People often ask: “TLRC, you have such an awesome lifestyle! How did you get it? What can I do to be just like you?”
Well, to all these chuckleheads, The Logging Road Cyclist says: “You clearly fail to understand the thread running through the blog. Only an idiot would want the hellish existence of TLRC.”
For example, just today TLRC took off for a couple of days of paddling on Waldo Lake. Beautiful warm Fall weather. An absolutely stunning boat:
A simple plan: Since TLRC hadn’t paddled more than about three times since the Spring, and given his dickey shoulder, he would paddle a loop around the south end of the lake, car-camp overnight and explore the other end the next day. A relaxing trip, couple of days away from home, see how it all worked out.
On the road at 0430, TLRC, who had quit drinking coffee, thought he deserved a large nonfat latte, just to stay alert while driving. About half way through it (near the Brownsville exit), it occurred to him that a one-day circumnavigation might be a pretty good thing to do. He thought it through. The night before he had, as an afterthought, downloaded a map of Waldo and marked off some distances between prominent spots. It was about 4 miles from Shadow Bay (where he intended to start) up to the North Waldo campground. Why not, he thought, do that and see how long it took? See how tired he felt, how much the dickey shoulder hurt? If all was well, try another leg. Do it a bit at a time.
To an outsider, this seems a reasonable, stepwise sort of procedure, one that a cautious person might follow. For TLRC, however this was an ironclad commitment, for, if he reached North Waldo and decided to turn back for any one of a number of perfectly good reasons, he Would Have Failed, and thus Would Be Miserable and Suffer Massive Self-Recrimination. If, on the other hand, he continued all the way ’round, TLRC would have Accomplished Something Noteworthy and Honorable. See how it works? Where, an objective onlooker might reasonably ask, did the two days of quiet paddling go? They never really existed, get it?
In the grip of a full caffeine jag, TLRC stopped for another latte in Oakridge (being as it was still dark), and fully committed himself. Circumnavigation it would be.
It was cloudy but warm at 0745 when TLRC took off from Shadow Bay. Since the bike trail doesn’t follow the shore here this was all new territory for TLRC.
Everything went well. TLRC had tired arms at the start, but that was typical before warming up. Shoulder felt ok. By and by he arrived at North Waldo and, inquiring of a camper, he found it had taken an hour and a half to cover the four miles. Seemed reasonable. He headed on, westward through the islands along the north shore.
About half way along, TLRC decided he could allow himself a compromise: Rather than strictly circumnavigating here, he would avoid paddling all the way into the deep northwest corner of the lake and instead cut across to the northernmost promontory on the west shore.
Offshore, the deep indigo for which Waldo is famous was spectacular.
The silky smooth indigo water and lack of shoreline for reference lent a surreal quality to the paddle, and TLRC felt on the edge of losing his equilibrium. Flatwater paddling requires a very exact technique that takes years to master, and constant work to maintain. When tuned, it lets one fall into a trancelike state. Rather than arms, the power comes all the way from the feet through the hips and is accomplished by a smooth rotation of the torso, a rhythmic rotation of the shoulder blades. Arms are secondary. TLRC imagines himself to be a huge cat reaching out at each stroke, grabbing the forest floor and pulling through, a small leap at each stroke. In the middle of the lake, he felt himself fall into a small oblivion.
When the sun came out, TLRC found himself playing tag with his shadow on the lakebed.
TLRC indulged himself in a little shore-cleaning operation:
About 2/3 of the way around, the shoulder started to act up a bit. TLRC was pretty much helpless in the face of this. Since usually he only paddles for exercise, he has only two speeds: “Workout” and “Hard Workout”. Try as he might, he couldn’t dawdle, but had to content himself with a couple of sessions of sunning himself like a lizard, munching Tiger’s Milk bars.
In the end, he made it. This is truly an epic day, and much more immersive in the beauty of Waldo than biking, which demands a tight focus on the trail. A wonderful new experience, one he will repeat.