Wow, ten days of riding already. It seems short, but also seems long in that I can’t remember much about the first several days without going back and reading my blogs. I think that it is a form of information overload. I am thankful for my journal and pictures to relive the adventure.
One of the fun things on the trip is the number of friendly people we have had conversations with about our trip, Oregon, and even hunting and fishing. I stopped today to get out of the rain at a city park/playground area. There was an old firetruck in it, so I climbed up and sat in the cab for a while. A young guy came by in a golf cart who was a groundskeeper and he had never been out of Virginia in his life. We had a great time talking about deer hunting in Virginia and Oregon, and about our bike trip. He fished but had never caught anything bigger than a 10-inch trout or bullhead. I invited him out to Oregon to fish with me, and gave him my cell number. I also suggested that he save up his money and fly up to Alaska and fish with me. I wouldn’t be surprised if he decides to do it.
My bicycle is an e-bike which means it has an electric motor on it that helps me out. It has been a lifesaver for me because one of the problems with my Parkinson’s disease is that my balance is shot. At four miles an hour I can’t balance the bike without wobbling all over the place, which means when a hill gets much over 6 % incline I have to walk pushing my bike. With my new bike I can go up most hills at 5 miles an hour instead of walking. I have four settings on it, “econo” which I keep it at most of the time, “tour” which I switch it up to if the hill gets steeper than 8%, “sport” which I switch it to if the hill gets steeper than 10%, and “turbo” if I am trying to outrace a dog that is chasing me. I never use “turbo” much because it will suck my battery dry in a very short time. The amount of electricity that goes to the motor is determined by how hard I press on the pedal. If I put normal pressure that I would use on flat or mildly hilly ground at 12 mph I will get very little help, but if I start pushing harder because of a steeper hill I get more help, so the more I give in energy the more I get in energy.
I have two batteries that I charge up at night in camp. I usually use all of one batter and half of the second in a normal day, but all of the second if it is hilly like this trip so far. A number of days I have plugged into camp all on my own power because I ran out of juice in both batteries. A couple of days ago I lost the key that unlocks my battery on my bike so I haven’t been able to change batteries. I run it of juice around 40 miles, and the hills are so steep that I have had Dave pick me up, and I ride the last 30 miles in the pick up; how embarrassing! I ordered a new key from the place I bought the bike and they are mailing it to the campground we will be at on Monday night.