September 15th, 2008
"Hey Ice Cream, let's go for a bike ride tonight," said Doughnut one Tuesday night. Doughnut had been reflecting on time spent together recently and thought some "just the two of them" time would be a good thing. Ice Cream was quick to respond that it sounded like fun.
Just so you know it had just gotten done raining for 2 days.
Our neighborhood has some preserve area nearby with a path by a little creek. "Offroading" sounded like fun and would be a relatively new thing for Ice Cream. Sounded like a great idea.
Along the way, the riders encountered some new trails recently created by large machinery working way-back-who-knows-where. As the ride progressed, the riders were doing well but sunset was beginning to approach. Doughnut headed the tandem back from where they had ventured.
Instead of staying on the known trail, however, he thought one of the new trails would be fun to explore. It went the correct direction. The trail appeared passable. It had to meet up with the other trail, he thought.
The passable, easy trail turned to an area with machinery, a little mud, and some water. Adventuresome, the bikers thought this looked doable. Just on the other side was a grass trail again and everything would be fine. The next bend brought more mud... manageable. Then more water and mud at the next turn. Ice Cream stopped in the middle of a muddy spot and, trying to push his bike through, sank both shoes in the mud. One came off when trying to pull it out and, off balance, Ice Cream stepped down making his white socks black past his ankle. "Mom is going to be so mad," he said. "These are my only school shoes." The great idea and fun bike ride had turned a bit sour as the bikers were now very dirty and several muddy spots into the trail.... not to mention the sun beginning to set.
Ice Cream, keeping is best adventuresome, positive attitude and Doughnut, knowing this trail was going the right way and believing they had to get to the main trail soon, continued.
More corners... more mud. Now walking bikes instead of riding and beginning to wonder if it would be best to turn around... but the sun had already set.... all that time back.... the main trail must be just around the corner..... they continued.
Doughnut ran ahead only to find another area with more machinery and a deep trench, more mud, more water, and rougher terrain than anything yet traversed. Time to reverse course.
The two bikers (runners and bike pushers now) headed back the same muddy course. Ice Cream was now walking and running as Doughnut would run one bike ahead then go back to get the other bike and run it ahead.... and so on. Riding occurred periodically in a few grassy patches after digging mud out of the tires because they would no longer even turn.
"We are never going to get home," came the concerned voice of Ice Cream. "Mom is going to be so worried," he said. Doughnut, though anxious about the dimming light and the distance yet to travel, kept encouraging the young rider about how well he was doing and how adventuresome he was. "Build him up, keep him positive, help him feel like there is a plan and everything is OK," Doughnut thought between the worries of the now nighttime sky and the distance yet to travel. Fortunately, a nearly full moon brightened the clear sky as the two riders made it back through the last muddy patch. Back on a grass path, moonlight to guide the way, and only about 2 miles to go...... sigh.
An uneventful, other than being dark, ride back home passed pretty quickly. Doughnut tried to turn this into an learning opportunity by talking about bad choices that Dads and other adults sometimes make. Ice Cream was still worried about Mom being worried. Doughnut was thinking they would be pretty lucky if they got by with just worried.
Around the last turn and on the sidewalk to the house the bikers rode. Mom was standing outside the garage with Candy and Milk Dud car keys in hand heading for the trail opening. The emotion of worry and relief momentarily turned to and came out as angry but quickly became consoling, supporting, and encouraging for Ice Cream. For Doughnut, well, you can probably guess.
A few pictures and it was off to the shower. Bikes will clean up and clothes will wash. The riders had one heck of an adventure. Thankfully Mom had bought some new shoes and had not told them as last year during football he trashed his shoes and we had to go get an extra pair.
"Hey Ice Cream, how about we go on a bike ride again tomorrow night?"