Prologue to the Northern Tier 1.4



Training is done and it’s time to “chew the cud”…


Unfortunately I did not reach my goal of weight loss this year and I will be hauling  3 cans of Crisco across the White Mountains of New Hampshire and the Green Mountains of Vermont ( at least it’s not 7 cans). I will fit right in with those slow moving New England Cows until I get my gazelle legs somewhere west of Niagara Falls. I could try to loose a bit more this last six days but all the exercise training protocols I have ever read advise backing off the last week before the ride to allow  muscles to heal. 2500 miles of training take their toll. This is about 1500 miles less than last time I rode the Northern Tier but I was a bit tired that year when I arrived at the base of the Cascades, probably from “overtraining”. Not this time…hence the extra Crisco cans…

Pass the donuts, please…cream filled if you don’t mind…images-2.jpeg

As Cassie *  might say, ” Well, Fatty, you just added to leaving behind your comfort zone”… I always appreciate her wisdom.

Today I looked a the weather forecast for the first five days in Maine…60 degree highs with 50% chance of rain…so much for THAT aspect of the “ comfort zone”…

I have thought a lot about comfort zones this week after listening to an NPR newscast on my way to Clinic. It seems the head of a Conservative Think Tank in Washington DC, who was raised in the liberal hotbed of Seattle, suddenly decided to dissolve his group of political wizards after an “Epiphany” while at a conference not too long ago. While at the podium giving a talk, the crowd responded to his speech with “lock them up”…liberals of course…and he realized they were talking about his family back home. He had to stop to think how personal all this had become, “ They were talking about my mom! ”Unknown-2 copy.jpg

Now he has decided to advocate for middle of the road compromise “to try to get things done for this country ”. Makes sense to me, and through other readings this same week, seems to be making more and more sense to lots of people on both sides of the aisle.

Oh how the pendulum does swing.

I think that all of us seek “comfort zones” all the time, being with people who share similar thoughts, beliefs, tastes, experiences, goals, etc.
There is nothing wrong with that…why do you think they’re called “COMFORT ZONES ?”.

The problem arises when we look across the fence at other “comfort zones” and decide to criticize, or more importantly to make changes for them, because “We are RIGHT and they are NOT ”.
Now, don’t get me wrong, sometimes “over there” are indeed atrocities which as fellow humans we should address, but probably many less than we think, and many less that we should act on.

I am reminded of the old fable of the 6 blind men and the elephant…every one is sure that they know what an elephant is by the particular part they can touch, but every one is deceived by their compartmentalization…or more importantly their position relative to the Beast…i.e. their “comfort zone”. In fact, none are right…



The night my mother died I was forced out of a comfort zone. As she breathed her last breath I watched the air above her head ripple as sometimes seen above the desert floor on sweltering August day. I was sure that I had seen her “soul” leave her body and shaken a bit, decided to walk outside. As soon as I stepped through the front door I was greeted by hundreds of silent, huge, black, crows in her yard standing…looking… at me. These were the crows which she had fed every night in small groups of 10-15 for the past 20 years. To my left, not 50 yards away, a 10 point stag turned, eyed me, and bowed it’s head. Not believing any of this, I looked West and suddenly a shooting star shot across the dusky purple sky…the hairs on my arms stood up and I turned and went inside…a little too much for me to take in. So much for the comfort zone of the Last Rights by a Church for the passing of her soul…this was definitely another part of the elephant I hadn’t known about before…


When I travel across the country I get to experience so many different kinds of people, families, places, and “other side of the fence comfort zones”. Mine, on a daily basis, is stripped away so I have to live in “borrowed ones” along the trek. What better way to try to feel and to explore another part of the “Great Beast” standing before me?

Realizations and acceptances do not come quickly or easily, but hours in the saddle give time for thoughts, reconsiderations, and rumination…

Strange word “rumination”…from latin “rumen”…the first part of a bovine stomach where cellulose is fermented by bacteria originating from outside the cow (food re-chewed as cud can then passed on to lower chambers of the stomach so it can be digested and turned into “cow”).images-3.jpeg

I now look down at that lard circling my waist and think…”maybe on second thought, I should keep a can of Crisco on hand so I don’t loose all my “cow” attributes along the way…might do me well when I take in “non-digestibles” to be able to ruminate and chew the cud before moving into someone else’s comfort zone…”

Whoooa!!!! …Hold on a second!!!
Wikipedia just taught me that gazelles have a rumen too!

Bye bye Crisco, I  have a Rumen!!! pic_43643.jpg   Gazelle Legs here I come!!!


You say “What happed to the White Rabbit?”  Well read this and you will know why I have decided to change identities…



Do Rabbits Really “Chew the Cud”?

