Posted by: twistsoffeet | July 12, 2011

4 Steps forward 5 Steps back

Self photo of me in my mosquito protection gearI went to bad last night after removing the fly from my tent. The sky was clear and the evening hot. Even with the fly removed and the additional ventilation obtained I was still sweating heavily. Still I eventually fell asleep Knowing that I need to be rested this morning so that I could ride the 46 miles to the next town. I usually wake at least 1 time in the night and last night was no different. At 01:15 I woke up and walked to the bathrooms. As I walked I thought I could see a glimmer of lightening in the distance. Still I decided to leave my rain fly off the tent and went back to sleep.
The bright white flash in front of my eyes woke me up suddenly. I looked out through the mesh mosquito netting on my tent and was greeted with another flash and then suddenly the sky erupted all around me in a full 360 degree panoramic view of lightening that lit the earth and sky around me like it was high noon. This lightening continued unabated for half an hour. This lightening was not strobe like in it’s effect, instead it was so intense it was a constant brightness surrounding me.
I decided that it would be prudent of me to attach the rain fly to my tent. Although I was concerned about the lightening as I walked outside my tent and made the attachment I knew the rain would be coming soon and with a vengeance. I crawled back inside the tent and heard the first drop hit the tent and then several more and suddenly a fire hose like rain storm was unleashed on my tent.
As I sat inside I looked at the ceiling and through the netting inspecting it for leaks, I found none so I decided to attempt to sleep. As I stretched out my legs rolled over and touched the floor , it felt damp. I turned on my head lamp and looked at the floor and it was wet and getting wetter. Suddenly I could see the water rising inside the tent and looked at the edge of the tent by the doors and saw the water rushing over the edge of the bathtub floor.
I grabbed my laptop camera and sleeping bag on my 1st trip to the park shelter and then made 2 more trips securing all of my gear from the tent. I then foolishly made an attempt to move my tent under the park shelter. Normally this would be an easy task but with the tent full of 4-6 inches of water the tent was heavy and this caused 1 of my tent poles to break. The night was getting worse. My gear was soaked my tent was flooded and my tent pole was broken but it would get worse.
Apparently mosquito’s sleep in the grass and since the entire park was flooded with 6-12 inches of water they had no choice but to fly around too survive. The mosquito’s were also apparently pissed off at having to fly in this weather. Since I was the only mammal in the vicinity they obviously chose me as the target of choice. The mosquito’s attacked in numbers that dwarfed the massacre at Mallard. I was carpeted by a mass of buzzing biting bloodsucking mosquito’s.
I tried to protect myself by putting on long pants. I tucked the pants inside heavy socks and put on a 1/2 zip heavy fleece pullover that I zipped all of the way up. I also wore my riding gloves that are unfortunately fingerless I put a dew rag on my head. Still i was overly exposed to the attack of the mosquito’s, they were able to bite me through my socks and pants and my exposed neck and face. I then wrapped a shirt around my head leaving my nose and eyes and part of my mouth partially exposed. I was not enough so I wrapped a another shirt around my head and pulled my hands inside the fleece and then closing my sleeves from the inside. The buzzing of the mosquito’s around my head was incessant and unrelenting.
I had to escape so I began searching for a refuge. As I walked near the front of the park I looked towards the south and saw what looked like a hospital sign. After closer inspection I found I was only 300 yards from a hospital. I grabbed my laptop and phone and headed for the hospital.
Upon reaching the hospital I was able to enter the first set of doors but the second was locked. I finally was able to get the attention of a nurse who let me inside. Sitting inside the hospital drinking coffee and eating cookies the hospital supplied I made the decision that I needed a place to rest recover and repair. I needed to be someplace where I could be dry and safe from the attacks of the mosquito’s.
As much as I did not want to do it I needed to ask my cousin to pick me up and take me to his place where I could get myself and my gear back in top operating condition. I called my cousin and he agreed to pick me up and so now I am back at his home getting everything back in shape for my tour. I slept 10 hours last night in a soft warm bed. I am safe from flying insects and I am once again able to enjoy the company and conversation of my cousin.
I am generally feeling good and am looking forward to resuming my tour. My RA is very uncomfortable throughout my entire body today. The weather is damp and cool which I believe intensifies the effects of RA. But my attitude is good and strong so in a couple days I will be back on the road pedaling my way towards my destination.


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