From the shoe tree to Beegum Creek
The night turned into a surprising and blessed cool one, and at the cusp of dawn, breeze across my face, it is perfect. Perfect for sleeping. Man, I do not want to get up. We need to get started soon though, because we need to get Pacman someplace he can recover.
He still feels terrible, weak. We ride two miles, then we have to stop. One mile, stop. Pacman has a flat. He lays on the ground, trying not to vomit, and J and I change it for him. Two miles, and there’s a tiny general store! Water! Shade!
The guy running the store wants nothing to do with three sweaty, homeless looking bicyclists. It doesn’t take a professional to know we’re not the real deal – no lycra clad road warriors here. Pacman warms him up for us somehow – he could butter up a nun if he wanted – and we sit on the porch and drink water. The thermometer rises from 79, to 80, to 89…
The guy tells us the river is dry, but there’s a spring fed creek before then. It’s at the bottom of the big climb up the mountain passes, and there’s a way to scramble down. No one will bother us there, he says. There will be a place to stash our bikes.
It’s not a hundred degrees yet. To Beegum Creek!
It’s just as promised, a cool, running creek underneath a bridge. We hide our bikes in the driveway down to the property next to the creek (right next to the keep out sign) and scramble down to the water. It’s beautiful. There’s a small sandy beach in the shade, and we lay in the creek till we’re cool, then lay down in the beach to nap, where we all sleep for hours.
Nothing to do but relax, swim, read. We’re not going anywhere till Pacman feels better. This might be the first time this entire trip where I’ve felt completely relaxed, with no pressure to stop dilly dallying, to get back on the trail, to keep going, to go, to go, to go.
After Pacman wakes up from his nap, in the golden afternoon, he announces he’s going to build a dam and improve the swimming hole. “Ah,” I think. “We’re out of the woods. We’ll ride tomorrow.”
We swim, relax, and read till dark. The moon is nearly full, brilliant. I take off my clothes and slip into the water and float for a held-breath, hovering between black water and moonlit sky.
Tomorrow we ride.