Thursday, September 15, 2011

Good Times

I picked up a new battery Monday morning, after Sundays ride. After addling the electrolyte in the battery and installing and hooking all of the cables and wires up ... it was time to go to work. Monday at work drug by, but finally my 8 hour sentence was paid in full and I was allowed to go free, only temporarily though. 
I awoke Tuesday morning and after a quick shower, dashed out the door and pointed my truck toward the woods. Yep, I was riding for the second day out of three. I met Randall at the edge of the forest and we lit the big beasts up and aimed them south. We rode some new fire road that was grown over with knee deep grass, just barely leaving 2 tire tracks visible at times. We were running this stuff fairly fast, 3rd and 4th gear, when we come to a large tree down across the makeshift road. It was too large to jump the bikes over so we made our way around it out through the woods. While I am not overly scared of snakes, I kept my eyes focused squarely in front of my bike and tractored through the lush under growth with precession and balance. I was extremely relieved to make it back out to the fire road. If there was ever a place considered to be a snake magnet, we just rode through the middle of it!
After another hour or so of riding, we stopped in at the Haws Creek store. We had a burger and parted ways. While visiting with the lady running the store, she informed us that the mountain lions now have cubs and to be extremely careful around where she lives. She said that while both the Arkansas and Oklahoma Wildlife Departments told her there are absolutely no mountain lions in this area, they will not even come out to investigate it. In the meantime she said that neighbors have lost pets (a large older Tom Cat found dead and a dog missing) and there have been farm animals mutilated (2 goats and a calf). Their explanation is that its a bear and she has most likely been seeing a bob cat. Come on, a bob cat and a mountain lion are not any where close to resembling each other. One thing's for sure ... it sure kept my mind off of arthritis during my solo ride back through the woods.
Once back, I had to go pay up another 8 hour sentence. Boy, work sure does get in the way of having a good time! Randall and I are going to do a 2 or 3 day ride the last week of this month. Hopefully I will have some good pictures soon for you to check out. It's been great having my RA behave for the last 6 days ... I hope it continues.

21 comments:

deb aka murphthesurf said...

It is wonderful to read of your pain free or pain less ra days! And even better is that your love for biking is back not just in your heart but literally in your face :-) And oh yeah, stop by my area. We have spotted two different snakes crossing our driveway. Ugh!! I forgot about the wonders of nature.

Tammy @ The Stitching Coop said...

I know we should not envy or covet but dang if I don't envy your good days. You be careful out there in the playground. Strangely we are hearing of many more animal attacks over the last couple of years. More than usual in my opinion. It's sound like your enjoying every ounce of energy your body is giving... take another round for me will ya? Have a blast. Hugs. Tammy

Wren said...

Sounds like you had a great time, Terry! And SO nice that your RA stayed in the background so you could enjoy yourself. That longer ride you've got planned in a couple of weeks should be just awesome.

Snakes in the grass, lions on the trails... We have mountain lions living in this part of the country, near Mom's house where I'm staying. And up in the mountains near my house they're sighted now and then, too. When I was working for the newspaper we did the occasional story of sightings, along with what to do if you encounter one. First, it's rare that you'll see one during the day, as they hunt far more often at night. Momma cats ARE more dangerous, though, at any time. But while you're on your bike, with the noise it makes rest assured that the cat has put a big distance between the two of you. If you're on foot and you encounter one, wave your arms--it makes you look bigger and less like prey. Shout and stomp. DON'T RUN--running cues any predator to chase. If you're close enough to look into the cat's eyes, DON'T. Wild animals see direct eye contact as aggression, which can also cue an attack. Look at the animal's feet or to one side.
I know--you didn't ask for directions, but I've written those words SO many times over the years. Chances are you'll never see a mountain lion--they're very shy creatures.
And finally--it's more likely that it was dogs that killed and mutilated the goats and the calf. Cougars don't kill for sport, and if they do kill, they'll drag it away and conceal it for later consumption, not leave it. And they kill one at a time.
I hope this finds you still feeling great, Terry. Hugs...

Lana said...

