June 2005 Volume 2
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
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
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
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