Enjoying 30 Days of Cycling

So if you haven’t heard about the project (or event) called “3o Days Of Biking“, you really ought to check it out, (even though it started April 1, there is always next year) and in this post I will tell you why. Now, you don’t have to listen to me (most people don’t, so that is all okay), but if you read this post, you will see a little bit of what I saw yesterday when going on a nice leisurely ride to Blackwell Oklahoma.

Let me say, what brought me to write this post was that my wonderful wife had asked me to check in with her every 30 minutes while I am out on my ride. Now, she just wants me to be safe, it isn’t that she is checking up on me, but I have found it more fun to take photos and send them through messaging so she can also share the ride with me. She is not an avid bicyclist, but does like to see the world, and we both enjoy one another’s travels, so I will lead you on the same trip that I shared with my wife on April 3rd 2017.

Hubbard Road and US 177 North of Ponca City

As you can see, the world was a bit overcast, and it had finished raining. It was coolish, but not real bad, so I made my way out of Ponca City and the first place I checked in was at Hubbard Road and US 177. I pick up things all along the way, and oddly enough I found one of the rods out of a gun cleaning set here along the edge of the road. Of course, I picked it up, have no earthly idea why, but I will no doubt give it to someone I work with, a lot of them are gun enthusiasts.

Overlooking to the North from the bridge north of Highway 11 that goes to Kaw City.

While the climb on the highway for the bridge is a bit steep, it is really nice on the north side, for the coasting down is nice and smooth, and fast. Of course, I was traveling on a Surly Pugsly (fat tire bike) which is not really something people ride on road trips, but who said I was a conventional type of guy? And of course, going up the ramp to the bridge, I found a nice blue strap tie down, the second or third one I have found this year.

Seagulls that are ‘not’ by the seashore??? Go figure….

Generally I see the seagulls in Ponca City residing in the parking lot where the University Center is located, but for some reason they seem to have been congregating in the field between the aforementioned bridge and the turnoff to Kildare/Blackwell. I realize that my picture taking leaves a lot to be desired, but there are probably about 60-70 seagulls out in the field. At the top of the hill is also a very nice rock that is in the ditch, which I hope to see about getting one of these days, but fear I might need to be sure to eat my “Wheaties” to man-handle it into the back of the pickup truck!

Highway 11 West and US 177 North of Ponca City (road to Kildare/Blackwell)

A lot of accidents have happened here at this intersection, so it pays to be very, very cautious, be it on bike or in a car, when passing through this area. There are numerous rock trucks that pass through this intersection, not to mention cattle trucks (you know them by the aroma that trails), and a lot of farmers with cattle/horse trailers come through this intersection. They try to pay attention, but I suppose it is sometimes hard to judge traffic speeds, that is my claim and I am sticking to it! I turned west here and headed down State Highway 11 to Blackwell (Doolin Avenue).

Bois D’ Arc Creek, running fairly full but not flooded.

Bois D’ Arc Creek (around here it is pronounced ‘Bodock’, maybe all over the world too, not sure), which is running pretty full for the creek. It generally has some water in it, and flows some except in the Summer, but it flows all along the west side of Ponca City as well, and when I was a kid we use to go fishing in the creek. Don’t remember if we caught much more than crawdads, but I remember fishing there, including getting pushed into the creek by a bully and me getting in trouble for beating the bully bloody…. oh well, such is life as a child….

Duck Creek which runs to the west of ‘S Street’ and goes on past Autwine (ghost town)

Duck creek never was much of a creek, but it still ranks on the map of creeks in the area. It has some water in it, but never too much, and dries up pretty much totally in the Summer.

A very long view of the Power Windmills to the North of Highway 11

Like I said, my photography really is poor, and then too, the overcast day did not help, but if you look really, really closely you can see the power windmills far off in the distance. Nice pond too, and all along the road are many, many cows, which I laughed at for they seemed to be very skittish when I spoke to them, asking them how their day was going. I marked it off to just being unfriendly cows, sort of like the people in town, they are afraid of strangers (or strange people)….