Work does get in the way of a lot of things, Terry. And no matter how much or how hard you work, it feels like you are barely getting by. Maybe, there is less risky route you can take so that you can ride without fear of bears and mountain lions. Enjoy your upcoming ride and be sure to drop by with pictures. Take care and I have your RA continues to remain kind. Mine hasn’t been too friendly with the rainy weather we have been having.

tharr said...

Deb, not pain free but very tolerable pain levels right now. I know it won't last long, winters will be here soon and thats my worst season for living with RA. What kind of snakes were they? We have a rather large rat snake living on or close to our property. We see him every once in a while, very harmless and we don't have mice or rats.

Tammy, I have had a rough year, but man it sure is great right now. I really don't think we have any worries riding, pretty sure the noise of the bikes would scare the mountain lions away from us. We have rode up on bear before and they scatter quickly. I will enjoy some of our big ride for you. I'll let you know if you had fun or not!

tharr said...

Wren, I can't wait to get some time off and do a longer ride.

I was thinking of you after hearing this, I thought you had big cats out where you live. The lady said that the three sightings she has had were all in the evening just before sundown. I thought the bikes would more than likely drive them away. Thanks, this is good advice, I didn't know about the eye contact thing.

The reason they think it is the mountain lion doing the killing is that the head of the cat was bitten off and the body was left in the yard and all of the farm animals were intact with claw marks on them ... and their stomachs had been eaten, nothing else.

Hello Lana, there are other trails to ride but I really don't think we have to worry about the big cats while riding. Our bikes are not obnoxiously loud but do put off their fair amount of noise. (You can put that on my headstone - he didn't think he had to worry about mountain lions. lol ) I can't wait for our long ride, I'm planning on taking a ton of pictures plus I'm taking the helmet cam as well. Hope you get to feeling better soon, we are supposed to get rain and storms over the next 5 days. It's so dry, we need the rain desperately.

Lana said...

I am at work and I cracked up at the headstone comment so bad everyone that I was insane. When asked what was going on, I said, "funny comment in my email." (I am a lier). Please stay away from the loins, tigers, and bears.

tharr said...

Haha. I'm glad you got to laugh, even if your sanity is suspect now with your co-workers. At least you weren't drinking Dr Pepper at the time, Dr Pepper spewed through the nose burns ... don't ask how I know.

mary said...

I am so glad you are feeling better and enjoying your riding. Much better than last fall when you had so much trouble RA and bike wise. Hope you are able to get many great fall rides in before the weather turns. A mountain lion sighting might be cool from a very long distance away but I think you're right when you say that the bikes will scare them away.

My long bike ride is scheduled for next weekend. Not sure I will make it this year. The RA is acting up a bit and I have been diagnosed with a new and not so wonderful neurological condition. Some years it just isn’t in the cards. I am still hopeful and if the weather is good I will probably give it a try. Nothing ventured eh.

tharr said...

Hell Mary, thank you and yes it is much better than last fall. Between the Orencia not working, switching meds and bike problems ... it was a bad time. I am planning on riding as much as I can this fall to try to make up for it. The temps have finally broke and it is thundering heavily right now. WE need rain bad here.

I'm so sorry to read that you have another problem (like RA isn't enough by itself). I bet you will make your ride though, don't ever doubt your inner strength. People at work sometimes give me a hard time telling me if I wouldn't push myself so much I wouldn't hurt as bad (like they are suddenly experts in rheumatology). These are the same healthy people who sit around all weekend drinking beer and watching football. NOthing against football, but I'd rather be doing something. Besides, staying active helps us. Good luck on your ride!

mary said...

Thanks for the encouragement Terry. I needed that big time. I had a better day today and am a bit more hopeful for Saturday. If the neuro thing stays quiet, I may just make it. I tend to lose my balance and have problems with my vision and hearing when it acts up. My poor neighbors must think I have been hitting the bottle lately.

I agree that it is way better to be out and about than sitting in front of the TV on a Sunday afternoon in the fall. In my opinion the best outdoor weather is in the fall.

Many wonderful pain free rides to you and stay safe.

tharr said...

Mary, I just read your last comment and then saw my comment to your first one. I have no idea where the "Hell" came from, I promise you I did not type that. Maybe I should go back and read all of my comments after a day or two. I hope this did not offend anyone, it's not even in the same font!
You hang tough Mary, I know you will make it! I have balance issues some days, it can be a distraction from normal daily activities when you are just focused on not falling.

