Under Pressure

Hank – Matt and Loretta drove us from their home to North East, PA, saving us a whole day of travel to Niagara Falls. That was very generous of them. We pressed on through Pennsylvania wine country on highway 5 and soon crossed the border into New York onto another highway 5, the condition of which was far less stellar than the Pennsylvania one.

For that last three weeks I’ve been having pain in my back while I’m riding and it’s been steadily getting worse. It’s not muscular but neurological and in a specific place. Today it was much more painful and I told Kathy about it. When we reached Dunkirk we saw they had good sized hospital. Kathy talked me into going to the ER. Long story short, it’s most likely nerves passing through my left rotator cuff are under pressure. The doc recommended getting it checked out in case I needed surgery. He prescribed a muscle relaxant, which I also need to loosen up my spine. I have it all tightened up, quite likely because of the pain. Bonus diagnosis: the X-rays show I had suffered a crushed C7 vertebra some time in my life. It’s an old injury so he wasn’t concerned about it, but he thought I should know.

We got the prescription filled and got back on the road. We still had 20 miles to Evangola State Park. It was late in the day when we hit Silver Creek, NY and we were hungry so we got a quick dinner at Aunt Millie’s Restaurant. It was like a home cooked meal. The last few miles to the campground went quick. The office was closed and the sign said to grab a campsite–there were plenty available–and return before 10:00 am to register. I wonder if they’ll be open when we leave in the morning. We pitched the tent and took showers. I popped a couple of muscle relaxing pills and went to bed.

Kathy –  We had such a good visit with Matt and Loretta that it was hard to say good-bye. They are such awesome people.  We appreciate all of their hospitality and will miss them as we move onward. They were nice enough to drive us just past the town of North East, Pennsylvania which is about a 30-minute drive from their home.  They even dropped us off AFTER the big hill. Thanks Matt & Loretta!! Even with the ride to North East, we still ended up clocking 54 miles today with lots of elevation (approximately 1,500 feet).  The weather was in the mid 80’s so not too bad. We finished riding through Pennsylvania where we saw many grape vineyards.  I was not aware that this area grew a lot of sweet grapes for jams, jellies, and of course sweet wines.   While at Matt and Loretta’s house I ordered new bike shorts that were delivered in time.  Happy to have new shorts as the old ones are pretty worn after 3.5 months on the road.  I also left my Daisy flower packet with Loretta.  She will plant my Pennsylvania flowers in her yard as she completes a landscaping project. This will cover the state of Pennsylvania for my quest to Make America More Beautiful – one pack of flowers in each state we visit.  Looking forward to seeing a picture of them growing in the future.

So we entered our 15th state – New York today!!  The roads are not nearly as good as the Pennsylvania roads.  We met lot of potholes that took over most of the shoulder and the road areas.  Maybe we were just spoiled in Pennsylvania.  The grape vineyards continued well inside of New York.  So when we stopped for breakfast about 20-25 miles into our ride, I just had to try a wine from the local area.  I went for a sweet peach flavored wine to go with my breakfast.  It was actually quite tasty.  I’m not too concerned about what people think of me having wine with breakfast.  The opportunity was there and of course, I am not one to pass up a great opportunity.  🙂

Now there is Hank and his health.  Hank is not one to complain about much.  He has been having this pretty intense left shoulder/back area pain.  It sometimes radiates down his left arm.  I have an old prescription of Hydrocodone from when I had my Carpel Tunnel surgery done.  I brought them with us in my medical kit.  Hank has been taking them on occasion for the past week or so without much relief.  Today he was pretty miserable during our ride.  When we came upon the town of Dunkirk, New York I saw there was a hospital there.   I researched the hospital and it was rated pretty good.  We can speculate all day long on what the issue is but we really won’t know without some imaging studies.  I talked Hank into going it just to get a film to see what was going on.  We were both very pleased with the results.  We were hoping it was nothing too serious that we would have to postpone the rest of our trip, and happy that we can continue.  Hank just needs to give the shoulder time to heal to reduce the inflammation that is causing pressure on the nerve/pain in his upper back and arm areas.  I am thrilled he will be OK and I will work on helping him rest and relax so things will be better soon for him.  No doubt he will sleep well tonight.  Hoping you all have a good night too!

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  1. Bummer about your shoulder Hank and more of a bummer about the healing process. Time out of the saddle is tough, but you have to take care of yourself when you can. Hope the meds help.


    1. Thanks. No worries, John. I’m doing much better now.


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