Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Rode strong … almost ...

First, on our work day yesterday in Moore, OK, we split into two groups. One group went on site and spent all day clearing the debris from one house to get a clean slab. The other group (‘Just’ Kurt, ‘Smart’ Kert, and me) worked at a warehouse at one of the churches, making pallets of goods stored in the gymnasium, and transferring them to outside storage bins. A long, hard day’s work for both groups. 

When we were all at the host church the local covenant partner's president, who is also a police chaplain, met us and briefed us on the situation in Oklahoma City. We had already seen some of the damage as we rode our bikes to the church, and seeing the destruction in person was almost overwhelming. Television coverage cannot begin to show the scope of the loss of life, disruption to lives, and effect on this community and the entire city. The good news is the complete outpouring of help that the American people always give. There was so much being donated that it overwhelmed the churches and community that were receiving it, storing it, and trying to get it to the people in need. Just a beautiful example of the generosity and love that pours out of the people of this great country.

Our second and third nights in Oklahoma City were spent at the Marriott Courtyard Hotel in historic downtown Brickyard. A very generous arrangement from the hotel, a first for me on these trips. We stayed 3 or 4 to a room, so in our room one person slept on the floor, but it was great to have showers and towels to use, and of course pillows and beds! The breakfast was a luxury I didn’t mind paying for, but the one downside was we were all scattered about, and it’s hard to plan things together that way. Additionally, we had to pay for our own food, except for breakfast on the day we left. With all of us in one room trying to get cereal and bagels eaten, get cleaned and packed up and out on our bikes in a reasonable time, the place was a bit hectic. But, we did it, and it’s all part of the adventure.

Tonight we each have our own room in the dormitory of SWOSU. We went down the street to make our own creative dinner, which was quite good, if you know what quinoa is, and like it. Surprise, surprise: I ate it, along with some chicken and a make-believe salad. 

So, after a hard day of work yesterday in the warehouse and on site, we were back on our bikes again today for a 73-mile ride to Weatherford, OK, along some back roads, as well as on old historic Route 66. I was riding a strong first 40 miles, averaging 13.9 MPH, and really enjoyed riding again. I slowed down the last 30 miles to about 12.8 MPH, and started to have saddle problems again. I was able to tolerate the saddle, but it’s hard to ride strong with a sore bottom. 

However, today was by far my best ride of this adventure. I was riding with Kristi primarily, as well as with Nicole. They are both just a delight to be traveling and riding with. Kristi and I were teasing each other a lot, especially when we started going up and down a number of hills. The hills were not long, but were decent 6% grades. Kristi was not feeling too well (claimed she ate too much candy the night before) so I was able to pass her going uphill, but she would come storming downhill, passing me up. I would catch her going up again, and on and on it went. As I passed her going up, I would gently encourage her with comments like, "Attack, old lady," and she would be hollering (and growling) at me as she stormed down. For my ‘encouragement’ I even earned an obscene gesture from this fine, upstanding, pleasant young woman (the highlight of my day of fun). Kristi is a stronger rider than I, so she was being a bit kind to me riding today. Nicole, on the other hand, is one of the riders I can still keep up with when I’m able to ride. She’s also a little more reserved, but is a delight to be with, and of course I tease her as much as possible. 

We had so much fun on the ride I just had to treat them both to chocolate malts. We found malts made the way they used to be made when we stopped at Lucille's Roadhouse about 3 miles from the end of the ride. I gave a generous rating of 9.5 to my chocolate malt, influenced by the atmosphere of Rt 66.

Had a second chocolate malt at a chain called Braum's. They have a big ice cream cone as a sign on their building. That malt earned a good solid 9.0 rating.

And so to bed, at almost 10pm. We’ll enjoy a late 6:30 breakfast tomorrow, as we have a short 57-mile ride to Elk City.

Peace ...

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