Jeffrey here. Joey yielded the floor.
As Joey posted in March, 3 ½ weeks after my pulmonary embolism, 2 ½ weeks after I contracted pneumonia, events proved the naysayers correct. Only 120 miles into the Ride to Seattle, I flamed out on a California hillside south of Bodega Bay. It was all I could do to roll downhill to Valley Ford and wait for my friends Nattie and Julie to fetch me back to San Jose.
Nancy flew out from NYC and took me on her business trip to San Francisco.
Her business concluded, we flew home.
Darkness spared Nancy my annoying reminders that I had biked coast-to-coast over the terrain below. I was happy to reminisce quietly in front of the flight tracker.
Now I try to strike a balance of activity (to get stronger) and rest (to avoid setbacks). It’s been hard. Shortness of breath. Chest discomfort. Deep sadness at failing to reach my West Coast goal. Unpredictable ups and downs, reasons unknown.
Three weeks after suspending the Ride, I consulted the experts.Concerned about my uneven recovery, the docs ordered diagnostic scans. The verdict: The embolus is a clot, nothing more sinister. It is dissolving. My left lung works again. My heart is undamaged. Coronary calcification score (lower is better): zero.
The docs’ prescription: time. Only with time will everything mend.
Part of the process is to look to the future.
In early May, I intend to embark with Joey on the second leg of this year’s Ride. We will pedal 800 miles (1300 km) from Indiana through Kentucky, Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi, and Arkansas, to Louisiana.
There is much to explore.
Alabama enacted cruel anti-immigrant laws. Yet many Alabamians revere the Bible, which commands us to love and protect neighbors and strangers without regard to place of birth.
In 2016, Alabama conducted a “Tax Delinquency Amnesty Program” for tax-stealing citizens. Yet Alabama officials show no mercy to tax-paying immigrants who happen to be in Alabama without federal permission.
Does Alabama’s government reflect the will of its people? Or, as on the federal level today, does the government defy the majority? Perhaps we will find out.
But first we must go south.
Dear Reader, I will push the envelope. I will get stronger. I will prepare for the Southern Ride. I will let you know how it goes.
Meanwhile, please join me in wishing Alfonso well.
I met Alfonso in March in New Jersey. Days before, he buried his 31 year old son. Alfonso’s cart overflowed with Easter baskets, his gifts for the students at the school where he is a boiler operator. It was moving to meet someone who remains so loving and kind despite recent personal tragedy.
I have met wonderful Americans like Alfonso on Rides through 32 states. I will meet more in May as Joey and I pedal south from Indiana.
Onward. Upward. Southward.