Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Survival Run

Yesterday was one of those crazy days.  It started as soon as I woke up at 7:30.  I was supposed to meet Race and Randall to go riding at 9:30.  A quick look outside and we had heavy fog and the temperature had dropped down lower than what was predicted.  At 8:00, Randall called and we talked about riding.  We decided to meet at 11:00 instead.
At 11:00 the sun was out and the temperature was approaching 50, so we headed out.  We rode across Poteau Mountain to US Highway 71.  After a short patch of asphalt, we plant our knobbies back on dirt.  We rode over to Blue Mountain Lake and took some pictures up by the dam.  It was a beautiful day, by now it was probably close to 60.  We head out and found an old abandoned iron truss bridge that I had been looking for.  We stopped and took some pictures for my other blog, now run up to the store and get some gas and a coke.  All was going well so far today ... that is about to change.  We arrive at the store only to discover that they are out of gas.  Randall and I look at each other ... we don't have to say anything, we are thinking the same thing.  We don't really have enough gas to make it back and there are NO other gas stops on our loop we are riding.  To say we were out in the sticks is an insult to most sticks, the sticks don't even want to be as far out as we were today.  After drinking a coke, we head out, our plans of a 200+ mile ride have been scapped ... now our ride has turned into a survival run.  
We light the 525's up and point them north all the while keeping an eye on both sides of the road for a hidden store that has gas.  Deep down, we knew there wasn't one.  We rode this loop about a year ago, but were hoping a new little store might have popped up since we were last through.  No such luck.  

Ok, it's time to get the maps out and figure the shortest route back to help with the fuel situation.  Bad news, again Randall and I knew ... just hoping we had missed or forgot an alternate road.  After looking at the map, we have a long way and a longer way back to the trucks.  We opt for the long way over the longer way and are scooting back at a fast pace when Randall pulls over and says, "you want to ride some trail back in?"  So, to make a long story short, Race runs out of gas first.  We catch up to him stranded on the side of the road (yes, we are back off of the trail onto a dirt road now).  We transfer some gas over to his bike and he lights it up and we are off.  We have 11 miles to go by now and there's no way we're all 3 making it back on the fuel we have left in all 3 of our tanks.  Randall and Race head out at a blistering pace while I have slowed down, now feeling the effects of 160 miles of riding.  I fully expect to see one or both of them on my way back in, but they both made it.  I stop and talk with them for a moment and head off to my truck which is parked another 2 miles from where they unoladed at.  I coasted most of the way since I was parked at the bottom of the mountain and made it with 1/2 inch of gas in the bottom of my tank.  I arrive at my truck logging 171 miles today, I could have made it, at most, another 3-5 miles on gas.

As I sit here writing this today, I feel incredibly good for what I put myself through yesterday.  Warm weather, found an old bridge, thumbed my nose at RA again, but best of all, I had a great time with 2 of my best friends.  You can't put a price on that.


Leslie said...

Awesome! Glad you guys didn't get stranded and have to walk! Love the bridge :)

Living It, Loving It said...

That is bridge is awesome. A bit scary, though.

Nearly getting stranded - well, at least you made it. And it sounds like you had fun. Next time you should probably carry some gas along. Hope you are not feeling the affects of that survival run/race/suicial mission. :)

tharr said...

Leslie, we had a great day even though we had to change our original plans, plus we made it back ... barely.

I love old iron truss bridges and have recently started a blog about ones in our area. This one was built in 1906 and has been closed to traffic since 1998.

tharr said...

Lana, it is a little bit like a grown ups easter egg hunt. I knew the approximate location, but when we actually rode up on it yesterday, it was so cool.

Feeling good today plus I have an infusion later this afternoon.

BattyBeader said...

I have one comment. You guys are CRAZY!
Now, the rest of my comments :-)
...You are such a strong man, who shows us all who follow your blog, how to have fun even through the adversity of RA. You defy it daily and trudge through on the hard days. All of which come with humor for your readers.
Keep rockin' the dirt, Tharr!

Anonymous said...

Now THAT's an adventure. It had all the right ingredients: Decent weather after facing a possible cancellation, some great riding, a big surprise, a little business (the bridge photos), some serious suspense. But most of all, a lot of fun. And no rain! What a hoot, Terry! And you DID it! Everyone made it home in one piece, tired but happy.

I'm delighted for you. It's great when we can just do the things we love in spite of the obstacles. I hope you're feeling good today, but if not,I bet you're feeling that the price for that great day out in the open air was well worth it.

I'm smiling for you.

tharr said...

Hey Arlene, like we haven't heard that one before!

Thank you for the compliment. I still have my bad days like anyone else with RA, but on my good days, I'm put RA in the back seat and taking it for a ride.

I am going to keep riding, hopefully till I die.

tharr said...

Wren, it's part of what makes riding fun. We did accomplish most of what we set out to do, just not enough gas to finish what we had in mind.

Not feeling bad at all, this afternoon I have an Orencia infusion, so I will be feeling good for the next 2 weeks anyway. It was definitely worth getting out for yesterday.

Laurie Grassi said...

Sounds like a great time! Cutting-it-close-crazy-great time, but great nonetheless! :) Laurie

tharr said...

Laurie, it was a great time. Even if we had ran out of gas, a bad day riding beats a good day at work. Just as long as a bad day doesn't include a trip to the ER!!

Cathy said...

Oh well, it gives you a good story, right? It sounds like a great time. Glad you are feeling good. We have to take full advantage of the good days.

tharr said...

Cathy, one of my favorite sayings is "Bad Decisions Make Good Stories". How true, but we did have a good time. You always remember the times that you had trouble or that turned into an adventure.