Everyone likes a good deal. Maybe you are the person that cuts out all the coupons out of the local paper. Maybe you are the person who orders one meal and always splits it with someone else. Do you sign up for that free gym membership every time you walk by the ticket jar? Do you drive all over town to find the cheapest gas around? There is a common bond between bikers: we find the deals! I don’t know how it happens or why. Do the folks take pity on us? Are they just that nice? We’ll never know.
Yesterday was tough. The group dynamics of 3 girls being together for 2 months doing the same activity over and over can be tolling on us all. It finally came to a head the night before and luckily we were able to break the tension of weeks of miscommunicating. Ah. A big sigh of relief. We may not always get along but dammit we’ve come this far, we haven’t far to go, and we WILL have a good time for our last 2 weeks. With that decided, we head out of our (free) campsite and wind our way along the Snake River…up hill…
Though we were all feeling good about our chat the night before and were all happy to be going through such beautiful terrain, we needed something more to spice up our morning. I looked longingly at the roadside for some “flare” or “flair.” (however you spell it) I had a flag I had picked up weeks ago flying from the back of my bike and Kaitlyn has had her B.O.B. flag waving since the start. But where is Eleanors flare? She needed something jazzy to spruce up Merl a bit. I’d been looking for weeks but hadn’t been able to find anything that would do. But with Idaho’s trash problem, I was sure to get lucky today. The roads had been so clean for so long that it seemed overly offensive to see can after can of Keystone and Natural Light pass by. Not only to Idahoans drink and drive but they litter like crazy!
That’s when I spotted a needle in a haystack. It was bright pink and plastic…how could this piece of trash not be a treasure?! I pul over, watching the girls go out of site around the next bend. It’s a blow up tube! One of those floaty things you put kids up to maybe 10 into to float in the pool. Yes! THis is what we need. Though I hesitated briefly, I had no choice but to put my mouth to the nozzle and begin to blow. Yuck, but worth it. I blew it up as fast as possible and tried not to pass out. I threw it over my head and let it rest around my waist as I hurried down the road after the girls. I went as fast as my little legs could go for 3 miles. I was drenched by the time I came up on Eleanor. I had a plan to sneak up on them both because I didn’t want them to look back and ruin the surprise. “On your left.” I said as I passed by Eleanor. She broke out into laughter. Mission accomplished. By the time I got to Kaitlyn she was pulling over to rest. I pulled up beside her and waited for the laugh. Yes! 2 for 2. I handed over the tube to Eleanor and we went on our merry way. With looks from almost every passer-by be trudged through the brutal 54 miles to New Meadows. Along the way we could hardly keep our eyes on the road. There was so much to look at in the ditch. A birdie from a badmitten set. A small plastic shovel. Black rimmed glasses without lenses but with croakies attached. A nickel. Free apricot samples. A visor. We collected it all. Funny that all this time we’ve been sending everything we can back home but we have no problem adding these items to our ride.
We were beat! We stopped into the coffee shop for a water refill and the man behind the counter told me that I looked the worst of the 3 and that I should rest a while. I laughed but it was true. I was not doing so well. I felt more like going to sleep on the table than biking on. Eleanor and I decide to split a coffee drink. When Kaitlyn comes and sits down it’s about the time he comes over to deliver the drink. He’s got an extra mug of drink. He’d made too much. Score! Free stuff. I went to purchase a pastry from him and because I pulled out a credit card he refused to charge it and paid for it himself. Okay. Free stuff. After deciding to stay in the town we go to the park to set up camp. A couple struck up a conversation with Eleanor and before they left they handed over a box of granola bars. Score! Free stuff.
It was a bad night of sleeping in a well lit park with townsfolk drunkenly passing by the park and engines revving non-stop. We fuel up and pack up in the morning and head on. Awesome riding, a few hills, but nothing we can’t easily get over by now. I’m drenched again. It’s so hot now. I’ve cut the sleeves off of my shirt and cover my body in sunlotion. It’s 106 today says the man behind me. I’ve now awakened the monster. It’s only 1/2 way through the day and already Eleanor has picked up a folding camp chair and Kaitlyn has a bright blue bucket. Us bikers like it free. How can we resist collecting these great finds! We can’t. We dont. For now. Soon the pile will grow too large. Until then, our eyes will continue to scan the ground.
I added another category. Please check it out.
Peggy 1976 Transam