Terii’s Cycling Babble

Regaining What Was Lost?
August 29, 2018, 1:34 pm
Filed under: Day Rides, Misc

So, finally after most of the month was gone, I managed to get out on another attempt to ride the trike on August 23. It also happened to be a significant anniversary. On that day, 13 years ago, Jens and I brought home an 11 pound ball of fluff with wide eyes and a bright pink nose that would soon turn black. The day Loke officially joined our little family.

It was a bit of a struggle to get though. I was so absolutely absorbed into untangling the convoluted thread of family trees. You know, I found out this American girl has a fair bit of Swedish on her Mom’s dad’s side? Turns out his branch of the family tree was rooted in Falun, Sweden which is about 2.5 hours from Uppsala. I mean, my mom had told me a few years ago that she had just heard that her dad was probably Swedish from some cousins found through Facebook, but I dug up confirmation. Also German, Prussian (which is now part of Germany and other countries), Canadian which will probably lead to French (though I’ve not dug that far yet), and English who were in the country the longest. Long enough there’s apparently an American Revolution veteran tucked away. My dad’s side of things remains an impossible-to-crack nut without more information, though quite a few of the ‘Grandma Helen’ stories have been blown out of the water without even finding any documents on her.

Any way, not trike related except perhaps it explains my love of Sweden that I especially adore exploring on my trike. And the fact that it had been keeping me glued to my computer for hours on end.

The outing turned into a bit of a fiasco though.

Once I got moving, Loke was quite interested. He even did a few small spins of wobbly glee as I got dressed.

My poor Sprint. It’s been woefully neglected of late. Where I’ve been keeping it hasn’t been exactly weather tight and it’s starting to show. Little mud splatters on parts of it where the occasional torrent of rain has splashed and the chain is looking a bit brown. Needs some definite TLC.

The main problem was my tires were so low on air they were mushy and it appeared that my little emergency bike pump was at the garage, which happened to be the same place my big pump was. With so little air remaining in the tubes, attempting to ride would have left me with pinch flats.

I really didn’t relish walking all the way to the garage. Walking’s been difficult what with my ankle and other foot issues going on. Then it occurred to me that there was a pump down on the corner of Svartbäcken and Old Uppsala. One of a growing network of such in a city trying to become more cycle friendly. Closer, so off I clumped in my cycle shoes with Loke tethered to the trike as I pushed it.

That was worse than a waste of time. At first glance, it looked like the pump valve was the proper type, but no, it wouldn’t quite fit to the valve stem and I succeeded only in flattening my tire. My feet hurt and I was aggravated. I was completely ready to toss in the towel and go home. It wasn’t like I had the car so could just jump in and get the pump.

As I turned back, Loke gave me a bright eyed, enthusiastic stare as his tail wagged and then glanced at the trike seat as if to say, “Get on and we go?” I sighed. There was no help for it, I was going to walk to the garage. Pity the pump had been in the opposite direction. That much more distance than what I’d already walked.

Off we plodded. After about 100 yards, the shoes were just killing my feet. A bit further on and I couldn’t stand it any longer. I kicked off my cycle shoes and started walking in my socks. That was actually not too bad. My feet were much happier.

The walk was still being annoying. With the right tire completely flat thanks to the failed pump attempt, the trike kept pulling right. Every few steps, I had to lift the rear wheel, swing the back end a bit to right and plop, a few steps and repeat. My arm started to bother me not to mention the general level of irritation about the whole thing. It got so I actually got the idea to take Loke’s emergency leash, loop it over the left handle bar so I could use it like a rein to tug the trike back to the left. It worked beautifully!

Finally reached the garage and found the pump. Thankfully,  it worked just fine. I was a bit worried about it since it had been on the garage floor when it flooded. As I started airing up, a woman who lives in the complex there came along. We’ve had many conversations over the years, sharing the bond of dogs though we now talk about a myriad of subjects. This time, it was about our various family trees as well as how our dogs were doing.

All aired up, I put the shoes back on and flopped into the seat. Oooooh, it felt so good to sit down. Nervously, I clipped in and began to pedal my way too and through the park. No screaming ankle! I rolled us out for a short, slow amble of just over 2 miles. Loke really seemed to enjoy it, even tried pulling the trike a few times. I endeavored to keep his speed down to 4 mph or less though, because he just seems to get too wobbly for comfort.