Anonymous said...

Terry
Living in central New York I kind of envy the open spaces that you visit, but after living in the Mojave I didn't take advantage of it then and returned to the eastern mountains. I actually used the 4wd today to go out to some state land and sight in the guns for the hunting season. The only bad thing here is deer ticks, so it's not so bad as out west. It has been a very challenging year for me, but next month I may get off the orencia and go for the Actemra or Rituxan. I feel good that I got into the woods, much like you with your riding, so at least I can say I got out and did something.
It is always good to hear of your accomplishments, keep it up. Many happy rides my friend.
Phil - Syracuse

tharr said...

Hey Phil, glad you got out and enjoyed yourself (despite the deer ticks) today. I know someone who just took her first Rituxan treatment last week. Good luck with which ever one you go with. Getting ready for a little hunting this fall sounds like, good luck with that as well.

Anonymous said...

Terry
Forgot to tell you about my fishing trip. So we get to the marina and I get to help my buddy play with the 3 cyl 2 stroke outboard after he rebuilt the fuel pump. You know the deal, stick a plug in the wire and hold it to ground to get a fat spark on #1, ok on #2 and while sitting on the back of the boat I am holding on to one really bad spark plug wire, enough to nearly bounce me right into the drink. Wow is all I can say, my R.A. worries completely left me for a moment. I am hopeful to get out into the fall woods after whitetail, but like riding, it is always a challenge.
We had a beautiful fall day here and the students had thier annual fall party. It's always good to watch the kids having fun. Enjoy the Fall.

Phil

tharr said...

Oh man Phil! i That hurts.....isn't deadly, but boy does it get your attention! I got hit once while working on my old Ford F100. My right arm was tingling and then went numb for quit a while. That would make you forget about anything for a while! Hang in there buddy, you will get some time in this fall. RA has shown us we have strength that we never knew we had. Good luck in the woods this fall.

mary said...

Terry,
I wanted to let you know that I did indeed do the ride and I felt so good I did the century. I averaged 15 mph. That's really good for me. I'm not very fast anymore. I guess the Enbrel kicked in and the mtx shots split from once to twice a week are working (the tail wind didn’t hurt my efforts either). What a crazy disease. Even after all these years I don't understand how one day you feel like you can't possibly get off the couch because of pain and pure exhaustion and a few days later you have a great almost pain free day. I’m paying a little today for my fun yesterday but it was worth every pain killer I have to take. You know the feeling, the one you get when you get to do something you never thought you would be able to do again. Fantastic.
Hope your weather hold late into the season and you get to do the rides you have planned.

Anonymous said...

Mary
You are awesome. I have not been able to do even 30 miles in the last ten years or so. I so wish that I could even contempalate a century and with RA to boot.
Great work.

Phil-Syracuse

tharr said...

Mary, this is great, I am so happy for you! I don't know how you ride long distances with RA but keep it up. I'm leaving Monday morning on a 3 day off road ride, but when I get back you have inspired me to dig my mountain bike out and go riding.

You are so correct, I ask myself the same thing, how can I barely move one day and the next day I can ride 200+ miles. It is a crazy disease.

Phil, Mary is awesome. I used to ride a couple of centuries a year but that was only with OA, no way could I even think about a century now. She is tough, I can tell you that much!

mary said...

Thanks Phil and Terry,
This is a ride for MS which is really kind of important to me so I try to do it each year. They have rest stops every 15 miles or so and that helps. Generally 20 miles on a bike and I'm done but I think there is something special about this ride and I usually can rise to the occassion. There have been some years that I have not been able to ride and frankly I thought that century ship had sailed long ago. I crossed that finish line and just thought "I am one lucky girl!!" If I am never able to do the ride again I will be ok with it because I got one last century in. This week after that ride has involved many pain meds, wrist splints and rest but that is ok with me.
Terry, be careful on that mountain bike. I can't ride off road because of the jarring to my wrist and elbows. I guess you can handle that pain since you ride the cycle off road. Hope your 3 day trip went well.
We do what we can and every once in a while we get a nice suprise and boy is it sweet.

mary said...

Oh and I'm not ashamed to admit I kissed that century patch before I put it on my fridge. One lucky girl indeed.