Part 6 of Adventures In Cycling was saying goodbye to one of the ‘Three Amigos.’ Gordie Carrier, Bill Hough and myself shared so many cycling adventures, and now one of them was gone. I didn’t get to say goodbye to Gordie, but Bill was able to spend some time with him. Sadly, that visit was partially the result of Bill losing his oldest son at too young an age. Gordie suffered from Alzheimer’s, so Bill spent most of his final visit talking to Gina while Gordie pretended to sleep. In a way, I’m grateful not to have seen Gordie as the disease ravaged his memory. This way I can always picture him in the best of health.
Bill messaged me again on Facebook recently, and we were able to connect and talk on the phone. I’m terrible at texting, so I use my phone the old-fashioned way. I talk on it. I use my cell phone as a flashlight and not much more. Bill and I talked about the old days and some of our great adventures. I suppose I should create an outline for a book before my memory goes. We discussed some of the people who shared our cycling adventures, some of whom are no longer with us. We talked about grandchildren, and Bill mentioned he is a great-great grandfather. He’s got me beat there. Hopefully, it will be a few years before I achieve that status.
As in common with guys our age, we talked about health issues. If you refer back to my earlier cycling blogs, Part 1 actually, you will learn I referred to Bill as the ‘most adventurous man’ I’ve ever known. Check that blog to read about some of the things he’s done. Bill is a few years older than me, and has been through some serious health issues. I won’t go into details, but suffice to say, they were serious. Thankfully, his health has improved to the point where he can ride his bike again. Though not as fast or as far as in our ‘glory days.’
Last year was a total bummer for travel for everyone I know. Doubly so for Bill because of the aforementioned health issues. He talked about resuming his travel adventures this year since his health has improved dramatically. He has always spent time with his sons in Alaska every summer, and that will resume this year. Though, I’m sure Bill will miss his oldest son. Now he can take a grandson, or two. Whenever I watch YouTube travel videos about Alaska, I think of Bill and his lifetime of adventures in the frozen north.
I was able to spend a couple weeks at the Hough Family Retreat in Big Sky, Montana, one summer many eons ago. We rode bikes, played golf – the Hough compound is on a golf course, must be rough – hiked to a waterfall, rode mountain bikes up and down ski hills, and it’s where I learned how to fly fish. That’s sort of an inside joke because I was the worst fisherman in the world. Montana is famous for it’s fly-fishing rivers. We even rode our mountain bikes into a remote area of Yellowstone to go fishing. I’m assuming the statute-of-limitations expired long ago so we can’t be fined. I know I must have frustrated Gordie, but they did find some humor in watching my feeble attempts to land a trout, or whatever kind of fish we were hunting… fishing… whatever. I wouldn’t have known the difference between a Rainbow, Cutthroat, Apache, Sevan, Ohrid, Marble, Brown, or Dolly Varden trout. Okay, I cheated and googled different types of trout to try and impress Bill. There really is a trout named Dolly Varden, but it didn’t look anything like the other Dolly. I didn’t realize there would be so many huge boulders on the ski runs. Normally they are covered by the snow. Duh! That was the summer the transmission on Gordie’s van decided to give up the ghost when we were a 100 miles from the compound. Bill and I talked about the fastest 100 mile ride of our lives. We rode back, picked up Bill’s car and drove back to retrieve Gordie and Gina. Luckily, we were able to get the van to a repair shop, and they slapped in a new, or rebuilt, transmission the next day. Maybe two days. The memory is a bit fuzzy already.
I miss the ‘amigos,’ but now we can sit around the campfire, eating beans, drinking coffee and reminiscing about the ‘old days.’ The campfires have been replaced by cell phones, or a landline in my case. Perhaps, in another ten years our adventures will have grown to talking about the year we rode our mountain bikes to the summit of Mt. Everest instead of Mt. Evans. Wait! Bill and Gordie summited Mt. Evans. I was the sensible one who stayed by the lake and worked on my fishing skills. Bill, you should have seen the Adriatic Trout I caught. It had to be 36 inches long, no 48 inches, and must have weighed 40 or 50 pounds. Too bad I didn’t have a camera, and it was a catch and release lake.