Scroll to the bottom for the TLDR (To Long Didn’t Read)

After doing laundry in Seattle I arrived in Burlington around 7:30pm on Thursday, enough time to grab some craft beer and food before checking into my hotel. I spent Friday morning catching up on some work and lost track of time before heading to the Cascade trail to do some biking a little later than I had planned.

After driving 30 minutes to the Cascade trailhead I was approached by a woman on a bicycle with a large framed hiking backpack who asked if I could give her a ride 30 minutes away. She had biked here and planned to bike 30 more miles then hike uphill but said she didn’t have the stamina for all of it and was wondering if I could give her a ride farther east since I had a bike rack . My instinct was to give her a ride, but after quickly thinking about it I decided not to since it would put me an hour behind and I was already running much later than I wanted. I politely declined and she said a few words to try to convince me. She was polite and not pushy, but I stood firm on my no. I kept thinking about the woman and wondering if I should have given her a ride as I departed.

About 10 minutes into my bike ride my rear tire got a flat, which was peculiar since I got new tires before I left Madison and they are supposed to be highly puncture resistant. I inspected my tire by look and feel and didn’t find any damage. I went to patch the tube and realized it had multiple holes and switched it out for a new tube. I realized this was the only spare tube I had with me, so I decided to bike back to my car to get more just in case. The woman was still there when returned. She glanced at me and I wondered if this was a sign I should give her a ride. However, I went on my way back to the trail. The trail was in mostly good shape except for some parts with larger rocks on it which I suspect was due to flooding and gravel washing away to easily. Nothing to write home about this trail, there were a couple spots with good views but it was nothing I’d call a destination trail like last week.

During the whole ride I had lingering thoughts of the woman and a minor feeling of guilt that I should have gone out of my way to help her. One of the great parts of traveling is meeting people… did I make a mistake?? Oh well, if it wouldn’t have taken me an hour out of my way when I was already running late I would have. but I needed to be a bit selfish and do what was best for me….. but the thoughts still lingered..

The trail was about 22 miles one way and I turned around at the opposite trailhead. About 10 minutes after I turned around I got another flat, this time in front. Same thing, no damage to the tire and multiple holes in the tube. I was very glad I had turned around to get more tubes, but this was still very peculiar….. was this another sign I should have given the mysterious woman a ride?? I mean really.. Another mysterious flat 10 minutes from the other trailhead, what are the odds of this happening again on new tires and tubes? My only explanation is the bike shop overinflated my bike tubes.. or is there something else at play? Thoughts of the traveling woman enter my mind again..

I stopped for a beer on my way back at the Birdsview Brewing Company. They had a great golden pale ale and an interesting building design you can see in my pictures. I eventually arrived at the trailhead after 44 miles of biking where I started. It had been about 5 hours and there was no sign of the traveling woman, she must have gotten a ride or I would have passed her at some point on the trail. I stopped at a brewery on the drive back to the hotel called Garden Path Fermentation that had some interesting beers and ciders. I ended the night with some craft beer and some dinner.

Saturday morning started with watching the Badgers game at 9am with a bloody mary and i ran into some people Madison who moved here 5 years ago. I am not sure I could get used to watching football this early, but then again if I was back in Madison going to the game I would have started drinking earlier 😆. When I had ordered my bloody mary I had asked for a beer chaser and got a confused look from the waitress who asked me what I was talking about. Instead of explaining I just asked for a Blue Moon… looks like I’m not in Wisconsin anymore. After the game I went back to my hotel to freshen up and do some trip planning and decided to go hiking about 30 minutes away at the Oyster Dome Trail. The woman from the day before popped in my head again…

A few minutes into my drive to the trail, my car felt a little funny, like it was pulling to the right side, my tire pressure warning light suddenly went off, I pulled off the road as soon as I could to see the tire visibly low, I then got back in my car and tried to make it back to the city.

I was about to take the exit off the highway when I heard the tire blow and immediately pulled over to the shoulder about 100 yards from the exit. I thought I got lucky when I saw a Honda dealership was near where I was stranded and walked dealership. They informed me they didn’t have my tire in stock, but were helpful and called a tire store about a mile down the road who did have something in stock. I got on the phone with Honda Care, since my car is brand new and under warranty I figured getting towed a mile would be easy. I was amazed at how unhelpful they were. They said they could tow me to the dealer to replace the tire, and I informed them the dealer didn’t have a tire in stock and said I just needed a tow to the tire place 1 mile away,

They said they could find a dealer for me with one in stock, but I explain to them its 4pm with labor day weekend coming up and im in a smaller town and I highly doubt there is another Honda dealer close that would be open much later. I just needed a tow to a place with a tire 1 mile away!!! they said something about that is outside of their plan, blah, blah, blah.

