Anniversay 34 Adventure June 19 2016

We are coming downhill through the trees at a pretty fast pace.  Moss covered trees in the old growth forest near the  Columbia River are whipping by.  Or rather, we are whipping by them. It so beautiful here, and peaceful if we just slow down to enjoy it.  “How fast?”  I shout at Charlie, his ears just about 12 inches from my mouth.  “28” he shouts back.   Usually I am screaming “FASTER! FASTER!” This time, 100 days away from brain surgery and still recovering, I say “Ok, lets slow it down a bit”.

 Day 1 of our Anniversary Adventure  found us riding from Mosier to Hood River and back..  There were many hikers and cyclists out on the beautiful day that was Father’s Day. The views were outstanding and the Mosier Tunnels were fascinating.  The trail surface itself was well manicured asphalt.   We had both hiked and ridden this trail.  It was familiar and not too challenging.  We didn’t go too fast or too slow.  It was a just right kind of day.

Pedaling on the Historic Columbia Gorge Highway 30 was  great adventure to add to our anniversary list. Many sections of the old highway have been restored to paved hiking/biking trails. Other sections are directly adjacent to the freeway.  Concrete dividers separated us from traffic, but not from the roar of trucks and cars speeding along the interstate.  Some portions of the Historic Highway 30 are still used for auto travel, and we rode portions with tourists in their RVs creeping by us on the narrow  shoulder less sections.

Day 2 started at Ainsworth Park headed east to Cascade Locks. Not ‘knowing’ this trail we have been surprised by it and by our own abilities.  The first surprise occurred shortly after starting out in the morning.   I noticed something very peculiar.  Our pedals were not synced up.  On a downhill glide I gave my request “Right Down”.  “Right down, Charlie,  Right down!” He shouted back “Well then put YOUR right pedal down!”  My right leg was down on my right pedal  but his right leg was up on the right pedal. Um, our pedals are supposed to be in the same place.  Once discovered it took little convincing we needed to stop and fix it.  We found a parking lot and a kindly couple who had ridden their mountain bikes from somewhere to here to  hike the trails leaving this trailhead.  The gentlemen took the chain apart while the ladies held the bike and saw to the pedals. Within a few minutes we were happily pedaling east and they were hiking west.

The Old Highway has beautiful cement guardrails.  Bridges over small creeks lead to views of waterfalls not visible form the freeway.  We ride over the car tunnel near Bonneville Dam and its momentarily quiet,  traffic sounds encased in the mountain below us, until of course we reach the other side where the noise leaks out and carries on down the interstate.     There were hairpin turns.   We came up on them rapidly.  “Grepeedo’s” disc brakes whirred as Charlie’s strong hands pulled hard to slow us down.  Did cars actually make these turns?  Our tandem is a bit longer than a regular bike making the tight turns even more challenging.  I am not sure I have ever been the “stoker” through these types of steep  downhill spirals.  Charlie expertly guides us through and I  just hold on.

Riding behind Charlie, my view is limited to the sides.  I seldom can see over or around his broad back to view what is ahead.  He was taken by surprise too when we bounced over the first set of tree roots.  WHAM, I hit the seat hard on the way down and the neurogenerator in my chest took a big bounce against my skin.  (it hurt the rest of the ride and still hurts).  Charlie started calling “bump” when he could see them.  Some were marked with a very slim bit of white paint, almost like the line a white felt tip marker.  I need to buy the Historic Highway society some bright yellow paint that should be applied with a 12 inch roller to be seen far enough in advance that the captain can warn the stoker.  But I don’t think they were thinking “tandem”when they were preparing the old highway for cyclists.  We found this to be true after the STOP, STAIRS AHEAD sign appeared on a tree next to the path.  We did stop, dismounted and struggled to get the bike’s wheels in the grooves while we held it upright and negotiated the steep set of stairs ourselves.  How did the cars driving this segment of the highway get down this steep part?  There were no remnants of highway to give us a clue.  At several points we rode under the freeway, though small tunnels much like the one that leads to Multnomah Falls from the parking lot.    We pedaled under bridges following the creek beds.  There were many  steep climbs, but unlike Iowa we could not see them ahead so we could build up speed.  It was darn hard work.  We didn’t think we were going to have to “train” for this ride and neither of us have pedaled much lately. And of course we are not 20 anymore.

Stiff and hurting, I got off the tandem in Cascade Locks and called my friend Tricia.  “Can you come get us and give us a ride back to our truck?”   And she did. And we were so glad not to ride that trail back to our truck.  We will leave that for another day. Maybe.

