Thursday, September 29, 2011

2 Days And 400 Miles With RA

Tuesday morning Randall and I drove the bikes out to Highway 23 to unload, just can't get excited about riding on Interstate for 60 miles.  It was 50 degrees and the first hour of the ride, at 65 mph, your face isn't numb from the cold, you just wished it was.  That would soon change and before long we were pulling clothes off faster than a $2 hooker.  About 5 hours into the ride we were officially lost (it's not a real ride until you're lost) but soon we found our way out to where we needed to be.  Okay, it was more like blind luck, but we accidently stumbled onto the forest road we were looking for.  
We rode up to Bull Shoals and took the ferry across the lake.  Once on the other side of the lake we rode up into Missouri.  On the way back Wednesday morning, I ran out of gas topping a hill and pulled to the side of the road.  I laid my bike all of the way down to let what little gas on the right side of the tank over to the left side where the petcock is.  Randall did the same even though he was not out yet.  I had enough gas to make it, at most, 2 miles.  I got my bike started and we took off and ... we were one tenth of a mile from a gas station.  On the way back we tracked down an old fire tower the US Forest Service no longer uses.  It was a brutal climb up the mountain since they no longer keep the road up after closing the tower.  The steep, rocky, rutted out climb to the tower was also one of the highlights of the trip for me.
Most of us with RA tend to overdo it when we feel good.   I usually always pay for overdoing it, as I am now, but I am also smiling.  While my RA was not a problem child on the trip, by the time we got to the hotel room at the end of the first day, I could barely walk.  We had left at 8:30 am, stopped to eat breakfast, again to fill up with gas and a third time to check the maps while we were lost, and arrived at the hotel at 7:15 pm.  That means a solid 9 to 10 hours on the bikes. My hands, hips, knees and right shoulder were all hurting pretty bad along with my feet.  But I am not one to just sit back and let this disease tell me what I can and can't do.  
It is hard for me to give up things, RA has forced me to give up so much already, but I am coming to the conclusion that I may have to sell my KTM soon.  It is absolutely awesome, light weight, great handling, superior suspension and just tons of raw horsepower but it also has a lot of vibration and a seat height that prevents me from being able to get on or off without finding an elevated step or someplace to lean the handlebar against while I get on and off of it.  I hate to admit it but I am thinking of a KLR650 or maybe a XR650 with lowering links.  I'm bummed even thinking about it but I will keep on riding something.

Hope you enjoy some of the photos from the ride.
At 65 mph, the camera doesn't focus very well
 Old school house in a small community we rode through
 You know me, I love iron truss bridges
 Riding next to bluffs on Big Piney Creek
 More bluffs on Big Piney Creek
 And yet, more bluffs on Big Piney Creek
 Abandoned rock building in Deer, Arkansas
 Bluffs along the Buffalo National River
 Our bikes riding the ferry across Bull Shoals Lake
 One lake, one ferry and 4 moron's shadows
 Just outside the restaurant where we ate breakfast Wednesday
 Train trestle just outside of Yellville
 Possibly the worlds smallest post office
 Forest road somewhere between point A and B
 An endangered species ... the wooden barn
 10 miles into the ride, still had happy butts (not hurting yet)
  100 miles south of us everything was so green and lush
  Made a pit stop to pull some clothes off after it warmed up
Not often you see a bear warning sign in Arkansas.
Okay, this is the first one I've ever seen.  I've seen 
several bear, just not a bear warning sign before.


Lizzie said...

Terry, Was great seeing the country I am sure you enjoyed every minute of it! Yes you play you have to pay with RA. When I feel good I also have a tendency to over do. You cannot give up everything just because you have RA I paid last week, In all I have no regrets it would have flared probably anyway. Thanks so much for sharing your Ride with us. Hope you get to Ride again soon.
Your Friend ~ Lizzie

tharr said...

We had a great time. The weather was perfect, cool in the morning but if anything just a tad bit too warm in the afternoon.
You are right, we have to continue to play. I overdo it a lot but can probably count on one hand the times I have regretted pushing myself too hard. I will continue to ride, if the day comes that it is too hard on me to ride the KTM, you can bet that I'll have something else to ride.

