If it is not one body medical condition, it is another.
Two years ago I had to cut my Northwest ride with Kim short due to an inflamed prostate ... this year my ride has been shortened due to a dental problem which has caused my jaw to swell ... kind of looks like this guy, but only more pronounced.
So instead of doing the planned ride until August 4, I am flying back to Tucson, from Seattle, today.
Kim will be pedaling on for another several days prior to her return to Atlanta.
After a wonderful rest day in Spokane, we rode the 39 miles to a small town west of Spokane by the name of Davenport. I mention riding west because the wind was definitely coming out of the west ... definitely!! Tough day.
Upon awaking the next morning, my left jaw was quite swollen ... kind of like that Vito Corleone guy, but only MUCH more pronounced. After riding the 20 miles (again, strong wind out of the west) to a breakfast cafe in Creston, WA, we made a decision to modify our plans and ride the 29 miles to Grand Coulee and rent a U-Haul truck (then drive to Seattle). Again, LOTS of wind riding those 29 miles.
The road was very straight and seemingly aligned perfectly with the source of the wind. The road was also seemingly forever going quickly down and slowly, painfully back up.
My attitude was not good. On top of the disappointment of curtailing the ride due to my dental problem and an over all feeling of being physically tired, I had been dealing with a number of tire problems.
Okay, what else could go wrong?
About 8 miles outside of Grand Coulee, after the many, many, many short climbs, the road leveled off. "This is good," thinks I. Then the road sign all touring cyclists enjoy appeared (sign indicating 6% down slope, for next 4 miles). "Whew," thinks I. I am flying down the hill at a very controlled, comfortable speed of somewhere between 20 and 25 MPH ... "Happy, happy, happy," thinks I.
In a nano-second a gust of wind pushes me off the pavement into the 1 1/2" deep gravel, heading toward a ditch. "Oh, shit!", thinks I. (A moment like this does not encourage civility of thought.)
In a situation like this, things really do seem to slow down, and different trains of thought co-exist: 1) Do not brake too hard, just brake easy and try to keep the front wheel straight, 2) Don't panic, just stay upright, and finally 3) "Oh shit, oh shit, oh shit." Actually ... "finally" was hitting the ground with helmet, left forearm, left shoulder and left knee. Years ago there was a great Daniel Day-Lewis movie called "There Will Be Blood". Indeed.
Other than the blood, there was no real damage to body or bike ... seven hours later we had covered the 200 miles between Grand Coulee and North Bend, WA (30 miles from Seattle). Smallest truck they had was a 20 footer ... more than ample space to place two bikes and assorted pannier bags.
Yesterday, after dropping Kim off so she could plan out her remaining days, I (and the lady Google hired to voice the Google Map directions) spent the day driving a 20' truck all over the Seattle downtown and Sea-Tac Airport areas ... quite a rude immersion back into the world of cars and trucks from the bike touring world.
Things happen that oft times can (and should be) prevented. Plans change without prior approval. But in the over all, it really does not impact worldly events very much.
But ... "Ah, shit!", thinks I.
Side note: Due to having taken four years of English 101 in high school, I have never understood where a closing quotation mark should fall in relation to commas, periods, etc. If, while reading my words, you feel uncomfortable with my lack of knowledge in this area, then I would suggest you re-think what may, or may not, be important in your world.