Underground Houses and a runoff ditch with waterfall

I don’t know the people out in the country but found it interesting that there are two underground houses along the same plot of land, complete with a small pond. I figure (although possibly incorrectly) that it is mom and dad, and kids…. made sense in my thinking, whether it is correct or not. Of course, I speculate about a lot of things when out roaming around and having time to think, and prefer to think what I am guessing is close to being right. Of course, I will probably never know, but they are my own thoughts, and it really doesn’t matter. And as you can possibly tell, the sky is beginning to clear up and the world is getting much brighter outside!

The East entry into Blackwell Oklahoma, USA! Home of the Maroons! (you have to live here to understand)

The Chikaskia River runs along the east side of Blackwell, and it has flooded the town many times. The Chikaskia flows to the south and about 10 miles further south it flows into the Salt Fork of the Arkansas River. But Blackwell is nice little town, and there are numerous things here, a lot of antique stores, like most of the towns, they seem to have sprouted lately, and there is a very good place to eat downtown on the South end called “Bob’s Grill”. Going in there is like walking into a restaurant of the 1960’s, and the food is very good and home style cooking. I had the hamburger steak with mashed potatoes and green beans, and of course, had to have a piece of Sour Cream Raisin Pie! MMMM, most excellent! On the way out of town, I realized that I really had not drank enough water and was getting dehydrated, so I stopped at a quick shop and bought two bottles of water, drank one quickly, and refilled my water bottle that was empty, and figured that I should be working harder at drinking more water during these rides.

US 77 and Hubbard Road south of Blackwell

Don’t confuse US 177 and US 77 highways or you will end up someplace you really don’t want to be, or maybe you will end up learning something, either way, it can be confusing. About 10 miles to the south of this intersection, US 77 heads off to the east, and US 177 comes back and attaches itself to head off to the south. Yes, I know, it is confusing, but hey, I have dealt with it all my life and it seems a bit normal now. I have ran into other highways that do the same thing, not quite as confusing, but still, about the same. But anyway, this is Hubbard Road once again, and it is where I turned off to head back East towards Ponca City.

Chikaskia River on Hubbard Road at Goodson Bridge

The old Chikaskia is running full, but it isn’t too full yet. Just down the way about 10 miles or so it will dump into the Salt Fork (of the Arkansas) and then into the Arkansas River on it’s way to Tulsa and Keystone Lake. Years and years ago, my father took me fishing where the Chikaskia and the Salt Fork meet, he had a key that let him into he field where we would go fish, and use to catch some pretty good catfish. I don’t think that farmer allows that anymore, but it was nice memories of those days long ago.

Goodson Ranch Flag Showing Wind Direction

I had fought the wind (Oklahoma stealth hills) on the way to Blackwell, with the wind out of the NNW, so now it was nice to be able to ride with the wind. It was a lot faster riding back to the house than heading to Blackwell, averaging about 6-7 mph on the way to Blackwell, and averaging about 11-12 mph on the road back. Oklahoma wind is just one of those things that you get used to trying to work out with a ride. That is why I rode to Blackwell, for I could fight the wind on the ride there, then have a nice leisurely ride back home. I am not totally stupid, although there are indications that I may be a bit insane, but no verdict as of yet!

Turkeys under the tree

Like I have stated earlier, my photography is poor, but regardless, there were two turkeys under the trees. (If you click on the picture it will get larger and you can see the turkeys better) The male was all puffed up trying to impress the female, and it was quite enjoyable of a sight. There are so many things we miss when whizzing by in a car, and life is about too short to be missing all those things.

“Jesus Is Lord” barn, possibly historic since I remember the painting when I was a kid

This barn has been around for years and years. I don’t know if the owners have repainted it ever over the years, but even when I was young (and I am 59 now), this barn has sported the “Jesus is Lord” sign on it’s side. I believe it is part of the Goodson Ranch, however I could be wrong too, but none the less, it is a very noticeable landmark on Hubbard Road between Blackwell and Ponca City.

“S Street” turn off of Hubbard Road

You come up to a ‘Y’ in the road, or a turn off, or ‘T’ or whatever you want to call it, but this house is something that you look for when traveling down Hubbard road if you want to take the road that will head off to the south to hit Highland Avenue that goes into Ponca City. When I was a kid, Hubbard Road was paved to the west from this road on to US 77, but to the east it was dirt. In the 1960’s it was called the ‘Blackwell Shortcut’. However, no a days people just go north of Ponca City and travel down Hubbard Road to get to Blackwell, but a few still use the old shortcut route too, but not many. But there is a wide spot with the turnoff here and you can stop to check things on your vehicle if needed. When I came up to the turnoff there was two cars there, one with a man and one with a woman, and they quickly took off when I pulled up, so I figure they must have finished repairing their cars and were ready to go….