So, just a short ride after utter chaos to start, but it felt good. The only twinge my ankle gave was when I was twisting the foot free of the pedal. Very encouraging!

Would you believe that I actually went again the next day? No, it’s true! Such had not happened since about the 2nd week of May.

Loke was fairly perky, clearly not bothered at all by the 2+ miles the day before. I wanted to stay off my feet and keep testing my ankle for more and longer rides, so out we went.

It felt a bit rougher though because it was just a couple hours after a quite vigorous workout at the gym.

My furry old man was happy to see the clothes and the harness. Paced around behind me as I got the rest of things together. As we strolled outside to the trike, a hare made an appearance. Gone are the days when Loke lunges and flaps at the end of the leash in a desperate bid to have a mid-meal snack on legs. His head did come up and ears forward though.

The hare was such a tease as I got the trike ready. Kept running back and forth, stopping to sit up on hindlegs to stare at Loke.

As we moved out, right away I could see that Loke wasn’t going to be going long or fast. He tried though, bless his heart. Even got the trike going to 6 mph, but his legs were all over the place like a badly handled marionette. He did look so happy, jaws open and tongue flopping cheerfully.

It seemed to dampen his cheer, but I slowed us down to about 3 mph where he at least looked more stable. Faster than that, I had an image of him suddenly crashing face first into the pavement and me not stopping fast enough to not drag him even if just a foot or two.

After half mile, we slowed to about 1.5 mph. Even with my ultimate granny gearing (23 front 40 rear), it was hard to stay that slow. It was about then my husband called to say he was unexpectedly coming home and would need keys to get in. It was perfectly really. He could come get the keys as well as take Loke home with him. So I arranged to meet him at a nearby elementary school. Loke had exactly one mile.

The fuzzy was heartbroken as my hubby drove off with him while I set out on a solo dash.

Needless to say, the ride went a bit quicker. 27 minutes for the mile with Loke, I did exactly 3.5 miles in less time. 19 minutes. Stopping for photos and a few times, I just felt the need to get my feet off the pedals. Once it was to sit and stare at a tree, trying to figure out if the ruddy color of the leaves was a result of the months of drought or the beginning of autumn colors.

It actually felt pretty good.

Saturday, August 25th, I skipped riding and had the grand plan to kayak instead. I’ve only been out on the kayak once this year and just for about 20 minutes. Not to mention, there was an Airshow happening at the local Army garrison and I really didn’t want to try dealing with traffic and my trike.

Oh, it was so much worse than I had anticipated. I think worse than anyone anticipated. When I went to Starbucks for Jens at 9 am, traffic between the big round-about on the 55 was already backup clear to the E4 and beyond, which was a couple miles at least. Just in the time it took me to get the beverages, it was backing up near the mall and I had to take ‘back ways’ home. On a normal day, I can make the drive from Starbucks to home in… 4 minutes? Maybe 5. Backways would take me about 12 or if unlucky with lights, 15. Half an hour. Almost within sight of the apartment at one point, I called Jens to say he’d be lucky to get tepid latte.

Yeah. It wasn’t enough…

When I finally got to where I could turn for the smaller roads around our street, even those were choked with traffic. The previous day, I’d actually ridden by where they planned to park cars for the event. Two huge wheat fields. I had shaken my head, thinking they were being overly enthusiastic. As I struggled just to get home, I concluded, the planned parking was going to be woefully inadequate.

I also discovered that every bit of the traffic from the south and west trying to get to the garrison base was being funneled right down the small street where our garage sits. No. No how, no way was I going to try and get the car to the garage to get the kayak. Just, no. As it was, I walked to the local grocery and some guy nearly ran me over because he wanted that half car-length of the crosswalk though there was no way he was going to get more than that or even lose it in the few seconds it would have taken me to cross.

I did consider taking the trike out for a spin, but decided it wasn’t worth my life to try crossing any of the streets I’d need to get over.

Sunday, August 26, was a bit of a flub. I actually had gotten the kayak, gotten to the river, pulled it out of the car and unfolded it, only to discover I’d left the hose needed to pump it. It had gotten separated from the pump during post-flood clean up in the garage. Fortunately, it was easily found, but by then it was too late to get back to the river and try to paddle.

Again, I thought about riding, but the aggravation left me in a bit of a funk so I just plopped down and started ancestor research again.

