May 10, 1999
|One thing I
am finding out is how much I forget to write. While I'm riding
I remember some significant things that I left out of my journal.
It is difficult sometimes to try and write everything down quickly so
I don't spend my whole evening writing.
It was a cold, rainy, morning when I got up. The weather wasn't as bad last night as predicted, but today was colder than expected. After I donned my three layers of clothes I rode about 2 miles to the 2-Wheeler Dealer bike shop. Trent replaced my derailleur hanger, added the links back to my chain, trued my rim, and adjusted my derailleur for me. It was a very large store, well stocked with just about anything a cyclist would need. They had racks and panniers, but I decided to wait until I get to Missoula, MT before adding more weight. Trent advised me to also have my rear wheel rebuilt with stronger spokes also. After he finished my bike, I add two extra derailleur hangers to my bill. They were only $11.00 each and I don't want to get in another jam like that again. By this time I noticed how weak I felt. It was getting close to lunch and I hadn't even eaten. Trying to maintain a conversation took a lot of effort on my part. I kept dropping the hangers out of my hands. Trent suggested a place called "Veggies" for lunch since I don't eat red meat. He also suggested a different route that was more scenic. The Nemo Road will be shorter and it goes by the "Nemo Guest Ranch". In case I didn't want to ride very far., I could stay there. He called for me and found out that it would be $39.00 a night. I thanked him for all his help and was off to EAT!!
Leaving the bike shop, I was able to take the bike path all the way to the restaurant. It was still raining and cold outside as I looked forward to warm food. Veggies was just my kind of restaurant. Everything was organic and made from scratch. Even the mustard and ketchup was homemade on the premises. After eating an exceptional veggie burger on homemade bread, I looked at their shelves of food. Behind the aisle, along the wall, I found the bins containing bulk foods. It was a tough choice between the 4 varieties of trail mix. I was allowed to sample the mixes and purchased two different kinds and some dried papaya. The whole time I was there I listened to a guy talk about different diets and nutrition. At the register ahead of me, he was asking the lady about differences in sugars - i.e. fructose, sucrose, lactose, etc. He appeared very confused on how to eat nutritionally and lose some weight. Of course I had to open my big mouth and give him my best advice on losing weight...."exercise". I was fortunate enough not only having the knowledge from PT school, but also having been involved in an exercise research study. That study really taught me the importance of aerobic exercise and its many effects on the body's physiology. Although I had a small role in it, I was very much challenged intellectually. What I learned from that will always be with me and I'm grateful to the people that allowed me to be a part of it. After discussing what I knew about aerobic exercise and its effects on muscle composition and insulin sensitivity to David (who happened to be an anesthesiologist), I was off into the bitter cold rain.
The temperature was dropping as I rode mostly all uphill to Nemo. But the ride was indeed scenic as it followed a stream for most of it. I was again impressed with how well my continental touring tires were performing in the rain and the water pooling on the road. The lack of cars on the road was an extra bonus, allowing me to enjoy the scenery without annoying cars and exhaust fumes. My fingers and toes were numb in the sub-freezing temperature. Both of my feet were like wooden blocks without any feeling in them. I stopped and tried to eat a food bar, it was frozen and too hard to even bite into. So, I kept exercising my fingers to keep the blood flowing and hoped the Nemo Guest Ranch would soon appear. Not too much longer and a green sign that says "Nemo" appeared. Wow, that was a short ride. Only 16 miles from the edge of town.
I parked my bike in front of the main building and walked inside. There was a section serving as a store with several aisles and a refrigerated section to the right. The middle was filled with tables for dining and along the back wall there was a wooden bar and bar stools. Walking to the back I was greeted by the lady bartender. I asked about the rooms and she confirmed that they did have some available. She went to check with the owner as I warmed my fingers by the large pot-belly stove. The rooms were at the "4T Ranch Inn", just down the road. I had passed the place about a mile and a half before I got here. When I rode past it, I remember thinking how it looked like a perfect setting for a holistic health and wellness center. The stream passed through the property that had a mountainous backdrop. There were many horses grazing on the plush green pastures.
