To “dip” or not to “dip”

The plans for today changed almost literally by the minute. To “dip” or not to “dip” was the question. “Dipping” the front bike tire in the Mississippi River is a tradition to completing the RAGBRAI. Did we want to ride the last day’s full distance into the headwinds partially retracing yesterday’s route? Did we want to sag halfway and ride into Keokuk with all the confusion and traffic? Did we want to just drive over to the river right here in Burlington and dip there… it is still the Mississippi right? Or should we bag the dipping tradition altogether and head to breakfast at Miss K’s restaurant in Mt. Pleasant, where we enjoyed breakfast yesterday?Can you guess? You got it, we chose breakfast over crowds, commotion, wind, hills…and dipping.

I manage to get in the way when I try to help our very efficient family team with packing up. So I step aside and busy myself. Today I explored the labyrinth in the yard of the Luthern church where we camped. I walked in quiet contemplation of what was needed for myself and the people around me. First was a teammate who had lost an expensive and needed item. My prayers turned towards her as the labyrinth turned me left. I realized as I walked, my turns took me near the center and then in another direction to the walk towards the outside. Facing east then west, north then south. With each turn, I contemplated the many people who had entered my life the past week and asked that the emptiness in their life would be filled.

To the generous people who donated to Davis Phinney foundation in the names of Charlie and Carol. I walked the labyrinth in gratitdue.  My friends, you donated over $3400 to help people with Parkinson’s disease live well. $750 was donated by 250 people from their purchase of “The Ribbon of Road Ahead”. Thank you all for your generosity. The team’s total was $94,000 in donations.

I thought about the people I met on the ride. Again with the intention that any nmeeting with localseed they had might be met. The woman whose husband died from MSA, a relative of PD; the woman who knows my cousin Tom Brumm; People who commented on our kits and ended having an hour conversation; the lawyer who was recently diagnosed and saw our DPF jerseys; a woman whose sister died with another chronic illness…and many more I am not remembering. I sent thoughts of peace and comfort as you find your way; To the couple who came to see me at my cousin’s house I pray you through the challenges you face.

To my teammates: as you finish your ride today and find your way home may there be a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction with the miles you pedaled.

And our family who joined me on this trip and supported me. When the symptoms of Parkinson’s really wreaked havoc you provided what was needed. And you celebrated with me when I felt well, watching over me vigilantly yet discreetly. Thanks.

I saw my shadow on the labyrinth It looked the same no matter the direction I walked. It said to me “You are not the shadow, yet the shadow duplicates you. The shadow shows you, the entire you.  You cannot see what Parkinson’s has robbed you of.

Our RAGBRAI did not end by dipping tires in the Mississippi.


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 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 (541) 720-4256

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