Saturday, July 26, 2008

In Which I Go for a Bit of a Ride

I had a little biking adventure tonight.

My sister-in-law (who lives across the street) and I decided to go for a little ride on the Alum Creek Bike Path. I tried to find a link to it, and learned I was near the Three Creeks path, but, apparently rode so little of it, that showing the map is sort of pointless.

SIL was bringing her two dogs along (a coon hound and a labrador). She has a contraption that enables her to hook their leashes to her bike. But we started off less than auspiciously as, one house down from hers, the dogs spotted another dog being taken for a walk. They ran towards Walking Dog, pulling themselves free of the bike. The contraption, thankfully, released them as it was designed to do or SIL would have been pulled right over.  The dogs, thankfully, aimed for opposite sides of a tree, thereby limiting their ability to maul/lick Walking Dog. But it was startling. 

So SIL cobbles her contraption back together and off we go. This bike is the one she flew off of in Michigan last summer (riding with just the coon hound, she hit a pothole in our lane). While her physical therapy is now just about over, the bike never fully recovered, she tells me. 

We ride along for about 20 minutes at a gentle, leisurely pace, as Daisy the Lab has relatively short legs.  Soon the lab is panting, and it's obvious that, in order for Daisy to make it home, SIL has to turn back now.

It's 8:15 p.m. I tell SIL that I intend to go for another 15 minutes before turning towards home. 

"If I'm not back by 9:00," I say, "send out the search party. 

We part. I continue along the bike path, which is lovely. I coast down a long, slow hill, thinking "I'm gonna have to ride UP this long, slow hill, so maybe it's time to turn around." 

But at the bottom of the hill is a sign explaining that this part of the path is one-way, heading down. I can't really turn around here.

So I go left, following a sign for the "Oxbow Loop," thinking this will certainly make a circle. And it does. But, somehow, I miss my exit. 

Next thing I know the path has ended on Alum Creek Drive, but not a part of Alum Creek Drive I have ever seen. I head to the right . . . but after a few hundred meters it looks wrong. So I turn around . . . but after a few hundred meters x 2 it looks REALLY wrong. I am on a road, with plenty of cars and no front light at dusk. I do have a red, flashing thing on the back of my bike, but this is small comfort when I think about being just thrown off the road by a car. Fear is a powerful motivator, and I really moved in order to get the hell off the road.

So with no other options, I head back to the bike path, and, lo and behold, the turn I apparently missed in obvious now. The ride back is, from this point on, delightful. I saw a two deer (one, a young buck with a decent sized rack), lots and lots of rabbits, and all sorts of birds. 

Got home at 9:05 p.m., with no idea how far I had ridden.

I stop by SIL's house to let her know I'm not dead. Her bike has died, she tells me. Not five minutes after we parted, the dog-walking contraption swings loose and eventually punctures her tire. The frame, still bent and damaged from the crash last summer, begins to disintegrate beneath her. She drags the bike off the path, and leaves it in the bushes, so that I will not see its corpse and panic about her safety (wise move). 

We're going to go again tomorrow morning at 7:30, this time without dogs and with her other bike.

Update on LR (my dad): He had surgery yesterday and came home this afternoon. He's a bit cranky because he is left on his own to cope with, among other things, a catheter. I understand that a hospital is a germy place, and one inevitably heals better at home. But, on the other hand, a hospital is full of people who are trained to deal with things like catheters, and where one can find equipment like, oh, hospital beds, for example. Things designed to help one who is burdened with something limiting like, oh, a catheter. At least it is due to come out on Monday. But in the meantime, LR is loathe to ask for help, but rather overwhelmed with the burden of the responsibility.

American healthcare sucks. No two ways about it.


valentina said...

Oh the panic of being lost. I know it well. But usually I can tell myself "Relax, they speak English here." because I am here in the US. Over seas it is another issue.. For me it usually winds up in an extra longggggg bus trip. Do you remember the time we got lost on that bus in Spain and rode it forever until it wound up in a barren lot? Finally we figured out that the bus driver told us it was the end of his route but I think he drove us back to the city to the main bus station. He must have because we eventually got home. It was an adventure. It is weird to get lost when you are so close to your destination. Close but yet so far away. It is exasperating.

I hope your dad is doing better today. It has been a couple now. It is disgraceful that the hospital sent him home without even a health care aid to stop in and check on him. Typical US health care. You're right it is awful. But at least we have what we have. I count our blessings for that. But I sure hope with Obama that it improves. I hope everything does.

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