Over the whole weekend through the airshow chaos, and right through Monday, Loke had been doing very well. Good energy for his current condition. My hubby took a walk with him to his parents and apparently, Loke did a wobbling run almost the entire way there. It’s been so great to see. It might even thanks to the recent cycling.

So on August 28th, I decided to try riding again. My feet were bothering me quite a bit and I really wanted to get Loke out of the house for more than the little shuffles I could manage. So, I was gonna take him for another wobble with the trike.

I set out for a shortened version of the already short River Loop Hamster track. It was pleasant out as we started. About 65 F, a bit of blue sky between the clouds, and very slight breeze. Loke was happy to be outside as we went along at barely more than 1 mph. Truly, the first quarter mile took us 15 minutes. But I expected it and content to let him set the pace. Once we were on the cycle paths away from the streets, he sped up a bit. Almost 2 mph. Plenty of stops to sniff and such though.

If I hadn’t been prepared for it, it might have been annoying, but I just listened to music as we crept along and enjoyed being out of the house.

By some miracle, though there appeared to be wandering rain showers all around us, we constantly missed them. Be inching along to happen upon a patch of sopping wet pavement and dripping plants.

There was one moment of excitement all because of my tender-hearted nature. I’m always pausing on the trike to gently toss snails off the cycle path and help birds and well, all that sort of thing. So, when I was rolling along and saw the fat, bulbous body of some kind of caterpillar, I decided I was going to get it off the path.

That red ‘stinger’ wasn’t soft flesh like I thought.

It looked kinda creepy in a pretty way and I decided I wasn’t going to pick it up bare handed. So, I picked a large green leaf. I gave the crawlie a closer look. It was over 2 inches long with a rather alarming red ‘horn’ coming out its rear. Like most caterpillars, I figured it was just a fleshy extension to look like a stinger.

I dropped the leaf over it and went to gently squeeze it to lift. That critter was stronger than it looked. As soon as I put pressure on it, it flapped into a coil and I actually saw that red protrusion go through the leaf, narrowly missing my finger.

Loke gave me the strangest look as I yelped and dropped it. Muttering, I went and found a good little twig and rolled the beastie off the path and back into the grass. I’ve since found with my sister-in-law’s help, that it’s a caterpillar for a bedstraw hawk moth. Quite a pretty moth really, so I’m glad I made the effort to save this one. Provided it didn’t just go crawling right back on the path when I was gone.

We arrived back home with 2.3 miles and Loke seemed disappointed when it was over though it had taken us 1 hour and 47 minutes. 5 of those was probably the caterpillar.

Once inside, I settled Loke all comfy in the foyer with plush bed, fresh water, a treat and a chew toy to bolt out the door for a solo ride. I was curious to see how my ankle was. It hadn’t bothered me at all on the ride with Loke, but then 1.5 mph is hardly a challenge for it unless it was still significantly injured.

As I fastened on my helmet, one of my neighbors wandered by and asked about Loke. We had a brief chat about if we’d get another dog once he was gone. The answer of course was that we were going to wait a couple years and it would most likely be a Rhodesian Ridgeback. Good runners and being out and moving in anything over 78 F wouldn’t be as big an issue as with a husky.

Saying our farewells, I plopped in the seat to roll out. I hadn’t quite decided how far I was going to go, though obviously at least some of it was going to be a repeat of the River Loop hamster track I’d just done (slowly) with the furball. Still, this was to be a test, so I hit the ground running as it were.

I zipped down the street for the first quarter mile at over 10 mph, taking a moment at the 4 way stop to photograph was appears to be the beginnings of autumn colors. True autumn colors rather than the dying of water-starved leaves. I wasn’t surprised to see them as we’ve had a couple mornings in the past week or so that were in the low 40’s F.

You know, I was shocked even in that short little distance at the beginning. It felt good. As good as I felt back in March when my brain started making all the glorious plans for the coming months. Rides across fresh stretches of countryside, day tours, over-nighters with tents, or perhaps even another credit-card tour on the south-western edge of Sweden. Before Loke’s health and stamina tanked, before twisting my ankle so badly it took 2 months before I could walk without pain, let alone pedal my trike. Before 2-3 months went by at 95 F in a country with NO air-conditioning, the hottest summer on record.

But the end of that summer seems to be passing in the more, mild and usual fashion for Sweden.

I whipped through the left turn and continued briskly. The clouds were thicker than during Loke’s outing when we’d been lucky enough to keep missing the rain. I hoped my fortune would hold as I whimsically decided to throw in the burial mound loop of Old Uppsala.

