Anita Hampton Bike with Easel

A Short Trial Run

The first three days of the week rained with intermittent showers. Day four was glorious and perfect for painting! I started packing my car and finally got the bike secured to the rack. Needless to say, it took a lot more time than I expected.

Over a month ago, Wally’s Bicycle Works installed a hitch and bike rack on my car. Shortly thereafter, my mechanic removed the back seats of my Honda CRV so I would have plenty of room to quickly and easily pack my saddlebags and all the other gear I needed for painting.

When I finally arrived at the trailhead, I had long lost what photographers call the golden hour of light. Around high noon and still DETERMINED to paint, I unloaded the bike from the rack and began attaching my paraphernalia to it. In the midst of placing my gear around and on top of the back wheel, the front wheel wanted to lift off the ground while the kickstand began sinking into the damp earth from the excess weight on one side. The bike was thrown off-balance and into a near fall. I quickly leaned the bike against my body and slowly completed my pack. What a balancing act!

This dilemma reminded me of a movie produced years ago titled, “The Long, Long Trailer” when “Lucy” (Lucille Ball), continued to secretly collect rocks and hide them in the trailer from her husband Ricky (Dezi Arnaz) after he told her she had to get rid of them for safety reasons. The weight of the rocks made driving the rig too dangerous and too heavy to climb the steep and winding cliffs they were facing in their travels. But for me, with no husband in sight, I just kept packin’.

Still feeling a little nervous about cycling with all those gears, plus having to contend with more weight than I ever anticipated, I decided to walk the bike to the closest site I could find. Bingo…site found! I very carefully balanced the bike while unloading all my gear before I could set up the easel to start painting. Shortly after starting the sketch near the edge of a bluff, a dramatic wind picked up and threatened the stability of both my easel and now my unpacked bicycle. A canvas on and easel acts like a sail on a boat. The wind can easily send your canvas flying and an easel soaring to the ground or down a cliff. I had no choice but to call it a day less than 5 minutes into the sketch. After loading up and leaving the trailhead, I went to Wally’s Bicycle Works for help and went to bed early.

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