Ever have one of those days when you weren’t sure if you were coming or going, came and went or were just plain confused about everything and thought the best solution was to go back to bed and get back up? Looking out my window today that is exactly how I feel. It is a beautiful day with the sun shining, but there is a horribly cold wind blowing and even though the thermometer says 7°, it feels more like -7° and the thought of climbing back into that warm bed is more than a temptation.
That is an easy thing to say when you are sitting in an office, but what do you do when you feel like this and you are on the road? You are really not in any shape to be riding. Your head is not in the game and that is how accidents occur. So what should you do?
The best thing to do is sit it out and rest. It is hard not to be the macho man and carry on, but that is the worst thing you can do for yourself and your fellow riders. If you are feeling ill, don’t be afraid to ask for help and seek medical attention (make sure you have your medical card with you when your travel). It may be a simple case of food poisoning or it could be something worse.
I was on a ride with several others one summer. We left for we were calling the South Ocean trip. Well everyone knows there is no ocean between California and New Mexico and the Gulf of Mexico starts in Texas, so we headed south into Mexico. You all have heard the stories about not drinking the water, well what are you supposed to drink to keep hydrated if you are not going to drink the water? Yup, you guessed it – Montezuma’s revenge struck half of us while the other half managed to get Bali Belly. Now the trick was to carry on with our trip and still be safe and not make a mess as we went.
The trip started to become stupid. We were stopping every 15 minutes with someone having to void. We were not making any headway and the Imodium and Pepto was not helping anyone. Since we were bed rolling it, we did not have any tents so campgrounds (which were almost non-existent) were not in the cards. Hotels were not an option (only one head for all of us). So, time to break out survival training and put it to use.
We found a semi-shady spot along a running river, isolated from any humans that we knew of. There was wood to use as fuel and as supports to create a lean-to. We found a large log to use as a “hang-over” latrine. The river allowed us to clean up and cool off as well as to fill our cooking pot to boil and have liquid to re-hydrate. We used a couple of the blankets and created a cover to keep the sun and weather off of us as we crashed on the remaining blankets laid across the warm sand, and since no one felt like eating, that was not a problem. I guess to anyone that might have seen us, we looked like the walking dead and were a real sight - a bunch of hard-core bikers, bent over like a bunch a babies. Oh well, what can you say when Mother Nature takes over your body – you do what you have to do. The key here was to get healthy before we carried on, or at least as healthy as we could get.
After two days of roughing it – oh yes, it was rough – we headed home to recover and to plan our next trip. This time, some place we would not get sick. We learned a lot from this trip, like how to put survival skill to work when nothing else does. This is one thing that I think everyone should learn – at least the basic skills like how to create shelter and survive in your element for at least three days.
Tomorrow I will present the survival kit that everyone should have with them when they travel. It may save your life.