Prior to going to check into a room I decided to eat something. I sat at a table and was given a menu. And yes, I got a grilled chicken sandwich :-) I've been trying to go "no meat" for about a month, but grilled chicken is indeed one of my favorites. With the sandwich, I also got mashed potatoes and hot tea. Soon Nancy, the owner, introduced herself. Come to find out she had been involved in holistic health and wellness in Colorado. Her and her husband Jim bought this place to turn it into a holistic health and wellness center. Wow! What luck. Trent had me change my route, which landed me at another incredible spot on my journey.
Another gentleman walked up with something for Nancy so she had to go back to the office. This left me alone to eat my dinner and watch the weather on the TV over the bar. It was now 36 degrees and the wind-chill down into the teens, 17 degrees I think. So the saga continues...I'm plagued by very cold Spring temperatures. Hmmm, should I stick around for a couple of days and wait out this cold? Or maybe, keep riding short distances at a time but keep moving? As these thoughts continue, the gentleman that spoke with Nancy a few moments ago walked up. He said, "I hear you're riding to Alaska". I told him yes and he went on to say that he had lived there for ten years. He introduced himself as Gene and I invited him to sit at the table and join me.
Gene had just been hired one a week ago. He will be caring for the 18 horses as well as developing programs for trail rides, carriage rides, and hopes to also provide a program for "hippo therapy." In Latin "hippo" mean horse. This type of therapy is used by many Physical Therapists for children, and some adults, with disabilities. It works wonders on helping to develop balance, coordination, and motor control. With MS and CP patients it has worked well to decrease muscle spasticity. This type of therapy has also had great success with some Parkinson's patients. I think it would be great if they could add such a program.
As far as the carriage rides, Gene said he'd like to restore the old stage coach. It is an original one from 100+ years ago. Apparently, since its beginning in 1888, Nemo has been a stop for stagecoaches. There are two old stagecoaches and one old covered wagon on the property. He went on to talk about his love for horses and how fate happened to bring him here. Gene stressed the importance of using a gentle technique with the horses, gaining their trust and sincerely caring for them. His career had been as an engineer specializing in high-speed data and voice. We talked quite a while about that topic and technology in general. His job has taken him to many places and a recent big job was for Exxon, over in Russia. He is very knowledgeable in all aspects of technology, which is another great asset to the ranch. One thing Gene and I had in common was bike touring. He rode a bike from Anchorage, Alaska to Boise, Idaho. Since I had lived in northern Idaho for a short period of time, I was familiar with the towns and roads on his route through there.
Soon, Nancy joined us with the registration book and reserved room number 8 for me. 39 dollars was a great deal for this excellent location. I followed Gene's truck back to the 4T Ranch Inn, about 1.5 miles. It sits back off the road, surrounded by large, green pastures, with a wall of trees and rock behind it. There are 90 acres surrounding it, which didn't appear to be that big. Big, open spaces can be very deceiving, especially when they are dwarfed by the large, valley wall, immediately behind the Inn. I saw the stream that ran behind there and flows through the whole valley. It was so quiet and peaceful on that property with just the sound of water flowing. Living in a place like this was hard for me to imagine. The scenery was incredible and seemed almost too good to be true.
Nancy and her husband, Jim, were busy packing some things to leave for Colorado tonight. I didn't get the opportunity to meet Jim as both of them were running late for their scheduled leave time, and I could hear them arguing in the distance. Jim is an attorney from Colorado and purchased all this property last Fall. Both of them have been working hard in restoring all the buildings with the help of local contractors. Gene had told me that there was a lot of history to this place and too much for me to write here. I can only write so much and sometimes find it difficult to push this pen across the paper. But other times I just want to keep writing and tell every detail. I know it's important to write everything while it's still fresh, so I'll keep trying. That is all for tonight...Good Night :-) Oh, by the way, the very tips of my fingers are still numb. This has been the coldest riding day for me yet. OK, now I'm done!
Wind - Blowing
to the south
- 28.83 miles