It's Gonna Be A Long Time

November 06, 2021
  Come Monday I am back under the knife for a complete replacement of my left shoulder. There is no cartilage left in either shoulder, but the left socket is worn completely out and dislocates if I put any pressure on the left arm. I know after Monday it will probably be at least six months before I can ride because I want to have the right shoulder replaced as soon as the left one is functional. So it's today or it will be a real long time. Frost has got a helmet setting on her seat so I don't have to do any prep. I let her warm up a bit as it's kind of cold outside and then we're off.  

I've got a pretty ambitious route laid out for the day but as I always say -

"He who aims at nothing usually hits it."

The left arm is really acting up but I figure I'll just deal with it. I take my usual 'short cut' through Newsom Station and under the one lane bridge. If I can make it to the Trace, there should not be much effort needed except to hang on to the bars and set Frost on cruise control.

  Just past the bridge sits this pretty old house. I wonder what is the history behind it and one of these days I'm gonna dig into it and see. The Newsom Mansion was a little bit closer to the river but it got demolished when they built I40 through the area.
  Most of this road used to look just like this until ...
  the developers scooped up the land and started building McMansions where once the cows peacefully grazed. I guess that's progress of some sort but not the kind that I am really fond of.
  Soon I'm on the Trace and I can ease off on the left shoulder and just let that arm dangle in the breeze. I've ridden thirty miles or more on the Trace in past rides and never had to hit my brakes. Today I'm gonna ride a little further south than I normally do when I am headed to get the best hamburger in Tennessee.
  The Trace is peaceful and quiet today which suits me just fine. The last few months have been very difficult as my wife fell and cracked her pelvis and has been in a rehab facility for many weeks. And after Monday, I will be a 'one armed bandit' for a while, unable to ride or drive which will make things a bit more difficult.
  I notice there's not much color in the trees as I head down the Trace. Maybe there will be some later on, but I won't be riding around to see it.
  I've plotted a back road course today to Lynnville (my lunch stop) on roads that I have not been on before. They start out pretty good ...
  then they get a little rough ...
  then they turn to gravel and pot holes. This really pounds my shoulders but there's no option from here except to ride on and hope for some good pavement sooner or later.
  Most of these roads have the word 'creek' in their names - which figures since most of them follow a creek for miles and miles.
  Finally I get back on good pavement and give my shoulders some much needed relief. About good lunch time I pull into Lynnville proper where my favorite hamburger joint is located.  

The Soda Pop Shop is not the place to be in a hurry. Every burger is hand patted and cooked fresh right in plain sight. I've said for years this is the place that all the other hamburger places come to take their pictures for their phony advertisements. Have you ever got a hamburger at Micky D's or Burger King that looked like their pictures?

  I order a double bacon cheeseburger and curly fries and wait in anticipation for it to arrive, inhaling the pleasant aromas of cooking beef. Their double half-pounder is two half-pound hand patted patties and about a half a pig of bacon on it. I've got a big mouth, but I have to do some serious squeezing of the burger to get it in my pie hole.  
  And what would a good burger be without a little sweetening of the chocolate type?  
  And as usual, I sally forth to battle and claim complete victory over the matter at hand.  

When I go back outside to mount up and continue my ride, I realize that I am in real trouble. My left arm has gone 'nonfunctional' and I don't know if I am going to be able to get my riding jacket back on. After some serious struggling, I finally get it over the left arm and I know I've got to get back home in short order. My clutch hand is barely working due to the pain the left arm so I quickly run through my options in my brain. The quickest way in theory is back on the Interstate. But I know if I get caught in a traffic jam coming into Nashville, I will not be able to deal with. I figure I've got about five or six clutch 'pulls' left in me. The way I wanted to go, back through my old childhood stomping grounds, is definitely out. After some noodling, I figure I should be able to take nearby Highway 31 to Columbia which should not have much traffic and no stops. If I can wiggle around Columbia, then I can take Highway 246 which which gets me close to Highway 96, then 100 then back to 70 and the Holler. Highway 31 is empty and for that I am really thankful.

  Over the years due to several orthopedic 'adventures', I have learned to upshift the ST1100s without using the clutch. This saves a lot of clutch pulls which are very important today. Fortunately I hit the bypass around Columbia and most of the traffic lights are in my favor. Finally I'm north of the city and turn left on 246. The funny thing about this road is the 10 foot 10 inch clearance at the railroad bridge. You can tell when you go under it that some people just can't read or else are too poor to pay attention to the numerous warning signs.  
  I've got a pretty clear shot back on the remaining roads and manage to get Frost back into the Holler garage without too much drama. Getting my riding gear off at this point is quite a challenge but I get it done. I sure was hoping for much longer ride, but at least I got one in and great burger and shake to boot. We can either complain about what we don't get to do, or rejoice in what we do get to do. Today I will rejoice and savor the moment for it will be a long time before I get to do it again.