Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Let It Be, Let It Be (April 21: day 49--Crestview, FL)

Today, I was reminded why I ride.  The weather was cool, the road surface was smooth, the traffic was light and the scenery was varied and beautiful.  It was an easy day to 'let go' and just be. During the past several days, I had gotten caught up in the petty minutiae of life.  This bothered me; that bothered me and I allowed these things, things over which I have no control,  to cloud why I was on this journey. I forgot what my intentions were for this ride. Today, I shifted my outlook and just let go, embracing the present moment....and my day was magnificent.  I savored the surroundings, enjoying the feel of the sun on my back, the smoothness of the pavement, and felt gratitude that I am physically able to ride through this beautiful country.

Dogs are such interesting creatures.  I laughed out loud today at a little chihuahua (hmmm-is there any other kind?); he made my day.   He chased me a long a fence, barking furiously; I have never seen an old, fat chihuahua move their legs that quickly. Totally oblivious to his size, the impossibility of catching me, and my laughter, he was completely committed to protecting his turf. That is determination, in the face of all odds.

I also saw a little person today on the bike trail; he was learning to ride a bike. On a bike, equipped with training wheels, he peddled slowly down the path, in spite of other riders buzzing past him looking curiously.  I am sure he wasn't oblivious to his plight as the chihuahua was, but he possessed the same determination and was committed to learning this skill.  Kudos to him.

As this ride draws closers to an end, I notice that the commitment to blogging and taking pictures is waning. I don't know if that is because we are getting tired, if the scenery has ceased to be unique and novel to us or if each day becomes more like than one preceding it. Part of the lack of picture posting has been the extremely poor internet connections, but I have observed that people now ride past opportunities that would have earlier demanded a photo.

I thought it ironic that a few days into our trip, we were in the desert, surrounded by sand, and now, with a few days left, we are once again surrounded by sand. We started at the ocean and will end at the ocean.
Day 4 Imperial Desert, CA

Day 48 Gulf Shore, AL

Dauphin Island, Al was a pretty little island; we had our rest day there a few days ago.  It was hit fairly hard by Katrina and the beaches at the point are eroding on the gulf side, and the sand is moving from one side to the other.  Houses are literally falling into the water.  Despite the work of 
Mother Nature, people keep rebuilding there.  Things that make you go 'hhmmm'.   

Here's another interesting bit of information.  A gentleman we met on the ferry was telling us about the gas rigs that are sprinkled generously around the waters of the island. He told us that the gas company buys liquid gas from China and ships it over here.  The gas rigs are actually for pumping the gas back into the wells in the ocean bed, where it is stored until the price of natural gas is favorable.  It is then pumped back out and sold.  Fact or fiction....hmmmm.  You decide.

I guess I have been away from water bound cities for a long time.  On my ride to Dauphin Island, I was stopped by a raised drawbridge.  Now, the drawbridges with which I am familiar, are split in the middle and raised accordingly. But on this bridge, I didn't see anything raised! I stood on the side of the street for a long time trying to figure out where the bridge was--clearly the middle portion was missing; I finally asked someone in the car next to me.  (I am pretty sure they thought I was an ignorant 'Yankee'.)  These days, or at least at this particular bridge, the whole center portion is raised straight up by counter weights, much like an elevator and the water traffic passes through. Very clever, but despite the cleverness, the raised bridge still created a traffic snarl. I must confess, one advantage of being on a bike is that  I was able to cross without having to wait in the long line of traffic.

The ride to Dauphin Island was full of intrigue and learning.  I stopped at an Alligator Farm in Pascagoula, Ms with a few others.  They raise the gators for educational purposes and are in the process of replenishing their stock.  The farm lost almost 200 alligators in Katrina--most are now  living free in the surrounding swamp, which is a protected wildlife preserve. (which makes the farm owners unable to retrieve them).  Gators make a hissing sound when agitated, and go into a type of hibernation in the colder weather.  Two of their four heart valves close, slowing their heart rate and respiration to an almost coma-like state.  By the way, gators have a sweet tooth and are partial to marshmallows. 
Me and Nubby, so named because another gator bit off his foot.

Katrina water line

Me and Lois (Karen Cooper's picture)

Alabama Swamp

Waiting for the ferry

Red sandy soil in Fl panhandle (is redder than in the picture)

Florida swamp

Enjoy--I need to go.....95 miles tomorrow.

56 miles

1 comment:

  1. I really enjoy your blog and all the pretty pictures so I hope you continue to blog for those of us that are tied to desks....Only 1 more week and then you're done!

    For some reason, Nubby the aligator reminds me of my pet. Something about the mischievous way you are holding him makes me think they are animals of kindred spirit (patience, and a look on the face saying "I hate being a helpless animal at the whim of humans"!)
    Try not to become a grumpy gator (or get attacked by a grumpy gator) during the last bit of your trip. You're in the homestretch, at least if home is Florida:)
    your secret friend