They offered to call AAA for me to have my care towed. I replied I don’t have AAA because I have a brand new car with roadside assistance, why would I need AAA!!! I think she offered to send someone to put my spare tire on, but didn’t have an ETA. I will admit I was a bit flustered and in a bit of a panic due to it being 4pm on Saturday of Memorial Day weekend and knowing this needs to be done now. I don’t blame the customer service person and tried to be polite in my anxious state, but I do blame corporate procedures for not letting a this person think outside the box and place the customer first and instead being stuck following what I’m sure are the equivalent of encyclopedias of corporate policies. I mean really, you cant just call a tow truck to take me 1 mile, WTF!

I am in a little bit of a panic now since I know if I don’t get this done right now, ill be stuck here all weekend with no transportation and I was planning on leaving tomorrow. I start making calls for a tow truck with no luck, so I decide to put the spare on myself which I hadn’t done in 25 years. Mind you I’m on the shoulder of the interstate so not the safest place to do this, but why the hell didn’t I think of this 30 minute ago??? I guess I was a little to confident in Honda Care roadside assistance being able to take care of the situation easily and didn’t take charge of the situation myself when my tire first blew out. Lesson learned.

My cars trunk is packed so getting the spare out was no easy feat, and of course my huge can of Costco cooking spray had gotten triggered somewhere along my ride and discharge all over my trunk. Luckily I had a trunk mat, but it was everywhere. I pulled some of my belongings out of my trunk to get my tire out and changed it pretty quickly to my surprise. I raced to the tire place and arrive at 4:30 and they were able to get it changed out for me. Thank You Discount Tire!, I hate to name drop but they were great.

At my hotel I cleaned my trunk but left reorganizing until the morning. After regrouping for a bit at the hotel I went out to grab some beer and some diner which was relaxing and figured to be the end of my evening. I reflected on my day, what are the odds of getting 2 mysterious bike flats and then car tire flat in the span of 24 hours??? Thoughts of the mysterious woman pop in my head again. If I believed in the paranormal, it all points to the woman I didn’t give a ride to, she was lingering in my head all afternoon yesterday… was this really some sort of witch who cast some sort of curse on me? What else is in store for me after a perfect start to my trip? Will the rest of my journey be like this? How can this curse be lifted?

On my way back to the hotel, I saw what looked like an old school cocktail lounge and figured I could use a real drink after my ordeals in the last 24 hours. The place was perfect. It was cozy, dark and playing a mix of Ray Charles and jazz, it was exactly what I needed. The bartenders were great. One was named Elizabeth but went by Liz similar to someone back in Madison I care about so this seemed like some sort of sign to me. She had a great a great personality and we talked a bit about life. I She was free spirited like me and talked to me about her wish in the future of getting a traveling van and touring the country, we had a great conversation.

The other bartenders name escapes me, but he started to talk to me about a mysterious beverage he makes called Lono’s Punch that will cure anything that ails me. Intrigued, I could not resist. He produced a tiki glass and begins to shake and stir and add different spirits to the concoction. This man adds a lot of flair like he is a bartender out of a movie as he mixed the different ingredients in…. what did I get myself into?? The final mixture was amazing, I don’t have the words to describe the flavors well enough to do it justice, but it was delicious and I felt myself returning to a peaceful place in my head and fully over the stresses of the last 2 days. Was this mysterious drink the cure to the curse the witch put on me? Only time will tell but the trip to the Revival Cocktail Lounge did seem to revive me to my old self. I headed to my hotel and contemplated my plans for tomorrow as I feel asleep.

Full Photo Album – https://photos.app.goo.gl/ErNUttxRbnLwCLzy8

TLDR – Had a curse put on me by a witch which resulted in 2 bike flats and a car tire blowing out. Was cured by Lono’s punch.

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2 Comments

    1. Thanks Sarah, it was a very interesting day and I wanted to capture my thoughts to reflect back on in the future. I am definitely on the lookout for witches now!

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