I get a call maybe 30 minutes after I wake up--it's Ben's family friend, saying she will be an hour late due to fog on the highway. I look out the window and sure enough the whole world is draped in a dense fog, leeching color and focus, phasing everything partway to intangibility. Best not to drive in such conditions for sure.
Jenn and Dan arrive and Dan makes a beeline for the shower while Jenn helps me get dressed. I have boiled eggs and antibiotics for breakfast, along with some coffee I fetch from the main office. I also drink the rest of my almondmilk from Big!Lots. My arm did well overnight and secure in its splint and sling it doesn't hurt so much really anymore. It's just weird not to be able to use it for much of anything.
Once Jenn's taken her shower and we've gotten BK packed up again we check out and head back to the campsite, where my benefactor, Harriet, is waiting for us, along with her 4-year-old grandson. She takes the whole gang out for breakfast at Cracker Barrel, and won't let anyone pay for anything. During the meal (Dr. Pepper alone for me) I spend a lot of time on my smartphone trying to figure out ways to get to one of my uncles in Missouri. It seems like it'll be quite difficult--they both live pretty far in the countryside, away from big transportation centers. I keep trying anyway.
When the meal is over we all say farewell and I climb into Harriet's car with BK and her grandson and we're off to Lexington. The others intend to cycle a short day today, ending up where we originally meant to be before the accident. Once we're off, they set off, too, cycling ever westward--without me.
I make some phone calls on the way to Lexington and then still more when we've arrived to their spacious penthouse apartment, downtown. rural Missouri proves too difficult to reach: too exorbitantly expensive to reach via rental car, too isolated to reach via plane or train or bus. Besides all this, even if we were able to get me there, Harriet tells me it's unlikely my arm will be fully healed in the 10 days it will take the others to reach our uncles... I need more time for something this swollen, and there's still a chance that a hairline fracture might show up once the swelling goes down. She has experience as both an x-ray tech and a nurse so I take her advice and call my dad to get a plane ticket back to Colorado. (author's note: I'm writing this about a week later than it happened, and tho' I haven't heard back from the hospital about the status of my x-rays, my arm won't be ready to ride for another week at least... it feels loads better, but it still can't handle a lot of pressure. This was certainly the better choice.)
Once my ticket to Colorado is sorted--flying out tomorrow evening from Lexington to Chicago O'Hare to Colorado Springs--we go out to a local bike shop to get Bike Rothar boxed up. We drop her off and they say she'll be ready in the morning. I also pick up some new red handlebar tape to replace what got messed up in the accident since they're carrying a brand I like and never found in the Springs.
After this it's time to grocery shop, so that I have enough food to tide me over till I'm home (I fall back on my old favorites of almondmilk and cinnamon chex, along with crisps and sausage and things). It's about 4 in the afternoon when we return to Harriet's house but I'm absolutely beat so I go to take a nap while Harriet and her grandson watch Snow White in the living room. I've been set up with a whole room and bathroom to myself, with one of those couches that folds out into a bed. I fall asleep immediately for hours and hours, waking up only to take my medicine and call my friend Nan to update him and receive a call from Jenn wherein she tells me that she and the other Handlebarbarians miss me dearly. I tell her that from now on when they sign people's ledgers and guestbooks as TransAm cyclists they should sign as the Handlebarbarians minus 1 and she says they will. Some of the others text me their well-wishes also. I try not to be too upset about all this. I'm still alive, after all, isn't that so? And tho' I'm very jealous that the others get to continue and to cross the Ohio River and the Mississippi and see all the cool things I fully intended to see--well, I'd rather that they get to go without me than not go at all. It's just hard, I guess. This trip started out--I had the idea first, I meant to do it before anyone else joined in (except Travis, who's been meaning to for a few years now, bit he didn't tell me until after I decided to myself). And now it's not my trip anymore.
I do a touch of blogging then fall asleep for good, full of antibiotics and pain medicine and unshed tears. Tomorrow evening I'll be home.
[picture below is of a sloth--my spirit animal-- crawling over wet leaves on the forest floor. For the next week, this is all I'm gonna be...]