Thursday August 6
“This is a whole different world, Missouri. We smoke in stores, we go to church on Sundays, and we still beat our children with a belt”. These words were spoken to me by a resident Missourian while we were in Farmington. I meant to put that in yesterdays journal but forgot. It speaks volumes about some of the characters that make this such a different state.
I’m sitting on the shoulder of the road right now while cars and trucks whiz by. Donna and Lewis have been given a ride back into Farmington to see if we can find yet another good Samaritan, or at least someonewilling to help out for cold hard cash. Just when we began to think we might escape Missouri (Illinois border was our initial destination today) misfortune and near tragedy rear their ugly heads. Less than an hour ago, Donna flipped over the handlebars as she inadvertantly ran over a piece of wood which became lodged in the front wheel. She evidently hasn’t broken any bones but this may be a premature evaluation. There was a little blood on her hand where she took the impact of the sudden deceleration but swelling or other side effects weren’t obvious when she left me here. The bike is a wreck. Hopefully, Donna will be able to bounce back in a couple days and continue. In the meantime, we have to find a ride into Illinois (Carbondale) to get to a bike shop. She needs a new wheel, a new front fork and who knows how much other work to get the bike rideable. I’m sitting on the side of the road……..
No, that was no joke. It is now 12 hours later. Guess where we are? Back in Farmington behind the fire station in the Mobile Emergency Command Center. Donna and Lewis went directly to the Fire Station where she received her first aid. I remained on the side of the road for the better part of 45 minutes until one of the firemen pulled up with a pickup to carry away the unrideable bike. I opted to ride the tandem back to town rather than risk damaging it during transport. Wearing a half dozen bandages, she looks like the loser in a bar fight. Took a licking and still ticking! Major road rash on her shoulder. Scraped a couple knuckles, may have cracked one or two as well. A sore rib cage that may be a pulled muscle or may be something else. She discovered that she also has multiple bruises during her shower this evening. The initial prognosis on the bike is also not good.
On the positive side however, is her attitude. This physical punishment that she’s suffered hasn’t been as devastating to her moral as the bike theft in Oregon. Tomorrow may change all that after she sleeps on her injuries. We’ll wait and see as I’ll be right there documenting as this unfolds. In the meantime, I can update what transpired between the bicycle flip and right now. Evidently, Lewis was an eyewitness to the actual aerobatics that Donna performed. He thought it would have made a great video for you-tube (whatever that is). While he is joking lightheartedly about his mothers fall from grace, he was not laughing when he saw her go over the handlebars. “Moms down. Moms down!” he screamed as I continued pedaling. When I glanced in my mirror, what I saw caused by heart to drop. Donna wasn’t yet moving around but was obviously at the very least seriously shaken up. We dropped the tandem in the ditch and raced back the 50 yards where she was lying in a heap. I was able to immediately discover that she was very lucky to have not injured herself more seriously. She was in a mild state of shock but was coherent. Within a couple minutes a passerby motorist stopped to offer assistance which we immediately accepted. This brings us back to where this episode began.
Upon our reunion at the fire station, I discover my bandaged up wife talking to the firemen. This is a good sign I think. However, when we finally manage a few minutes alone after stepping back into our RV from the night before, she broke down. I was able to comfort her broken spirits with physical contact and soothing words. This is after all, my fault. If I hadn’t forced her into this adventure, this wouldn’t have happened. Fortunately, the guys at the fire station were here to help with the situation. After only a few minutes of self pity, Donna snapped out of her funk, and we proceeded with what had to be done for the rest of the day and what was to follow.
Our first priority of course is Donna’s well being, but the guys here are all trained EMT’s and deal with serious injuries every day as part of their jobs. They were instrumental in convincing Donna that she was probably going to be just fine. While they admitted she may indeed have cracked a knunckle bone or pulled a muscle in her rib cage, the injuries she’d suffered will most likely take care of themselves. If it turns out that she is unable to grip the handlebars, then this ride is over. In the meantime though, I have to get her bicycle back in rideable condition. Then we’ll see if she can manage or if she still wants to. At this point she says we keep going! I’m liking her attitude.
I made a few phone calls, and found a bike shop in Carbondale Illinois that has the parts on hand and are willing to fix the bike tomorrow assuming that we can get the bike to the shop. Carbondale was going to be our destination for Friday as todays destination was supposed to be Chester Illinois. One of the firemen (Alan) generously offered to transport us to Carbondale Friday morning as he will be starting a stretch of 4 days off. He has a sister who lives not far from Carbondale that he’s not seen in a year, so he’ll be making a family outing of the trip that will ultimately helpTeam Jackson get just a little closer to their final destination. There are plenty of good people in Missouri. I take my hat off to Alan and the rest of the firemen who have gone out of their way to make us feel welcome. Thanks Farmington Fire Department Guys!
So now we have a plan in place for tomorrow. What about the rest of today. It’s barely noon and we’ve got the rest of the day to kill. I seriously don’t want to sit the in airconditioned Emergency Mobile Command Center all day. And neither does Donna or Lewis. We found out about the water park in Farmington as well as the Walmart where we can purchase some fruit and some anti-inflamatories for Donna. We were prepared to set out on a day of walking around Farmington when another fireman realized that the city has a vehicle that is intended for visitors and dignitaries who stop in for official business reasons. The car wasn’t being used and they suggested that we take advantage of it. I would have been fine with the walking and it would have been good for Donna and Lewis as well, but we ended up taking the car. We were given a map of the city indicating where everything was. We would have ended up walking 4 or 5 miles had we not chosen to use the vehicle.
So we set off. It was really strange to be behind the wheel of an automobile again. I kept getting the urge to pedal my legs to make it move! Our first stop was Walmart where we purchased lunch and the drugs. Our plan was to have a picnic at the water park and spend the remainder of the day at the pool. The picnic part was flawless. We sat in the grass at the High School next to the extremely busy water park. It is after all in the upper 80’s and still muggy as mugginess goes. After finishing our deli sandwich and fruit and chips, we checked out the water park. It was swarming with kids. Unfortunately, they have a policy that requires all who enter to pay the same fee as someone who comes to enjoy the water. And at $5.50 a person, we felt that $16.50 for Lewis to swim in yet another pool, was just a bit steep. Since the firemen had also indicated where the movie theatre was on the map and had even gone so far as to ascertain that Harry Potter was still playing; we were able to convince Lewis to go watch a movie instead.
Once we located the theatre, we watched nearly a half hour of previews before the feature film began. And then the Potter film goes way over 2 hours so we killed most of the afternoon watching the big screen. Lewis was getting bored before the end as was I. I will never go see another Harry Potter movie. I just don’t care for the premise. It was after 6:00 when we left the theatre. Taco Bell has been calling Donna’s name for the last week and we finally responded by dining there. From Taco Bell, it was a short drive back to the Fire station. The remainder of the evening was spent with Lewis playing x-box on their big TV while Donna relaxed and I did some e-mail stuff. Now it’s nearly midnight and everyone is asleep, or nearly so. I’ve a shower to take and then will retire myself. We have a motel room in Carbondale for tomorrow night and then on Saturday if both Donna and the bike are ready, we may just pedal on to our next destination. You’ll just have to wait and see. Don’t change that channel!