I’m sound asleep at 3AM at the Motel 6 in Mt. Pleasant, TX. ?I’m jolted awake by . . .?my mouth. ?”Hey, Fat Boy, how about we turn this whole pain dial up to?11. ?That work for you?”
Can’t say it?worked?for me, but it did get my attention.
Had a weird “fix” for it: ?I went next door to the IHop and ate breakfast. ?That toned down the pain enough for me to get back to sleep.
I don’t know if it was a combination of the mouth or the “rolling hills” geography for the last 250 miles, but I slept long past my internal “get up!” alarm. ?It was after 9AM, Texas time, when I opened my eyes.
My mouth whispered, “‘Sup?” ?As if to say, I’m not going away. ?You’re going to have to deal with me.
The planned ride to Jefferson was going to be just a tad over 50 miles. ?A relatively easy day, all things considered. ?I could spend a few hours getting my mouth fixed.
I Googled “Emergency Dental Care” for Mt. Pleasant. ?Found a dentist only a couple of miles away. ?He was open on Saturday until noon. ?All right, let’s give him a try. ?I pedaled up hills and against the wind for two miles to get to his office.
He didn’t take walk-ins.
Plus, his lobby will?filled?with people. ?He couldn’t have worked on me today if we’d both stayed there until 8 tonight. ?(Think about it: ?would you really want a dentist who?wasn’t that busy on a Saturday working on you?)
I’m a Southern Boy. ?Southerners are a?loquacious people. ?I recognize and admire the trait in other Southerners. ?We love to jaw. ?We add?color?to our conversation. ?We fill in a lot of — ahem, unasked for — details for the listener.
(Before I left on The Ride,?I volunteered to VOICEcorps, a place that reads articles / news papers / magazines for the blind.? The lady who interviewed me asked me why I wanted to volunteer. ?I admitted, “I like the sound of my own voice.” ?That would be true of almost any Southerner.)
When the very pretty lady at the dentist’s office informed me she’d be happy to make an appointment for me, I respectfully declined. ?Asked her if there might be any other dentist in town or in the absence of that, an Urgent Care or some sort of facility.
This is almost word for word the conversation that took place:
Pretty Southern Lady (PSL): ?”No, honey, I don’t think there’s any other dentists in town. ?The last one, Dr. (Someone), he was open on Saturdays for a while, but then his kids got grown and he decided he didn’t want to work that hard any more. ?And if you’re on a bicycle, his place is way on the other side of town, so, I don’t know that you’d get there before he closed. ?But, he’s not open, so I guess it doesn’t matter.”
Me: ?”What about an Urgent Care kind of place?”
PSL: ?”Well, there’s this one place if you go right down the road. ?I can’t ever remember the name of it, but it’s right past the old Sonic. ?You can tell it’s a really old Sonic, just ‘cuz it’s really dated looking.” ?PL turns to another woman sitting a few feet away. ?”Hey, Shirley, what was it you used to order at the Sonic? ?You really liked it. ?It had a lot of cheese and stuff on it.”
Shirley: ?”I don’t remember, but I think since they’ve opened up the other Sonic . . . ” Shirley turns to me, “You know where that new Sonic is? ?It’s up by the hardware store.”
I shake my head and say, “No, not from around here, sorry.”
Shirley: ?”Well, I don’t guess it matters since you’re not hungry, right?”
PSL: ?”Oh yeah, we were trying to get you to the urgent care. ?Well, just look for the old Sonic. ?It’ll be on your left . . . wait, which way are you going again . . . ?”
To the rescue:
Sixteen bucks. ?Way less expensive than a dentist’s visit. ?We’ll see.
It was a beautiful day for riding:
The temperature had reached the low 80s. ?Not a cloud in the sky. ?The wind was being a nuisance and the rolling hills were getting a little old. ?None of it was unexpected, mind you.
But I just wasn’t feeling up to it today. ?I felt?drained. ?No energy.
I stopped for lunch at Mickey D’s in Daingerfield, TX.
Started to check the hotels in Jefferson. ?Previously I’d given the town a cursory glance when I’d searched for “hotels Jefferson TX.” ?Lots of red dots showed up.
As I started to examine those dots, though, most of them were B&Bs. ?That rules them out as they tend to be at least twice as expensive as I’m willing to pay. ?I was left with three hotels.
One was just as expensive as the Bed and Breakfasts. ?One was?way?off the beaten path. ?The last one’s reviews were . . .
. . . ahem,?concerning.
(Then again, maybe if your name’s not Ashley you’d have a good time! ?Or if you’re into being told you’re “sexy like sister.”)
The next town beyond Jefferson that had hotels was nearly 50 miles from where I was eating lunch. ?I just didn’t have 50 miles left in me today. ?I started looking a little closer and found:
Just 8 miles from Daingerfield. ?Price was right. ?I booked it.
The lady who took my reservation had me a little concerned, though. ?She told me, “The room is really?old!”
I asked, “Old like, stone pillows? ?Am I going to be sleeping with Fred, Barney, and Dino or something?” ?She just laughed — but didn’t answer the question.
When I arrived, it was the same lady at the counter who’d taken my reservation. ?I said, “What exactly do you mean by ‘old’ and why should someone reject it?”
She said the room just hadn’t been updated when the rest of the hotel had been renovated. ?She took me to the room saying, “We’ll find you some other place if this isn’t acceptable.”
I assured her I was easy to please and the room was fine. ?It was only missing one thing that I could see . . .
. . . but somehow I’d manage.
Less than 30 miles today. ?That’s gonna leave a mark on my “average daily ride.”
Plus, it adds another 30ish miles to the trip tomorrow. ?Perhaps Orajel will save the day and I’ll be ready to tackle an 80 mile ride in the morning.
Based on some rough “back of the envelope” calculations, I’ve “burned” 135,000 calories on?The Ride.
Buffets don’t stand a chance.
One less catfish and fixins in the world.
This is my?other?sister:
Again, don’t be a h8tr, dawg. ?She was on?her?way to the Oscars, too.
This morning I sent a request to all my family members asking for phone numbers of our relatives in Bastrop, LA. ?When (if?) I get closer, I plan to give them a call and see if I can mooch a couch for a night from someone.
Becca has a pretty full life and doesn’t always have time to keep up with what her siblings are up to. ?You know, like when her older brother rides a bicycle across the United States. ?Becca sent me the phone numbers I needed and had a little request to go along with the numbers:
Ah well. ?No one else is paying attention to what I’m doing either, Becca. ?Love you!