Speeding through a patch of woods and then an underpass loop to start the gentle, but long climb toward the burial mounds my upbeat tempo continued. Before, that insidious climb used to slow me down quite a bit. This time, I was able to sustain a good pace, my RPM over 70 while speeding the trike along at over 7 mph. I felt good. There was some discomfort in the arch of my foot near the heel, but otherwise unexpectedly strong. The speeds weren’t anything to impress most people, but for me, I was flying.

I was reliving those memories of pure joy of why cycling became such an obsession for me. Wings in the shape of wheels! A return of the possibility to regain what it was; the exploration and sheer freedom to experience my portion of the world like I used to before my health knocked me down. To expand my horizons and leave the dull, confines of cycle-less existence behind for brighter vistas and adventure. The thought I might be able to do the kind of all day rides across unfamiliar terrain took my breathe and pushed my legs faster in whirling the pedals.

Naturally, about that time, my foot started cramping a bit, so I swerved off at a bus stop where other bikes could easily pass me. Once I worked out the complaining muscles, I was off again.

Still, I couldn’t seem to stop pushing, gritting my teeth to spin at over 70 RPM. Even when my thighs joined the foot’s complaint, I zipped on, unable to slow down. Aches or not, I was flying on a wave of enthusiasm.

As I reached the mounds, it seemed for a moment my rain-luck was running out. But it was just a few tiny droplets the size of pin-heads and then nothing more though the wind was rising as if warning that more was coming.

Threat of rain or no, I didn’t want to stop. I had meant to get back home fairly quick, but the paths called, even my hamster tracks. The northern river path. I had to. The siren song was so alluring.

The rain finally caught me there, but luck held enough that it was only enough to leave my tights speckled without really becoming damp.

Awwwww. So cute!

It also happened that my flying (for me) pace slowed. One moment, I was buzzing along and the next, a pebble moved. Hopped really. I hit the brakes to observe the darling, fingernail-sized frogling blending quite well with the pavement. It had looked like a little pebble until it had moved.

So began the game of ‘Name That Bump! Pebble or Frogling!’ for roughly a mile. A half-mile from where the pavement became wet to the end of the path and then a half mile back to where the pavement became dry again.

Sadly, I was the only one who was so carefully aware of the little frogs. Other bikes zipped by with no notice as did the people walking. I couldn’t go so carelessly. I shuddered to think of running over a single one of them. I’m sure I did, but I missed more than I would have hit.

Along that return toward the dryer pavement, I came into a moment of irony. At the start of the ride, I’d mentioned to the neighbor that our next dog would likely be a Rhodesian Ridgeback. What should I meet? But a man walking with his 15 week old Rhodesian Ridgeback puppy. Such a cute little thing, all bounce and mouthing with puppy teeth.

At first, she was terrified of the trike until I said, ‘Oooh! What a cutie!’ and then she was up on my lap, stomping on me as she licked my face and gnawed on my hands. So precious.

A little further on, my trike terrified another dog, a border collie. It was running along with a woman on a bike with a trailer full of what looked green tree branches. Poor thing tried to pull back, stop and get away, but the woman dragged it by, almost running over its feet with the trailer. I felt so guilty.

Reluctantly, I finished the River Loop and wound up at home with 9.1 miles in 1 hour and 33 minutes. I’m sure I lost a few minutes over the froggy mile and I’m curious what it might have been, but I couldn’t run them over! I avoid and rescue snails, I’m certainly going to avoid frogs.

Even after what turned into my longest ride since May before the truly hot weather set in, I felt great. The additional sense of accomplishment buoyed my spirits so much I felt as if my feet were walking on air.

Another thing filled me with glee. The fact the 9+ miles felt so incredibly easy meant that my next solo ride can go off and away from the River Loop, except perhaps an addition for extra distance. My next solo ride, barring weather, will be a loop that I used to count as being so very short. A mere 11 miles or so. The Vaksala Loop, off through the countryside. An old hamster track, but one that I’ve only ridden 4 or 5 times in the past couple years. Away from the River Loop for at least a bit of it. *dreamy sigh*

And then, we’ll see. Maybe I can get some rides over 20 miles, or dare I say 30 miles, before the snows fly!

Of Floods and Birthdays
August 15, 2018, 5:29 am
Filed under: Misc

Well, yesterday was my birthday. While I would have loved to have spent it cruising around the countryside, I was firmly kept home by Loke and ankle.

