Heat Stroke?

Trip Start Sep 29, 2007
Trip End Dec 01, 2007

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Flag of United States  , California
Friday, October 5, 2007

The roads from Chowchilla to Merced, are to say the least are not bicycle friendly. Asking directions to Merced are difficult as everyone drives a car and the 99 Hwy. is the direct route. After much searching and about 5 different opinions in which route I should follow, I found a detailed map that was supposed to be the most updated version. Updated does not mean correct, and although I said I would no longer risk my life on the 99, 3 times, I had no choice but to briefly use it to continue as the map which indicated a connecting road, just dumped my off on the 99. This is where I used my Bionx and I turned it to the highest setting and flew n/b to the next close exit. Even with these direct, short blasts, I rode 33 miles to get from Chowchilla to Merced, which is about 12 miles on the 99.
On a map what seems like a small "right end" jog in the road, tended to be quite a long ride on the bike and I was not going to turn back on a long road, when the 99 was right there. After my experience with the CHP, I had visions of being stopped by the same guy. I told myself when I left that I would bring absolutely no documentation that would confirm my prior employment as a police officer. Although I have no documentation, I am finding it necessary to explain that I was a police officer. After a few minutes of discussion with the many local cops I come into contact with, they know immediately I was the real thing. After that, most of them are curious as to what I am trying to accomplish and a few have requested the website to Travelpod. There is my plug I promised for the real nice people at the Chowchilla PD.
It was really hot yesterday when I started, and I tried to follow my own advice about hydration. I hadn't eaten in the morning, which is common for me, and about at the mid-point of my ride, I stumbled upon The Buchanan Hollow Nut Company. The folks there were really nice and the farm has a retail section for travelers. The farm is in the middle of nowhere, on Buchanan Road, at Plainsburg Road. I was directed to the back area, where I tasted just about everything from garlic pistachios, to chocolate covered cherries. I was pretty full after the tasting, but i bought $17. in assorted nuts and a bag of "California Mix."
I felt pretty well at that time, and I tried to down two "Bike-bottle" size containers of water as well as a can of diet coke. I was trying to make-up time by pedaling hard and and stewing about the roads that brought me way out of my way of my destination. As I entered South Merced, I drove down, Motel Road. Mind you, I was sore, tired and the sun was beating down on my neck and my black shirt was absorbing heat. The first motel I stopped at, Hampton Suites, had outrageous prices, 89 dollars a night and the first thing I noticed as I enter the air conditioned lobby was that I was developing a headache, my neck and face felt flushed and I noticed that I had stopped sweating. The feelings were getting worse by the second and the clerk, after looking at my bike, trailer and me was showing non-verbal signs that she would prefer that I leave and not purchase a room. I don't know what she thought but I have noticed that most proprietors, mostly Indian, are wary of everyone who walks in. I could tell why, as every city that I have driven through, has a lot of homeless people.
To make a long story short, too late, I just asked her to fill my water bottle and I will look for something more reasonable. She filled my bottle with cold water, and I sat down and forced the water down. This did not help and I started shivering, ever though my head felt as it was about to explode from the heat. At that point I realized that I was showing signs of Heat Stroke. I know a little about Heat exhaustion and Heat stroke, and in contrast to what people believe, Heat Exhaustion to Heat Stroke is a matter of progression and not two separate conditions. I knew I had progressed through Heat Exhaustion to the first symptoms of Heat Stroke. This info is what I have read and any real experts are welcome to refute my understanding.
I decided that I was ok to ride a little ways down Motel Road and I could surely keep it together long enough to find a reasonably priced motel, as the road was packed with them. I also realized that I needed a room that had a reliable air conditioner and preferably a bath tub. I started riding n/b and I found it hard to concentrate and I was starting to hallucinate a bit. I thought I saw a wild Boar running toward my on the other side. As it passed, I realized that it was a large dog, I had to stop.
I was barely able to ride into Sandpiper Motel, a nice place with a nice room for $55. total. A lot, but I needed to get my body temperature down before I did any damage to my body, especially my kidneys and brain. Heat Exhaustion can be quickly accelerated to heat Stroke when exertion, Solar Radiation and ambient temperature are combined. I had all of these factors going for me. Luckily I have no exacerbating conditions like heart disease, high blood pressure or any other conditions that could add to the problem and quickly end my tour.
I checked into the motel and found that the room was spacious and had a newer looking air conditioner. I parked my bike, dropped everything and cranked up the air. The second thing I did was grab a large towel, run it under the sink, and wrap the whole thing around my head. I made sure that I pushed a large portion on my Carotid arteries, which are the two main arteries that provide blood to the brain, and a cold,wet compress to these arteries, is the quickest way to reduce body heat in the brain. I opted to use this method to cool my blood, as my body was still chilled for some reason, and my first inclination was to get under the covers, stop the chilling and lower the blood temp. to my brain. I suppose that I could have jumped in the shower and ran cold water over my whole body. I believe that listening to your body undr these circumstances, accompanied by basic treatment knowledge is the best course of action and listening to my body, turned out to be the best course of action as I am feeling about 85%, I am not sick, I have eaten, Subway sandwich, and I am writing this log.
The only residual effects that I seem to have are a bit of unsteadiness when I stand up. I do not feel like riding a long way today, but I can continue, and there is a road adjacent to 99, according to my more detailed map.
I did want to make a political note, as all I heard yesterday in addition to the "Delta Smelt" issue was the remakes from Rush Limbaugh, regarding his statements about the "Phony Soldiers," in which the ultra Left has run with in an attempt to censor the Radio Host. Now as I have said before, I am a progressive but I abhor extremism wherever it is found. Did a US Senator really call for a "Senture" of Limbaugh. Maybe he meant "Censor" which in that case is unconstitutional. If he meant, "Senture," and I could not verify the spelling, is restricted to individuals such as Presidents, Senators, Congressmen and the like. My understanding is the "Private Citizens" can in no way be Sentured or Censored for that matter.
Common sense would dictate that this matter be resolved by means which are available and not by conjecture, hearsay or any other subjective ways. An accurate transcript of Limbaugh's statements must be available through objective means. This should be evaluated independently and determine if Limbaugh was speaking about the "one" phony soldier or if he had made a blanket statement that all who have come forward are "Pony Soldiers," and in that case an apology or retraction would be appropriate. this would end the, issue which has been droning on for, what, 9 days now? Do I need to be as bold as to say that I have to be the only voice of reason to stop this bipartisan bickering?
That is all for now.
Thanks, Steve
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