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My  friend, Gary, went biking in Austria with another one of our teachers and has promised to write a ride report for 'Bent Miles when he returns.  I've since learned that he also went hiking up in the Alps.  They got into snow in the middle of June. Hopefully, He'll fill you in with more to the story.

Kira's Cycling Expedition for Charities.

 Click her picture to visit her site.



June 2005     Volume 2  Issue 10

Day Trip With Nolan

Finally came the evening just before I was to take my three day trip down the Altmuhl and Danube rivers.  I just didn't feel like leaving my wife and grandson.  School had just let out the Friday before and I was going to leave them for three or maybe four nights the very next Wednesday?  I don't think so.

Nolan had taken ill with a fever and I was not about to leave him still with a fever. Even though it seemed to have broken, I'd wait and see.  I thought that if his fever and cough left him, I'd take him on the ride with me.  Boy, would that have been a bad idea.  One day is one thing. Even one night and day might work. But, three nights or four? You have to be kidding.  Besides the constant, "I want to go home...", he would also add another 62 pounds to the already 45 or 50 pounds of baggage, 42 pound trike and my 214.  That would put a real load on these old 57 year-old legs.

 Thursday Nolan and I decided we would take a 25 mile bike ride to Gemunde. So it was that we loaded up Tweety Bird and I unpacked some of the content that I had packed for my three or four day ride and placed a pillow in the top bag for Nolan to sit on.  I suppose I had 30 pounds of bags, tools, and water and juice.  Arriving in the parking lot at the bottom of our hill, I realized that I had forgotten my pillow for my head rest. 

This of course was noticed only after I had unloaded the trike and bags.  So, it was back into the truck bed with trike and bags and back up the hill to retrieve the pillow.  Retrieving the pillow, it was back to the parking lot and unloading the trike.

  I noticed that the Velcro that I had stuck to the bottom of  the bag--that faced towards the back of my head-- had started to peel away. Smoothing it down, I velcroed the pillow to the bag and sat on the trike.  Then Nolan mounted to the top of the bags and we were off.

We whipped past the 12th or 13th century watch tower, that now serves as a shooting range, and dipped down the hill, under the viaduct, and turned left onto one of the best biking trails in the world.  We were headed for Karlstadt which is an old walled river city about twenty miles from our town.

During the summer, we try not to give Nolan the Ritalin that keeps him calm at school.  So, it was not long before he was playing de-waddle-didly and slapping me on the head, along the sides of my face and just being his ADHD self.  Of course he got all of the usual threats and warnings; then, out came the big guns.  I took off my cap and swatted blindly back and above my head until I felt a very solid couple of smacks.  Yea, I know; and their ain't a thing wrong with this little fellows self image.

Of course being the creature of habit he is, my little friend was planning on getting a bread at the bakery in Himmelstadt and then a ice cream.  I talked him into waiting till we got to Karlstadt.  But, by the time we got to Zellingen, he wanted to stop at the biergarten and have a bread and ice cream.

So, we made a deal.  We would eat an early lunch in Zellingen and he would get his ice cream in Karlstadt.  So into the biergarten we pulled.  By the time I got the trike locked, Nolan was already in the dinning area kicking the gravel with his shoes and stirring up dust.  I asked him to stop. Of course he acted as if he heard not a word.

I ordered a salad for me and a bread for him.  When I got back to the table with the salad--getting a splinter in my leg as I sidestepped to his location-- and sat down to eat, he no longer wanted just the bread.  He now wanted a wurst to go with it. I again asked him to stop kicking the gravel.  He again acted as if I had said nothing.  I again scratched my leg as I sidestepped out from the table.

I brought the bread and wurst back to the table and again I got another splinter in my leg from the wooden bench.  Again I asked Nolan to stop kicking the gravel.  Again, he acted as if I had said nothing.  I slammed my hand down on the table and yelled, "STOP IT!"  Immediate results ensued. Everyone stopped talking. I needed not turn to see all eyes on me. I felt them.  Then Nolan complained that I had embarrassed him.  I asked him if he wanted to feel my hand on his backside.  Then he suddenly became interested in his wurst.  All of which he devoured in just a few minutes. The salad was the best I had had in a while.

  After lunch, we reconciled and were soon mounted and on the trail  Of course it was not long before Nolan is taking my cap off and hitting me on the head, then wrapping his arms around my neck and leaning his weight on my already injured neck. Another few swats and a tongue lashing gave me a little break.  I soon felt that the pillow was being ripped from its Velcro anchor.  So, I stopped and  added it to his seat cushion.

Having to ride on the bags gets very uncomfortable after a while and that is why Nolan decided, without telling me--at about 5 mph--to dismount.  I heard the slap of the pavement and the ugg...An older German biker was concerned that he was injured.  I knew it smarted and his pride was injured, but that was about all.

The sun shinning at the angle of about noon was causing all of the numbers stored in my bike computer to be shown on the face. I moved the computer around and must have somehow interrupted the flow of electrons; it stopped working.

When we pulled into Karlstadt, Nolan--of course--wanted to proceed immediately to an ice cream shop.  I knew of a bike shop just down the street and told him we would get the computer looked at first.  Surprisingly, that was no problem to Nolan.

