Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Seven Ate Nine

A lot of thinking goes on during a three day tour through beautiful wilderness..  A whole lot.

First, my brain was stretched by learning some American Sign Language during this trip.  Enough to feel like I could really communicate.  More importantly, I learned that this visual language is not a direct translation of English.  It's its own language with its own nuances and slang and culture.  I especially enjoyed the verbal description of the sign for "dislike": if you don't like something, take it from your heart and throw it away.  There's a thoughtfulness that changes your thinking when using this language. 

I noticed how differently I look at the terrain neighboring the road and the little offshoots from each road.   Back when I was (self-)confined to pavement, I wouldn't even think of venturing off the shoulder into pea-sized gravel or dirt.  But now that I've successfully experimented with gravel (meaning I've ridden in it a bunch and only crashed once), the world of many other textures has been opened up.  The lesson here is not to confine oneself.

Another thought I had, or invented really, is a new law of physics that I have named "impact theory".  It had been my regular practice to slow down for passing vehicles to get the interaction over with quickly.  But then I started to think about the speed differential between me and passing trucks.  If I slow to ten miles per hour and get hit by a vehicle going 50 mph, the impact is at five times my speed.  However, if I speed up to 20 mph, that's almost half.  So, yeah, that's impact theory.  Try it out.

I also had an epiphany-sized revelation that is so big I can't write about it here.  But, trust me,  it's good.  Really good.  And, now, onto the regular ride report.

We took the train to the highway to the twenty mile Banks-Vernonia bike trail and up into the wilderness.    Apiary took us up the hill to camp in this so-called Adirondack shed, which could comfortably sleep eight and their gear - much bigger than the genuine "lean-to" one finds in the Adirondack mountains. After a delicious dinner and campfire, we enjoyed a warm evening's rest.

Day two started with an easy and leisurely morning; a shower, coffee, oatmeal.  And more Apiary Road, my new favorite place.  Part of the fun of being a tourist is riding wherever the wind blows you and sight-seeing several times along the way.  I visited a quaint little barn sale at the top of a big hill and even scored three mini pocket knives for our small troop. 
We couldn't have known the Buddhists would offer us lunch, so we enjoyed an impromptu hillside picnic of beans and rice and scallions.  This is where we encountered an alarmingly large and stripey creature.  The monastery we visited was a converted elementary school, symmetrical and huge and quiet. 
Everyone we met offered us lunch.  Instead, we had a tour and tea.  I was delighted to see a bronze Miyata 612 on the way to view their small bike repair shop.  What a gem this place is!  On leaving, we were encouraged to take the "Zen" way to town - a pretty dirt road alongside a dike. 
Less than an hour later, we arrived, ditched our stuff at the Inn, a friendly hostel-type place, and went off to find and fly kites.  Then back to a wood-fired hot tub soak, and dinner and drinks by the river, where crawdads and catfish can be caught.
The next day after a delicious diner breakfast, we dawdled for a castle viewing and another coffee and a sit-on-the-bridge stop.  A few miles more down the road before we split up.  A cramp sidelined me for the first bit of the pleasant thirteen mile climb back up Apiary.  After a rest stop, I saw a flower on the other side of the road that needed to be photographed.
A huge herd of motorcycles roared by.  After they passed, I continued on until things started looking eerily familiar.  I realized I'd never turned back around after the flower photo, so I u-turned around again and enjoyed a do-over of the pretty little hill.

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