Saturday, May 7, 2011

April 13: Canton, Tx – Tyler, Tx 39mi

Woke up this morning feeling a bit weak. Legs feeling lazy, body feeling heavy. The ground was a tad uncomfortable and the street was closer than I thought so traffic woke me up. I didn’t wake up early either, I was crawling out of bed around 9:30, so passing traffic could enjoy my morning routine. I had dissected my panniers (the bags on the side of my bike that holds all my gear) the night before and had to repack everything so it would fit properly. Most of my gear is sleeping equipment so if all of it is pulled out, repacking takes about 20 or 30 min. My dirty laundry was mooshed in the bottom of one of the panniers and I packed the compression sack with my clean clothes and mashed my sleeping bag in as well. The mashing and condensing is required for obvious reasons, so everything will fit. Once its all packed up, it fits snug and looks neat.
My morning ritual consists of waking up, eating some sort of light breakfast and drinking something before I start anything else so that my stomach can process the food and send the nutrients to the rest of my body while I finish packing/washing myself/gearing up or whatever I need to do.
So that’s how this morning began. Even though I had something to eat and drink my body wasn’t feeling like making many miles. I trudged down the road and diverted slightly to the next town down the road to get some lunch. I made Ben Wheeler right around 11. I ate up, made small talk with the waiters and waitresses and hung out to see if eating would kick start my body but no luck. I pressed on and was nearing Tyler when I stopped at a gas station to water up. While hanging out, I checked my emails and noticed I had a message from Ashley, an awesome friend I had lost contact with when I left to Afghanistan. Hearing from her made my day, I got all excited and it pumped my mood and energy.
Having no energy to ride zaps your motivation. Losing motivation starts a process in my mind that I do my best to control but difficult at best. The mind starts focusing on how many miles are remaining…I call this the Worm. It grinds around my mind and makes me focus on how far I have to ride making the distance seem greater and time to pass by much more slowly. When im fresh and high spirited, the miles fly right on by and its easy to turn my mental attention to practical thoughts. So hearing from Ashley turned my negative energy into a high positive that lifted me up and riding into Tyler was a relative breeze. I contacted the gentleman who said he would cover my hotel room before I left Texas and he set me up for the night here.
I arrived at the hotel, checked in, and went to the room. Most of my clothes were dirty and I was recycling the set I had on. It was at least 2 days at this point and I was going to do laundry. Since Laundromats are normally not in my close vicinity, I hand wash my clothes in the sink or bathtub and wring them out and let them dry overnight.  Well that was the plan. I broke open my pannier that held my dirty laundry. First removing the sleeping bag…then the compression sack…then the dirty laundry crushed in the bottom. I removed all clothes and felt around in the bottom for any lingering socks. There was a sock and something else. I grabbed it and it felt different.
Remember, when I camped out in Canton, I had lay the bike down in the bushes.

The last object felt strange so I grabbed it and pulled it out of the bag: it was a cold, dead, smashed, bloody mouse. I hope for his sake it was a quick death when I crushed him that morning when I packed my gear. To say the least I was surprised and disgusted. I flushed the mouse, scrubbed my pannier and left the laundry. I wasn’t going to hand wash mouse blood out of my articles of clothing. I re-wore the same clothes until I was able to use a washer and dryer 2 days later.
A sidenote, I didnt take very many pictures. When im not having a cheery day, I dont take photos because I would rather not remember the experience.


  1. Oh Levi, you are so adorable! Love, Auntie Carol

  2. thanks for the update Levi. didn't need to hear about the mouse, yuk. wishing you an enjoyable, intersting ride for the remainder of your trip. stay well & safe Pal. 8-)

  3. he just wanted a roof over his head! poor little guy! its interesting even tho this was multiple states back, i can tell the annoyance of the day came back to you as you remembered it to share. i love you!

  4. (If you had to have a mouse in your pack - I am just glad it was dead! :) GROSS! While reading your blog I was starting to guess what was coming...(plus Laona said "did you read about Levi's mouse yet?) Glad to hear that the days beyond this one were better for you! It reminds me of times you kids were deployed and the stories you would tell of how certain people could just cheer a person up! :) I love you, (wish you were home) Love, Mom

  5. Hi Levi - I was waiting for an update from you and was wondering if you were doing okay since it has been awhile since you last blogged. I hope your spirits improve as it is fun to see the pictures you take along the way. Take care of yourself and happy pedaling!

  6. Love reading your blogs Levi! Keep them coming. MnSue

  7. Levi I love reading your blogs I feel like I am right with you. I am printing all of them and sending them to Josh. YOU are his motivation while he is in Afghanistan. Love you Levi!

  8. ewwwwwwww ewwwwww and thats all I have to say about the dead rat

    Glad your friend Ashley and she made the day better for you :)
    always, luvy