This isn't the first time trip delay has happened, in fact, it happened on our first Thistle Adventure too. Yep, Mr. Ed was not blessed with good teeth. His teeth want to die before he does so his non-travel days are filled with fillings and extractions and impressions and implants and dentures and bridges and huge outlays of cash. The dental work, planned to be wrapped up in September, has slid into October. Our Rocky Mountains trip from Alberta to Colorado has shrunk to something much less ambitious because we're getting a late start and the snow is already flying in Banff. We now have a departure date, God willling and the creek don't rise of October 8, with Ed wrapping up his dental commitments for this fall on the 7th.
My teeth seem to be doing fine. Other parts of my aging body, however, are acting up. Having managed to put the digestive tract health issue behind me, I've now been diagnosed with osteoporosis. As they say, we don't get out of this life alive, but wouldn't it be lovely if loosing our teeth and doubling over with bad posture didn't need to be part of the game plan. I could forgo the wrinkles too.
Aah well, complaining won't help my bones, exercise will. My wrinkles? I think I'll find some relief with candlelight and no mirrors. For the osteoporosis I now have my list of stretches and twists and balancing acts along with high impact exercises. I've biked for years to avoid high impact exercise because of my fused ankle. High impact exercise is now on the top of the list of what I'm supposed to do -- running, jumping rope, hiking, dancing. Yikes. Do I sacrifice the ankle for a straight back? It feels like a "between a rock and a hard spot" kind of dilemma.
Examining my life, even the struggle parts, I am always able to find gratitude -- wonderful family and friends; beautiful home and community; years and years of high energy and good health; happy childhood; meaningful and stimulating work and leisure activities; and money enough to consider myself rich by world standards. I'm even grateful to discover there is a payoff to being older bringing with it a sense of maturity I never imagined possible. Our retirement years, or as I recently read and prefer, our "refire" years, can be full and rewarding! Long held relationships grow even richer and there is free time to spend as we desire. A contented feeling, like surround sound drowns out not all, but much of my younger life's anxiety. And then there's patience. I have much less for stupid stuff, but much more for a delay or postponement here and there.
So, with a bit of a late start on our fall trip, soon we'll depart. Reduced in scope yes, but no matter, we definitely are looking forward to another Thistle Adventure. We'll spend time in the North Cascades, head east to Glacier Park, and then backtrack to Idaho's panhandle. To explore the panhandle we will drive south on Highway 95, searching for bike trails and sweet small towns, basking in Idaho's scenic beauty. Fall colors are in our hope-to-see plans too.
One trail we'll seek out is the Pend d'Oreille Bay Trail off Highway 200 (referred to as Idaho's Highway 66). Highway 200 begins at a junction with Highway 95 in Ponderay, just north of Sandpoint. A short sweet trail that has Benton wiggling with anticipation.
Our plan is to get far enough south before too much mountain snow and then home before it snows here on Whidbey. We'll be home for the holidays. "Let it snow! Let it snow! Let it snow!"
Early January our first 2017 Thistle Adventure will begin. Branching out from our southwest travels of these past two years, we currently have two destination bike trails in our sights. First is the Natchez Trace Parkway, 444 miles from Natchez, Mississippi to Nashville, Tennessee. The second is the 200 mile Katy Trail State Park in Missouri, along the Missouri River. But before the trails, we're looking forward to meeting up with Ed's brother and his wife at Big Bend National Park in Texas.
"When I reflect upon my life, the best things were like a fine wine. It took more time than I wanted but how glorious the taste when it had matured."
~ Ron Sims