Why we took THE LONG WAY HOME

April 7,  2016

As Nancy and I rode away for the “incident ” today,  I was planning the title to this post.  I have thought  of titles to stories and never put the pen to paper to write them.    But this story  just has to be told.  It is just believable enough that it could happen to two innocent cyclists grabbing a soda during a break on a warm afternoon ride. 

 Our get away route stopped us  at a local elementary school.  As retired educators this felt like a very safe place to be…and we thought about heading to the office to see who might listen to our tale. A school office is definitely a good place to hide out from any potential  “followers”.  But then we would have a headline  like  “Retired teachers turned cyclists seek refuge from drunk stranger at local school”.  Nah, this great school did not need any bad press  associated with this situation.  I had created enough memories in the old building as it was my first school assignment in 1980.  I signed the walls before they were toppled to make way  for West Park II.  Good place, good people, no bad karma for West Park.  We determined we were safe to go our separate ways home after taking this selfie to remember the moment!

Nancy and I ride together often.  Depending on the length of the route and direction the wind is blowing we meet at the school, or a bar near the edge of town that has good food.  Today we met at the bar and decided a short ride followed  by a soda was enough for Carol (me on the left), who is recovering from Deep Brain Stimulation Surgery for Parkinson’s Disease.  The ride was lovely, a round the park and back to our starting location.  We had an audience of men watching as we locked the bikes up and entered, got our sodas, and this is where we missed the boat, er bike, er didn’t observe our situation closely.  A coke to go would have been perfect.  A coke to stay was not a good idea as the men at one table were so intoxicated they could not sing HAPPY BIRTHDAY to their friend who could barely walk.  But walk he did right over to our table where he commented on the bikes, on our wedding rings and then left us alone.  Returning just a few minutes later he made a few lewd pick- up lines that even I the former Speech Pathologist could hardly understand through his cheap beer breath. Then, he insisted on showing us his bike, as we had apparently taken his “tie-up”spot.  If you have been around Hermiston long you would recognize this fella, but even more so the bike that matches his personality. 

I directed my eyes to him and said “We are trying to visit with each other, would you please leave?”  He then tried to tell us how to get rid of “blokes” like him and even wanted us to practice.  He hung on for what seemed like a century before Nancy’s  “nasty” gaze finally chased him off.  It was time for us to skip this place, so I grabbed my gear and headed across the room for a quick rest stop.  Just coming out the restroom door I heard some hollering and laughing and saw Nancy step away from the table as the Barmaid was helping Romeo off the floor.  He had  tried to cozy up to Nancy and he missed the bar stool seat. Oh my goodness, Romeo and all his buddies and the Barmaid were all at the door at the same time we were going out.   Two more of these “fellers” were in the parking lot as we hastley unlocked the bikes to make our escape.  They were discussing if we were in good humor so they could tell us something more.  “No,” Nancy said “We are not happy right now and we are leaving!:” The Barmaid  had Romeo by the arm and said  “Have you had more to drink than what I have served you?” Romeo kept asking “Which way you girls riding?”  We did not speak, we did not make eye contact,  we road.

I actually  took a longer way home.   We probably only rode 5-6 miles, and not very fast.  It was a great day, and almost a perfect ride.  Next time we stop there for a soda we’ll look inside first … we want the twenty something hunks from the construction crew checking us out…..Just kidding. 

Published by Carol Clupny, author The Ribbon of Road Ahead: One Woman's Remarkable Journey with Parkinson's Disease

I am a middle aged woman with Parkinson's Disease. When I was first diagnosed I spent a lot of time researching the disease. Seeing a video of a man in the advanced stages of the disease attempting to get out of his chair and then "freezing" as he tried to walk across the room got me off my butt and moving. Great adventures on the Camino de Santiago and with TEAM Pedaling for Parkinson's across IOWA, as well as the day to day adventures of life have lead me to writing. My first novel, a memoir, was published early 2019. It is called, you got it THE RIBBON OF ROAD AHEAD. Living with the degenerative neurological disease Parkinson's, ULTREIA is a word that guides me. I have chosen it as the name of my business ULTREIA BOOKS. It comes from Latin and old French and means "unfailing courage". In the old days, pilgrims would call "Ultreïa" to each other as encouragement "Go up, go further!" Nowadays we would say "You can do this thing". It takes courage to live with Parkinson's. May I face each day with unfailing courage. Ab Here is more about me; I was living an active lifestyle riding horses, hiking, climbing and snow skiing when at age fifty I was diagnosed with Parkinsons. Retiring from my career as a speech-language pathologist I decided to “take to the road” to battle the disease. My first steps, walking out her door to the mailbox, lead to trekking over 1000 miles of pilgrimage trails on the Camino de Santiago in France and Spain. A dusty bike discovered in the garage resulted in four rides on the Des Moines Register’s Annual Great Bike Ride Across Iowa with the Pedaling for Parkinsons Team. These adventures inspired me to write a memoir The Ribbon of Road Ahead: One Woman’s Remarkable Journey with Parkinson’s Disease. I blogs about my everyday life as a middle-aged woman in the mid-stages of Parkinson’s disease. My honest, humorous, and casual narrative style brings the reader to an intimate understanding of my resilience and acceptance. My blog, sharing the name of my book ”The Ribbon of Road Ahead” can be found at www.ultreiablog.org After completing a Masters of Science in Speech Pathology from Eastern Washington University I received certification in School Leadership and Administration from Lewis and Clark College. I provided speech pathology services and later became a program director completing 32 years in the wide geographic expanse of eastern Oregon. Active in the Oregon Speech-Language and Hearing Association I received honors of the association and the presidential award for work on recruitment and retention of speech and hearing professionals. Il presented numerous papers and projects at local, state and regional professional conferences. I was appointed by Governor Ted Kulongoski to two terms of the Oregon Board of Examiners of Speech Pathology and Audiology, the state’s licensing and consumer protection agency. Since my diagnosis in 2008, I has become active in the Parkinson’s community as an advocate, an Ambassador for the Davis Phinney Foundation and support group facilitator for Parkinson's Resources of Oregon. I was appointed the regional patient representative for the Parkinson's Foundation’s Women with PD TALK study. In September of 2019 the Michael J Fox Foundation selected me to participate in the Parkinson’s Policy Forum in Washington DC. As an attendee at the World Parkinson Congress in 2016 in Portand, Oregon, I presnted a poster session examining the decision making process for patients considering deep brain stimulation. At the 2019 WPC in Kyoto, Japan I presented a poster on vision concerns of women with PD and lead small group discussions. Myr book The Ribbon of Road Ahead has provided many speaking opportunities for Carol. In 2019 and early 2020 she visited 24 support groups in Washington, Idaho, Oregon and California to share her thoughts on living well with the disease. In addition, she has presented talks for The Center on Aging in San Francisco, Parkinson's Place in Las Vegas, Northwest Parkinson's Foundation in Richland WA and virtually through their HOPE online program. In late 2020 I rejuvenated her voice and narrated her book. It became available as an audio book in 2021. As part of this project I read stories over the airwaves on RadioParkies Australia with DJ Madonna and in Great Britain with DJ Johnny Parky. She and her husband Charlie have two adult sons. They live on a small hobby farm in eastern Oregon. Contact Information: Carol Clupny PO BOX 128, Hermiston, OR 97838 caclupny@gmail.com (541) 720-4256

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