Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Crossroads


I once again find myself at a familiar place with RA. I have been struggling with it for the past 6 to 7 months. I had a lengthy visit with my rheumatologist Monday complete with extra blood work. After examining my shoulder and hands he said inflammation doesn't look that bad and asked if I could get up on the examination table. I got up and walked over and stepped up to get on the table and he said, "you aren't moving well at all!" He also said that he was sure we could get me back to moving and feeling better. I go back in 10 weeks, if I'm not showing signs of improvement, I will be switching medicines again. It appears I may be going with Cimzia next. He gave me literature on it and I will do some research on it online as well before going back.

I just have to get better. I'm having 1 to 2 good days for every 5 to 6 bad days; I just can't go on like this. It's frustrating when you want to go do things but you just don't have the strength or the drive to do it. Fatigue is really been hitting me hard. I wake up every morning  just as tired as when I went to bed the night before. I even have to force myself to go riding lately, and you know how much I love to ride.

I'm not whining, nor I don't want anyone’s sympathy. I just want everyone to understand that, even though I don't complain much about RA, that it is a very real part of my life. I have had comments made in the past that I don't really have RA or I couldn't go ride motorcycles like I do. The bottom line is I hurt every day, but I still get up and push myself to go to work, mow the yard and yes ... lately even to ride my motorcycles.

Perhaps I will feel up to riding next week. Anyone who knows me knows I'm hurting pretty bad when I don't feel like riding at least one of my days off. I have been doing some research on fire towers in our area and may try to hunt some up to photograph this fall. I can remember climbing a couple of them with my dad while out hunting years ago. I remember finding one, just out for a weekend drive with him, back down towards Russellville (I believe) and it was so tall that I chickened out on going to the top of that one. I only made it a little over halfway up on that one. Haha, the things you remember later in life.

Below is the Rich Mountain fire tower that we stopped at last fall on a ride. You can climb it a couple of days a week, but the day we were there it was locked up.


Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Silver Bridge Ride


It was going to be a hot day so we decided to start early to help beat the heat. It was a balmy 80 degrees at 6:45 a.m. but it was partially overcast. I rode out some 40 miles and met Tony at Silver Bridge in Mulberry, Arkansas. It is a beautiful three span through truss bridge that was built in 1912. It was full on hot by the time we met at 8:00 a.m..  We took photos and walked around, across and under the bridge before heading out. 
Just up the road about a mile sat an abandoned house on top of a clearing that overlooked a valley and several mountains in the background. It struck me as such a beautiful place (I love photographing old abandoned places) that I turned around and went back to shoot the old home place. 
First panarama pic I've ever shot. Silver Bridge
Silver Bridge over the Mulberry River.
Abandoned house I turned around and went back to shoot.
Tried to get Tony to cross here but he didn't trust my judgement.
The old Boy Scout camp.
The appropriately named Long Bridge.
Inside the Oark Cafe.
Breakfast ... and no, I couldn't eat all of it!
What my knee sees.
Shores Lake Bridge. Closed for business...
... for a hole in the bridge.
It felt 10 degrees (maybe more) cooler when we rode into this.
My KLR parked road side while I shot some pictures.
We next headed for an old swimming hole/party spot. I was riding with someone who grew up here so I was getting the inside on places that I never would have seen. The water was too high and rolling fast to cross here today but we found plenty more to do. Next we stopped at the old Boy Scout Camp down on the river. By now we were hungry so we rode over to Oark and ate breakfast. As we were leaving we ran into two riders from KC and talked with them a good while. I've said it before but I'll say it again, I love riding, no doubt, but I also really enjoy meeting and talking with people out on rides. I truly believe 95% of the people out there are good people away from jobs, stress and money problems. We headed to Shores Lake next but 1 mile from the lake, the bridge was closed. No problem, we rode over the rocks at one end but they were too close to the guard rail on the far end for my 650. Tony squeezed through and we parted ways leaving me to take the long way back home.
Pulled back in to the house with 203 miles but it was seriously hot out there by this time. My RA griped and grumbled all evening and night but I feel better this morning. I finally have decided which exhaust I am going with and the company has gone bankrupt. Supposedly it has been bought but I can't get in touch with anyone that can tell me if I can still get a X3 exhaust or not. Just my luck.

Monday, June 2, 2014

What You Missed This Weekend


My first week back to work from vacation was not kind to me. My feet, which have serious damage due to RA, hardly hurt during my vacation time. The first day back I laced up the mandatory steel toes and within 4 hours me feet were begging for mercy ... only 8 hours in the shift to go! I had also grown used to taking a short nap around 2:30 in the afternoon but I made it fine at work without my nap. Funny how I hated naps as a kid but now they rock. My hands and right hip complained but no worse than normal. Mainly it was just my feet with those damn steel toe shoes. My rheumatologist asked me once "could I write your employer a letter explaining the damage in your feet from RA and possibly get them to make an exception in your case?" I told him it wouldn't matter, they want 10,0000% compliance from employees (this is one of their sayings on PPE). He shook his head and said "what I have seen from the medical side is steel toes destroy your feet". My feet couldn't agree more.

I decided to do a short ride Sunday and soon it grew to another co-worker wanting to go. Then I called Greg and he wanted to go then the next day another co-worker asked about going. When we left yesterday, there were three of us, one backed out. It was heavily overcast and 71 degrees with a good breeze with the radar assuring us there was no rain in the area. 

All three of us were riding on extremely worn tires so we took more asphalt than normal. We rode the back way (dirt) into Devils Den State Park and then rode the twisty, curvy mountainous asphalt patch back into Winslow. There we stopped and walked up to the train tunnel to get a few pictures. At least Tony and I did, Greg stayed with his bike setting up his GoPro for the ride though the Boston Mountains back toward home. I have some Bilt adventure boots that aren't as stiff as my Alpinestars so I wore them to walk in. It was about a 1/4 mile walk and didn't bother me at all. Upon returning we found Greg swinging on the park equipment where we left the bikes. Yes folks, he is 50 years old and playing on a swing set at the park where we left him. 
Quick pit stop for air for Greg
Downtown Winslow
Walking the tracks to the tunnel
North entrance to the tunnel
North entrance
Downtown Winslow
Greg swinging

This was a knobby tire 2500 miles ago
Metzler Karoo 3 mounted up
We left Winslow climbing up onto the mountain and it started getting cooler, almost to the point of "wishing I wouldn't have worn my mesh jacket cooler". Soon it started raining on us, it was only a brief rain and we worked our way through the treacherous windy road at break neck speed. Soon we were back on 282 that brought us back into town. Once home I lubed my chain while it was still hot then jacked it up and pulled the front wheel. I changed the front tire and will change the rear tire later this afternoon. 

It was a good day to be out this weekend. Everything is so green right now here, usually we are entering near drought conditions. The sad things is that despite the rain we have received, there were still many dry creeks that we crossed. Hopefully everyone got outside and enjoyed the weekend.