As my braids are being tugged by the wind as it rushes underneath my helmet and only able to hear the roar of the throttle, my mind is only clouded by my thoughts on the open road. It’s these moments that I wish pre- surgery me would know were coming. It’s hard not to reflect on your life as the lands stretches flat on the horizon for day 4 and you are alone with your thoughts. I don’t remember much of a time before I was sick as I was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis at age 22. My adult life has been ruled by abdominal pain, meds with vicious side effects and the constant fear of where the next bathroom will be and will I make it in time. Tears briefly clouded my vision on day 4 as I was reminded that though surgery is never an option, having my colon removed and having an ostomy and subsequent j pouch was the right option for me. Yesterday, as I had no idea if the next bathroom was in 5 miles or 50 miles, I realize the fear I have lived with for over a decade is slowly melting away. I still require weekly injections as well as a daily oral immunosuppressant but thanks to modern science and medicine, I am having the time of my life.
Day 4 in Shamrock Texas started out looking a bit dicey with rain (yep again out with the rain gear) but ended as a sweet-laden day in Tucumcari, New Mexico. On we rode across the 204 mile stretch, stopping at old restored gas stations, ghost towns, infamous Cadillac Ranch, a tiny neighborhood diner on Route 66 and enjoyed incredible views of vast New Mexico. Our day was complete with a chance to stay at the legendary Blue Swallow motel- a restored 1930s motel complete with a rotary phone. Tucumcari didn’t disappoint with its dozens of murals, charming signs and delicious food. We will hold fond memories of sitting in front of Blue Swallow motel drinking Route Beer (yep exactly what it is called) watching the neon lights flicker on and the world just driving on by. Heck we even got to do laundry- woohoo!
Overall, Terry and I are doing ok physically. Terry unfortunately is now dealing with a cold and hand fatigue but still remains the backbone of the trip. The terrain can be challenging and anxiety ridden but he is handling Bertha (the bike) like a boss.😄 We are also fortunate that the temperatures haven’t brutal yet- though they have been close to 90. Excessive heat = dehydration and for me that means an IV. So far, I have been able to orally hydrate so Terry’s nursing skills get another day of vacation.
So long Tucumcari- Santa Fe, we are on our way!