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Saturday, June 29, 2013

The Kindness of Strangers

Bike Trail in Marquette Michigan

"I have always depended on the kindness of strangers."-
Tennessee Williams from "A streetcar named desire."

I had to do a bit of traveling for business this week.  I work for the local electrical utility in Milwaukee and I was visiting our power generation facilities in Marquette and Iron Mountain Michigan.

 The first thing I noticed as I drove into Marquette all was all the bike paths. Miles and miles of paved trails along Lake Superior.

As soon as I got checked-in to my hotel, I was off for a bike ride.  I like to go for a run or a ride when I am in a new place. It is a great way to get oriented.  I like to explore with no goal in mind and just see what I find. I also took my Boston Strong Duck along to get a few pictures.  This project is to raise awareness and money for the Boston Strong Fund. People buy the ducks when they see the pictures on Facebook. A portion of each sale goes to the fund.

Boston Strong Duck at Northern Michigan University.

I did make a few finds on my ride. I didn't know Northern Michigan University was located in Marquette.  They have an Olympic Training Center that I found when I rode around campus.  I headed toward the power plant I was going to visit so I could find my way the next day. I also knew Presque Isle park was right next to the plant.  I stopped and had lunch in the park. It was 87 F and a great day or a ride.

As I was leaving the park, my tire went flat. I always get a moment of panic when this happens.  The last flat I got, I made my date change,  the time before that I waked 4 miles to get home.

I took a bike maintenance class a few months ago and I have a flat kit on my bike, so I decided to try and change the tire. I was a long way from my hotel and it was hot.  I got everything out and worked on getting off the tire. I had the same problem I did when I practiced trying to change a tire about 2 months ago.

My hands have trouble getting the timer off of the rim.  As I was struggling with it, a couple biked by. The woman called out "Are you ok?"  I told her "No."  Then this lovely couple stopped.  The man volunteered to change my tire.  We had some problem with the tire pump and the CO2 cartridges. but he got it changed and me back on the road.

It was so kind of them to stop and they were really lovely people.  Their behavior is so typical of Midwest people. They are just so open, friendly and helpful.  Back on the road, I was able to finish my ride, happy and grateful for the help I got.  This wonderful couple changed my day for the better.

The second day of my trip was to be in Iron Mountain.  Since it was not too far from Iron Mountain, I stayed with my friend Jon Helminiak in Land O Lakes while I was on business in Iron Mountain.  He has authored three books and if you like to travel I suggest you check out his book "Nothing Routine".

He lives on Big Portage Lake. Every time I visit I cannot believe how quiet and peaceful it is.  It was great to get in a visit between business meetings. I also got in a bike ride and hill running workout.  Back home at the end of the week.  It was a week made all that much better by the kindness of two strangers and a vist with a good friend.

Chris Wodke
Founder & Manager Team CMT

Team CMT is a group of athletes and supporters working to raise awareness and to find a cure for CMT. We have 122 members in 26 states. If you wish to join us visit our web site.

CMT or Charcot-Marie-Tooth is the most commonly inherited peripheral neuropathy. It affects over 155,000 Americans (as many as MS).  It is a disease of the nerves that control the muscles. It is slowly progressive, causing loss of normal function and or sensation in the lower legs/feet and arms/hands.

Symptoms include; muscle wasting in the lower legs and feet leading to foot drop, poor balance and gait problems Atrophy in the hands causes difficulty with manual dexterity.

Structural foot deformities such as high arches and hammer toes are common.

Poor tolerance for cool or cold temperatures and many people have chronically cold hands and feet.

Additional symptoms may include fatigue, sleep apnea, breathing difficulties and hearing loss.

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