Saturday, July 30, 2011

The Best and Worst of Mootis: Volume 3

Yes, I know I've fallen off my rigorous weekly schedule of superlative Mootis Moments, so I have decided to give up the original promise and switch to "volumes"instead. I'm writing to you from my Kindle in a coffee shop blasting C,hristian radio here in Rapid City, SD (or "Rapid," as the locals say). Mootis is either at the library using the computer or back in our motel room tuning up his bike. This might be the first significant amount of time we have spent apart during the trip - and here I am writing about him. It's all for you, dear readers. Truth is, much of our time on the bikes is spent apart, usually from anywhere between ten and a few hundred feet apart. "Double solitude" is the term the writer Donald Hall used for the way he and his wife worked separately but in the same house on their writing all day. That's kind of how we tend to ride. For me, a loner/introvert/recluse at heart, this is necessary.

Anyway, let us do this thing:

BEST MOOTIS MOMENT #3: We were riding into Rapid City yesterday in the early evening. It had been a pretty rigorous 80ish mile day with the climbs of the Badlands in the morning and a rollercoaster of hills for the rest of the day. Once again, to my chagrin, we did not eat lunch. The wind coming into the city was perhaps the worst we had seen, requiring us to get off the bikes and walk for a bit out of concern for tipping over. Given all this, I just wanted to be done for the day. We were on a fairly quiet road when we passed a small turtle in the turning lane. A moment passed, then Mootis slowed and swung his bike around, declaring that he was going to get the turtle out of the road. I pulled my bikeover and waited, then heard a shriek or two as Mootis declared,"he's faster than I thought!" The turtle was running in every direction but the one our well-meaning friend wanted wantedhim to run in. Mootis was clumsily walking while still straddling his bike as he attempte to bend over toward the fated turtle. A line of traffic was patiently waiting by now, proably having no idea what the brightly colored spandex clad gentleman was doing,other than having some sort of seizure in the street. Eventually, Mootis got ahold of the turtle's shell and tossed it into the grass. I had forgotten my end of the day blues, for a few minutes anyway. And I'm sure the turtle was safe for at least as long. Cheers to you, Mootis, from reptiles eveywhere.        

WORST MOOTIS MOMENT #3: I will begin by saying I am quite grateful for Mootis's bike fixing abilities, especially given that I have none of my own. That said, we both knew this going int the trip. I'd be somewhat helpless this whole time. Therefore, if something went wrong with my bike, as it did on the day 3 of my spokes broke, I would need to trust Mootis's skills and advice. I understood that he didn't have the tools necessary to fix the wheel on the side of the road. Fine. His suggestion was for us to ride slowly toward the closest bike shop ten miles away. He assured me that this would be fine. We were fortunate to find a kind woman with a pick up truck to drive us the last 8 miles or so. It was not until Mootis was describing this scene to someone more bike savvy than me later (ither the bike shop owner or the other bike tourist we met) that I heard him voice concern about having me ride the bike 3 spokes short. To be exact, "catastrophic failure" was the term he used for what could have happened in those last few miles. Yes, if too much stress was put on the wheel from a bump or from going up or town a hill too large, it all could have come crashing down, as they say. "Catastrophic failure." Shame on you, Mootis. You'll be hearing from my attorney.    

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