About a month before Christmas, Dirt Man pulled a fast one on me. He asked me if I wanted to ride with him to go get dog food. Boring I know, but I thought I’d go along and keep him company since the pet store where we buy Wylie’s food is on the other side of town. He went in the wrong direction. When I asked where he was going, he said he had a quick stop to make. He pulled in the shopping center where Grape and Gourmet is located. I thought it strange since we had plenty of wine. Anyway, I walked toward the store (I mean do I EVER say no to a good bottle of wine?!), and he headed to the right. Ends up he was taking me to buy a new bike. I have to admit I was not properly dressed to test ride bikes. It was cold and I had on Keen Mary Janes. The sales guy and I were at odds about the proper size bike and seat height. He put the seat up very high. Your leg is supposed to be straight when you stretch it out. As I went to extend my body to get my rear on the seat, I twisted my ankle and promptly fell taking the bike with me. Fortunately, Dirt Man caught us both. I should have taken that as an omen NOT to buy that bike, but you know how I love a challenge. Besides, I sort of felt obligated in case I had scratched it or anything! So, I did purchase the bike the salesman suggested, but I lowered the seat when I left the store! I figured that if I couldn’t easily get on and off the bike on even terrain I certainly wouldn’t be able to do it while riding a trail! The other criteria for the bike was that it had to have a really comfortable seat. It has some sort of shocks, seriously! It was the first bike I’ve ridden off road that didn’t feel like a jack hammer ramming up my butt!
By all means, we had to plan a biking excursion for the next day. Yes, even with a slightly swollen and sore ankle, I was game for adventure. We decided to go to Dismal Swamp. (Here is a link with the history http://www.albemarle-nc.com/gates/greatdismal/) I wanted to go to the part with Lake Drummand. It had been many (like fourteen) years since we’d gone there. Anyway, we did not take the trails that led to the lake. In fact, unless we wanted to push our bikes through miles of mud, we could not have gotten there from the point we started at.
Yes,that is bear poop! That was just one of the many piles of it that were everywhere. Fortunately, we did not see any bear. I would have like to have seen one from a distance and taken a picture, but did not want to see one up close and personal! Though we didn’t see any bear or deer, we heard animal in the brush, and we saw and heard ducks, woodpeckers, and other birds.
This is the tower that was once used to spot forest fires in the area. I reminded Dirt Man that it had a locked gate and a sign stating that it was government property…not that he would have gone in there and climbed it, but a girl has to cover all her bases! And I still had several miles of pedaling ahead of me!
This muddy mess is what kept us from going to Lake Drummand. I had my gears down pat. The gears on this bike are much easier to change than my old bike. It even has numbers to show me what gear I’m in. It also weighs much less than my old one. I even rode through short areas of mud in first gear. (They didn’t seem short while pedaling! Dirt Man suggested I stand and pedal…heck I am NOT that coordinated!) Had I stronger legs, I could have made it through that mess. I guess the clarification would be that the bike was capable of going through it, but my legs were not! At that point we had gone six miles. We had a choice of going back the way we came, going through it, or taking another trail. If we had taken the other trail we couldn’t be sure we wouldn’t come across another road of mud and then we’d have even farther riding to get back. We chose to go back the route we came….however (yes, there is always a however as Dirt Man is always challenging me!) when we got to the starting point, Dirt Man suggested we take another loop. He swore it was only two miles. Well, I’m not blind or stupid, and I could clearly see that it looked just as far on the map as we had gone which meant we’d be doing eighteen miles instead of twelve. Since, my legs didn’t hurt, and I wasn’t tired, I decided to go along with it. It wasn’t long before I did begin to tire. Needless to say, as always the last two miles were the longest EVER!