Monday, August 18, 2014

The Road Less Traveled By — Part 2

“I see it all perfectly; there are two possible situations — one can either do this or that. My honest opinion and my friendly advice is this: do it or do not do it — you will regret both.” 
 Søren Kierkegaard*

Our four biking excursions have each been a combination of fun and adventure. We had a lot of fun in Denmark, but for one day on this trip, we were caught up in quite an adventure.
Preparing to mount up. Clockwise from bottom right: Phyllis, Audrey,
Leah (in purple), Barb, Casey, Patti (in green), and Harvey.
Now, where was I in my story? (See Part 1 for the beginning.)

Oh, yes. We had just completed the gravel detour taking us from near Egeskov Slot (castle) toward Faaborg. All of us had been jostled on our arms and bottoms by riding over the loose rocks—something Audrey particularly hates—and three of us had gone the wrong way at the noted fork in the road. We were reminded of a Yogi Berra-ism—“When you come to a fork in the road, take it.”

But the “lost souls” had been found, and now we were regrouped on a paved road and ready to begin part two of our ride. We mounted up, and this time I moved near the front of the line. I planned on staying as close to Lars as possible just in case there was another fork in our future. We did some ups and downs over hills. I, of course, shifted gears to help climb more easily; Lars never felt that need. He pedaled steadily and evenly no matter what the terrain. 

We got into such a good rhythm that we hardly noticed when Lars turned onto another gravel byway. This one moved steeply downhill and became swift when the gravel gave way to sand and then slippery when the sand turned a little muddy.  Even Lars nearly skidded out on that stretch. I breathed a sigh when I got through the bad part and reached pavement again. Then we heard a shout that someone was down. Leah had lost her balance in the muddy section. Several other bikers stopped to help her up, and one shouted that she had cut her leg badly on some rocks during the spill.

Looking out from the first gravel path to see a windmill
and wind turbine both creating power.

The next few minutes were a blur as various riders searched their belongings to locate some ointment, swabs, and bandaging materials. Luckily, we had Patti in the troupe. Patti, also from South Dakota (what are the odds that in a nine-person group from around the country, two would be from South Dakota?), was an ob/gyn who spends much of her time working on Indian reservations or going into scary-sounding places in Africa, and Central and Southern Asia. She even worked one time within shouting distance of Abbottabad, where Osama bin Laden holed up until the CIA found him. (But I am getting off the point.) As self-appointed medic (we would gladly have voted for her), Patti calmed Leah and cleaned her cuts. Then she applied bandaging and tape. When she was done, no blood was visible, thank goodness. Leah bore up really well, and even insisted on biking on. Which was a good thing, because Lars was unable to get any service to contact Per, our driver, to come pick her up.

[A few weeks after the trip, Leah sent us all an email noting that her cuts and scrapes were healing fine, but the pain in her shoulder turned out to be a fractured collarbone. None of that stopped her. Obviously, she is made of stronger stock than I.)

We were at a crossroads, literally, and started up the road going straight ahead. Our new path had both good and bad qualities. It was paved (positive) but moved fairly steeply uphill (in my opinion; and, after all, I’m telling this story). We had gone a little over a mile when Lars thought something wasn’t right. He reviewed his map and instructions and called a halt. We needed to head back down and go the other way, he announced. I wasn’t even a little upset. After all, we would be going mostly downhill this time, even if we were retracing out steps.

We got to the bottom, turned left and kept pedaling. It turned out that we still had a number of miles to go, and soon I was ready to begin grumbling again. But I was so grateful when Lars announced that we were only one kilometer away from our hotel, that I stifled my complaints. And, there it was!

According to an Internet account I found, the approach to the harbor town of Faaborg by sea is gorgeous. We got there by land and were covered with sand, mud, a little blood, and lots of sweat. But that hotel looked gorgeous to me! Tomorrow, we are promised a shorter day of riding and two ferry boat trips. Piece of cake. . . .
Our hotel in Faaborg is directly ahead. Note the bike lane on the highway.
*[Based on the above quote, I would bet that Kierkegaard was never called “the happy Dane.”]

1 comment:

  1. I claim the status of Hating Gravel the Most. I'll bet Audrey never came close to tears at seeing another gravel path coming up.