Forgive my absence since my last post. I have been adjusting to a new work schedule, new meds, getting prepared for a garage sale and most importantly ... riding. For the first time, maybe all year, I feel good enough to want to ride again. While the Actemra is not a miracle drug, it does have me feeling better. I still have serious stiffness if I sit for too long, a little stiffness and aches when I get up in the mornings but joint pain and fatigue are both less (still there on both counts though). Living with RA is a roller coaster ride, right now I am enjoying the ride back up for a little while.
I met my long time buddy Randall last Tuesday morning to go for an easy ride. He survived a life threatening crash (broken shoulder blade, 7 ribs broken, punctured lung and pierced spleen) around the first of August and is just getting back to work and riding so we had an easy ride planned. Besides I had some above average hand pain so a short ride sounded good to me also. That changed when we met up and he decided he wanted to test himself a little. We rode the Devil's Den loop, about 140 miles although quite a bit of it was asphalt. We hit the dirt part of AR220 and were bewildered to see them widening, replacing low water bridges and preparing to chip and seal the 12 mile stretch of one of Arkansas's only dirt highways left. It was a beautiful ride across the narrow, twisty hills that comes in to the back side of Devil's Den state park. We rarely ever see a vehicle on this road as long as we have been riding it. In fact, other than the construction workers, we didn't meet a single vehicle on our ride Tuesday across it. It just seems like the state could put the money to use on a better project.
We stopped on top of Mount Gaylor on the way back in and walked around looking the place over. It was once a busy booming place but now sits abandoned on a lonely highway that very few people drive anymore. I have climbed the tower a couple of times, it now sits locked up with the treads removed so no one can enjoy it. The old 2 story gas station sits across the road form where the restaurant and gift shop once was. The small building just north of the gas station was the train depot, a small train used to run around behind the tiny lake they had and into the woods for a short ride for the kids. Randall was telling me that his grandmother ran the train for them back in the day. It was a nice place ... progress isn't always a good thing.