Tag Archives: country roads

Back in the saddle

The firsts just keep coming and coming. Tonight I’m claiming myself an expert in the fine art of snot rocketry after having blown my first two in the entirety of my lifetime. If I were an Olympic judge with this gross performance a qualifying sport, I’d give myself high marks for trajectory and aim. That’s what happens when a person tries to get back at it after a week with a summer cold, no cycling, and then going without tissues the first time back on the bike.

The good news is I always see beautiful things on my rides. Like the neighbors’ flowers. Exhibit A:

1CI stop and smell flowers from time to time, literally and figuratively, even at the risk of not remembering to kick out of my doggone triple-link pedals. Why is it so tough to remember “Kick Out?!”

What I do know is Karma is a big be-yotch, although I don’t usually like to use that turn of phrase. Just seems every time I get all judgey, like mentally berating the a-holes who though similarly enjoying my favorite Lacroix Pamplemousse sparkling water are inconsiderate enough to toss a can along the road. Gravity pulled me back down to earth to check my superior attitude for a bloodletting. The top scrape came from pavement, and the bottom one layered drying poison ivy breakout yet healing there.

Exhibit B:


Laughing helps when I think of my son quoting Napoleon Dynamite asking the bullied kid, “How’s your neck?” I felt like the kid answering, “It stings,” only about my knee and elbow.

My country adventures lead me to ponder the sights and smells. Such as, “Is that mixed leather/Freon smell in the air actually someone cooking meth in the woods?” Being an avid reader, I recently learned how to gauge how much daylight is left by the number of finger-widths of sunlight on the horizon still visible. Riding with my shoes clipped to my pedals doesn’t allow to test that theory, though. (See Exhibit B above.)

I wonder whether the big four-wheel-drive truck’s driver will follow and kill me, or if I can subdue him with mace tucked in my tank top. Such is a woman’s concern riding her bicycle alone at dusk. Men don’t usually feel the need to carry weaponized pepper spray on a ride, do they? Think about that for a minute.

A passing truck has large red letters marking the vehicle as “ANGLER AID,” as we live near a lake, and I consider whether I could need “CYCLER AID” from a similar but non-exist truck in the future. A mysterious man behind the wheel of yet another large 4WD pickup parked in a church lot stares curiously at his phone. Is he still there since Wednesday night service (it’s the Ozarks, after all), is he lost and consulting GPS, or does he simply have a wife who makes it difficult to want to go home? I’ll never know.

Exhibit C:


Not the actual church in question. I saw it during the 26-mile ride & liked the name. (Note the burnout marks from teens doing donuts.) Hurts, don’t it?

Finally, I returned home for my nightly walk with Woody during which I enjoy many gorgeous sunsets. He’s hearing-impaired and can’t see very well but is so patient with my dawdling to pulls weeds at walk time. He waits with bated (and weighted, poor sot) breath at the driveway’s end, his heart seems to explode with pure joy at just getting to sniff the neighborhood. The poor boy is over the moon at getting to go, such simple pleasure at life. I wish I could be more like him.

Exhibit D … for “DOG,” of course


It’s hard to get an antsy pup to stand still for focus!



Filed under biking, life, writing

Old Haunts


Travelling up the dirt road stirs feelings almost as much as the frequent stops made along the way. I’d like to look back and count how many were gravel opposed to paved ones, which brought bumps. 

I tripped over big rocks, even a copperhead once, but each helped build and avoid neuroses nearly simultaneously. Retrospect enlightened what got kicked up, perpetuated by inertia, and what circumvented superannuation. 

One lifetime melds into another, that’s for certain, all within a given time span. I’ll be spiking even more boulders before I reach burnout, fade out, or maybe even feel like checking out.
100-word challenge:  DIRT 


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Filed under creative non-fiction, life, writing


She asked herself why she agreed to go with her boyfriend to watch their antics. Funny … she questioned herself like that more and more often lately. They did the type of stuff about which you generally shouldn’t speak.

A brisk Saturday afternoon seemed the perfect time for them to do it, and Howey found the most opportune place for the big blast. He was a buddy of her boyfriend, Dee, who dreamed up new – if not dangerous – ideas. The latest one may just have sprung from an ad in the back of Soldier of Fortune magazine.

mlhradio on Flickr

mlhradio on Flickr

They met Howey at an old suspension bridge in a pretty secluded part of the county out on Montague Hill off Highway M. A beautiful view of the valley spread out from the crest of the hill that suggested an early onset of Springtime regardless of the overcast day. Granted, the plans risked destroying some of the natural wonder there, but Howey took precautions to assure they were the only ones who would see it happen.

Howey’s behavior was circumspect out of necessity. Perhaps his “fun” wasn’t always legal, but he watched what he was doing. And he warned the others to do the same. They promised to not let the cat out of the bag, or C-4 as it were … the equivalent of a half-stick of dynamite.

That’s what he purchased and planned to set off just for shits and grins. Guys like to blow stuff to bits, which seems more of a fact than a stereotype. And their goal for the day.

Maybe Howey always wanted to join the military but couldn’t get in. He was a great big, burly guy without much smarts. All due respect to the men and women in green, how low could his ASVAB score have been? The printout probably said, “Don’t quit your day job.” He was the type who had a heart of gold if he knew a person but someone to avoid if he didn’t. The kind who thought he needed to secure a pistol in his waistband before going in the Alamo Lounge to buy beer on Sunday when blue laws kept the Git-n-Go from selling alcohol. In a time prior to Conceal and Carry permits. So kind of a rough customer.

He scoured the Army Surplus stores and went through his militia-wannabe friends to find stuff like C-4 to pass the time on an otherwise boring day. Residents out past Montague Hill might have thought there was an enemy invasion that day or that someone had finally leveled the old drive-in movie theater sitting empty long since closing it gates. That abandoned Snack Shack and all its graffiti might be gone now. But it was only some bored ruffians looking for a thrill.

No telling what the authorities found when they finally reported to the scene. Maybe just a huge hole of dirt blown out of the creek bank, at least if that was the point of impact. She couldn’t see it from where she sat, and the group didn’t wait around long enough to witness the after effects. Howey just lit the fuse and ran.

She was waiting with Dee in his decrepit Malibu idling aways down on the gravel shoulder. Howey didn’t usually have it in him to move very fast, but they saw his legs pumping that day. He yelled, “GO … GO!” as he jumped into the car.

The guys just giggled their asses off, and their ears rung for quite awhile afterward. No way could they hear any sirens that far out of town. Plenty of livestock were likely startled, the window glass in neighboring houses rattled, and most all the birds shaken from nearby trees.

All in a day’s fun when you’re out of shit to do in the country. And she’d called in sick at the Dairy Queen just for that. s30p

*This little ditty was generated by the writing prompt speak at Studio 30 Plus.


Filed under writing