I was driving back to the small town in which I had spent the day. Earlier, I rode my bike into town, a mere 6 miles one way. The day was cooler for this time of year, intermittent clouds, and a mild wind. I was in need of this sort of movement for my body. I hiked seven miles yesterday and needed a change of pace. I have been off my bike for a couple weeks and wanted to get back into it. Besides, I paid some extra money to make sure my tires would not go flat with every little thorn or burr they ran over. Bike ride it is!
I putzed, talked to my mom, drank my tea and sat around most of the morning. I was open to riding into town and possibly having a beer or lunch or both. I did not want to commit until I knew what the day had to offer. I also knew this day had to be my own, where I went with my feelings and my agenda. I had to make the decisions and the choices. This autonomy helps me rebuild the energy I give when with others. My day.
I had been in this little town dozens of times before, but never stopped or spent time. I am in a hilly area, but it was not too bad heading in. The wind was either at my back or non-existent. When I arrived I rode the entirety of the town, which took about ten minutes, and then parked the bike to walk. I really wanted to look in the antique shops. I have decided that in my next house I will buy pieces that speak to me or that are unique. I will not buy furniture just to have it. I want things that make a statement, that are different or one-of-a-kind. Besides that, there is no way I can put anything else in storage or take anything with me. Safe to shop when one cannot buy.
I messed around the town and even got a nice tour of the printing press museum. The woman there was also part of the annual Brewfest that I have attended for the past four years. I was excited about the printing history, being such a book nerd and all. It was interesting. I perused all of the antique and artisan stores, then landed at the signature bar/restaurant. I told myself to check the beer list first, then decide what I would do next. After all, this Pilgrim needs to walk away from that which she does not love. Fortunately, love lived here in the form of Calvetica Stout from Ft. George Brewing, a favorite of mine. I had the beer and a smoked pork sandwich. I was full and happy and ready to ride back.
Little did I know that the way back was nearly all up hill. Sure, throw that at me while my belly is full and my mind a little tipsy. I was working hard. I managed to pedal the entire way down the highway until the turn towards camp. I did see a biker blow by me, quite fast, with just a T-shirt for gear. I notice bikers more than anyone in a car. When one rides like that, the shirt comes up in back and I noticed the thinner while male with the beige shirt riding up his back. I also noted he only had his helmet for protection. After the pang of jealousy, I rode on. I eventually had to walk the bike up a couple hills, as they did not stop and got more steep. I got pretty tired, my legs got weak, and I was really glad the temperature was rather cool for mid-July. I rode when I could, walked when I could not ride, and stopped to catch my breath in-between.
I also did some recon while in this town. I noticed a grocery store where I could get my groceries and ice, and a car wash that I wanted to use to clean out the Jeep a bit. When I got back to camp, I sat and recovered. I needed rest and liquids. After I rested from my seemingly all uphill ride to camp, I set out to drive back to town to get the supplies and wash the car. I was hoping to use the vacuum at the car wash as there is this crap stuck so far down in my driver seat that I cannot reach it with my hand. The remnants of my many meals at the wheel, and a couple toothpicks thrown in for good measure. I know it is there and it bugs me every day. I try and try and I just cannot get my hand down that far. I may try some duct tape tricks to coach out the crap.
As I was driving, I noticed a biker on the phone off the side of the road. I have been that biker on the side of the road and I have been rescued by strangers and helped by others. I pulled over and asked if he needed anything. He was young, anxious and came right over. He said he would greatly appreciate a ride at least to the next town; incidentally where I was headed. He had people who could come get him, but that would not be for another hour or more. He gathered his things and I made room. I also handed him some wipes as he clearly had been working on the bike. He was very appreciative and told me what had happened and how he got stranded. Yes, he was also that bike that passed me earlier. Oops, sorry about the mess, but I live in my car and you will have to hold this food box in your lap.
We made light chatter during the five minute ride. He offered to buy me a beer. I politely declined. I mean, it was only like five minutes in the Jeep and it cost me nothing extra. Truth be told, had he been older and a little more interesting, maybe. But, I had things to do and ice to take back and food to save. I appreciated his gratitude and was happy to help. He said I was the only one that even stopped. Hey, it is a biker thing. But, it is also a human thing and I was happy to be the one to make his day.
I got my groceries and my ice and headed back to camp. My legs were still shaky as I ate cheese, crackers and dried figs for dinner. I watched the rest of a movie and drank some whisky with added blackberries and sugar. Not quite the quality of liquor I am used to making, but it did the trick and gave me a little buzz during my meal. I did eat some of the berries, but they are so seedy and the whisky was very strong in them. I threw the rest out. I finished my meal, my movie, then read for a spell as the sun started to set.
My legs are still a little shaky, my belly is still very full, and I just feel good. Camp is empty (besides me), the air is cool, the wind silent. The sun is going down, and soon so shall I. I cared for myself this day, I followed the path that was revealed. I played tourist and Pilgrim and road rescuer. I listened to myself, I cared for myself, and I gave of myself. I was open and engaged and happy. I challenged myself physically and cared for myself emotionally. I listened, I learned, I helped.
Pilgrim, walk away from that which you do not love. Today I walked towards it. It was me. It was a good day.