Thursday, March 21, 2013

“Already today sixty five miles”

Ulla sat on a sunny bench in front of the library, her Adventure Cycling maps spread in her lap, a fully loaded touring bike leaning on  its stand. It was late afternoon and the Big Lagoon campground nearby was full, the next, 15 miles ahead on the Trans America trail, likely packed with Spring Breakers and Snowbirds delaying their return from Florida to the blizzard ravaged Midwest. It was windy.

 …”but I have from the back mostly today.”
“There are no campsites.  I have called them… and I have already today sixty five miles.”

Having Y chromosomes, Al blurted out the solution before being asked, before proper introductions, and well before courtesy would require.

“This is easy.  We have a campsite in the park across the road –- #34.  You can follow us. I’ll talk to the gate guard…”

IMG_8164Soon we we had stowed our books, Ulla her maps and we were through the gate and pulling up to the Airstream.

“Airstreams!  I love them.  They are the only ones I recognize.”

Nodding toward the 2BIKES car tag she asked, “Two bikes? Is that motorbikes or bicycles?” 

We learned quickly the Ulla faces life head on and it’s is doubtful she had too many qualms about being kidnapped by two geriatric Hell’s Angels, but there was just a little relief twinkling around her eyes when she found herself with fellow bike tourers.  Even better, they have a well provisioned Airstream.

We set about tidying the trailer for our guest while she assembled her tent and gear with practiced ease. 

“First tent, then person,” she declared as she headed for the showers.

At the picnic table we shared a meal partially from each of our larders followed by desert in the trailer as the temps headed for the Thirties. We learned that she is Austrian, living in Switzerland, speaks perfect English with delightful British idioms and has crammed three lifetimes of experience into her fifty one years.  Rock climbing, Alpine mountaineering, trips all over Europe (and where else?), bike tours on both coasts of the US and  now this solo trans continental trip. We traded stories into the night and there was so very much more to tell.


In the morning we lingered too long over breakfast, the oldsters clucking that “You should eat more; you have a lot of miles to ride.” 


And lingered a little more discussing handlebar geometry.  Ah, Gearheads --  the eternal bonds we forge.

At nine thirty she mounted up and peddled West toward Gulf Shores, Fort Morgan and the Dauphin Island Ferry.  Tomorrow, Bellingrath Gardens and on to more adventures. 

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1 comment:

  1. Oh my! Wait for me! I want to go! Pleasepleaseplease, waaaaait!