Thankfully the heat has broken. For almost a week now, it’s been pleasant. Perhaps a tad bit on the warm end of it, but much better than roasting.

Oh! I haven’t mentioned about the flood we had a few weeks ago!

As I’ve mentioned in any post since about May, Sweden was cooking under not only brutal heat, but a dearth of rain. That broke most spectacularly on July 29th. A thunderstorm nudged in and, at first, I wasn’t paying much attention to it until a particularly loud crash of thunder made me look up. Only then did I realize the absolute torrent that was plunging from the sky, worthy of Niagara Falls.

The cellar of our apartment building floods from time to time and I had a sneaking suspicion that perhaps I should go look. When it happened the first time, my father-in-law built us some pallets to raise things off the floor a few inches. I wanted to be sure it was going to be enough.

At the south end of our building is the direct outside entrance to our cellar. It comes into a fairly large space where bikes are parked. Then there’s a doorway, though no door, into another large room with space for more bikes. There’s a sill in the door way of about 4 inches and on the other side of that room is another doorway with a sill that leads into corridor lined with more doorways. The ones to the left open into spaces for storage units.

So, the water was just beginning to come pooling and creeping across the floor of the first room. The sound from the other side of the outer door was alarming though. I scurried back up to tell Jens we probably needed to come move stuff. I also called a friend who lives above us. When she answered, I asked if she was home. She sighed and said, “Do I want to know?” My reply was, “No, but you’d better hurry.” I also knocked on the door across the hall to warn that neighbor.

In just those few minutes, the water was already starting to spill over that first door jam into the second room. Jens was on the phone with the company that manages the apartment as I hurried with the keys to the space with our storage unit. Suddenly, he stopped talking on the phone to yell, “The door is going to go!”

I looked up, taking a couple more steps and peered at the outer door. Honestly, I could hardly believe what I was seeing so had taken a few more steps toward our unit. Water was jetting from between the bricks and doorframe from a height above my waist. When it clicked exactly how bad it was on the other side of that door and what Jens meant, I barely had time to turn around. There was a loud bang/pop and a blast of water higher than my knees gushed across the first room and only seemed to grow higher as it slammed into the first doorway to pour into second room. It was so fast. I’d hardly taken a step when blasted into the hallway and hit the back of my legs. To keep from going down, I clutched at some kind of box on the wall.

Once the entire basement was full of knee high water, I felt it was safe to move and shuffled back to the stairwell up into the building.

By the time the entire storm was over, Uppsala had been hammered with something like 2 feet of water in just 2 or 3 hours. Any street or cycle path with an underpass was closed off. One, two days later was still flooded with more than 5 feet of water. During the tail end of the storm, people were playing around in the train station underpass with almost 3 feet of water, floating on inner tubes and getting photographed for the newspaper. Turns out I knew those lovable goofs. Two guys who used to work at Starbucks. Schools, hospitals, and more were flooded which took priority for the cleaning services. The worst storm and flood in Uppsala in decades. There was one year where the river got so high that some streets downtown were closed where the water came out of the rockwalled channels there, but that had just been the river. Not the entire city drowning from rain directly from the sky. It was insane.

Jens had the worst time trying to convince the management company the severity of the situation. That it wasn’t just a little water. It was an inch of black gunk rotting on the floor, starting to smell of decay and mildew as well as a busted outer door that couldn’t have kept out a 2 year old. Oh, and not to mention that our little garbage house was full to busting where people were having to toss any anything that had been less than 3 feet off the floor in their units. To make things worse, a lot of people were still on vacation. Some of those units sat closed, moldering and growing for a week or more.

One of my friends in the building across our little parking lot knew the owner of the building it turned out. She gave Jens his e-mail. Naturally Jens sent a message and detailed exactly what had happened. Things finally got moving. The cleaning companies were overloaded with high priority places such as schools and the like, but one had been ordered. The man also sent someone to at least replace the busted door with more secure plywood cover until it could be properly repaired. Also, a large dumpster appeared in our parking lot for people to pitch whatever had been ruined.

That wasn’t the end for Jens and I. It also turned out that our storage unit where I keep the trike flooded. Not nearly as spectacularly as the basement, only a foot or so, but enough to be annoying. Jens’ sister had stored some stuff there and had organized a lot of stuff off the floor even for us. Jens managed what he could, which of course all of this happened just as he was returning to work as it all happened at the end of his 3 weeks of vacation.

