Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Salida 2015 Part 1

We left out for Colorado at the crack of 5:30pm last Wednesday. I got off work at 7am that morning and Donna was going to get up early, get the trailer and pack everything while I grabbed about 3 hours of sleep. She was called in for an emergency surgery and slept til noon. But it doesn't matter ... I'm on vacation!  

It was a grueling car ride out that had us pulling up to our cabin at 7:30 the next morning. The temp was a brisk 44 degrees when we arrived. A quick unload and we both grabbed a couple of hours of sleep before wandering downtown Salida ... the site of Mumford and Sons Gentlemen of the Road stop over that Donna was there for. We walked all over taking in the vendors and merchants on F Street. Stopped in and bought a shirt and visited with Duke form Fat Tees and ADV Rider (does the t-shirts for, great guy. 

A quick note that despite taking steroids and half a hydrocodone over the past 3 days, my RA wasn't sure what was going on but it did not like it. But I did not drag my bike 13 hours (one way) to not ride it. I was riding whether my body and RA liked it or not!

My main goal was to have some fun, see some new stuff and not leave any dismembered, ... more to the point MY dismembered body parts on the roads or trails. After hitting the electric start, I'm off. First stop was to program my GPS (I was so excited to ride that I forgot to turn it on) and I had to pee ... I think I had gone all of about a half mile. As I make it to Salida, I cautiously pass through the chaos that we had strolled through the day before. Exiting the small town I ride by the hospital (I hope this isn't an an omen) and just on the other side is a tall stack that stood out against the deep blue mountain back drop. I would have to check this out later if I have time. 

I rode on forest roads toward St Elmo then turned and rode up north of Buena Vista. Up here I rode through four old train tunnels. Wow! The tops of the tunnels were still black with soot from the train engines decades ago. I walked around photographing and exploring the area for over an hour. The trains run just below the old tunnels now. As I leave the tunnels and head further north, I ride up on an old white Ford truck just crawling along the road. I politely pass him and am standing on the foot pegs cruising about 55 mph when I run past it ... a 20 mph speed limit sign! Are you kidding me? 20mph? On dirt? On a bike? What a crock, but okay ... I'll meet you in the middle. I slowed to 40mph and rode on til I found a RR bridge over the Arkansas River. While taking photos and walking across the RR bridge, I meet a man and his wife coming up to do the same thing. We talk for a moment and he asked how I'm doing. I replied, great ... I'm getting paid for this and before I can get out that I'm on vacation (getting paid), he excitedly says "that's awesome, I would love to do something like that!  At this point I didn't have the heart to tell him I just meant I was on paid vacation. I left him and his wife at the bridge thinking they had just had been talking with a moto journalist. Bwahaha!

I will leave you with some photos and finish up my next post.
Hard to look cool putting your bike in a uhaul motorcycle trailer!
Our cabin we rented for 3 days right on the Arkansas River
F Street Salida for the Mumford & Sons stop over.
M & S logo in lights stood out at night on the mountain.
F Street again ... those girls had some long legs!
Side of building in Salida.
Knee viewpoint.
Affectionately called this BDR - big damn rock.
Trusty steed needed a rest.
Duke from Fat Tees in Salida, great guy and fellow ADV rider.
I got just a little bit lost up there. 
Endless dirt/forest roads.
Abandoned RR bridge next to Arkansas River.
My trusty steed. 
Awesome ... 4 old train tunnels pose for a photo. 
Out of use for decades yet you can still see signs of use on the ceilings.
Couldn't quit taking photos of the tunnels.
I know, I know ... another tunnel.
Somewhere between point A & B Friday.
RR bridge over the Arkansas River.
Same RR bridge from above.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Leaving In Two Days

MTX (chemo), check ... folic acid, check ... Humira injection, check ... Steroids, check ... hydrocodone, check, all of this medicine just to go on vacation and try to maintain my RA to a bearable level. 

