55 miles (89 km) – Total so far: 1,420 miles (2,285 km)
With 3.2 miles to the car rental shop, Bill got a flat. It was a slow leak, so two inflations got us the final miles. No point in replacing the tube now that the tire has been shown to be on its last legs (how you like my metaphors now!) We went through the normal rigamarole at the rental agency, which clearly exists not to rent you a car, but to sell you gas and insurance you don’t need. Then we hugged it out. Twice. … and I peeled myself away. I looked around searchingly I wondered, “Now which way is the Pacific?” The cosmos didn’t oblige me with a verbal reply, so I put the morning sun to my back and started pedaling, trusting Google maps to take care of the details.
Speaking of navigation, Route 66 may be wonderful if you’re in a car, got a full tank of gas, half a pack of cigs, it’s dark and you’re wearing sunglasses; but on a bike it is an invitation to get run over in a hurry. Google maps, or G-mapdiddle, as I’ll refer to her after her great performance today, routed me off of US 66 and glory of glories, onto a bike path. A bike path! Flat. Straight. Thank God. Literally, I thanked God. Combined with the fact that zero dogs chased me today (woohoo!) this 8 miles of trail have put the number of flat miles traversed in excess of the number of canine pursuits. See the highly advanced statistical analysis below.
Prior to the Frisco Highline Trail:
Dogs: 118 pooches.
Flat terrain: 111 miles.
Pooch-Flat Ratio: 1.063
After the Frisco Highline Trail:
Dogs: 118 pooches
Flat Terrain: 119 miles.
Pooch-Flat Ratio: 0.992 Note that the PFR has dropped below 1.000 with six sigma certainty. It may not be a Higgs Boson, but it is pretty exciting nonetheless
In addition to lovely terrain, I met another two recumbent riders out for day trips. Richard had a flat, which I was able to pump up for him. George and Rada had a tandem recumbent trike. An incredibly rare beast. Maybe if I buy one of these, I’ll get Christine to join me for my next trip. George, Reda and I rode the length of the trail chatting about various things. The unexpected joy of a pleasant bike trail, unexpected meetings, and good conversation reinforced the idea that riding along the TransAm needn’t be unpleasant or lonely. I needed that reminder this afternoon, and I’m grateful for it.