Godless Territory

…and we thought it was cold and windy yesterday…

Today was one of those days we normally wouldn’t even attempt to ride in, but the kind people at the petroleum plant had been so kind as to host us one night, we simply couldn’t ask to stay another.  We packed up and headed out into the cold wind.

“We’ve got nearly everything against us,” John pointed out.  “Wind, rain, and cold.  The only thing in our favor is hills – at least it’s fairly flat.”

He just about summed up our day right there.

Sailors have a saying that below 40° it’s lawless; below 50° it’s godless.  We’re in godless territory now and, even though we’re not in the water, I think that’s a very apt description.

The wind was relentless and there was absolutely nowhere to go to escape it.  At one point we found a tiny bus stop and took shelter for a few minutes. Daryl stumbled toward the shelter with tears streaming down his frozen cheeks.  “My feet hurt,” he sobbed.

I bundled him up with thin wool socks, a plastic bag, thick wool socks, another plastic bag, then his shoes.  Under his tights I covered his legs from ankles to knees with heavy wool leg warmers.  It kinda, sorta worked – at least he wasn’t in enough pain for tears any more.

The road surface was dismal and my top speed for the day was 12 kph.  John, on the tandem, couldn’t even come close to that.  Patches of loose gravel threatened to send us tumbling to the ground, gusts of wind threw us all over the road, and the cold ate into our cheeks, fingers, and toes.

By three in the afternoon, 28K short of where we hoped to be tonight, we saw dark rain clouds amassing ahead.  Sometimes, enough is enough and you accept defeat.  We surrendered to Mother Nature and her warriors and headed back off the road to camp.

But then… the promised rain came down and we scrambled about setting up the tents and all the time the ground was growing muddier and muddier. Cakes of mud built up on our shoes turning our feet into leaden weights and everything that touched the ground was immediately covered with a thick layer of goo.

We’re now tucked into our tents enjoying a few hours of peacefulness as raindrops go pitter-patter upon our nylon homes.

I don’t even want to think about how we’re going to get back out to the road tomorrow…

Kilometers today:  35
Kilometers to date:  27478


Taking shelter in a bus stop

muddy shoes

camping in a mud basin

books by Nancy Sathre-Vogel

About Nancy Sathre-Vogel

After 21 years as a classroom teacher, Nancy Sathre-Vogel finally woke up and realized that life was too short to spend it all with other people's kids. She and her husband quit their jobs and, together with their twin sons, climbed aboard bicycles to see the world. They enjoyed four years cycling as a family - three of them riding from Alaska to Argentina and one exploring the USA and Mexico. Now they are back in Idaho, putting down roots, enjoying life at home, and living a different type of adventure. It's a fairly sure bet that you'll find her either writing on her computer or creating fantastical pieces with the beads she's collected all over the world.

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One Response to Godless Territory

  1. Steve Smith March 15, 2011 at 5:40 pm #

    Only one word ……. URGH!!!

    Hope tomorrow is better, but forecast is for the same until Saturday, then back to this Sunday for a week.

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