I have my bike prepped for Colorado, my gear bag packed with every combination of stuff to wear depending on the weather. It may look like Stevie Wonder picked out my riding ensemble some days but I don't care ... I'M ON VACATION!! I also have my Phantom 2 packed and ready for action. Updated the GPS and added a few routes for up there. I can remember when I use to ride without maps or GPS, would get lost and then find my way back out. Now I'm high tech, riding with a GPS to get me lost then find my way back out. I hope to have some good photos to post after we get back.

My long time friend, riding buddy and ex-racing buddy Randall had a serious crash this past Tuesday. He will be in the hospital for a while. He broke 7 ribs (4 of them twice), his left shoulder blade, punctured a lung and pierced his spleen. I spent part of Saturday with him and he was in and out from the pain meds. He is slowly improving though, it will just be a long road ahead before he is back to work and riding again. Please keep him in your prayers.

I start Actemra when I get back from vacation and am looking forward to it. I usually dread changing meds but I am anxious to see if I can feel any better than what I have endured this year. It may be the progression of the disease and if so ... I will have to accept that but you know me. I'm not giving in til I have no other options.

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Pneumonia In Summer

Perhaps I was looking forward to vacation a bit prematurely. As I posted about vacation, I was feeling a bit under the weather. At one point, I slept 35 hours out of a 40 hour stretch. When I finally got in to see my GP, I had what I was afraid of ... pneumonia. After a big ass shot of rocephin Thursday, a weeks worth of antibiotics and another big ass shot of rocphen Friday, I finally started feeling better. I was actually thankful to be back at work ... man, that's just messed up!

With all of this unnecessary comotion going on, you would think my RA would be content to take a back seat while someone else was driving. OH NO! My jackass friend RA, decided it wanted to share co-honors in the "let's screw T's week up" hijinx. The worst thing it that being on antibiotics, I couldn't take my mtx for at least another week so I had to hang on to the pain train for longer than I wanted.  

I am now, officially ready for vacation ... no more side shows please.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Vacation Is Getting Closer

For the first time this year I'm excited about riding. Donna and I are going to Colorado in August and it's close enough to feel it now. We are heading up to Salida where we have a gorgeous place rented for 3 days and nights. Donna is meeting some friends and they are going to a music festival headlined by Mumford and Sons. That frees me up to go ride where I want solo for 2 or maybe 3 days! I have a couple of abandoned bridges I want to find but mainly I'm just going to ride as long as my body will allow me. After the 3 days at Salida, we are stopping by Royal Gorge then heading up to Colorado Springs and go up Pikes Peak. 

I need to put a Dunlop 606 front tire on before going and replece my battery. Without a kick start on my bike, and the battery being over 2 years old, I don't want to take the chance way out in the middle of nowhere.

Sunday, June 14, 2015


It has been a dismal spring for me, I'm not complaining, just stating the facts. I lost a uncle, a good friend, continue to struggle with my RA and have a new job bid that I have 5 tests that I must pass to keep the job. Forgot to mention the flooding here also.

I always looked up to Uncle Jim. He played pro baseball for 18 years with 12 years in the majors. He was a switch hitter and right handed hit 117 home runs, 401 RBI with a .240 batting average. As a left hander he hit .270 with 11 home runs and 46 RBI. When I was young, he was larger than life to me. I remember watching him play on tv, then every winter getting to see him. Once he retired from ball, he moved back close and I would go spend the night at their house. As a matter of fact, on his farm is where I learned to ride a motorcycle. 

I'm switching meds next month and hoping that will bring me some relief. We are going to Colorado in September and I have to feel better for that trip. 

Friday, May 8, 2015

Update to May Update

The day after posting my previous post, May Update, I received a call from the lab at my rheumatologist. Rachel first asked if doc had talked to me about my lab results and I immediately start thinking the worst. I told her no and she went on to explain that my blood work shows abnormally high disease activity. They would like to do ultra sounds and then look at either adding or changing meds. 
I will see where this next adventure takes me ... hopefully it gets me back to feeling like riding again!   

