In my last post I talked about taking a ride along the Columbia River, crossing over to the Washington side before returning home. Well as the late Paul Harvey would say “Now, the rest of the story”.
Years ago when I was working construction, I was building footing for a power substation. The substation was situated on newly cleared land. We built footing in holes that had been dug and there were remnants of plant life around the openings of the hole. I came in contact with some of those plants and was exposed to poison oak and proceeded to get it all over my body. It was so bad that I had to seek medical treatment; it took many weeks to clear up the rash.
On Tuesday I set off on a ride that took crossing the Columbia River over to Washington. I stayed close to the river and following the pathway that ended at the memorial to the women who built the ships for the war effort of WWII. Jumping back to SE Columbia River Dr, I continued east before finding another pathway that followed close to the river. Naturally the route was not a straight shot to my next destination.
I finally arrived at Winter Park, which seemed to end my forward progress. I thought I would have to double back to find another way to continue east. A fellow biker who was traveling to Winter Park as her destination pointed out a pathway. This path was to take me up to cross the railroad tracks, follow a neighborhood street to Evergreen Hwy, which would take me to I-205.
The pathway was about 15 to 20 yards long, through a brushy area and curving to the left. After traversing about two-thirds of the way and around the slight bend I found myself face to face with a sharp incline with blocks of wood set as steps up the incline. I was going slowly and since I was clipped in (did I tell you I was on my road bike) I came to an abrupt stop and fell to my left. The left side is the side I fell on, a year and half ago, breaking my hip. My first though was at least it was brushy and it cushioned my fall. I received a small scrape on the leg but no other damage. I unclipped and carried my bike up the steps and across the railroad tracks.
The neighborhood street was a steep climb up to Evergreen Hwy. I was all the way down to the lowest gear but still needed to stand to climb the hill. When I finally made it up to the highway I made good time and soon found the sign pointing to the bike trail along I-205. Traveling south on the bridge the sun was still mainly on my left. I felt a slight burning on my left arm. My first thought was that I must have touched some poison oak. I put it off until I got home to take a shower and washed that area good.
The next day I found a spot on my elbow, it being the beginning of summer I thought it was an insect bite. Yesterday when I woke up my left elbow was covered with welts. At first I thought that the insect had gotten really busy and bit all over. Later when I showed it to my wife, she thought I was allergic to something. Then it dawned on me that I had fallen into the brush, and the possibility of poison oak was present, I concluded that it was the poison of the brush.
This morning after my shower and treating the area around my elbow, I raised my arm to apply deodorant and found another rash in the pit of my arm. Now Calamine Lotion will be my closest friend for the next few days. The pain and itching are just a reminder of the power of those plants.
Will this stop me from riding? No way! I just need to be mindful and extra careful when I need to go through areas not paved and ready for bikes.