Posted by: twistsoffeet | May 8, 2011

Safety, Apprehension and Judgement Calls


Mother Nature seems to be throwing some kinks into my planned route.

I had actually seen this coming, but had hoped it would not come to fruition.

However, the mighty Mississippi River and the Ohio River are both overflowing and then joining into one big, nasty, dangerous river.  They have forced me to change the first portion of my trip.

Instead of heading diagonally towards Helena, Arkansas through Florida, Georgia, Alabama, and Mississippi, I have been forced to alter my route so that now I will head north through Florida, Georgia, Tennessee, Kentucky, and Illinois.

I will cross the Mississippi at Davenport, Iowa.

I had not wanted to follow this path, but unfortunately the flooding of the Mississippi has put me in a position of making a judgement call for safety’s sake.

All of this has made me a bit apprehensive. I do not mean that I am afraid, although I have felt fear and am not one of those who subscribe to the mentality of no fear. In fact, I believe in fear and believe that fear is an instinctual emotion that every life form possesses.

Fear is a survival tool; the key is managing this fear and using it without letting it overpower you.

Still… this is just apprehension, not fear.  I am apprehensive because I now have to ride close to a few cities such as Atlanta and Moline, Illinois, both of which I had hoped to avoid.  It is not that these are bad cities;  I just want to stay away from large cities. Of course, all of my concerns are amplified by not having actually begun my ride yet.

Frustration in me has always reared its ugly head in the form of apprehension. I think this happens because I have the time to over-analyze my plans. In the end, though, I am still confident in my abilities both physically and mentally. I am able to see a positive side to this in that it has shown me that I am able to adapt.

Overall this does nothing to change my reasons for doing this ride, and it will not alter the theme of my ride and this blog.  This will still be my ride for arthritis. My goal still is to draw attention to the suffering caused by arthritis and also let those that suffer with this disease know that there are options and that we do not have to let Rheumatoid, Psoriatic or Osteoarthritis overrun us.

We do have medical/chemical options as well as lifestyle options that assist us, or at least assist me, in managing these diseases.

I believe my new route will become demanding more quickly than the previous route due to hitting hilly mountainous roads sooner into my journey. This causes a little nervousness inside me because I was hoping to have over a month of daily riding and building strength and endurance before I had to start daily bicycle hill climbs.

I am also going to continue to be very aware of the weather.

Tornadoes and flash floods or the possibility of them will keep my guard up.

On the other hand, I will travel through some very beautiful country.  I will pass by some civil war battlefields and many areas of historical importance.   This will provide many photo opportunities.  I am thinking about visiting the United States POW MIA Museum and Monument in Andersonville, Georgia.

I have been there before, and it is a very moving and emotionally provocative place. My father’s great- great- uncle was captured in the civil war and died in the POW prison at Andersonville when it was run by the Confederate forces. It was a horrible place where many thousands of men died from disease, starvation, lack of medical care, and brutality at the hands of their captors and other captives. Just to be fair, the Union army had prisons just as horrible and deadly. It will serve, I hope, to inspire me to push through any difficulties I encounter by reminding me that no matter what happens, nothing I go through will be as bad as what those men went through.

Roughly 36 hours until this sojourn of mine begins in earnest. Roughly three and one half months until my planned completion of said sojourn. I have 98% completed moving out of my condo. I am 99% percent packed but have decided to unpack and see if I am carrying anything I can do without.

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