Pain And No Gain

Donaldsonville, LA to New Orleans, LA

Generally speaking, my default response to pain and injuries is “ignore it and it will go away”. That has been a strategy that has seen mixed results over the years. Fortunately, I haven’t had to resort to that philosophy very often. That said, this morning began with the realization that my toothache was not going to go away on its own. I mean, I know I’m not the brightest guy in the world, but after two weeks of gradually increasing pain levels I’ve now moved on to the “acceptance” phase. I still prefer the “denial” phase.

Welcome to the French Quarter

Welcome to the French Quarter

Given my historical concern (okay, maybe fear) of dentists, the thought of having to find one on short notice via the internet did not thrill me. It took a LONG time to find a dentist I was comfortable with in Toronto but, at the moment, time is not on my side (that would almost be a good name for a song).

Somewhat surprisingly, a reasonably brief search of the internet revealed a dentist’s website that reminded me a lot of my dentist back in Toronto. I called. The good news was they could take a look at my tooth today. The bad news was the dentist in question was in New Orleans. That’s not REALLY bad news as that was today’s goal anyway. But now I had to be there by 4:00. Waiting until tomorrow wasn’t an option as it seems a lot of businesses (including the office of Dr. Riggs) are extending the four day Thanksgiving Weekend into a five day event. I can’t say I blame them.

As a result of my dental search, I didn’t get on the road until about 9:30. Considering I had about 110 km to travel by 4:00, it would not be a leisurely ride. A tailwind certainly would’ve been very welcome. Not surprisingly, it was a headwind that welcomed me instead. And a not insignificant one. That said, it wasn’t the worst pedalling I’ve had to do.

The doctor is in.

The doctor is in.

The fixed deadline of 4:00 was a very strong motivator and, despite the wind’s efforts, I arrived at the dentist office shortly after 3:00. Tired. But timely. Needless to say, there weren’t many rest breaks along the way.

The dentist in question was Dr. Elizabeth Riggs and her office reminded me a lot of my dentist in Toronto. Although, this office seemed surprisingly big considering Dr. Riggs is the only dentist there. At least I think she is.

Anyway, everyone there was incredibly friendly and before I knew it I was in the chair getting my teeth looked at. It ended up taking a bit of work to identify the problem. I had pain in the top and bottom of my left side but it was intermittent. Frequently it would be sensitive to temperature but, as would be expected, not while sitting in a dental chair. The big breakthrough came when I mentioned that my tooth hurt the other day when I crunched down on a rogue Froot Loop made its way over to the left side of my mouth. One more x-ray later and the problem was revealed. I have a cracked tooth which apparently I’m going to lose. The big question is when.

Removing the tooth today wasn’t really an option – although, in hindsight, maybe it was. But with Dr. Riggs’ office closed until Monday I decided I would try to deal with the pain and move on. I was given a couple of prescriptions to assist with that.

Obviously having a cracked tooth is bad news. One might even say very bad. But at least I know what the problem is. All that’s left to do is figure out what to do about it.

With my diagnosis complete, I turned my attention to tonight’s accommodation.

When I was staying with Becky and John in Lafayette, I met Charlie. A friend of theirs who happens to live New Orleans. Despite only meeting briefly, he offered to put me up for the night. Actually, because of the holiday weekend, Charlie was house/dog sitting for his mom (and Rusty the dog) and that’s where tonight’s accommodation would be.

The ride from the dentist office to Charlie’s place should’ve been about an hour; however, it was a bit slower as I had to navigate through the city for parts of it and, of course, it was dark. On the upside, I finally go to use my front bike light that Tecky (my Warm Showers host in Katy, TX) had given me. It worked beautifully.

The ride went smoothly especially once I found myself on the levee trail and away from any and all traffic. I even took a cool photo with my light illuminating the trail. And that was the last time I saw my camera. Yes, you read that correctly. Somewhere between that photo stop and my arrival at Charlie’s place my camera disappeared. To say that I have no explanation doesn’t even begin to cover it. I’d go into more detail but there really are few details to offer. Bottom line is that I no longer have a camera. On the upside, I regularly transfer my photos to my computer so I only lost the photos of the past two days. Of which there weren’t many. That said, it’s more than a little disappointing.

The lack of photos is going to make this entry look pretty scary as it will just be a massive amount of text. For that I apologize. As such, I’ll speed along to the end of the night.

I arrived at Charlie’s place shortly before 7:00. There really wasn’t a plan for the night. That changed when Charlie got a call from his friend Katie. Not long after that call we were driving into New Orleans to go to a bar called Pal’s. Along the way, Charlie played tour guide as he pointed out various notable New Orleans landmarks. I’d have taken pictures, but, well … you know.

Not many places still have matches!  Pal's does.

Not many places still have matches! Pal’s does.

Pal’s turned out to be a great neighbourhood pub. You actually had to ring a door buzzer to get in. I later found out that was because of a shooting several years ago. That said, it was a great bar. We were there for a couple of hours with a couple of Charlie’s friends before we moved on.

The next stop was another bar. It was called Cooter Brown’s. Side note: I think you can only have a bar called Cooter’s if you live in the south.

Side note #2: Yes, I realize I’m not doing a good job of keeping this short. The lack of photos is really going to make this an ugly post. I may have to improvise. Did I mention my camera is gone?

Anyway, I’m not sure what time we arrived at Cooter Brown’s but we were there for a while hanging out with a several more of Charlie’s friends. And “for a while” I mean the night officially came to an end around 2:00 am. I’m not going to lie, I had no idea it was that late! I’m a bit surprised I wasn’t more tired considering the long, windy ride I had today. Clearly, it was a great night. Thanks to Charlie and all his friends (Katie, Adam, Zack, Courtney, another Adam, Catherine … and I think I’m forgetting someone. Sorry.) As a bonus, the social night was a great way to take my mind off of my broken tooth and missing camera. I can think about that tomorrow.

Today’s totals:
Distance travelled: 127.86 km
Ride time: 6:09:47
Average speed: 22.47 km/h
Maximum speed: 40.47 km/h

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