Open Road Press

Blow the Whistle

September 18, Day 78 of TheHopeLine Tour of 2014

Travel Recap

More hills in IllinoisDespite a cool and overcast start to the day, we had wonderful weather for the remainder the day. An early morning race with a pair of deer proved too much for us, yet we persevered for our third consecutive day over 70 miles. Leaving Metropolis, Illinois, and heading to Kentucky all in one day was quite an accomplishment. For some reason, I thought Illinois would be flat, but no such luck. We climbed up and down hills until we stopped for lunch at mile 41. We also switched maps today, leaving the Great Rivers South map and heading in the direction of the Underground Railroad route.

Ohio River ferryThe end of our time in Illinois came at Cave-in-Rock where we caught a ride on the free ferry across the Ohio River. No cars accompanied us on the ferry; it was just Tim and me and the two guys who run the ride. As soon as we entered Kentucky, nothing awaited us…except more hills. No people, no homes, no crops for miles. Once again, we had the place to ourselves. Thirty-two miles into Kentucky, we ran out of sun. Yet, we are glad to say we have entered state number eleven on TheHopeLine Tour of 2014.

After climbing 4,700 feet of elevation today, we were heartened at day’s end when a lady at a convenience store in Sturgis reserved a motel room for us. None were listed on the map, but she knew of a place with cabins. They had closed early. However, she had an in, and therefore, so did we. We were introduced to small-town Kentucky hospitality. When we arrived at the cabin, we had another pleasant surprise: it was beautiful and the price was right.

Blowing the Whistle

Tim has a bright orange whistle hanging from his neck and I have one in the outside pocket of my handlebar bag for easy access. Mine is efficient because it also serves as a compass and a thermometer. I have gotten more use from the thermometer and compass, but I must admit I love blowing the whistle on those dogs that like to chase us.

On the Adventure Cycling maps, they mentioned the possibility of loose dogs in Kentucky. So far, we have had to blow the whistle on dogs in Missouri and Illinois. Kentucky dogs: be prepared! We are not going to waste our precious water squirting you or hitting you over the head with our bicycle pumps. The whistle is the way to go to ward off unwanted canines who chase us.

I found another use for the whistle, but you must have a spouse or friend carry the whistle and blow it when they catch you. I am talking about breaking a bad habit I have had on this trip, at times…well, actually two bad habits.

It all started yesterday when I made a sarcastic comment and Tim blew the whistle like a referee would and shouted, “Unnecessary sarcasm, 15 yards.” He was joking, of course…but I got to thinking today: What a great way to break a habit!

So I said to him, “If I complain about anything today, I want you to blow the whistle on me.”

It sounds kind of strange, but it really kept my grumbling in check. I set these goals for myself every day, and many days I pray that I will not complain. And, day after day, I fall short. So today, I thought blowing the whistle on my complaining would be a great way to break that horrible habit. And it worked!

Tim with his whistle

Tim with his whistle

Instead of complaining to Tim, I started thinking of ways to put a positive spin on things. My knee was hurting today, but instead of complaining about it, I thought about the beautiful sky. I was so sick of the endless hills today, but instead I said I was grateful there was no traffic on those hills! The fear of the whistle blowing with each complaint kept me from complaining. I tested Tim up a really steep hill and complained about it. Sure enough, he blew the whistle!

So, if you have a bad habit to break, ask someone to help you blow the whistle every time you indulge in that habit. The list of habits that could benefit from some whistle-blowing interference would be gossiping and complaining, swearing, being late, smoking, the list is endless. Chances are, this behavior-modification plan will get you in shape pretty quickly. You will be “a better you” once you’ve broken the bad habit and replaced it with a new, healthier one. Instead of complaining, I can turn that into gratitude. No one is going to blow the whistle on me if I am grateful and full of joy!

3 thoughts on “Blow the Whistle

  1. Jim Burns

    Hey Tim and Deb,
    Deb, I laughed right out loud when I read the part about you asking Tim to blow the whistle. I can so picture Tim relishing that duty just as plain as day. Thanks for bringing back a mind’s picture of my old workaday Bud.
    Another state down and another state closer to the finish line. You guys are whoopin!
    Stay safe, be well, and good traveling….Jim

  2. Donna LaPrade

    Oh my! You drove right past my cousin’s town. Boy oh boy do I wish I was having the sight seeing trip you are. Hmm, I’d rather a kayak though:))))

  3. Debbie

    Hi Donna,
    I couldn’t kayak across the country because I need to move my legs too much! We have learned of some guys kayaking from Indiana to New Orleans! Sounds interesting! See you soon!

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