Family

What goes into planning a pilgrimage

So, time is tight, but blog postin’ is due so let me tell you a little story, eh?

On Saturday I’m planning a pilgrimage walk of nine miles. I can hand out the details tomorrow, but, it’s story time today! Allow me to tell you about what happened last Saturday.

Well, earlier in the week I had chatted with Mark, asking if he’d bike ride the route with me–troubleshooting and measuring distances with my bike mileage odometer. He agreed but told me we’d need to meet early, around 8:00 a.m. on Saturday morning, since he had another appointment at 10. Fine by me, of course, I’m an early riser.

Until I go dancing on Friday, the night before.
And it’s great dancing with an excellent band.
And the floor is a beautifully polished hardwood floor–stretching to all corners of a large room decked in white Christmas lights and Chinese lanterns and tissue paper kites.
And the leads have gathered from the surrounding cities and states for a dance-festival weekend.
Oh yes.
And they’re all saying things like, “Wow, you’re such a great dancer” and “It’s a pleasure to dance with a follow like you” and “Another dance?”
It’s easy to see how I’d stay out a little later than expected.
Namely 1:30 a.m.
Oops.

But I still woke up early, made oatmeal and headed out to retrieve the bike rack from the garage. Now, we hang the bike rack from the ceiling, suspended by hooks. I reached up to pull it down–not realizing someone (cough my brothers cough) had balanced a bunch of rakes upon the bike rack. And the rakes fell. ON MY FACE. You think I’m kidding, but I’m not. The poke-y parts left dirt smears across my face a la Our Lady of Czestochowa so I was like, “No! Rakes to the face!”

Not to be daunted, I pulled the bike rack out to my car and fastened it on. It didn’t look quite right, but I figured that that was a result of being tired and having, I don’t know, RAKES ON MY FACE. So, I set my bike in place and drove off…only to realize that I forgot my helmet. So, I turned around (SAFETY FIRST!) and texted Mark why I was delayed and he was like, “Well, hurry up,” so I did. I merged from one highway to another to another. The last highway is small but quick, built at an earlier era with less of a shoulder.

Then I heard a “thump,” and I turned around and OH MY GOSH THE BIKE RACK HAD FALLEN FROM MY BUMPER. So I pulled on the half-shoulder (on the fast side of the street) and I was like, “This highway is so narrow. I need to go out there and make quick decisions because any extra second I spend is fatally dangerous.” So I jumped out, planning on stowing my bike in the trunk. I know that my bike is too large for the trunk, but I thought that maybe if I removed my front tire I’d be set. I unscrewed the fasteners, unlinked the brakes, unclinched the tire-locks and pulled it off. I yanked the bike rack from my car and opened the trunk, and tried to fit my bike in.

No dice, mate. Earlier I had purchased a huge bag of guinea pig wood chips, still in my trunk, still taking up room. I grabbed the bag to pull it out as quickly as I could–trucks were whizzing by me still–and the bag ripped, wood chips went flying. Exasperated, I tried to fit my bike in the trunk. Royal nope. I could have tried to remove my back tire, but that would have taken me more time on the side of the road, which, remember, is not where I wanted to be. Plus, I still had the bike rack and the guinea pig wood chips to deal with. I thought about leaving them and coming back later but, honestly, in that part of Detroit they probably wouldn’t be anywhere to be found by the time I made it back.

So then I looked into the back seat: perfect, nice and roomy. Only…the back door on my driver’s side doesn’t open. Ever. It never has. And I wasn’t about to walk INTO THE FAST LANE to open the door from the passenger’s side. There was only one option left. I opened the driver’s door and pushed my bike as far as I could into the passenger seat (which was still halfway on the driver’s seat). Then I ran back outside, threw the wood chips and the bike rack in the trunk, jumped back inside with the bike tire sticking into my armpit the entire time and I called Mark with a shaky, “Um, I’m delayed because I almost died, but I’m still coming.”

With the metal bike in my armpit all I could think was, “I had better not get in an accident because this will impale me for sure.”

And…I didn’t! I arrived (late) and called out to Mark. He came over to my car and I realized…I couldn’t figure out how to get my bike out. I had jammed it into a pickle, unable to remove it. Mark started helping me. In the process the brake handle caught the ceiling, pulling the ceiling-material down; the chain grease stained my seats; and the gear caught and tore several tears across my steering wheel. Blaaaaaast.

Finally, though, we removed it. I fastened the tire back on, ready to mount and: downpour. For reals.

I was like, “What is happeninggggggggg?” but we got on our bikes anyway. We rode for about a mile, and I went to check the odometer and IT DIDN’T WORK. The mechanism was clearly off. I looked at Mark like, “WHAT IS HAPPENING. I MADE YOU WAIT AND GET UP EARLY AND RIDE IN THE RAIN and I got rakes to my face and I almost died and I’m ruining my car and it’s raining and MY ODOMETER DOESN’T EVEN WORK.”

He was like, “Well, you can always use Googlemaps for mileage. Let’s use this time to ride and check out the route and the bathrooms. Don’t worry, it will stop raining.”

Ladies, I believe the man is single.

So, we rode on. And, he was right. It did stop raining. It stopped raining and the birds started singing and we rode through the fresh air in the early morning by the Detroit river…and it was lovely. So lovely that I looked at Mark and said, “Maybe we should do this every weekend,” and we both chuckled because, really, how many times do you want to almost-die?

The route looked great, I thanked Mark and we parted.

Then I got a flat tire.

But, I was already back at my car.

To sum up: early morning, rake to the face, bike rack falling off car, bike poking armpit, bike tearing up car, downpour, odometer not working, flat tire.

The end.

Ha!!

Also, if anyone wants to be a part of next Saturday’s madness, I’ve added a temporary page to ze blog–check it out! I promise it’ll be fun. You might even make a new best friend, for real, all of the attending people are mad-awesome. Plus, I just got all of the crappy stuffs out of the way for you. 🙂

And if you want to be there but don’t feel like walking, dude, I could use a volunteer or dos.

That’s all.

Oh, and I washed the dirt off of my face.

They call me…RAKE FACE.

Actually, they don’t.

And we're all pretty excited about Saturday.

And we’re all pretty excited about Saturday.

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