Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Checked Up Then Checked Out

I spent 3 hours at the rheumatologist Monday morning.  In addition to all of my normal blood work, I had my vitamin D level checked, a TB test and did a bone density scan.  My vitamin D level was 22 with the normal range for vitamin D being from 30-80.  Doc said this could explain part of my pain and fatigue I have been experiencing lately.  He put me on a prescription vitamin D that is 50,000 iu taken once a week.  My bone density results look good with improvement over the last scan 2 years ago.  This is good since I ride a lot.  Don't need flimsy bones out there riding a motorcycle!  As bad as I have felt over the late part of winter and spring so far, I am feeling equally good right now.  In fact I feel good enough that I have started working out again and have even started losing a little weight to boot.  Doc left it at this, "I am going to leave your meds alone for now since you are feeling better.  I have seen several that have been hurting more this spring due to the drastic temperature swings we have had this year.  We will check your D level in 6 weeks.  If you start hurting call and we will get you in, other wise I will see you in 4 months".

The temperature swings this spring that doc was referring to have been borderline crazy/violent. They have triggered several tornadoes as well as many small RA flares for me.  It was in the 80's the past 3 days but will dip back down into the 30's Thursday and Friday.  Hopefully my RA won't notice it.

I didn't feel up to riding last week on my days off but I made up for it this week riding 2 of my 3 days off this week.  I had planned to ride today also but am fatigued beyond belief right now.  Not hurting from it, just simply run down.  I have included some photos of some of the places we rode through this week.  This is my therapy, I hope you can see why I like riding the road less traveled.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

New Husqvarna

I brought my new Husqvarna home yesterday.  As much as I would like to have one of the new Husky 650's, it is in fact a 54 inch zero turn mower.  Still, it is good to have another Husky in the garage again. I have owned 3 in the past but this is my first Husqvarna mower.

Last Monday, we met at my house and left with the temperature at 68ยบ.  We had a tentative route planned but are always open to whatever looks good as we are riding.  Once out of town, we headed out a windy, narrow two lane asphalt road that woke up both the bikes and the riders.  Soon our asphalt came to an end and we grinned with great anticipation ... we were riding new stuff to us.  To those who don't ride, riding new stuff is kinda like Christmas.  Sometimes you get a iPad, sometimes you get underwear.  Not that new, clean underwear hasn't come in handy before ... especially the way we ride.
Soon we were riding in a gorgeous valley with a good sized creek running parallel with the road for a good mile or longer.  We rode over the tops of some mountains that allowed you to see for what seemed like forever (remember that - it's clear and sunny at this moment).  This went on for the next 20 miles, riding through some back woods, beautiful country with pure shacks that people were living in.  I jokingly told Randall, "if I break down out here, I will walk out.  I'm not walking up on the porch of some of these houses.  I've seen Deliverance".  Randall agreed.  We rode through a picturesque little town complete with a white church and tall steeple on it before climbing back up to scenic highway 71.  We stopped at the overlook for Lake Fort Smith and it was good to see the water level rising after the spring rains we have had.  Next we headed out for our next leg of the ride ... 22 more new miles of forest road to both of us.  It was so thrilling to be riding new (parts of it rough and rugged) scenery, I got so wrapped up in the ride, I forgot to stop to take any photos on the new stuff.  We only got lost twice, so for the first time riding off of someone else's directions, that's not too bad.
Overlook at Lake Fort Smith.
Randall at overlook.
Forest road just past Shores Lake.
Low water bridge on part of the new stuff we rode.
Oark Cafe, some fine dining.
Fog, rain and chilly temps.  By the time we got back home it was 72.  Crazy day.
We worked in a stop at Oark, one of our favorite places to eat and I noticed what I thought was fog on the top of the mountains to our east.  After eating and getting back on the bikes some 40 minutes later, there was a light drizzle falling.  A few miles up the asphalt toward the mountains, it turned to rain and heavy fog.  Hard banked and off camber turns in the mountains on wet asphalt with knobby tires is a little unnerving for me.  I slowed to 35mph through the turns and still didn't feel comfortable.  I sure was glad to see the dirt road we were looking for.  Once on dirt, we topped the mountains and as we dropped off of the back side came back out of the fog and rain.  From there on it was pretty much an uneventful 60 miles back home.  Except for the Arkansas River bridge at Ozark, just a cool old bridge.

Feeling some better now that the temps have warmed up and are somewhat stabilizing.  Had a lot of hand pain after this 215 mile ride.  I used my grip heaters part of the day but I suspect I turned them on too late to help much, my hands were already cold by the time I remembered to turn them on.   Going back to my rheumatologist next week and will talk to him about my pain and see what he feels about switching meds.  I really am feeling better now and hate to jump the gun on the meds.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013


Little did we know that, as we passed through the small town of Sallisaw on our last ride (Stupid RA posted on 3-19), that 11 days later a tornado would follow part of where we were riding. 

The storm first dropped by Muskogee, OK.  The area was severe and tornado warned.  At 9:35pm, three miles west of Fort Gibson, a tornado was confirmed with damage to a farm and equipment and roof damage to a home.  It tracked on SE toward our house so we were watching the storm. 

Above is some amazing night tornado video footage shot by Danny Mattox from the storm at Sallisaw, OK about 11:15PM on March 30, 2013. The storm was severe warned, but not tornado warned. Thankfully no one was injured, however some barns were destroyed and one home received significant damage.

By the time the storm passed over our house, it was reduced to high winds and pea size hail.  You can see from the video, shot from our front porch, below how much lightning the storm contained.

Just for the recored, my RA was maxed out as the barometer was in the low 29's during the storms.