Two of Us (USA Day 95)
I don’t know how to tell if I’ve a broken rib. Apparently you need an MRI scan for that, and this is America. I’m not made of money. Our travel insurance would cover it, with a hefty excess, and honestly I feel fine. The only residual damage is a little wince each time I indicate left, accelerate from a standing start or think about showers.
Today, our final day on the TAT, was plagued by the TransAm gods’ unjust and cruel punishments. We’ve covered my bruised back, but not the six (6) goat’s head thorns that we pulled out from our tyres as we got ready to leave. This had only resulted in one puncture, somehow, but the inner tube I chose as the replacement was already punctured by the time I put the wheel back on. Looks like someone forgot to patch it. (I am that someone.) Then Amy’s wheel needed fine adjustment, which came down to blithe luck and a little swearing. Finally we were off, only to suffer a catastrophic puncture in my front wheel three miles down the road, this time due to 60psi pushing on a previously-patched but slightly-scraped tube having ridden on a flat for a hundred feet or so.
A further mile down the road, it began to rain torrentially. By the time we’d put on our coats and put away the solar panel, it had stopped again. But once we’d de-robed and clambered back on our bikes, there was the rain. The TransAm gods were clearly loving this.
We went off-route slightly by Smith Rock to lose them, and it worked. They must’ve been waiting for us at a junction with a massive truck or angry snake, but we sat on a shady ledge with our self-mixed Trail Mix, watching some farmers pick away at their hemp crops beneath the dramatic rocks, and recovering from a stressful morning. By the time we left again, the TransAm gods had given up on us, so the remaining thirty miles were simple.
On a soft downhill into a canyon, with the cascades rising moodily on the horizon, we came upon a series of hills absolutely bursting with alpaca. We abandoned our bikes and scrabbled up the bank to chat with the cloven-hoofed fellows. They were so extraordinarily quiet despite their obnoxious teeth and bold haircuts, so we stayed there for some time in the peace of that calm crowd, just grazing in the atmosphere.
Sisters was to be found where it’d been left: at the end of a road. We had dark beer and fried cheese curds, planning our next few off-route days, resting my weirdly-bruised back, hanging out with our hosts and singing songs under a thunderous sky.
I’m a little nervous this evening. Like butterflies emerging from their chrysalises, we’re about to break out from the route and do our own flappy thing. Also, I just checked the profile for the next four days and we’ll spend the majority of the time climbing, so that’ll be fun. I won’t be able to publish any blogs until Monday at the earliest.