Happy Solstice!

Longest day of the year. Being on bike touring time and energy level, I’ll probably be asleep before its fully dark rather than enjoying the late daylight. Oh well. Welcome to summer!

My progress continues to be slowed by bad knee pain. This time it’s my right knee. A few days into the trip, back in Pennsylvania, I started having some pretty bad pain in my left knee, which started after I climbed over a mountain with a crazy grade on the roads. Probably it didn’t help that I had just dived into loaded touring with very little preparation for key body parts. Now the other knee is acting up, after I was off the bike for a week and started pushing fairly hard right out the gate. Related? Seems plausible. 

As before, it’s gotten so bad that the good leg is taking over pedaling duty while the other one attempts to exert no effort. Lefty, having been through the injury a month prior and fully recovered, is now going strong and carrying his bro without even complaining. However, I’m still kind of worried. Not too worried though. Worst case, I’ll have to take a few rest days, unless it’s really a lot more serious than it feels. Even now it feels a lot better than it did this morning, and I’m optimistic it’ll be operational again by tomorrow. I’m in a motel because it’s there and because I think that greatly increases my odds of getting s long night of sleep, something I have been deprived of a lot lately. 

Last night I stayed in Newhall, after riding just 25 miles. I stopped due to the pain and decided to see how true it was that it’s easy to camp in tiny Midwestern towns. I asked at the gas station about places I might pitch a tent, suggesting the town park. Immediately one lady working there offered her farm two miles up the road. As I was getting directions, another guy walked in and offered his front yard just up the street. Thinking of my joints, I opted for the second option and spent the rest of the day blissfully loafing and reading. Then I watched Game of Thrones on my phone under a full moon. 

I still haven’t even reached the town I was going to try and get to yesterday, but assuming my knee is better tomorrow, I should only be a day or so behind the schedule I sketched out yesterday. I have no time constraints now, which is nice, but I do want to get through the Badlands before (or in case of major delays, after) the July 4th weekend. Just my luck that my projected pace will have me in yet another national park right on a holiday weekend. 

A few photos I managed to take despite the pain:

Very urban farm on the edge of Cedar Rapids. 

Blue skies and rolling hills giving way rolling plains. The heat is not too bad despite it being in the low 90s. There’s always a breeze and I have not yet had the west winds that people on bike forums swear should be blasting me every day. Knock on wood. Thunderstorms may be coming in, according to the radio. Hopefully no tornadoes.


3 thoughts on “Happy Solstice!”

  1. Hey, nice silos! Nice cows! Nice cornfields! Are you in Iowa or something?

    Hope you get a good night’s sleep, and take care of your knee — you’re too young for one of those knee replacements.


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