Thursday, July 30, 2009

The Trestle of Doom

7/28/09 - Day 3 of riding

Ben is a big, fat liar. It wasn't uneventful.

I haven't had the opportunity to write a blog yet. It's not that I don't want to. But, unfortunately, there's this looming spirit over my head when I have free time - the evil Anatomy and Physiology Mid-term spirit. I am missing a mid-term while we're on our bikation and have arranged to take it the day after we return from Spokane. So I've been diligently studying while on this trip so I don't completely fail the mid-term. *Sigh* It's sad that even while on bikation I still have responsibilities. Other than taking care of my legs, feet, butt, and hands.

Being the only girl on this trip has been an adventure in itself. I went into this trip determined to work just as hard as the boys, so I wouldn't be the weakest link. I've been perfectly willing to pee in the wilderness (or... more). I didn't freak out and crash my bike when I came within a millimeter of running over a snake. I've been fine with eating a few bugs and dealing with the kamikazi grasshoppers. And with sleeping at Big Eddy's.

I must admit, though, that the gravel miles have really been a challenge for me. Granted, there are different qualities of gravel roads. You have the small rocks that are compact, which are a breeze. You have the roads that haven't been "maintained" in a while and most of the rocks are gone or well embedded into the ground - "ahhhhhhh". But the ride from Big Eddy to Calder was brutal. This road was either recently re-rocked, or it's just travelled so little that the rocks never get broken down. They were huge. There were places that you could ride at about 7 mph (did you know that's about the speed that a butterfly flies?). But much of this stretch was ridden at about 4 mph. Maybe 5. My arms were getting weak from having to work so hard to keep my bike upright - any large rock that you hit makes your loaded bike want to buck you off.

Ben kept reassuring us. "In just a few we should come up to a trestle. It's impassable by cars, but pedestrians and bikel-ists can cross." Shortly after that, we came across a very worn down bridge-ish-thing. Oh, so that was it. That was cake. Now we should see Calder soon. Bump, jostle, bump, bump. I still don't see Calder. Hmmm... maybe the trestle was further out from Calder than Ben thought.

Then, about a mile later, we hit it. Not Calder. The wall.

Ben and Eric were riding ahead, and stopped abruptly at what looked like a pile of construction rock, with cement dividers on top. Kyle and I weren't far behind, and as we approached Ben and Eric were off their bikes peering over the wall. Ben says, "We can get over the wall, no problem." And Eric says, "Sure, but then how are we going to get over THAT?" I tried to stay calm as I got off my bike and climbed the wall of rock to check out the view past the cement barrier. Oh. That back there, that wasn't the trestle Ben read about. And in my opinion, it's not just impassable by car. It's pretty impassable. Period. We've ridden over a few trestles already. With boards layed down perpendicularly to the trestle boards so bikel-ists and pedestrians can pass safely. Not so here. No boards, just big beams with large gaps in between. And a giant gap in the middle. And no railings on either side.

I tried to keep myself calm as Ben laid out the plan. We haul our gear over the trestle first, then the bikes. It's like we're fording a river. Except if we fall, we go about 20 feet before we hit the water. Can we just go around? Nope. And then I knew. I was going to FREAK OUT if I had to carry my heavy gear across that thing and try to stay balanced enough to not fall over the edge or through the beams. I don't even go past the third step on our ladder at home. There's just no way I'd be able to do this.

That's when I decided. It's time. I've been holding it at bay on this trip, but I needed to let it out now. I flexed my girl muscles.

They were very gracious about it, really. Ben told me it was fine, he'd carry my stuff over and I could just walk across the trestle and wait on the other side with all the gear. I felt bad, but I knew my limits. I was able to climb over the rock wall with no problem. As I started across the trestle, though, I could feel my legs start to shake with just the first few steps across the beams. Ok. So I'm going to crawl. I got down in a crouch and tried to pull myself together. Deep breaths.

I was able to stand up after Kyle and Eric got behind me and encouraged me to keep going, that it really wasn't that bad. I can do this. I can do this. Wait. What is that? These beams have been burned! Oh, so it's an impassable, rock-walled, huge gapped, BURNT OUT trestle. I started to feel myself shaking again. I pulled together enough courage to look ahead and see how far I still had to go - oh, that's still pretty far. About halfway. Maybe more. Yup. I'm going to die.

Then Eric saved me. He shifted his gear into one arm, and held my hand with his free hand. He waited patiently while I slowly walked with him across the beams. Kyle was behind me, encouraging me the whole time. I made it across, and didn't die. Ben carried my gear and my bike across, and fell down the side of the rock wall on the other side.
Praise God that Kyle was there to help Ben back up and assist with getting Lulu back up.

Yup. I'm a girl. I admit it. And I'm blessed to be surrounded by some amazing boys.

1 comment:

  1. Kim, I'm in sympathy for you here. (You are allowed to be girly, anyway) I am TERRIFIED of heights, even if safe, if I can see through spaces down a long distance. I cringed to read the episode. Gramma Cook had to hold my hand to get me walking over a very much shorter train trestle over a creek area once. (The car had broken down in Central Park area of Aberdeen, and the RR tracks were the shortest route home)