Cathy said...

Somedays doing what you love is worth the RA risk. RA pain from overdoing it is so much better than pain without any memories to keep you going. Glad you had fun!I always love reading your posts.

Lana said...

I loved the ferry bridge and the train trestle! I bet you got all excited about the bear sign – I know you secretly want to wrestle with a bear. :-) You are such a dare devil that you waited until you were out of gas to do anything about it – I think you enjoy the taking it above the limit routine. It is your high. :-) I can actually see your wife rolling her eyes as you tell her about the gas and the bear sign.

I know what you mean about not letting RA win. I am in the same place where you are where I keep going even though I know I am going to pay or it hurts. I have a tendency to take on more than I can handle and the stress adds up in addition to the pain. Besides, I don’t see you giving up that bike anytime soon.

tharr said...

Cathy, so good to hear from you. I agree with you, for me it's worth it about 90% of the time. I don't mind hurting nearly as bad if I know I am responsible for it and had a good time. We already have another 2-3 day ride planned.

Hey Lana, the ferry was pretty cool, first one I have ever been on. The train trestle was tall! I saw it on the way up to the ferry and thought I could find it on the way back to take some pictures. I have rode up on several bear, so far I have not had to wrestle one yet. Donna has heard many bear stories but she laughed really hard about me nearly running out of gas.

We have to keep on going, it's not that we like the pain, this is just who we are now. I push myself but try to avoid stress, it is not good for us. I am going to give it another six months or so but I am afraid I will have to let the KTM go for something to ride that is a little easier on my RA. I still don't want to think about it yet.

mary said...

Looks like you had a great trip. I honestly don't know how you wrestle that bike over those trails. Your right, RA does make us give up so many things. It seems to make the things we can still do so much sweeter. The pain after doing something we love seems just a little less when we can look back and remember the great time we had.
All the pictures are great but I really like the wooden barn and the train trestle.
Hope you can get out riding again soon.

tharr said...

Hey Mary, as far as the bike goes, it's just what I'm used to. Amazing what you can get used to ... like living with RA. You're right, I know that what I did wasn't as big of a triumph as your century (I'm still jealous over that one) but I bet I'm almost as proud as you were though. I'm hurting today moderately, but not complaining for a second. It was unreal how tall that trestle was, I had to stop and get some photos of it. Have another long ride in the works, maybe before it turns too cold for me to get out. Hope you're doing alright. I trust you are recovered after your bicycle ride?

PChad said...

Terry... Love it... So glad to see someone so active and living life to the fullest even though you have RA. You are an inspiration to everyone! Keep it up BRO!

tharr said...

Chad, thanks for the awesome comment. Sounds like you aren't one to sit back either, an hour and a half workout, now thats impressive. Keep it up, we'll kick RA's butt one day at a time!

mary said...

Terry, I was telling a photography friend about your train trestle picture. This may be a stupid question but is it still in use today? I thought not but he asked and I couldn't tell him for sure.

tharr said...

Mary, as far as I know the train trestle is in fact still in use. The tracks run parallel to the highway for about 3 miles then cross the highway. I could not locate any online ... scratch that, I did just find this about it:

According to this link, it is still in use.

deb aka murphthsurf said...

Loved the ride! And the photos :-) I am like you...anything to keep on keeping on. If I have to modify to keep doing what I love then so be it. I am not sure about the differences in bikes but just so long as it takes you to such great places, to me that is all that matters. And don't forget to bring the camera :-) I soooo appreciate the pictures too!

tharr said...

Thanks Deb. I did "okay" enough that I want to do more overnight rides in the future. However I'm afraid I will have to settle for a bike that is a little easier on my RA. The extra weight absorbs most of the vibration. I will continue to do research on true dual sport bikes and weigh the options carefully before I do something I will regret later. But if it keeps me riding with less pain, it can't be entirely bad.

BTW, my camera committed suicide on this trip. Time for a new camera ... again!