October 9, 2016 by Rita
Bears and bikes and flame, oh my
So here I am cleaning the bear's ears with isopropyl alcohol and an paper towel, and reminded of mountain biking.
Our potted ficus tree apparently has scales, which makes all the items under it sticky, and I really don't want to think about why, but I do have to clean it up, so I spent an hour scrubbing a cushion, the floor, and the 4' tall teddy bear Scott got for me some 20 years ago, which had been hanging out in the shade. The furry skin takes a lot of scrubbing, and a lot of paper towels soaked in rubbing alcohol, and I'm slowing getting stoned from the fumes.
And I'm put to mind a different stuffed animal, soaked in alcohol.
A large group of mountain bikers had descended on the Berryman Trail in the Ozarks, which was an eight hour drive from Madison, a little less from Chicago, and of course the locals who were only coming from their own state. One of these local riders had come to the event having stopped at his grandmother's place for an early Easter dinner, and had been passing around the treats from the humongous basket he'd giving him to the crowd, who returned the kindness by strapping the large purple stuffed bunny to his handlebars. We camped, did the morning scramble to eat and lube chains and find that last glove and pedaled off for a 26 mile loop with 3500 feet of climbing, which was an awful lot for midwesterners. There was mud, there was roots, there was a friend getting a new nickname after running his bike into an downed tree at 30 mph.
(Note: he bent his frame. By rights, he shoulda flown off the bike and broke a collarbone. I'm still impressed that he never left the bike.)
After rolling back into the camp, having dinner, and playing party games while drinking around a bonfire, the bunny's owner let it slip that the bunny was heading for the trash can. Well, it had been such an enjoyable part of our trip so far, we couldn't just let it have a regular burial.
Picture thirty drunk mountain bikers singing “Here comes Peter Cottontail”, as the stuffed critter was tied to a long stick, doused in Everclear, and bounced down the bunny trail and into the fire.
There are times I'm surprised we lived through our 20's, but it was a lot of fun.
Setting the hopefully now clean Bear out to evaporate far from open flames.