While the man was looking at the computer, I sent Nolan, with two Euro, across the street to get his ice cream.  Of course since his granny will never allow him to have a "Mickey Mouse" ice cream because of the cost, that was just what he wanted.

The man fixed my computer, and Nolan was sitting at a table along the sidewalk.  I sat down with him and he offered me some of his ice cream.  I declined because he still had a cough.  He said, you sent me for ice cream just to get me out of the way, didn't you, Pa Pa.  I said, "yep, I did."

I had told him that we would stop at a playground and I knew of a nice one right on the river just outside Karlstadt on the way to Gemunde.  Well, I guess this was Nolan's day for falling, he is usually very sure footed.  He wasn't paying attention and missed a step just above a wooden horizontal ladder and on his back he was in an instant.  The ladder caught him like a hammock  I was sitting on the trike watching from the shade.

I started to laugh; then I saw the hurt in his eyes.  He came over and nestled into my arms and put his head into my chest.  I rubbed his back and kissed him on the head.  I asked him if it hurt; He said, "A little."  I had him pull up his shirt and saw the strawberry.  Soon he was back through the gate and on his back again on the same ladder.  It seemed to surprise him. But, he seemed to also take away a lesson from the last fall.

Well on our way to Gemunde, Nolan again needed to rest his butt.  So, we pulled into a shaded area already occupied by a couple of older Germen men and a woman.  One man started to talk to me in English.  He was the one who had witnessed Nolan's fall from the trike.  I told them that while I had passed this shaded area many times, that stop was the first I had made there since my 100 mile ride the first year I had bought my trike.

Once Nolan's butt was better, we said goodbye to the group and were on our way.  Then Nolan started singing a Johnny Cash song.  He wanted me to join in.  So, we two boys, did a bit of several songs of which neither of us knew all of the lyrics.  But, at least, Nolan knew the melody.

Then came the curve that almost wiped a little girl and me out on my first trip around it four years ago.  She was coming on my side of the path.  I was going way too fast and pulled so hard to my right that my right front tire was just spinning in the air.  We just barely missed what could have been a really tragic accident.

Nolan and I slowed down; and then came the hill.  While it is rather short; it is one steep critter.  The lady is the first to pass.  She misses a gear. I don't; I start to close in on her; then the husband pulls up and says something.  He misses a gear and stops.  I stopped to hear what he said.  He asked me if I had a motor on the trike.  He couldn't believe it had taken them so long to catch us, and me with Nolan's 62 pounds and bags.  I slapped my leg and said, yeah, a bio motor.

Once I had stopped, I really was in no shape to try to keep up with three two wheelers running empty.  So, it was back to our comfortable 7 mph.  The sun was beating down; the river was peaceful; and the trail was empty except for us.  I catch myself falling asleep.  Then I feel Nolan's, seemingly, lifeless weight on the back of my neck.

I succeed in waking him and insist that we sing some songs.  He turns around sideways on the trike.  I just know that he is in for another fall.  But, he seemed to have his old confidence and since of balance that is so beneficial for an ADHD child who is always not just on the move, but running everywhere he goes.  I was truly surprised that he could actually sit so long.  I suppose it was the change in scenery and the fact that this was a new experience for him.

A little further down the trail and he was ready to get off again. I tried to get him to wait till we got into Gemunde, but he wouldn't hear of it. So, we stopped.  Then he saw it.  "Pa Pa!  There is an ice cream place!"  I said that I knew it.  He said ok, "I'll get back on till we get there."

So, it was, we stopped at the same Imbiss I've been stopping at for four years; and Nolan got him an ice cream.  They didn't have the cactus he wanted; but, he didn't hesitate; he knew the substitution he wanted and was soon back to the table where he promptly learned to not sit on the very end of an empty bench. I helped him up right it.  And, we both had a bit of a laugh.

Finishing his ice cream, Nolan swung back up onto the trike and we started out across the cobblestones.  Once over the cobblestones, I started shifting up.  We cruised smoothly under an archway with the river on our left.  Exiting out of the archway, we found houses extending all the way to the bike path on our right.  A man was just crossing the bike path from the river, laying his fishing pole against his house.  It was so long it was almost reaching the second floor window.

It was then pouring on the coal; we hit the upgrade of the covered walk over bridge.  I immediately started to dropping gears.  From number two cassette to number one, off the top ring to the bottom, then it was a matter of thumbing through all of the rear sprocket gears to get to granny which dragged us to the top.  Going down, I  went up to the top ring in front.  Then I remembered that, while you couldn't see it from the trike, straight ahead meant having to step from rock to rock to cross the creek.  Woops, since Tweety is not at all good at stepping, I swung left and heard Nolan gasp as he regained his balance.

I didn't see the Dakota.  Nolan wanted to wade in the creek.  I told him ok just till I found Granny; and we would be on our way.  While I was loading Tweety, Dolores went to get Nolan.  Of course the only one who was surprised or upset that he had fallen into the creek was Granny.  I told her to just leave him wet; it was 95 degrees.  But nothing was going to stop a woman on a mission.  She stripped him down and put on a spare set of clothes.

Then it was McDonalds for Dolores and Nolan. I refrained.

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