Saturday, May 6, 2023

Traveling the Potomac River the Hard Way: part 1


I’m having this well-known feeling of dread. In spite of being prepared six-ways from Sunday for every possibility, here I am. It’s starting to get dark, traffic is rushing all around me, and I’m pushing my fully loaded bike up yet one more hill. I’m in Bethesda, Maryland. I don’t know why, and I don’t where exactly where my hotel room is and my waterproof phone inside a waterproof case is acting very much like water is winning the war. I’m down to a couple bars of battery and I have no idea of what happened to my battery-backup brick. I’ve been pushing for hours and ahead of me is one more steep hill. Steve calls me from the hotel to say he is following me on the locator app and that I’m heading in the wrong direction. I’d like to stop and discuss this, but I’m also noticing a guy across the street waving his arms and yelling at the passing cars. He sees me, and decides to cross the crowded six lane highway to come over and help me with the bike. I’m tired, medicated, soaked to the bone, and almost ready to hand this $4000 bike over to anybody that would like it. Of course, any would-be robber might notice that one of the crank arms and pedals is missing. Yes, even expensive bicycles can break, and when this kind of failure occurs, pushing is the only option.

I know, you are already thinking, me? I’d just call Uber! I did that, and the Uber guy pulled up, looked at me and drove away fast….yeah that was a one star review, and then I got really unhappy when Uber told me I got charged $8 for the guy to come look at me and drive off. Before that point, I was even smarter (my brain cells were dying off at a rapid rate). I had pushed the bike to a Home Depot, and rented a truck to carry it to the hotel, somewhere off in a distant place, that seemed so much closer when I had two functioning pedals. I ran inside Home Depot, waited patiently, while dripping everywhere, and people staring at me and my muddy, loaded-up bike. Got the keys to truck, ran out to Steve and rolled up the back door and turned to see Steve’s face. It wasn’t good. I turned back to the truck and it was loaded to the ceiling with used drywall material. The Home Depot crew came out, tsk-tsked, took photos and mumbled about how somebody was in big trouble…but there were no more trucks, and nobody wanted to unload the drywall….if I had known how the day would proceed after that….I would have unloaded the truck by myself…Meanwhile, Steve decided he needed to pedal on to the hotel to make sure the bed was made correctly…

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