Sunday, May 27, 2018

The Touring Series: Dealing With The Consequences

A Guitar Ted Productions Series
 Welcome to "The Touring Series". This series is a re-posting of a story I told here on this blog in 2008. The story is about what I named the "Beg, Borrow, and Bastard Tour". This was a fully loaded, self-supported bicycle tour from just Northeast of Waterloo, Iowa starting in a little village named Dewar and the goal was to get to Sault Ste. Marie, Canada in one week's time. The plan called for us to be picked up there and taken home by car.

  As mentioned, cameras, smart phones, and the like did not exist for us in 1994, so images will be few. There are some though, and I will sprinkle those in when they are relevant. I will also sprinkle in any modern images of places we visited when applicable and when I can find images that convey the same look as 1995.

The "Beg, Borrow, and Bastard Tour" fellowship had been broken up in the last entry. Now the two remaining tourists wake up to Day Five.........

When Troy and I awoke in the hotel room the next morning we quietly got ready with plans to hit up the Perkins next door for breakfast and a brainstorming session on what to do for the day. There was no sign of Steve, or evidence that he had stayed at our motel. I asked Troy what he thought we should do. Should we call his girlfriend, go look for him, or what? Troy's response was quick and given with a note of finality. "He's a big boy. He can take care of himself." By the tone of Troy's voice, I could tell that further discussion would only be futile.

So, we checked out and sauntered over to Perkins. It was cool, but partly cloudy. It looked to be an excellent day for riding. Fortunately for us, we had a Wisconsin map to plan with, but Steve had the better map with the roads marked out for traffic count that we had gotten back in Sparta. I suppose he needed it more than we did.

As we sat with our breakfast, pouring over the map, I saw something that caught my eye outside the window of the restaurant out in the road. It was Steve walking his bike across the road towards us! I suppose he spotted our bikes outside. I alerted Troy, and he said, "We're going to ride him into the ground today for what he did last night, okay?" I nodded in agreement. Although I was glad to see Steve, he did put us in a bit of a pickle the night before.

Steve came in and said hello. He didn't apologize, but then again, he may not have remembered what had transpired over the previous 18 hours. He said he had stayed in a hotel across the road that cost him $80.00. Troy chuckled and told him our room cost half that. Steve waved off breakfast, so we left and prepared to mount up and leave Steven's Point.

Troy's plan was to head out of town on the East bound highway, then catch a county road northwards. The night before, Dave the Skateboarder and his friends had warned us about our previous plans to go through Tigerton to the northeast of Stevens Point. They strictly warned us to steer clear of there because of some right wing nut jobs that they claimed would sooner "mess with us" than say hello if we were found out on the roads near there.

This would send us north out of our way, but we had already had enough trouble on this trip to last us a month. We weren't looking for anymore. So we went out of town in single file headed to the county road north bound. Troy, then myself, and then a very hung over Steve not far behind. Not long after leaving the main road, we lost the hustle and bustle of the city. Now we were back in the bucolic, rural environs of Wisconsin. The night before seemed like a dream. A bad dream for Steve, I'm sure!

The day starting out without Steve and for me, no idea of how I would be able to deal with Troy alone. I was willing to see how it would go though. Obviously, I ended up not finding that out, but things did switch around at this point, as far as my "standing", as it were, amongst the two more seasoned cyclists. 

I think it might prove to be a good point to remember here that in the beginning of this tale I was a rank amateur cyclist trying to keep up and not drag down two accomplished cyclists. At the moment we left Stevens Point, I was suddenly seen as more of an equal. Both by Troy and by Steve. Then there were the group dynamics.

In the beginning, Steve was my ying to Troy's yang. I found that there was a balance where Troy was the driving force and Steve was the the one that brought a balance of calm and relaxation to that. After Steven's Point I was the the one that had to be the counterbalance to Troy. Steve was the one that was became the one that was holding us back. But in the end we shall see that this Stevens Point experience was just an outcome of what was really the thing that stopped us in the end from reaching our goals. In the end, it was all just that bad, rainy day that turned all of our fortunes.

There was still three days of riding ahead, and a lot more surprises and difficulties to overcome. Plus a long trip home. Anything could happen......

Next: Getting Buzzed

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