Ivy growing on side of the farm house

Just down the road on the west side of the the street is this old farm house that has the whole side covered with ivy. I don’t know how many times I have travelled down that road in a vehicle over the years, but never noticed this farm house. That is sad, and I imagine many others pass it as well, and never give it a thought.

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Turtle closer

As I travelled the road I noticed something skittering across the road. As I got closer I saw it was a baby turtle, in fact it looked to be a baby loggerhead turtle. I would have never noticed it and possibly would have shortened it’s life if I was traveling by vehicle, so it was nice to see more bits and pieces of nature along the way.

Autwine to the West, Highland Avenue to the East

Intersection where I turned off tot he east to go back home. A nice and paved road, and as you can tell, it has become such a very nice day for the ride. One thing that I found interesting too was the amount of bullfrogs that were in the ditches which still were sitting with rainwater (lots of it too) and all of the sounds that they were making as I rode by. One place in particular was so loud that it almost drowned out all the other sounds (like the hum of my knobby tires on the pavement) and it was actually so very nice and enjoyable to hear.

Overall the ride was 39.9 miles, and took me about 4-5 hours. Like I said, I am not fast at riding and actually count myself as a member of the Slow Bicycle Movement. I would much rather stop and pick up things I find along the route, see things that I have not noticed before, take photos to share with my wife and others, and just enjoy being out in the world and not having to race around to be someplace else. I believe that the whole world would benefit from taking the slow route from time to time, and just not be in such a big rush. Stop, smell the roses, and enjoy life!

Gazmuth

 

Enjoying Fat Bike Riding

I haven’t bothered to keep up with my site much these days, and that is a very sad thing, for I would like to train myself to actually keep up with the site and put new items on it, but apparently that is just not my forte. However, perhaps things will change, I doubt it, but perhaps things will change.

Wife’s New Truck

Michelle is now able to drive again, and although I do not ride very well, I am going to try to let her drive more. So, since she wanted to drive, and wanted her own car, I let her pick out a vehicle that she wished to drive. This is the one she chose, and I will have to say that she chose a very nice vehicle, although it about has too many bells and whistles for my old mind to figure out, but that is okay, the important part is that Michelle has a nice dependable vehicle to drive. And the best part is that it is a truck (in a sense) and therefore I can put my bike in the back when we travel in it! YAY!

Speaking of bikes, I bought a new bike for myself. It is a Surly Ice Cream Truck and I really love riding it. It is much more bike than the Surly Pugsly that I have, although I still will ride and use the Pugsly from time to time, but I plan on riding the Ice Cream Truck a whole lot more.

2014 Surly Pugsly
Surly Ice Cream Truck

As you can see, there is not actually a lot of difference between he two bikes, that you can see by photograph anyway, but there is a great deal of differences. The Ice Cream Truck has bigger tires, and hydraulic brakes, and a better geometry, but the Pugsly has mechanical brakes and a pretty good geometry too. The biggest difference between the two, for me anyway, is that the Ice Cream Truck has a bunch of bags on it now, and large racks, and it can haul about anything. The Pugsly I plan to keep pretty light, with fold down panniers on back, and although it has racks on it, I plan to keep it a bit lighter. I want to ride them both all summer, and have been researching various articles about using them for commuting, and I believe I will try to ride the bikes to and from work most of the time. Round trip to and from work is anywhere from 8.5 miles to 10.5 miles, depending on the route, so it is not like I have that far to ride.

My X90 Catrike

I still will ride my trike some, but currently I am really enjoying the Fat Tire bikes more and more each and every day. I am not a speed demon and never really in that big of a hurry, so the Fat Tire Bike trips are a lot of enjoyment for me, plus I find a lot of things in the street and stop to pick the items up. Why? Who knows, but it is something I enjoy doing.

