Riding 23 miles in search of cheap tortillas

zanesvilleIt’s a glorious spring day and I set off on my bike wishing I could do three rides at once: a 12-mile time trial, a shorter series of intervals, and a 23-mile destination ride.

This is what happens when I’ve put off biking for too long and a triathlon deadline’s fast approaching. I settle on the ride that’s probably least useful training-wise, but sounds the most fun: an out-and-back amble to Zanesville along a 10-mile country corridor where I plan to build marathon mileage over the next few months. Besides, it’s a chance to pick up a few groceries without burning any fossil fuels. I need tortillas to make quesadillas for dinner, and the general store there often sells 10-packs of an acceptable whole wheat variety at the ridiculous price of three for a buck.

It’s amazing what a little sunshine can do, casting a pastoral glow over otherwise ordinary country houses and small farms. I love seeing cows in the field, clothes hung out to dry — and a purple mini bike stacked with bags of seed corn at the edge of a field.


I can’t help thinking how much Grandma Annie-Bananie would delight in a day like this one, how happy it would make her — an “outside girl,” we used to joke — to take her walker outside the nursing home and sit on a bench for just a few minutes. But she’s winding down now, having had a rapid-fire series of strokes the last few weeks. Her legs don’t work anymore. Her hundredth year will be her last.

Colleen held Great Grandma's hand Wednesday night, but she never stirred.

Colleen held Great Grandma’s hand Wednesday night, but she never stirred.

Just then Dad calls, from his retirement perch on my uncle’s tractor not so many miles away, and says Grandma was responsive this morning — ate peaches for breakfast, after we thought she’d given up on eating, and said “I’m glad to see you” when just yesterday we were wondering if she’d even regain consciousness.

It is a glorious day indeed, and I’m grateful for the use of my legs, peddling along fast or slow as the mood strikes.

And Wilson’s Country Store had plenty of those ridiculously cheap tortillas, just like I knew they would.

You'll never know what you'll find at Wilson's Country Store, but cheap tortillas are pretty good bet most days.

You’ll never know what you’ll find at Wilson’s Country Store, but cheap tortillas are pretty good bet most days.

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