Day 68: Interstate Tour 2018
I rolled into Panther Creek State Park, a campground I'd been to before, home to a fabulous mountain bike trail and the rare state park WiFi.
The rains this season had eroded trails everywhere I've been this summer, though these trails were a bit better maintained and manageable. Still, tree roots jutted from the ground on most of the trails, keeping me on the alert for The One that could catch a front tire and send me flying over the handlebars. That can suck.
Starting out on the Panther Path Trail, which was wide and suitable for bikes as well as hikers and joggers, I then switched to the Pine Cove Trail, which was deep in the woods and a fairly easy go. I then tackled the two most difficult paths; Trout Lily and Pioneer Trail, which had spectacular sections that followed the ridgeline, leaving a precipitous drop into the forest below on one side.
This part of the ride was highly technical, with lots of climbs, switchbacks and sections of balls-out flying down the side of an Appalachian mountain, which seemed totally appropriate.
At one point, I came hauling through the brush and swooped right in on a doe, standing in the path. We both freaked out; me slamming on the brakes and she, bolting a short distance through the thicket before stopping and observing me.
"Bikers, bloody hell," she seemed to say.
It wasn't too long after that encounter that I ended up on Deer Run Trail, where I remained on high "deer alert" to avoid a collision.
By the time I'd returned to the campsite, 7.68 miles had been logged on a challenging, yet extremely exciting, course that was so enjoyable, I planned on staying another day so I could do it again (and I nabbed 18 Weight Watchers activity points for 90 minutes work.) I prefer mountain biking to concrete paths because you don't mind the workout so much with a mountain path since there are so many things keeping you occupied, like trying not to fall off said mountain or roll straight into one of the many trees close by the track.
With a concrete path, there's plenty of time to reflect on the heat, your relative lack of stamina and you have to travel farther and longer to get the same workout. It's suggested that we should be active for 2 hours a day and with time coming at a premium like it does, I don't mind making twice the effort for half the time invested - especially if it comes with lots of wheee! moments like careening through a forest on two wheels.
Another day planted would also give me more time to chill out and record. I've been writing some new material and now is the perfect time to settle in and work with it. There's one called "The 407" that's my attempt at representing as an Orlandian. One verse goes:
"The City Beautiful delivers bouquets
with a side of tacky carnival glaze
it's my home in any event
I think I had a groove and basic melody written for this, but damned if I know where it is now. I keep demos all over the place - in my iPhone Memos program, in Logic Pro X, on the Zoom H4n, rattling around in my head. Lots of half-finished ideas, sparks and tidbits. Usually, it's the songs that fairly burst out, fully-formed, that receive the most attention and nurturing. Why? Because they're practically completed, and it's rare, but Monkey Mind has a hard time chilling out and crafting a song for longer than a month or so.
That's why getting deep into improvisation has been so great. Creating in the moment removes all of the time and excuses, puts you on the spot and calls you out.
So, there will be a lot of calling out over the next couple of days. My patrons get to hear all of my new material as it evolves from idea to demo to draft to release. I'm looking forward to sharing the new stuff almost as much as I'm looking forward to writing it!