Larry - Last Saturday was the long awaited shakedown cruise for the skipper and his mighty spinning mate upon the S.S. Barney, bedecked with a full load, just like we intend to carry on the BIG RIDE.
Long story short, the ride went great. Everything fit into its bag and the bags all fit onto the bike. Nary a jiggle. Actually, I was pleasantly surprised on how well everything went. I just knew we'd come upon some serious issue we had not anticipated. That's why you do a shakedown before the real event. Still, this is my kind of disappointment.
Although we've got our gear to an absolute minimum, with the camping stuff we're taking for insurance, the bike is the heaviest we've ever ridden. The front panniers do help stabilize things. But still, I can really feel the extra pounds. Yet we did fine. The ride was only 31 miles and took 3 hours. Did I mention that the terrain was very challenging! All ups and downs and a one mile climb on a very steep grade. Those low low gears felt great and though we were slow, we did that hard climb under control and could have done more. There won't be many days on the BIG RIDE that will have any tougher climbs.
The most interesting part of the ride was when I spied what appeared to be a wallet with some money sticking out of it laying on the edge of the road. I made a quick stop (not much appreciated by the mighty spinning mate) and announced "I think I saw a wallet and some money back there!" to which she responded "Oh Pashaw!", but dutifully dismounted and walked back up the road to investigate!
"What'd you find?"
"A wallet and some money!"
It's nice to be right every once in awhile.
Okay! This could be fun.
The contents of the wallet contained a small amount of cash, credit cards and a driver's license with a picture of a young woman. The address on the license was on the same road we were riding, just about a half mile distant. Now we get to be 'Trail Angels' and return the wallet, knowing that our new BFF, heartsick with the thought of a lost wallet/lost credit cards/etc, would be overcome with joy and gratitude upon our arrival.
When we got to the mailbox with the license address we noticed that what appeared to be a very nice house was back off the road a good couple of hundred yards (we were way out in the country). We also noticed that the house was way up on a pretty good hill. Finally we also noticed that the driveway was gravel, freshly graded, very loose and very deep.
After a soft sigh, we started pushing the tandem with 50 lbs of gear up that sketchy gravel drive. On arrival, finally, noticing several nice late model cars parked on a spacious concrete patio, Martha knocked on the door, wallet in hand. After several seconds, a small child answered the door.
Martha: "Is Ms McGillicuddy (not her real name) here?"
The child: "My daddy's Mr. McGillicuddy!"
"Could you get him?"
Presently a barefoot man wearing pajama shorts (this was 3 in the afternoon) and a tee shirt appeared. Martha, 4'10', helmeted, bike jersey, shorts, the full kit, quickly explains our find and purpose. I'm holding the bike just a few feet away similarly attired.
The man looks furtively to his left and then his right, as if checking for other alien creatures, mumbles "Yes. That's my wife. Thank you", takes the wallet and quietly closes the door in Martha's stunned face.
She just stands there for a moment in shock.
Of course, all we ever wanted was a simple 'thank you' and that's we got, although just barely. I admit I would have accepted a cool drink of water (it was 82 degrees) if the ever so gracious Mr. McGillicuddy had thought to offer.
Wrestling the big bike back down that driveway from hell gave us time to analyze what just happened. We had several theories, but the best one was that Mr. McG was a killer psycho and had just murdered the unfortunate Mrs. McGillicuddy, dismembered her body with a chain saw and had hauled the whole bloody mess along with all her personal effects to the local landfill only to have a very incriminating piece of evidence blow out the back of his truck and be discovered by these very strange looking people. We figured that furtive look was a stall while he decided if he could get away with 3 murders as easy as one.
We'll never know for sure, though we have started checking the local paper's missing persons reports.
A couple of pics of the big bike loaded for the BIG RIDE are attached along with a photo of Martha's knees in shades of bright red! Did I mention we stopped at the Bark Park to visit with friends and wound up taking a thirty minute nap in their lawn chairs? Bright sun + no sunscreen = Bright Red Knees! Ouch.
Artist's rendering of Mr. McGillicuddy