road, and if they look decent, we throw them into the wash and then into our packs. So we've pretty much replaced the ones that have fallen off of us as we ride.

The Blue Hole
And now, just a bit about our ride today:  windy to start - only got about 7.7 mph on the first 20 miles or so. Then we turned up the road and caught a more favorable wind, which eventually turned around altogether to give us some help. I tell you, it is ALL about the wind out here.

We took a slight detour as we started out today to go see the Blue Hole. It's a great spring in Santa Rosa that pumps out 3000 gallons a minute. We were here once in the summer, and Roger jumped right in. This morning - not so much!  Scuba divers come from all over to explore below the surface. It is pretty awesome.  See more about the Blue Hole here
Roger scuba diving in his dreams

We had two flats today, which is two too many. One of them was unavoidable - there was a lot of tire debris on the Interstate shoulder, and we picked up one of those tiny wires. The other was just dumb: we rode off the road onto gravel and didn't dismount. We know that's a recipe for a pinch flat, and sure enough, that's what happened. Shoot.
Roger taking a rest

So with the climbing, the wind, and the flats, it was a long day. But it was pretty comfortable climbing, and the scenery was nice. As Roger said, "good road, no traffic, weather is fine. All is well."

The day's report:  Santa Rosa to Romeroville, 62.5 miles/8459 to date

Here's the route up to Romeroville

PS.  Man is it dry here! Our nails are all cracking and splitting and drying out, I have to apply lip balm twenty times a day, we are getting crispy.

PPS. We have been getting a good number of "toot toot" salutes from the truck drivers on the Interstate. That's fun, and they are giving us plenty of room as they pass. Nice.


  1. I'm a little OCD too - where are posts 180-188?

  2. Whoops! That shows the danger of typing in the dark! I have updated it now.


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