Thursday, May 7, 2015

May Update

I can't tell you how many times this has happened, I know I'm not the only one this happens to ... I went in Wednesday for my 12 week rheumatologist visit. I felt surprisingly good for working 9 days in a row and after blood work, examination and talking with me told me I was doing very well for how long I have lived with RA plus my age.  When I woke up the next morning, both hands and all fingers were swollen and hurt severely. I went on to work that day but could not close either hand to make a fist. Friday was better, I could close my right hand up ... not the left though. It's just frustrating to go see the doctor on a good day when just before or immediately after flare up.

I guess overall I'm doing okay but having a lot of little problems. I am starting to think of changing meds again and hope for the best. I hate changing meds but I also hate thinking that this is the best I am going to be for the rest of my life. Of course that could be a short time ... I might get hit by a train on my way to work tomorrow. Bwahaha, sorry ... couldn't help it. 

I have had some balance issues while on my bike and it has me sort of gun shy for the time being. I actually dropped my bike at a stop sign in a one horse town late last year and strained and strained trying to pick it up, to no avail. Just as I was about ready to give it up a young guy pulls up (seriously the only vehicle I saw in the town up to now) and he jumps out to help me pick my bike up. As we are both straining he looks at me and says, "damn! this thing's heavy".  I thanked him and pushed it off the side of the street when lo and behold a police car drives by slow looking at me. Had we been slower or he faster, I would have likely been issued a ticket. A fellow ADV rider dropped his bike last year (while in Oklahoma - where I was at the time of this story) and a police car pulls up so he thought he was going to help him pick his bike up. Instead he writes him a failure to maintain control ticket, gets in his car and leaves him with his bike still on its side in the road. True story.  Anyway, I'm not selling my bikes, but you know it's pretty bad if I have only rode 3-4 times all year.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

RA Inspired Tattoos

My jackass friend RA has been treating me a little better since it has warmed up this spring. I finally got started walking again everyday and have been doing a light workout with weights three days a week. It's not much of a workout but it feels good to feel like doing something again. It does NOT feel good to be mowing and weed eating again. The only part of winter that I like is not having to mow! It's funny how life thumbs it's nose at you, I had wanted a large yard for years. Then a mere four years after we built our house on three acres, I was diagnosed. Mowing has been a love/hate thing ever since. 

Our sweet little dog Misty, is 17 now and somedays it's hard to tell which one of us is moving slower. She has arthritis and despite that and her age, she still insists on making every step I do around the house. She has outlived two rescue dogs that we took in and still loves to aggravate the cat. She is always so excited to see me when I come home from work. If I find a girl that pees in the floor every time every time she sees me walk in the door, I'll marry her. 

Healthline has a cool slideshow about RA inspired tattoos that you can check out here:  Along with photos, there is a brief description about each tattoo. If any of you have an RA inspired tattoo, Healthline is accepting submissions to add to their slideshow. There is a link on the first page of the slideshow if you are interested in participating. I myself am too big of a chicken to have a tattoo. Yep, don't like needles ... not gonna happen.

I got out early today on a solo ride down to Booneville. I had located (through tons of research and google maps) the old Rock Island train depot. It partially burned around 2000 but what was saved of it still sits there. I will have photos of it on my next post. The train tracks were pulled up in the 1980's but you could see where they once lay. I would love to take the drone up for an aerial view to see if you could follow the old train bed out of town. However it sits right next to the US Post Office and as paranoid as everyone is about drones, I could see it turning ugly quick trying to fly there. 

In looking back at the past, I am proud of what I got to do before being diagnosed. By looking at what I once did, compared to what I can do now, drives me to do all that I can today. I don't want to look back five years down the road and wish I would have done this or that while I could still do it. Those of you who have your youth and health, the world is yours ... go enjoy every minute of it. I was once like you and never thought anything would happen. It does, trust me, so live and enjoy life every day. We know not what tomorrow brings.
Accidental drone selfie while flying at an abandoned bridge.
Little dawg asleep styling in her new sweater.
Throwback racing photos: me picking up an overall trophy at John Zink.
Husky 430 racing a hare scramble.
Never liked being this out of control while racing but it made a good picture.