My main challenge was my kayak. At first, I thought it was fine. I stuck my hand in the bag and it felt dry at least, but I had planned to take into the drying room of the laundry facilities to spread it out on the floor. The room has a fan system that blows warmed and dehumidified air. As I went to sling the kayak into the car, the bag gurgled. Not good. I pulled it back out, unzipped it and flipped the whole thing over to drain for 10 minutes.

My idea for the drying room worked very well. In the 3.5 hour time slot, the kayak and it’s bag were bone dry. Faster by far than drying in the sun. I had also gotten to it quick enough that no mildew had a chance to gain a foothold. Whew.

The good news about the basement flooding is that my trike was NOT in there. I shudder to think of icky water getting into the axle bearings of my front wheels and soaking into the chain and clogging chain tubes. No, the trike was safe at the apartment, sitting here since my last attempt to ride had been cut short by my ankle.

Of course, immediately the next day after that flood from the heavens, we were back to temps in the 90’s with a brutally clear sky.

It did appear to be the last gasp of that harsh weather though. We had thunder rumbling through almost every day for a week. Sometimes it would even give us a slight patter of rain. About a week later, it finally broke. Temps were back into the 70’s and we even had something resembling a more normal rain pattern for us. Back to proper Swedish summer.

Grass is sprouting again, so those spots that were just almost bone white with dead plants are flushing green again. Trees that managed to hold on to green leaves are looking better, less wilted, but for those trees that have already browned, I don’t think they’ll be bouncing back until next spring… if they can.

Mother Nature gave me a lovely birthday present when I woke up yesterday morning. It was 44 F out. I was curled up in bed, snuggled under blankets with the window wide open. Slept like a babe. When I took Loke out, it was still less than 50 F and I reveled in it. Shivers and goosebumps as I walked along. I absolutely loved it.

Otherwise, my birthday was kinda… meh. I’m not into parties so there wasn’t any of that, thank heavens. Jens has been bugging me about what I want for my birthday and I keep waffling about it. He’s offered me a new sleeping system for touring, but it feels kinda silly to get that when there won’t be any touring or camping this year. I am toying with the idea of a harp. Jens has offered to get me a full on floor harp. You know 3-4 feet high with about 40 strings. I’m kinda leaning toward something more modest. Small enough to sit on my knee or a stool in front of me with 17-22 strings. I would love to learn to play though I’m kinda wary that I don’t have the coordination for it.

I also had to take Loke to the vet. He’s got some inflammation in an ear and has been scratching and shaking or tilting his head. I tried treating with ear washes, but it wasn’t responding. The vet, Charlie, prescribed another type of ear cleaner as well as cortisone drops to take care of the inflammation. It’s all back around to Loke’s allergies. Odd that it turned up in his ear rather than his feet like usual.

Otherwise, Loke’s… muddling along. He still is thrilled to see his dinner dish with stuff in it, but most of the time he sleeps. There are still moments where he’ll get up and try to pounce around with a ball which makes me smile. Still, his time grows short, I fear. Everyday, we’re weighing his quality of life compared to how much pain he might be in. His walkies with Jens have gotten shorter and shorter as well as slower. Even if my ankle were fine and I were able to ride, I don’t think I’d even try to take my old man with me. He might think he’d want to go, but I doubt he could make more than a few hundred yards and then want to stop.

It’s sad and heartbreaking, but then I still seem to have that sad, but otherwise peaceful sense of acceptance that I gained when there was so much distress about how bad the tumor seemed to be.

Shortly, it will be August 23rd. Why is that significant? It’s the day we brought an adorable tan, gray, and white ball of fluff home, with his cute pink nose and wide puppy eyes. He will have been a part of our family for 13 years exactly. He’s been a source of aggravation at times, and distress with his allergies and issues those have caused over the years, but what family member isn’t an aggravation? He’s also been my best friend and best buddy who has shared countless adventures with me. He’s made me laugh and kept me company. Even he was bullying me awake to pack camp and roll out on the trike at 2 am when we were on a tour, I had to smile about it. Or the way he followed me into the heart of a chamber burial mound in Denmark though he REALLY didn’t want to be there, he wasn’t going to stay outside and wait. I have a lot of great memories that are made even brighter with his antics mingled in.

He’s my good boy.