Monday, November 2, 2009

Day Ride, Injury and Aftermath


SOMEWHERE OUTSIDE OF PIKE CITY, (population about three – four if you consider the dog whose Sunday reverie I’d interrupted) Schoolhouse Road kinda disappears. There’s a sign at the intersection by the old red schoolhouse that reads “Schoolhouse Road.” And, referencing my Sierra County map, the road is listed. So I take it. It isn’t paved. And after a hundred yards or so, it isn’t graveled. And after a bit farther, I can’t even see tire tracks. To either side of whatever I am on are “No Trespassing” signs, so I know I’m on something. I am divining my route by the widest distance between the pines and oak trees and the levelest flank of land leading between ‘em. Sorta like playing croquet – aiming the big Beemer through the wickets. But that’s not the story.

Somewhere out here, all the bars go away from my cell phone. There’s no coverage – so in my mind, “nationwide coverage” is a slogan. A myth. I say to myself, “I hope I don’t get a flat tire out here because no one will find me until the thaw in the spring. If then.” Then I think: I hope I don’t fall off this thing and break a foot or something because no one will find me until the thaw in the spring. If then. Then I think: What if I’m lost? Then it really won’t matter that the phone doesn’t work because I won’t know where to tell ‘em I am.

As I’ve done so many times before, I find myself gently tiptoeing the bike over new-to-me, uncharted territory and wishing I’d given better direction to loved ones as to where I was planning to ride this day. That thought, of course, presupposed I had planned where I was going to ride this day. Which is never the story.

In about the amount of time I would have expected it to take, Schoolhouse Road tees into Pliocene Ridge Road, a paved thoroughfare that goes to points-known to me. Sigh of relief. Only at the intersection Schoolhouse Road is now called Anderson Ranch Road. So I was lost! But that’s not the story.

A pleasant day ride on both paved and unpaved roads, through tamed and untamed regions proved beautiful, if uneventful. No story here.

IT IS EVENING. Dusk. I am home, sharing the above non-story travelogue with wife and folks. Also grilling our weekly fare – this time teriyaki salmon – on the smoker out back. The fish is done. I ease the spatula between the grill and skin and gently slide the main course onto the serving dish. It is savory.

Stepping from the deck upon which the smoker is placed, my right foot twists atop a strategically placed red ball. A dog toy. Both pups were peeking around the corner of the shed. I’d seen the twinkles of anticipation and delight in their eyes that I was about to understand. I should have known something was up when I heard Jax the older, say to Edward the younger, “Shhhh! Watch this.”

My unbalanced course threw me from the brick path into the six-inch rock cobbles landscaping the area around our heritage oak. Momentum carried me into the tree and by this time, my right foot was throbbing. I am found leaning against the old oak, moaning, it was reported. The perfectly grilled teriyaki salmon slipped off the platter onto the rocks and was thoroughly enjoyed by my two “best friends.” But that’s not the story.

Over the phone, the advice nurse tells me to elevate, take ibuprofen, avoid Scotch and she’ll schedule an appointment for me with my primary care doc for the morning. I attend and a fracture is confirmed. The busted foot I deserved to get out in the woods somewhere, I’ve gotten in my own backyard! I am fitted for an e-boot and hobble to the car thinking, I used to work in Chester, now I walk like him. But even that’s not the story.

THAT EVENING, my betrothed is a bit later than usual coming home from work. I am concerned, but I do not call. I am assuming she is dropping by the local Rite-Aid and picking up some ibuprofen for the pain. Or aspirin. Or maybe even whisky.

Noooo…. My loving wife came home with three new dog toys. THAT’S the story.

© 2009
Church of the Open Road Press


  1. Good story. That's a funny ending. Hope your foot heals quickly.

  2. To quote Grandma Frances: "It's NOT funny!!!