Today has been a day off the bikes. Not so much by choice as by necessity. You see, I have’t been well. Let us just say my stomach’s been upset and leave it at that, shall we.
But what it has meant is a day of low energy at a motel in Alturas, Northern California. Not that I really have anything to complain about, Kaisa’s been kind enough to fetch me food and the necessary medication. But I’m truly hoping that I’ll be back on my bike by tomorrow. I don’t think I can take another day of inaction combined with the fact that we really need to reach our destination.
Now how did I arrive at this sorry state, you ask.
Well I can only guess. But I have my inklings.
You see, the day before yesterday we cycled through what turned out to be a ghost town. None of the bars or even the discount liquor stores were open any more, and I mean that for good. The two vending machines I was able to find carried logos of soft drinks from the 80’s. And had probably served their last drinks in just that period.
The old Cadillac in front of the store was also for sale, but no seller was anywhere to be seen. And we really needed more water for the upcoming stretch.
Fresh out of other options we pedaled on, set on stopping at the first house we saw with someone still living there. This time, it didn’t take that long of a time to locate such a house, as California is more densely populated than say, central Wyoming.
But there were a few red flags. The lawn was poorly kept. Which you should read as having the grass trimmed about the same time as the vending machine mentioned earlier served its last Pepsi.
Also the whole front yard was cluttered with electronics, air conditioners and other junk in an array of piles that makes our home look like a pedantic clerk’s dream.
And then there was the owner. Who looked like something like a mad professor straight out of Back to the Future or Ghostbusters. He was kind enough to invite us through the gate, and pulled out a hose that by our arrival was firmly embedded into the undergrowth. He said he hardly used it, as his dog drank from some other source.
Still he assured us that the water was fine, and as evidence of this he told us that he used the same water for his washing machine.
We believed him. And even if we wouldn’t have there was the fact that we had few options.
As Kaisa filled up our bottles, the man began giving a lecture about how there in fact is no such thing as global warming. You see, it has all been a scam, set in motion by the late Margaret Tatcher, in order to tank the European coal union.
And not only this, the opposite was in fact the truth – we are heading towards a new ice age. All the signs are there!
As we didn’t look for an argument or wish to offend the man who after all was helping us out we simply smiled and nodded politely. Thinking at the same time that if this was our introduction to Californians Hollywood has had it right the whole time!
The very same evening I began to feel queasy. And at night I knew for sure that something was amiss. No details to follow.
I was also aware that the next day’s ride was going to be anything but pleasurable. Still, what could we do but head onward? We were out of most everything we needed, and the closest grocery store was some 35 kilometers away.
The thing is, one is capable of many things when there are no options. This was something empirically proven by yesterday’s feat.
To give you a small impression of the ride I’ll tell you how Kaisa was complaining about the inhumane heat, while I replied that I was shivering from the cold.
But now I’ve had my day of rest. I feel my energy returning and the call of the road is once again loud and clear. And I even found the time to wash my jersey!
So wish us luck, we need it now more than ever to be able to finish what we started.
Postscript. Why Kaisa managed to avoid any of the symptoms is anyone’s guess. But the general consensus seems to be that out of the two of us, she is the strong one, while I am the delicate flower.
Or put in other words, she is a Soviet-era truck that functions better the more gravel you pour in her engine, while I resemble more that of an Italian sports car that cannot take one grain of sand without a total breakdown.