Various items found on a bike ride

I do have a couple of trailers that I can attach to the bikes or trikes, and while I am still working on how to safely connect them up (the Fat Tire Bikes have a much wider rear hub spacing), I am sure it will all work out. The Ice Cream Truck has solid through hub axles, so I will have to figure out how to attach the hitch, but there are sites out there in the World Wide Internet that supply parts that I seek, if I have enough money, so I will figure out what I need and have it all set up before too long. Then the two girls may go with me!

Pandora and Lillith

And of course, I hope to go out riding with my wonderful wife too! She has a few bikes and a trike as well, and while she is not a real strong bicycler, she is gaining and with any luck, this Summer she will be out on the road more and more!

Enough for now, keep on enjoying the Spring, and perhaps, maybe, just maybe, (even though most of you don’t care), I will see about posting on my paps a little more often!

Gazmuth

I Know I Am A Slacker…

As the title refers, for me, yes, I am a slacker. I try to keep up with things, but unfortunately, I seem to fall behind a lot of the time, but my intentions are always good. If I could just not have so many irons in the fire, then it would be a really good thing, but I seriously doubt that it will happen anytime soon.

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Excessive Sitting Causes Obesity

There are a multitude of things that I should be doing, but like most people, I sit in a chair and really enjoy reading articles on the Internet, on Facebook, Twitter, and doing other searches. Always retaining more and more things that interest me, but, as the cartoon I saved today clearly states, the Grim Reaper carries a chair these days, not the Scythe that we all were born to think about. So, I suppose that he is harvesting souls to sit, and no longer ‘cutting’ them away from our bodies. I have visions of endless rows of chairs, all next to one another, with seats behind those rows, with people much like me, heavy laden with skin full of fat, just sitting there, unable to do much more than sit. Quite sad really, so I really need to see about doing something to keep that from happening.

My Surley Fat Bike
My Surley Fat Bike

I have bikes, and trikes, and it is now becoming warmer with the onslaught of Spring, and that makes it time for me to get out there on the human powered vehicles and dodge the cars, enjoy the fresh air, and also try to get myself out of the ‘sitting’ stage I have been in, and become a part of society once again. Michelle and I have been riding our trikes a little lately, and while she is still quite new to the whole triking thing, I have been riding with her. A couple of days ago we went around the Marland Mansion walkways here in Ponca City, and she was facing a long slow hill, so I grabbed her trike and helped her up the hill. She was deeply surprised that I had so much power in my legs, but was grateful for me helping her get up the hill! The funny part about it was there was a police officer at the top of the hill, smiling at us as we rode up, and Michelle thought we were going to be cited, but he was just enjoying watching how we both managed to get up the incline. It was a very nice ride and great day!

Bicycles Bought For Work
Bicycles Bought For Work

Most of the guys down where I work in the refinery are in the same shape as myself, sitting and getting flabby, so they were wanting something to use for transportation, and I thought about how they all treat the vehicles they use. They are as bad as young children and don’t take care of anything. They had John Deere Gators, but just pretty much drove them into the ground. Of course, the work we perform is tough and rough on vehicles, but with the cutbacks the place of employment is going through, buying $8000 Gators is out of the question. So I ordered some bicycles for the guys. They are cheap, but look like they may hold up for a while. The yellow bicycle in the background costs about $900, while the Mongooses cost about $200, and while the Mongooses are heavy for bicycles, hopefully they will be a bit more durable. I am hoping that they are, for we have tried many other bicycles at work, and they all seem to fall apart in just a month or two, so with any luck, the new bicycles will survive the attacks from the operators and last for a bit before they fall apart and are toted off to the steel recycling bin.

2010 Conquest Travel Trailer
2010 Conquest Travel Trailer

On a good note, my wife Michelle, and myself, bought a new (to us) travel trailer. We had a motorhome several years ago, but sold it due to other things happening in our lives, so now we have a bumper pull trailer and hope to be able to go out camping a lot in the coming years. It has a slide out so it is like having a small apartment on wheels, and hopefully we will use it a lot. I wanted a bumper pull so I could put the two trikes and a couple of bicycles in the back bed of the pickup, that way we could ride around the campgrounds and get out of the ‘sitting’ mode my wife and I both have egressed into in our lives. I will have to say though, getting the title straightened out was quite the experience, for the lady could not find the Make, Model or Manufacturer of the trailer, so I just told her to notarize me a sheet of paper saying that she could not get the title for the trailer and I would use that instead of trying to get the tag. I don’t know if it would have worked, but I figure I gave it a good ole college try, and was getting quite frustrated with her not being able to find the information, when she had the VIN number, the previous title for the trailer, and was just making things a whole lot tougher than they needed to be. Her manager came out, with her in tears, and he managed to figure it out, so I got the title, the tag and everything is good to go now. It is amazing how hard a tag agency can make things though, and sometimes I wonder if they ever try, but that is just my view.

