A week ago I was in rough shape–restricting chest muscles made it difficult to breathe, the strained back muscles made it difficult to do anything but sleep, and the anxiety about my health and my livelihood occupied any minutes of the day not dulled by Vicodin.

A lot can change in week.

I’m not saying I’m out of the storm yet, but I am saying I can now sit and stand comfortably for limited periods of time. I can type (although prolonged typing causes the first three fingers on my right hand to go numb), and I can see, through a glass darkly, that I will live to see another mountain biking road trip.

The last time I got debilitatingly hurt, I was on crutches and Vicodin for weeks. I injured the soft tissue on the left side of my body, specifically my left hip. I was unable to walk: first at all, second, for short periods of time, and third, up the stairs.  But with intense physical therapy (3x week), biweekly visits to the chiropractor, and a few thousand dollars later, I was better.

In the fall of 2007, I was lying down on the chiropractor’s table, wincing and whining about my injury and being treated with electro-impulses. As my breath condensed onto the rest of my face, I began dreaming of my next trip. Since the desert is my happy place, I naturally went there. I saw my tent, a gleaming yellow sun, red canyons, dashes of green, and the Yeti (as I so affectionately refer to my mountain bike). I was there, alone, soaking up the morning desert sun, waxing the chain on my bike, and sipping desert lattes, fresh from my camping espresso maker. Then, with dreamlike grace, I braided my hair into pigtails, donned my helmet, clicked into my pedals, and rode toward red rock.

Where was I? West Texas.

Three months later I found myself in West Texas, looking for a place to ride. Although conditions were too windy to ride, I did manage to sneak in a couple of rides in Silver City, NM.

This past Friday was my first rehab/therapy visit since the accident two weeks ago. I am now in the sub-acute stage, which means that sharp, piercing pains are mostly yesterday’s story but dull aches and uncomfortability are just beneath the surface, especially if I try to do too much, i.e., wash dishes AND tidy the house it the same day.

As I lay on the chirpractor/Chinese massotherapist’s table, feeling pain and pleasure from the poking, prodding, and adjusting, I began to dream, just as I had before, of my next trip.

This time, I’m going to Austin. 

Austin, Nevada.

I’ve heard, through internet grapevine only, that some fabuloso trails exist in and around Austin, NV, which is smack dab in the middle of the state along the loneliest road in America, Highway 50. Austin, population, 340, is surrounded on 2.7 sides by the Toiyabe National Forest, and hot springs, one of the requisites for an epic mountain biking trip to be even epicker, is nearby. 

Great Basin National Park, about which I know nothing, is on the way to Austin. In fact, Great Basin is on the Nevada/Utah border.

I’m  planning the trip for the beginning of June. That means I’ll have to, by then:

1. Be 90% better physically

2. Be 50% better emotionally and psychologically. You don’t have to be in a good mood to enjoy vacation, duh!

3. Own a car that can drive the 20 hours or so it will take to get there and back. I’m looking at Subaru Impreza Wagons.

4. Have enough cash to go on the trip. I have no idea how I’m going to swing this considering I haven’t worked in two weeks and may not work full-time for some time.

5. Learn more about Austin, NV.