I’m home, hard by the A/C, breathing deeply trying to pull in some cool. It’s 102 degrees outside. The sun beats down, palpably hot to the touch, cooking plants and small animals instantly. Heat rises from the dusty earth, shimmering, simmering, setting this place on uninhabitable for the sentinent and the sensible. And I wonder, can I include this consequence in my insurance settlement? “He was sent back to Louisiana in July and August, your Honor, against his will and intent, ripped from a containing coolness on the open road and thrust protesting into that furnace without time to prepare.” Should be worth at least a multiple of that for a leg lost.
Most important body parts returned with me. I did leave some basic trust behind at the crash site but, while important, it is weightless. The kindness of people at the scene, at the hospital and of those since have restored much of the basic trust lost. Sherrie’s cousin, Zondra, and her husband, Wally Gunneck, came for us, retrieving broken bike and body, then fed and cared, taking us ultimately to my daughter, Sauny’s, father-in-law, Jim McWethy, and Robin’s home in Minneapolis. They finished the good works towards us with their food and kindness, and we made it home July 14, bike and gear to follow.
The trip is over as shockingly quick as it is hot here. My mind hasn’t shifted all the way back yet, that “here but not here totally yet” thing, the very thing touring on a bike is antidote to. I’m recovering quickly with increased ability to walk and move each day. Looks to be true that the broken collarbone is the only enduring consequence I’ll have. Not bad for a 60+ mph collision with a car. I’ll take it. Plan to see if my clavicle needs plating surgically to speed recovery and rehab. Lance Armstrong had his plated. We both ride bikes, and I did pass him one day when I had a tailwind, though he’ll tell you he was in France that day.
The trip was a grab bad containing many delights, an accordion played with sweet and sour notes, a rodeo to be read on many levels.
It was worth it in every sense. Dave and I had a great time together. We’re both more fit and have added immeasurably to our trove of memories together. We met and enjoyed many people of similar mind and inclinations. We went as deep and slow as long as allowed and feel the better for it. Our appetite has been stimulated, not quenched - despite its ending. We’ll tour again, and we will communicate with some of those we’ve met. Hopefully, we will retain our fitness and our optimism and trust. We will be more careful if we can figure out how to be. I’m thinking a circumnavigation of Ireland next summer. Stay tuned.