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Pandora Enjoying The Truck Ride

Of course, we will take our two girls with us. Pandora really loves to ride in the car, and while Lillith has a bit of trouble with the ‘Bouncy Box’ (what our truck is referred to with Lillith), but she is always glad to be to our destination.

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Lillith In The Clover

We did have a storm pass through this week, leaving a trail of hail in it’s path. Most was just pea-sized, a little was marble size, and few pieces were about the size of quarters. I was thankful though that the storm didn’t leave marks on the vehicles, so our town lucked out on that part. I just have too much stuff (mostly bicycles) in the garage to put cars in there, so the vehicles will just have to ride out the storms. I could possibly make room, but it would take a lot of effort, and then I wouldn’t have a place for all my stuff, so the cars have to learn to try to make it through the storms. Garages need to be about 15-20 feet longer these days, so we can put our stuff out there and still have room for the cars. Hopefully, in another life, I will be wiser when buying a house and have a garage that I can use that way.

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Hail On Our Parcel Of Land

Well, enough of a good thing, so I better see about getting off my keister and going out for a ride and seeing about putting the hitch on the truck. Hope everyone has a great day, and may the weather be fair with a tailwind!

Gazmuth

I Like To Ride My Bike

What would a blog be without a silly video?

Now that we have that over with…. back to the matter at hand.

Yes, fellow readers, most of you know that I do ride my bike, and I enjoy being outdoors on it as well. It is nice to take the time to ride through he town and enjoy all the things that are going on while moving at a slower pace than in the car. While it is something that I really need to do more of, at least I do a little riding and each ride brings a lot of enjoyment out to my heart and soul. It is really amazing how much you hear, smell and see when moving along at a leisurely pace instead of racing through town in a vehicle (although I don’t go at breakneck speed) but it is just so much more enjoyable and it brings back a person closer to their childhood, or at least it does for me.

However, a person needs to think a bit before taking on a challenge of riding their bicycle. Be aware of the heat, for where I live in Oklahoma, the heat becomes a factor, and it can take it’s toll on the body. Sunscreen also is one of those things that a person has to think about, or you can end up with bad sunburn, for the intense energy of the sun bearing down on your exposed skin can make the time afterwards quite unenjoyable. Be sure to wear the appropriate safety gear as well, like maybe a helmet. I will not go into the needs of wearing helmet, and anyone who knows me knows that I generally do not wear my bicycling helmet. I have my reasons, but I also have several helmets, and if I am going to be riding out in traffic, I do put one on. On the Catrike I ride, my head is right at the same level as the bumper on a car or truck, and although I am very stubborn and hard-headed, my head is no opponent to the bumper of a car or truck. However, if I will be riding mostly on a street that has no traffic, so to speak, or sidewalks in town, I generally do not bother with a helmet, and yes, I know that I could still end up with a terrible concussion or worse, but it is still a choice one makes.

The Oklahoma Sun Can Be Vicious
The Oklahoma Sun Can Be Vicious

Yesterday, I went out for a short ride, thinking that I would see about building myself up, get the old legs tuned back up, and get back into the saddle of bicycle riding once again. I had a heart attack about four years ago, while riding my trike back and forth to work, in the August Summer heat that was in the three digits, and so I haven’t been riding near as much, in fact, pretty much haven’t been riding at all. I read a blog post from a bicycling enthusiast promoting getting back to riding, saying if you will just ride about 2 miles a day, then it becomes easier and easier, and you will soon be back to your old self, riding many miles, and enjoying the riding once again.

I pulled out my Hybrid Bicycle from the garage, and took off, going to a place that does manicures, which is about a mile, maybe just a little more from my house, and felt good riding along the sidewalk of the busiest street here in Ponca City. The ride felt good, to be back out in the open air, and while we have small hills here, none of the climbing was bad at all, I just downshifted (something I never used to do) and was at ease riding to the place. I had to wait for about 45 minutes before one of the manicurists were free, and felt good, reading my email on the smart phone, then sat and the manicurist had clipped my nails, and was beginning to work on my cuticles.

