Friday, April 1, 2016

April (Writing) Fool

Camp NaNoWriMo last year was such a boon to my non-fiction writing that I decided to do it again this April to finish the Ken Cummings memoirs I am co-writing. 

I promised myself I would keep my regular routine, writing in the morning each day at Chick-fil-A, perhaps writing a bit more at home in the evening. That oath lasted until 11:40 pm on March 31, yesterday. Wide awake, staring into the darkness, I knew I would not get to sleep until I answered the demon. By 0:20, I had over 400 words in, and nothing would send me to bed until the demon shut off.

That turned out to be 5 AM, and 2320 words along.

The first focus of this year's April foolishness details the trip that supplied the cover image. In a section tentatively subtitled "Over the Hills and Through LAX," we share Cumming's decades of road adventures. By bike, trike, race sag and commercial shuttle van, he has had some amazing experiences.

A small sample: 
The following day was the high point of my whole trip. Literally. About four hours after I left Breckenridge, I reached Loveland Pass Summit, where I found a crowd of friendly Penn State Geology students. I coaxed them into taking my picture. It was May 27th, day 15 of my trip. 

I had my GoPro running, so there is hard evidence of my eagerness to share my stories. In a group of willing (or captive) listeners, sometimes it's difficult to turn it off (and I don't mean the camera.) I let the GoPro continue to run as I rode away from the summit down Hwy 6. I was having too much fun to turn it off! The result is a long video of speed-blurred road-edges screaming away behind me.

At the "bottom" of the long downhill, I would find my reservation for a room at the Indian Springs Resort hotel with its natural mineral baths. My wife was extremely jealous of this stop on my trip; we had visited the spa regularly while we lived near Denver.

The geothermal "cave" baths below the hotel had been carved from solid rock between 1903 and 1911. Prior to that, the local Indians were reputed to have bathed in the pool formed by the natural hot springs, but the tunnels were dug specifically to create hot baths for miners and other locals. Today there are separate caves for men and women, each with several huge sunken rock pools that fill with the naturally hot mineral water. Varying amounts of cold "mains" water are then added to each pool to yield temperatures from 104 to 112 degrees.

You can take my word for it, sinking into a hot mineral bath is a great reward for crossing two mountain ranges by bike!

I'll continue to share my writing experience this month in my posts, interspersed with Carrot Ranch Flash Fiction and book reviews as I can. Meanwhile, Ken's memories are calling, and I must get back to the campfire. 

Word Count: Day 1 Session 1: 2320; Session 2: 1593
Word Count Total: 3913 words