Sunday, June 25, 2006

AIDS ride Day 6! 6/9 Lompoc - Ventura

T rolls out of the tangle of bike shorts, smelly socks and freezing cold sleeping bags, and mumbles something about not riding today, D says, "I think you'll regret it." T looking at the uncomfortable, unwarm sleeping arrangements, sighs and agrees, bottom pain is better than sitting in an alternately hot-cold tent all day. D has slight hangover from 1 small glass of wine the night before. Dream of roads and gravel and grates and trucks all night. Grumble to breakfast, to stretching class, to bike, out park. Then.... Beauty.
The terrain is green, covered in Spanish moss and filled with chatty and companionable cows. The ride is beginning to be a tonic. Living in a tent is taxing, it's impossible to get warm, washing clothing is a joke, the scent is less than perfumed, so getting out into open country becomes a sweet reward. Amazing how different California is. Every few miles she CHANGES. Vineyards, farms, fields, mountains, beaches, monasteries, tiny villages of 100 and under. Really the most remarkable thing is how small town and Mayberry RFD California is.
We get to ride through cliffs cut by the army corps of engineers, cold and very steep, and then are riding the 101. It's a test to ones' fortitude to ride by all the rumbling 18 wheelers. The ride is mostly uneventful, except we note that riders have collapsed by the side of the road in alarming numbers. No one is SERIOUSLY ill, just fatigued beyond endurance.
We stop to peel off our outerwear when an aggressive bee decides to assault Di. Her over-the-top yelping bring immediate rescue from quick thinking T as he pulls a massive stinger out of D's side.
Having never been stung by a bee before, D goes to the med tent, the Doctor warns her that she will be "sagged" and given Benadryll if she has any inkling of allergy. Dr. lists potential symptoms. T claims D experiences each as they are mentioned, D must be in shock as she has no recollection of such blatant overreaction to a little tiny bee.
Swollen throat and itchy head fail to materialize, so apparently D is still impervious to allergies. Free to continue on our merry way. Onward to the last night of camping....
Tonight there is a silent candlelight vigil for the victims of the virus. A sweet and heartbreaking experience to stand on the beach in Ventura carrying candles and thinking of the people we have loved and lost.

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