I began feeling funny, with a tingling in my scalp and began to sweat, and felt an issue coming on inside of myself that I have felt from time to time for years and years, coming on to myself, and really did just felt the need to lie down, but with me being hard headed, and having a person clipping my nails, I hoped that the episode that was overtaking me would just end. Well, it didn’t, and I blacked out (fainted) while in the chair. When the manicurist was able to get me to come back around, a concerned female patron also visiting the place had called 911 and the ambulance was on its way. I was sweating profusely,and was a bit ‘wasted’ and was a bit unresponsive for a while, but was feeling better. Like I said, I have had these episodes before, and knew I would be just fine.

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Oldsmobile Ambulance

So when the medics showed up at the place, they kept asking me a lot of questions, and were going to take me to the hospital. The medics, they thought I was having a heart attack, but I knew that I wasn’t, for I have had heart attacks, and I knew that was not the case. I told them I really didn’t want to go to the hospital, and that if they would just let me be, let me rest for about an hour, I would be over the episode and could no doubt just ride my bike back home. But they wouldn’t have any part of that, and insisted that I needed to go to the hospital. They asked if I had ‘next of kin’, and I called my wife with my phone, and the medic took my phone away from me, and told my wife I was having a heart attack. Of course, I kept arguing, and the medics were not listening to me, and my wife was scared to death. Needless to say, they did take me to the hospital, and the nurses there were still trying to tell me that I was having a heart attack, with me telling them that I knew I wasn’t, but they all thought I was just confused.

At the hospital, they took blood and ran tests on me, then wanted to do a ‘Cat Scan’ (probably bringing in a yellow tiger striped one to sniff me out), and I refused, which made the doctor and nurses angry. Then, when the doctor and nurses did decide that I wasn’t having a heart attack, they still wanted me to stay overnight, which I once again refused. Ended up having to sign a whole bunch of paperwork stating that I refused numerous tests and medical help, but I finally got out of the place and was able to get back home where I now feel just fine. I will probably now have to fight with the insurance company, but hey, that is how all of this works out.

But the trip to the hospital did help my wife and me understand why I was having the episodes, and the doctor and nurses would also know what I experienced if they would have just listened to what symptoms they stated that they observed. Turns out, you have a ‘Vasal Nerve’ in your stomach area that can set off something which makes the veins dilate in your legs, making blood pool in your feet, and that lowers down your blood pressure and you don’t get enough blood to your brain, thus, you end up fainting. Well, I have splotches on my feet where blood has pooled for years, which the iron in your blood will make rust colored splotches on your feet. My cardiologist and the doctors at the hospital have stated this before, and I can see it too. But I have all the symptoms of “Vasovagal Syncope”, which makes me faint or black out. The doctor and nurses both spoke about that vassal nerve in the stomach, and reading about it, it is hard to diagnose, for I have some other issues so I didn’t bring up a couple more items that would have helped them diagnose the episode that I had experienced. I have had this issue for years, and really never knew what was causing it, but it is set off by dehydration, and yes, I know I have never drank enough water, but now, I am going to have to work hard at drinking plenty of water so I don’t go through these episodes again.

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But anyway, a lot of the people I work with and know have prayed and were concerned about me, and while I am not used to being worried about, I do appreciate that they actually were concerned about me. My sisters were deeply concerned, and I am sorry they were worried, but trust me, I am okay, just didn’t think about being dehydrated, and didn’t ever know what set off my passing out. Believe me though, if you have the Vasovagal Syncope condition, when the episode begins, you have a couple of minutes before you really feel like you are going to not make it, and if you aren’t able to lie down to elevate your legs and get the blood out of your feet, then you will collapse onto the floor or in the aisle at the grocery store, and the medics will haul you out to the flashy red buggy and rush you to the hospital.

But that was my day yesterday, and while I started writing this blog yesterday, was going to put photos about the ride on the blog, well, as it seems, I just didn’t get to finish the ride yesterday, but will be out riding again, “WITH PLENTY OF WATER” on me and in me, and will have a good blog to write then!

Take care and have a great day everyone!

Gazmuth