Morning came quickly, and a soft pink light filtering through our tent woke us up. Knowing that it was still too cold outside to comfortably get a start on our day’s ride, we unzipped the east facing door of our tent and watched the sun rise from the warmth of our sleeping bags. I wish more of our days started so peacefully.
After lounging around and chatting a good portion of the morning away, we packed up to go check out the roundup. The morning was chillier than our evening ride had been and I was wearing pretty much every piece of clothing I had packed. Although I must have looked a little silly, I was perfectly warm and elated to be outside on the bikes.
Every fall the entire bison herd at Antelope Island is herded into corrals for medical checks. In the following weeks, the animals are given immunizations and some are taken to auction before they are released to roam the island once again. We had hoped to witness the horses driving the animals toward the corral, but most of that work had been done on Friday. Instead, what we witnessed all the most stubborn buffalo carefully evading anything that looked like a human.
The animals generally roam the island freely, and this morning was no exception. Despite the fact that hundreds of bison had already been penned, a good number of stragglers remained. We didn’t expect was how flighty they would be after so much agitation from the horses though. The bison would notice our presence from a long way off and took special care to run away if we got anywhere nearby.
Since the herd is well known for being docile and somewhat used to human visitors, this behavior was really unnatural and kind of entertaining to watch. We cruised around the island taking pictures and enjoying the sweeping, grassy landscapes before stopping at the visitors center and then making a move towards home.
Three months of office jobs haven’t done any favors for our touring muscles, and our trip home was far slower than our ride to the island, but as far as I’m concerned, even a lesser day on the bike was better than the alternative of spending the day indoors.
Bree had noticed that my tire was looking a little flat while at the visitors center. We pumped it back up to 80 lbs, and by the time we were half way across the causeway, it was completely flat once again. Great. We went three months cycling through Europe with no flats, yet since we have been back this particular tire has gone out on me twice. We decided that the tire probably couldn’t wait another 4 miles to the end of the causeway, so we stopped to pull out the spare tube.
As we pulled out the tightly packaged tube, I made a dire realization. When I packed the spare tube, I failed to note which kind of valve it had. It turns out I had grabbed a schraeder tube instead of the presta which both my rim and pump require. It was a stupid mistake on my part, but nothing could be done as we sat on the side of the road watched the occasional car fly by. We reasoned for a few minutes about what to do: Do we call my parents and see if they can come pick us up? (Even if this had been our preferred option, our phone was dead, thereby making it impossible anyway). Do we keep pumping it up every 2 or 3 miles until we get home?
Finally, our resourceful side kicked in and we had an idea. Having determined that the hole in the tube was small, we began tearing strips of plastic from our bag of apples that we had not eaten the previous evening. Once we had several strips, we inflated the tire to approximately the correctly inflated size, and then began tightly wrapping the plastic strips over the hole and around the tube. I poured water between the layers of plastic in order to help the plastic adhere to the tube. I knew it was a long shot, but we really didn’t have too many options.
We finished installing the wheel and pumping up the tire before setting off again. While the going was slow, it was still great to be out on our bikes again. By the time we finally reached home, I had only lost 10 pounds of air from my tube – pretty much a miracle if you ask me.