Day 39 Wednesday, August 17 Craig, CO Rest Day 0 miles
This could be dangerous! I really took the full day to take care of myself. Took a book, The Cellist of Sarajevo, to the Village Inn and casually read while enjoying a waffle with bananas and pecan sauce dripped over it. Then I scheduled a badly needed 90-minute massage to work out some fairly severe kinks (I’ll share more about that). Came back to the smallest and coziest motel room I have been in yet to finish an earlier blog on postmodernism, fundamentalism and pluralism. Went out for a very late lunch/early dinner and had some of the best pizza I have had in a long time. Between a good beer and allowing myself to relax, I fell asleep for a few minutes after returning to my room. After some planning for the next few days I walked a few blocks down to the local theater and took in The Rise of the Planet of the Apes–the first time I have stepped back into a theater since leaving. Now I am sitting on my bed eating Little Debbie chocolate frosted mini donuts and washing them down with milk. I could get used to this!
I know what you are thinking. Is this the same Brian who has been reporting his daily challenges and wrestling matches with himself and God? I shared yesterday that I can feel a shift taking place and the emergence of a new purpose as I start heading toward the Bay Area. I am not sure exactly where it is going but it feels like I will be balancing the physical demands still remaining with a pace that allows me to enjoy the journey and allow for refreshment and regeneration. Added to this I want to continue to feed at least a portion of the personal insights that are blossoming for me daily. I just can’t simply write fast enough for what is happening out here.
I find myself focusing on three particular issues right now. I mentioned that I had a few kinks to work out in my massage. Last week while in Loveland I noticed what I thought was a pulled muscle in my rib cage area. It flared up while I was off the bike but I couldn’t peg when I might have done it. It has increasingly become more uncomfortable in the week since I first noticed it. It hasn’t kept me from altering my cycling miles or plans, but it is annoying. The masseuse did a nice job of relieving some of the strain, but also mentioned that it felt like I had a rib that had slipped. This is probably why I am feeling it both in the front and the back. She gave me an exercise that should help some, but basically she said that when I return from the trip my body should get back into alignment again. I have cycled a lot, but have not put these kind of miles on my body where I don’t get full recovery.
The second thing is that a friend asked a tame question about whether I would consider “unplugging” for a time on the pilgrimage. I have found myself reflecting on that. I definitely went into a time of solitude for the first two or so weeks. I did blog during that period but I was also very intentional about simply sharing what I was experiencing rather inviting a two-way conversation. I still have made very little contact by phone with anyone. Her question does have me thinking, however, about how the blogging actually changes the experience. It’s one thing to experience it. It’s another thing to be experiencing it through the lens of writing about it. I think this fits this ongoing theme of “Solitude and Connection” that has been ongoing for me.
The third issue is that I am mentally preparing for a long stretch in Nevada on Highway 50 called the Loneliest Highway in America. There are sections where there are no services (meaning no water!) for 70-100 miles. I think this is doable with good planning, patience and judgment. What is interesting for me is that I feel like I am finally breaking through this need to push so hard and just as I do the terrain may require me to put my head down and drive toward the next safe oasis. It’s all okay, but if I could choose the terrain for this next stage it would be a wine tasting cycling tour in the Willamette Valley!
Well, the donuts are about gone and it’s time to pack up. Tomorrow is a long stretch from Craig to Dinosaur, a distance of about 90 miles. My masseuse says this is a great stretch to catch rattlesnakes in the evening. They apparently love to come out on the warm pavement after the sun is down. I think I’ll try to leave early in the morning!