I'm pretty proud that my cycle computer rolled over to 3000 miles for 2017 during yesterday's ride. My original goal for the year had been 4000, but after my accident in April, I wasn't sure how much I'd be able to ride going forward.
I ended up taking close to four months off the bike; riding outside, that is. We ended up buying an indoor trainer, and starting in June, I was able to put in a few miles during rehab of my fractured jaw and thumb. If you look closely you can see the leftover bruising on my face and neck here.
Once my oral surgeon released me from care at the end of July, I was able to start riding on the road and bike trails again in August. My thumb was a bit sore at first if I hit any bumpy spots on the pavement, but I don't even notice it now. I'm just so pleased to be back out there doing what I love.
And being at an RV park here in Florida, there is often this reward after getting heated up on the bike....
Since I've been back to riding outside, I've logged over 1300 miles. And the year isn't over yet!
I realized that I hadn't done any posts on my braces here since I got them put on two and a half months ago (see that blog post), so thought I'd do a quick update.
Braces are working out pretty well, although I did recently have three brackets pop off in a week! These were all brackets on back teeth that are crowned. Even though Dr. Ogden "sandblasted" the crowns to rough the sides up a bit, the brackets just don't want to stick as well to crowns as to natural teeth. I had read this on various braces forums. In my case the brackets were re-glued, at my last two appointments, and I'm crossing my fingers that they don't keep popping off. If they do, I'll have to have the back teeth fully banded (like all my teeth were when I had braces as a child), and that can be kinda painful, as I recall.
I've gotten more adept at the routine of brushing and flossing with braces, so it doesn't take nearly so long as at first. I am also using a special mouthwash, ACT for Braces Care. Unfortunately, the first mouthwash I used, Colgate Total Pro-Shield, caused some staining on my teeth, especially the backs and the tooth-colored fillings, so I had to toss it. I read in the Amazon reviews that staining with this type of mouthwash (containing an ingredient called Cetylpyridinium Chloride, abbreviated as CPC) can cause tooth staining in some people. Fortunately, it should be able to be removed at my next dental cleaning. Still, super annoying, especially a month after having a thorough cleaning and polishing!
I can definitely see some positive changes in the alignment of my teeth since getting my braces on. My bite has improved a little, but it will take elastics, which come later, to make the biggest difference.
my bottom arch has definitely improved. One of my incisors was tipped quite a bit out of alignment and has now come up and into line with the other three. And although you can't see it in the photos, from above, the lower arch now has more of a curve to it, instead of being two straight lines of pre-molars and molars and a straight line of four incisors. (Note: I had my two canine teeth on the bottom extracted before braces as a child as they were coming in very low on my jaw, so I've always had kind of an oddball bottom arch without them.)
These photos show brace day vs. now. I don't see as many changes up top as he's been using a very light wire there, but the lowers have definitely improved.
Although it looks like the midline (the line between the central incisors where the top and bottom arches meet) is better in the more recent photo, that is just because I am not biting down. I actually couldn't comfortably do so as I'd just come back from the orthodontist, and I couldn't bite down well due to wire changes (ouch). It's settled down again since then, and the midline is like the photo on the left when I bite down.
You can also see how white my teeth were when I got braces put on one week after a dental cleaning, and when I was using whitening toothpaste. On the right, they're looking a bit stained. Some of that is from the bracket glue darkening, some likely from the Colgate Total mouthwash, and some from lack of intense whitening toothpaste. They won't let you use that in braces to avoid two-toned teeth when you get debraced. I definitely plan on going back to it after as well as using whitening strips for awhile. I do like having white teeth!
At this most recent appointment on Monday, I had a heavier gauge wire put on the top arch, so I suspect to see some more straightening of the top teeth before my next appointment on December 11th. I am going to ask Dr. Ogden then when he anticipates putting me into elastics; I am ready to get the party started!
As I've mentioned before in this blog, my mother and stepfather own a mountain cabin up in Ashe County, near Jefferson and West Jefferson, and Barry and I own a small adjacent, undeveloped property. We enjoy spending time up there, mostly unplugged (there's no internet or cell phone signal) breathing the mountain air, feeding and watching wildlife, hiking, and doing yard maintenance. Well, maybe that last part isn't quite so enjoyable, but we always feel good after it's done!
It had been a full year since anyone had gotten up there due to winter weather and spring/summer illnesses and injuries, so we were anxious to head up and check on things, plus enjoy some fall foliage along the way. My brother Adam always visits in October for this very reason, so once we knew that Dal was well enough to make the trip, it was a go.
Our trip was cut short by one day due to the freak storm-related power outage in Hickory (see my previous post), so a day later than planned, we packed the car to the brim with our luggage and the food Mom had prepared in advance, since we'd be arriving to an empty fridge, and drove on up.
Along the way we saw plenty of tree damage from the storm in Catawba and Alexander Counties; in fact, we had to take a detour and go through a couple of one-lane areas in Alexander County, where the damage was especially widespread. Crews were out in force cleaning up downed trees and branches and restoring power to those who had been without for a couple of days.
Once past all that, though, the mountains were unscathed, as they missed out on the severe storm, and the foliage, later than usual this year, started getting colorful.
We pulled over at Dal's favorite viewing spot way up high for some lovely views. Unfortunately the clouds kept it from being quite as magnificent as it could have been, but it was still very nice indeed. And chilly! The temperature had been falling steadily as we gained in altitude, and the wind was blowing. But the views were worth shivering for.
Here is "The Folly", nestled in the pines...
...with a lovely view of the New River. The image below looks out over the property Barry and I own, which is kept unmowed, providing the perfect habitat for wildlife, like the deer that hide in the brush.
Here's another view of our undeveloped lot, looking from the river back up towards the road, with the Folly on the very right side of the shot.
We would only be able to stay for two nights, so Adam and I made the most of our only full day by taking a hike up a very steep mountainside road to enjoy the serenity, views, and foliage. We were lucky enough to flush out a couple of deer as we ascended, but other than wildlife, we didn't see another soul. Bliss!
I also enjoyed a solo walk down the road to check out some of the other properties along the way. This has been one of my favorite cabins for quite some time. It's so charming with its rough-hewn beams and chinking and has a great view overlooking the river.
One of the neighbors had a nice garden and grew some amazing gourds this year.
The day was so beautiful I had to stop along the road for a selfie!
Back to Hickory.
All too soon it was time to pack back up and head back down the mountain to Hickory. Before leaving, I filled the many bird feeders to overflowing and put down field corn for the deer, so I am sure the wildlife were as happy as we were that we finally came back for a long-overdue visit.
Last but not least of our excellent adventures, on my final night in Hickory, we had such a fun time with good friends Karen and Carl. They are always a blast to be around.
We started with drinks at Mom and Dal's, then moved onto an Irish pub nearby for dinner. Lots of laughs and silliness ensued, and I found a new favorite brew, the hilariously named Ass Clown Orange Citrus IPA, made right in Cornelius, NC! I only wish Barry could have been there to join in on the fun.
It was a great visit and so good to see everyone! Mom outdid herself with the food, Dal was doing so much better, and it was excellent to catch up with Adam. But it was getting really chilly -- time for this winter wimp to hightail it back to the Sunshine State!
Emily & Barry
We're a long-married, early-retired couple who are currently traveling as nomads with no fixed home base. After years of living in North Carolina (Emily's home state), we spent 18 months living oceanfront on Ambergris Caye, Belize, a year road-tripping the US in a Honda CR-V, a year in Playa del Carmen, Mexico, and are now roaming North America in our 32' motorhome, Pearl, following warm weather whenever possible.
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