Adventure is what you make it: Welcoming dirt
Monday, June 23, 2014 4:35 AM
Trails... trails... trails...
This photo doesn't show my recent trike adventure on a dirt/gravel road. But it does show I am a fan of dirt, capturing ripple marks in dirt along the Root River in 2010. I like to think of it as an abstract that gets close to my soul. LISA BRAINARD/BLUFF COUNTRY READER
We have a great selection of wonderful recreational trails around here. I hope everyone in this area appreciates the opportunities and has the chance to use them. Create your own adventures and memories.
So, I almost hate to say this, but something's still missing for me (sorry). And that is dirt. Yes, dirt.
I've been a fan of dirt trails and paths for a long time. I think it goes back to growing up on my family's 160-acre farm east of Clermont and south of Postville in Iowa. I freely roamed the pastures and woods to bring in the cattle, tried to avoid bloodsuckers while wading in the creek (which you can bet was said "crick") and collected any pretty rocks I might wander upon. It was just me, my imagination, a sense of discovery and a thirst for adventure.
I've hiked dirt trails. I've biked dirt trails. But I have limitations in my abilities to do either after my September 2012 accident and stroke.
I do wish there was somewhere appropriate to take my recumbent trike on a nice, easy dirt trail. Hmmmm...
Enter the closed township road and bridge by the Old Barn Resort east of Preston.
Can I share a secret? They've been speaking to me during my recovery.
"Come. Ride on us. You know you want to. And you're pretty sure you can do it. Although, truth be told, your concerns about your smooth road tires spinning and getting virtually no traction in the uneven, loose dirt and sand seem valid. Still... don't you think you can do it?"
They had me at "come... ride..." But it would certainly be a different dynamic than a normal, upright mountain bike.
When I was able to squeeze through the open space between the first barricades, I figured it was meant to be. Then I squeezed through two more sets of barricades to get onto the bridge, across it, and off the other side. No lie, this short little jaunt felt great! It was a sweet sampling of my former outdoors life. Heck, I wanted to head right on down some little-used dirt or gravel road and keep right on going.
I knew the critical moment was soon to come. I might as well face it and see how I'd fare.
I went back across the bridge and started pedaling up the dirt, sand and gravel. My suspicions as to how that might go were right on the mark; I went a couple feet and stopped. The back wheel was spinning in place.
The tires have a nearly smooth tread to roll fast and easily on smooth, hard-surface trails. Also, there's no weight on the back of the TerraTrike to push down and provide further traction. A person's "behind" is around halfway to the back on a tadpole-style trike with the two wheels in front and one in back. It's just the engineering of these trikes.
So my ample "behind" would provide no benefit in this case, dang it all, anyway. I'm happy as heck to not worry about balancing like on a normal, upright bicycle. So I welcome the tradeoff with good grace.
I had figured if I spun and stopped, I could get off the trike and push it up the hill. And, if worse came to much worse - and it didn't seem that would work - I'd put the parking brakes on, grab my cane from the basket, leave the trike there, gimp up the hill with the cane and seek help at the Old Barn to push the trike.
The hobbling/pushing was going fine, although I was getting tired, when alas, aid came to my rescue almost right away in the form of a woman I know who happened to be at the bridge picking up tubers. Thank you, Molly!
I later wrote a bit about this experience on Facebook, where one friend made a comment I felt summarized the situation perfectly. She wrote: "ADVENTURE is not always playing it safe.... but not too dangerous either; it is taking calculated risk for the opportunity of making cherished memories. When you risk having an adventure, you get one!"
The funny thing is that it doesn't take a huge plan or a far-off trip to make an adventure. And by approaching the small things as adventures-in-the-making, perhaps one can gain a good bit of satisfaction in life (as well as the self-deprecating stories told with a smile).
Try looking at life as lots of small adventures. See if it helps with your day-to-day outlook. And of course, really celebrate the big accomplishments you nail!
That spin-out, dirt day was wonderful. I look forward to many similar days - dirt or whatever - taking advantage of whatever crazy little adventures may come my way.