Mr. Cranky Pants

I don’t know what it was about the eighth day of our epic quest, but I was grumpy. It could have been several things. My body and bike are not holding up like I had hoped, I’m not eating as much as I should, I’m not getting the sleep I need, I miss all the luxeries I’ve grown used to, or it was just in the stars (not that I believe in that type of thing).

Throughout our trip, I’ve noticed minor things about my body start adding up. I started out fine. But my hand was the first thing I noticed taking its toll when I tried signing my name after using my check card. I barely reconized my name. I laughed at first. But that wasn’t the end of it. Next I had problems shifting down gears, then just findling it difficult working on my bike, and even holding a spoon to eat. Now for the past few days my right foot has got that tingling sensation in it like I’ve slept on it wrong and put it asleep. It’s been anoying but has really effected my performance, yet.

Another issue has been our mental ablity. Forgetting things, having problems doing basic math, real basic math. Even not knowing the day of the week or how long we have been going for. But that all seems to return quickly when we’ve rested and out sightseeing.

So back to day eight. I was upset about something. Waking up after sleeping on pretty much a gravel driveway surely didn’t help matters. We hit the road and off the bat I get a flat and I snap. It was not very grown of me to act the way I did, but I descided to stop pulling. I mean I’ve been doing pretty much most of it to that point anyway (I’ve got the lightest load, so it’s easier for me). So I figured I needed a break. I noticed my companions suffering because of it. I was just upset about something and then I get another flat. With less than 35 miles from the start of the day to Knoxville, I’ve already gotten two flats. At that point I didn’t care. Taking back to the front I pull us into the city.

We used this town to stock up and resupply. Hitting a Kroger, we all scatter. Picking up everything we needed and maybe a few things we wanted. That chocolate fell into the “need” group. What can I say, I feel better after have some. Afterwards we meet up at the table outside and we stop to have lunch. Now I’m in a better mood. We also make a stop at a non “hipster-ish” bike shop for some more tubes.

Onwards to the World’s Fair Park to see the Sunsphere. Getting there the park was full of life. Children were dancing in the fountain as jets of water shoot into the sky. Homemakers watched there kids and they chat with one another. Workers were piecing together tents for an upcoming event for the weekend. Tourist running around taking photos of the site. All this and on a weekday before noon. I can’t imagine this place on the weekend.

The Sunsphere is a free attraction. So we were like. “we’re here, why not”. We went up and it was quiet the view. First off the place was littered with info and facts on the World’s Fair. But the view of the city was awesome. But the best entertainment was Justin, too scared to get off the elevator. Dan and I take a lap around and took a moment to admire the view. And we join Justin on the ground.

After spending more time than we planned on taking in Knoxville, we hit the road. Setting a good pace and flying down the road. The day turned out warmer than expected. We started running though water faster than normal. Making a unscheduled pitstop in Oak Ridge, the Secret City. After finding the visitor center, which we begain to think was hoax. We fell into a pleasent surprise.

It was tourist week or something, so there was bags of chips and cookies and bottled water for all visitors that stop in. Which we were told to take it all. As we filled up on snacks we were entertained by the stories of Mark Kristy. He also enlightened us on “The Secret City”. It really is an interesting city and we wished we didn’t spend so much time earlier in Knoxville. And the people there were really friendly and proud of their town. But we were trying to do 125 miles and still had a long way to go for the day. But we still took ten minutes to ring the Friendship Bell.

Back to making good time, a storm starts a brewing. But we continue on. It’s that “big fat rain” Forest Gump talked about. It started to sting a bit as we rode on. Then lightening came. We figured we had better get out of the storm, so we seeked shelter under a rundown strip mall with a rent-a-center and a gym. Everything else was moving or dead. And we got out at a good time as it started to hail shortly afterwards. After trying to wait out the storm, we grow impataint and hungrey and fix dinner. Also share some frendly conversations with the locals. When the rain finally lifts we head out once again.

Only riding for another hour, it’s becomes that time when we need to start looking for a place to sleep and see a sign for a church not far off the path. And that’s what we did after having great success last time at a church. Softest gound to date. Best sleep this trip too.

Operation Smile

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~ by Adam on May 17, 2010.

4 Responses to “Mr. Cranky Pants”

  1. good stories!

  2. Of course you are going to get grumpy at times, shake it off and find the humor in it! :-) Keep on truckin’ ya’ll! You’re doing great! Amazing you got to ring the Friendship Bell too… what a magical experience all around!

  3. What is your ETA in Louisville? Keep going guys…mom has food and soft beds waiting for you.

  4. Keep it going !!

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