Our marriage has been an adventure of  “ups and downs and all arounds”. Isn’t that how it goes?  You hope that that your pedals are always in snyc, but  sometimes they are not.  Smooth cycling paths with no climbs, bumps, hairpin turns or “bike stairs” would be totally awesome, but realistically are nonexistent.  Marriage is about working together, pedaling hard, taking the bumps and tight turns as they come and then relishing those downhill glides.

Hang in there Clupnys.  Sometimes its harder than hard.  Sometimes you want to get off and walk.  Just throw the bike down and walk.  Walk in opposite directions.  But you don’t.  You are committed to work together, for life.  Through toddlers and teens and diseases and illnesses and in drought and  in plenty. That’s marriage. For life. 

Published by Carol Clupny, author The Ribbon of Road Ahead: One Woman's Remarkable Journey with Parkinson's Disease

I am a middle aged woman with Parkinson's Disease. When I was first diagnosed I spent a lot of time researching the disease. Seeing a video of a man in the advanced stages of the disease attempting to get out of his chair and then "freezing" as he tried to walk across the room got me off my butt and moving. Great adventures on the Camino de Santiago and with TEAM Pedaling for Parkinson's across IOWA, as well as the day to day adventures of life have lead me to writing. My first novel, a memoir, was published early 2019. It is called, you got it THE RIBBON OF ROAD AHEAD. Living with the degenerative neurological disease Parkinson's, ULTREIA is a word that guides me. I have chosen it as the name of my business ULTREIA BOOKS. It comes from Latin and old French and means "unfailing courage". In the old days, pilgrims would call "Ultreïa" to each other as encouragement "Go up, go further!" Nowadays we would say "You can do this thing". It takes courage to live with Parkinson's. May I face each day with unfailing courage. Ab Here is more about me; I was living an active lifestyle riding horses, hiking, climbing and snow skiing when at age fifty she was diagnosed with Parkinsons. Retiring from her career as a speech-language pathologist she decided to “take to the road” to battle the disease. Her first steps, walking out her door to the mailbox, lead to trekking over 1000 miles of pilgrimage trails on the Camino de Santiago in France and Spain. A dusty bike discovered in the garage resulted in four rides on the Des Moines Register’s Annual Great Bike Ride Across Iowa with the Pedaling for Parkinsons Team. These adventures inspired her to write a memoir The Ribbon of Road Ahead: One Woman’s Remarkable Journey with Parkinson’s Disease. Carol blogs about her everyday life as a middle-aged woman in the mid-stages of Parkinson’s disease. Her honest, humorous and casual narrative style brings the reader to an intimate understanding of Carol’s resilience and acceptance. Her blog, sharing the name of her book ”The Ribbon of Road Ahead” can be found at www.ultreiablog.org After completing a Masters of Science in Speech Pathology from Eastern Washington University Carol received certification in School Leadership and Administration from Lewis and Clark College. She provided speech pathology services and was a program director for 32 years in the wide geographic expanse of eastern Oregon. Active in the Oregon Speech-Language and Hearing Association she received honors of the association and the presidential award for her work on recruitment and retention of speech and hearing professionals. Carol presented numerous papers and projects at local, state and regional professional conferences. She was appointed by Governor Ted Kulongoski to two terms of the Oregon Board of Examiners of Speech Pathology and Audiology, the state’s licencing and consumer protection agency. Since her diagnosis in 2008, Carol has become active in the Parkinson’s Community as an advocate, an Ambassador for the Davis Phinney Foundation and support group facilitator for Parkinson's Resources of Oregon. She was appointed the regional patient representative for the Parkinson's Foundation’s Women with PD TALK study. In September of 2019 the Michael J Fox Foundation selected Carol to participate in the Parkinson’s Policy Forum in Washington DC. As an attendee at the World Parkinson Congress in 2016 in Portand, Oregon, Carol presnted a poster session examining the decision making process for patients considering deep brain stimulaiton. At the 2019 WPC in Kyoto, Japan she presented a poster on vision concerns of women with PD and lead small group discussions. Her book The Ribbon of Road Ahead has provided many speaking opportunities for Carol. In 2019 and early 2020 she visited 24 support groups in Washington, Idaho, Oregon and California to share her thoughts on living well with the disease. In addition, she has presented talks for The Center on Aging in San Francisco, Parkinson's Place in Las Vegas, Northwest Parkinson's Foundation in Richland WA and virtually through their HOPE online program. In late 2020 she rejuvenated her voice and narrated her book. It became available as an audio book in 2021. As part of this project she read stories over the airwaves on RadioParkies Australia with DJ Madonna and in Great Britain with DJ Johnny Parky. She and her husband Charlie have two adult sons. They live on a small hobby farm in eastern Oregon. Contact Information: Carol Clupny PO BOX 128, Hermiston, OR 97838 caclupny@gmail.com (541) 720-4256

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