Thursday, June 18, 2009

GITAP Day Five

Today is the rest day at Johnson-Sauk Park. We had a huge rainstorm last night with lots of fireworks and I ended up with a fair amount of water in my tent. Seeing my CPAP machine, three cellphones including my iPhone and the powerstrip in water was not a good sight but fortunately nothing bad happened.

A lot of riders are going the short distance into Kewanee or the longer distance to Bishop Hill and Cambridge but I have decided to stay in camp. I cleaned up my tent and hung up stuff to dry. It may rain again later so I hope to get as much stuff dry as possible before I have to take everything inside again. I just hope I don’t get water in the tent again. I ended up using a t-shirt and a roll of toilet paper to clean out the tent. I wish the list of things to bring had included paper towels instead of toilet paper. I haven’t actually needed toilet paper so far and paper towels would have been much more useful today. The t-shirt is a mess but I am sure that the dirt will wash out. I just put it into one of my many plastic bags.

My wet tent

This afternoon we had a tour of the Ryan Round Barn, which was interesting. It is the largest round barn ever built and has a silo in the middle. The barn has a collection of farm implements and much of the building is original. It has been well preserved by the state although it was originally part of a private farm.

The Ryan Round Barn

For the most part cellphone and internet connections are really bad here and it goes in and out. But Peter did get me this morning to tell me that Sybil will have to back to the Humane Society. This is very upsetting for both of us and probably will be difficult for Figaro too. Unfortunately Peter thinks she is the one that has developed some behaviors that we can’t seem to resolve and would be difficult for a cat sitter to handle while we are gone. Being apart while this is going on is quite hard. I didn’t know what to tell him to do and he has made the decision to take her back.

We had lunch at the park restaurant and got another downpour. Since my tent had water in it again, Glen moved it and dried it out. I am hoping that this drier spot, along with having the water out of the groundsheet will help since we expect more rain. I am on higher but rockier ground that is slightly uncomfortable. But it is only for one night. My mattress is also slightly damp and the humidity is very high. We may also get more rain. I am using my bike bag as a stand for the CPAP machine and the powerstrip so that even if water comes in they will not get wet again.

I am a little nervous about the 70 miles to Starved Rock. Sue is doing the rest stop tomorrow and not riding, so I hope I can keep up with everyone. Sue has been good about hanging with me when I need it. But there will be a lot of riders out there so I hope it will be ok. The wind should be in our favor so that is a plus. I feel so needy as I rider and I have to develop more consistent self-confidence. Especially since we will be on some very busy roads, there is another chance of rain, and we will be going through a bunch of towns so there will be a lot of traffic. Fortunately there are two ways to the campground, one through the park that means going up a very steep hill and another on the road that will mean climbing but is not quite so steep. Doing a steep climb at the end of a long ride is really hard.

Tonight after dinner we had our final Velosophie session and discussed James Salter’s Solo Faces. I don’t think most of us liked any of the characters much, including Rand, the protagonist. In some ways it didn’t fit that well with some of the other readings since the mountain climbing was more of a vehicle for the author to use in writing about certain male personality characteristics rather than being important in itself in terms of talking about the wild. But I think we were all interested in the climbing angle anyway.

Peter has been trying to get hold of me. I finally got through on the phone but this was after having no signal over and over and not being able to send text messages or make calls. He had bad news about his wind piece so all around it has been a very bad day for him and I am at least a hundred and fifty miles away with practically no way to communicate and sleeping in a damp tent with damp stuff all around me. Now I need to get organized for an early start.

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