May 21, 2012
Crozet, VA - Lanesville, IN: 524miles
I woke up to a rainy overcast morning in Crozet. I was planning on leaving by 9am with the intentions of getting to my first destination and ADV tentspace host in Lanesville, ID. It was going to be about 500 miles which may have been a bit extreme for my first day on the road loaded up with gear and unfortunate weather. But I had estimated with the time constraints involved, I needed to average 500 miles/day in the states until I reached Canada. Then I could slow down to average 300miles/day for more technical riding. I needed to get to Alaska in time for me to tour around, hop on a ferry, and then get down to Vancouver for an externship I was offered for two weeks at the aquarium. I had four weeks until I had to be there.
I took my time packing the bike hoping the rain would go away. It was an emotional morning and I procrastinated struggling to say goodbye to my family and friends. With tears in my eyes I gave my hugs and final kisses until I put on my helmet and was ready for takeoff. I was shaking as I put on my gloves thinking, “Oh my God, holy shit, this is happening, what the fuck am I doing? I’ve never ridden in rain….I’ve never felt this much weight on a bike….oh God, everyone is watching me….I’m gonna drop the fucking bike.” I think my mentor and friend could see me panicking and I’ll never forget him stopping me while I was trembling to holding my hand to say, “Don’t worry. Take your time, go slow, you’ll get comfortable with the weight. No one will be watching just around the corner. “
I took a deep breath and rolled out of Crozet by 11am. I was skeptical I was going to make it to my destination but was determined to get as far as possible. It wasn’t raining hard but sprinkling and the roads were wet. I went slow and easy and within ten minutes of being on the highway I felt comfortable with the bike and all the extra weight. Suddenly I started to feel the excitement of being on the road headed to Alaska. I thought of Dan and knew he was watching.
It was a beautiful drive through West Virginia, very mountainous and a windy highway. I drove through Charlestown, the town of bridges, and thankfully it had stopped raining at this point.
I was shocked when after just 80 miles my tank ran out of gas and I had to switch it to reserve. Riding before without all my gear I could get 120 miles on my little 3 gallon tank. But now with the extra load I realized I might have a problem in remote areas (like Alaska) with having enough gas. I ended up stopping six times total that day in 500 miles.
When I got to Lexington, KY I hit more hard rain. It rained so hard I could hardly see the lines on the road through my visor. But I slowed down and managed to keep going. My hands got soaked since I was just wearing some leather Olympia insulated gloves. I had neglected to spend money on ordering new waterproof ones. After a couple hours of rain it finally stopped and my hands managed to dry out some. I checked my gear when I stopped at a gas station and thankfully everything was still dry.
As I headed towards Louisville I could see another isolated storm just ahead. The sky was black and the wind picked up hard. I decided this looked nasty enough I should get off the road. As soon as I pulled into a gas station the sky opened up and it poured sideways with strong gusts of wind. It only lasted for ten minutes or so, but I was thankful I got off the road for that one. I started thinking I didn’t have to worry about experiencing rain on the bike anymore. This was a great break-in to the trip.
I road through Louisville over the Ohio river as the sun was setting. It was a pretty pink sky after the rain and I made it to my ADV tentspace host’s house in Lanesville, IN just before dark. I couldn’t believe I actually made it. After a late start, stopping six times for gas, and lots of rain, I actually made it more than 500 miles before dark. It was an epic first day.
Thanks to TooTallRacing for putting me up on my first night out.
Quote of the day:
A man at a gas station came up to me and said, “You’re one of ‘em adventure girls aren’t you. I bet no one can keep you around. “