Wednesday, July 21, 2010

A RIDE OF DISCOVERY

Tuesday, July 20th, was a day like so many other days here in Western North Carolina this time of the year. It was hot and muggy – hotter than normal for this time of year, which seems to be our trend for the summer. A nice late afternoon shower rumbled through close enough to end of work time to make me question if I’d get to commute home as planned. The Navigator was scheduled for her water aerobics class and missing my planned ride would mean hanging out in my office another 90 minutes or staying around town wandering aimlessly – well, I could have gone to Wal-Mart and wandered aimlessly there…

The shower was heavy while here but fortunately short-lived. The sun was quick to return and heat up matters again but, I clearly was going to be able to ride home. I had not ridden since the Wood-man’s and my jaunt around 25 miles of island this past Friday. I was ready to go.

I headed out on my typical ride home opting for the Lee Road route and across Old Clyde Highway to Canton. It was a pleasant ride without incident and I came into Canton feeling good about the ride. My first new discovery of the day was about to glide by me on 2 wheels.

As I came around the bend at the Canton Rec Department, I was met by a cyclist clearly loaded for touring. We spoke as we passed and I thought to myself “I’ll bet this guy has a story!” Knowing that the Navigator was still a good 40 minutes from heading home, I circled around and rode beside this gentleman and struck up a conversation. He let me know he was on day 19 of a tour coming up from Florida and on his way to Asheville, NC to get some brake pads. He had climbed Soco Mountain out of the Cherokee Indian Boundary in 3 hours and then descended it in 12 minutes.

As we chatted, he asked what my line of work entailed and I provided him with that information. To which he says, do you know “so-and-so”? To which I replied, “yes, he is a co-worker of mine!” So, Discovery #1, it really is a small, small world. What are the odds that this gentleman and I would intersect in time and space in that location and that time and then discover we had someone in common? I promised to let old “so-and-so” know that we had met and give him my companions best wishes. Turns out he had stayed with my co-worker this past Monday night. We rode on a moment and I assured him he was headed in the right direction. I said my good-byes and wished him well as I turned back to my route home. Having such a nice encounter buoyed my spirits and made a pleasant ride more pleasant.

As I was passing Rogers’ Express Lube, I noted the owner’s sign. He typically has some kind of inspirational or other saying posted. I liked today’s so stopped and grabbed a picture of it.

Words to the UnWise!(Truer words were never posted!) 

I was reminded that what we put out there to the public whether words, dots on a screen, or our actions cannot be taken back. The sign also made me think about wasting too much time being in the “poor, poor pitiful me” place I sometimes go to in my head. Again, time lost that will never come back…

I spun my way on up to Love Joy Road and hopped across the intersection of US 276 to extend my trip home a few miles. Doing so led me to what I still consider one of the prettiest, most pleasant roads to ride in Haywood County. Love Joy is simply a joy! The fertile valley is over running with abundant crops growing, the West Fork of the Pigeon River makes its way along parts of this road, the family gardens are well kept as are the homes, and the folks sharing the road have always been pleasant.

On the upper end of Love Joy, the trees arch out over the road and create this wonderful enclosed space. Following yesterday’s showers, the wonderful scent of the soil, grasses, and leaves were fully in “bloom” and my olfactory senses relished in the experience.

A Love Joy Shed and Garden(An example of the family garden along Love Joy Road) 

July20_LoveJoyRd01

(Love Joy Road in the quiet of the evening)

As I finished up the Love Joy portion of my extended loop, I caught the sun illuminating Riverside Baptist Church. This pretty church sits alongside the West Fork and is one of many of the community churches that I ride by on a daily basis. You can’t ride far in Haywood without passing a church of some denomination.

Riverside Baptist Church(The sun sets on Riverside Baptist Church alongside the West Fork) 

So Discovery #2 for the day or, more properly, Rediscovery #1 is a reminder of what an incredible portion of this earth I am able to reside in and enjoy. The contrast from yesterday’s ride and my recent weekend in the hot stickiness of the Low Country couldn’t be more well defined than by what I enjoyed Tuesday.

O.K., so what was Discovery #2? Well, it goes back to my encounter with the touring cyclist. I contacted my co-worker and found out the name of the touring cyclist (Charles Pahl) and many other things. This was not Discovery #2 – The real Discovery #2 was that my co-worker is a cyclist and blogger! Jack’s blog “Velohobo” is very interesting and well done. I’ll be adding it to my list of recommended readings shortly.

If I were riding home in my car with the windows rolled up trying to get from point A to point B as quickly as possible, I would never have found out any of this information. Only because of cycling and commuting did I get to enrich my life on Tuesday, July 20th. Thanks to the “powers that be” that brought all of this to me yesterday!

 

Until later,

- Zeke

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