The Bible clearly states that rabbits chew their cud, but simple observation seems to show this isn’t true.

by Dr. Tommy Mitchell on February 14, 2012


The Bible clearly states that rabbits chew their cud, but simple observation seems to show this isn’t true. Dr. Tommy Mitchell, AiG-U.S., explains this apparent contradiction.

The “Problem”

One of the most often cited “contradictions” in the Bible involves the lowly rabbit. Does the Bible actually indicate that rabbits “chew the cud”? And if this is what Scripture says, then isn’t it in error?

Two places in the Bible include the hare among animals that chew the cud.

Among the animals, whatever divides the hoof, having cloven hooves and chewing the cud—that you may eat. Nevertheless these you shall not eat among those that chew the cud or those that have cloven hooves: the camel, because it chews the cud but does not have cloven hooves, is unclean to you; the rock hyrax, because it chews the cud but does not have cloven hooves, is unclean to you; the hare, because it chews the cud but does not have cloven hooves, is unclean to you. (Leviticus 11:3–6)

Nevertheless, of those that chew the cud or have cloven hooves, you shall not eat, such as these: the camel, the hare, and the rock hyrax; for they chew the cud but do not have cloven hooves; they are unclean for you. (Deuteronomy 14:7)

In the modern scientific classification system, animals that chew the cud are called ruminants. Cattle, sheep, deer, giraffes, and camels are ruminants. Ruminants have four stomach compartments. They swallow their food into one stomach compartment where food is partially digested. Then the food is regurgitated back into the mouth, chewed again, and then swallowed into a different stomach compartment. This process is called rumination.

So is the Bible wrong? After all, rabbits are not ruminants. They do not have four-compartment stomachs. How can they “chew the cud”?

The Solution

Obviously, rabbits do not share the digestive anatomy of modern ruminants. However, to describe rabbits chewing the cud is not incorrect. Simply stated, it is not reasonable to accuse a 3500-year-old document of error because it does not adhere to a modern man-made classification system.

Consider what rabbits do. They engage in an activity called cecotrophy. Rabbits normally produce two kinds of feces, the more common hard feces as well as softer fecal pellets called cecotropes. Cecotropes are small pellets of partially digested food that are passed through the animal but are then reingested. As part of the normal digestive process, some partially digested food is concentrated in the cecum where it undergoes a degree of fermentation to form these cecotropes. They are then covered in mucin and passed through the anus. The rabbit ingests the cecotropes, which serve as a very important source of nutrition for the animal.


Is this the same as cud? In the final analysis, it is. Cud-chewing completes the digestion of partially digested food. Why would it be strange to think that centuries ago, the idea of “cud” had a somewhat broader meaning than a modern definition.

But does the rabbit actually chew the cud? The Hebrew word translated “chew” is the word ‘alah. With any attempt to translate one language to another, it is understood that there is often more than one meaning for a given word. A cursory glace at any Hebrew lexicon reveals that ‘alah can mean go up, ascend, climb, go up into, out of a place, depart, rise up, cause to ascend, bring up from, among others. Here it carries the implication of moving something from one place to another. So the phrase translated to English as “chew the cud” literally means something on the order of “eats that which is brought forth again.”

Also, most reference material on rabbit digestion says that the cecotrope pellet is swallowed whole and found intact in the rabbit stomach. However, experts have observed that rabbits keep the cecotrophe in the mouth for a time before swallowing. So even though the mucin membrane covering the cecotrope is not broken, the rabbit is able to knead it in its mouth before swallowing, possibly to enhance the process of redigestion.


So is the Bible in error here? No it is not. Rabbits re-ingest partially digested foods, as do modern ruminants. They just do so without the aid of multiple stomach compartments.



” Yuk! “, as my sister would say.

Given all that…wouldn’t you change your image too?


*  Cassie is the Executive Director of “Bike the US for MS” and has allowed me to ride cross country for the past 4 years for the orginization. She is quite blunt sometimes…





4 thoughts on “Prologue to the Northern Tier 1.4

  1. wow! that was interesting! yuch…..

    On Sat, May 19, 2018 at 8:17 PM Time Travelling with a Guardian Angel wrote:

    > Nick Patrone posted: “5/19/18 Ruminations Training is done and it’s time > to “chew the cud”… Unfortunately I did not reach my goal of weight loss > this year and I will be hauling 3 cans of Crisco across the White > Mountains of New Hampshire and the Green Mountains of Verm” >


  2. Hi Nick,
    Thank you for sharing the spiritual experience associated with your mom’s passing. “There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, Than are dreamt of in [my] your philosophy.
    Take care,


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