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Old 04-20-2009, 07:22 PM   #27
Douf OP
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Joined: Feb 2006
Location: Close to Cumming (GA that is)
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Day 1: All Hands To Illinois

After all the planning, second guessing and potential pitfalls avoided, zero hour finally arrived and it was time to hit the road. A lodging location at Rochelle, Illinois was the predetermined destination for this evening's rest stop and of the three of us, I was getting the easy day - if that's what you can call the 785 miles of mainly interstate riding that existed between my home just north of Atlanta and the hotel. The other two guys were having a little harder time of it: Gary was jumping onto his V-Strom, leaving from his home in Massachusetts at 4am, then stopping by his brother Joe's house in Rhode Island, where Joe would be waiting on his GS. The pair of them were then traveling together for the mere 1080 miles that would put them into my zip code at Rochelle.

Gary's V-Strom Ready for the road.

Guess who's done this before?

My departure hour was a relatively sane 6am and, after a false start which saw me return to grab the Camelback that sat temporarily forgotten in my kitchen, the day commenced. As I navigated over the first fairly familiar miles, I felt like I normally do starting a trip of this magnitude: a mixture of excitement and apprehension - knowing I'm about to step into a temporary parallel universe for a couple of weeks and anticipating what potential adventures might lie ahead. One thing that struck me about today's assignment was how much further it was than I had imagined from Massachusetts to the greater Chicago area. Looking at the map without paying too much attention, it appeared that my two traveling companions only had to make a short westerly relocation to get to the hotel, whereas Atlanta seemed to require a journey stretching from almost the bottom of the country all the way to the top.

Joe's GS ready and waiting

It was the first time I had traveled any distance with the fuel cell and even though I wasn't riding tank to tank at this stage, it already had proved to be a useful addition, since with a range of well over 400 miles fully gassed, running out of fuel was definitely something to cross off the list of concerns (in the mainland U.S. at least). It was also my first time using a GPS on a bike, and although it seems so much like second nature these days, at the time it was a total revelation; I immediately wondered how I'd ever managed without it - being able to ride along all day, then zeroing in on the evening's destination without a second thought was such a wonderful capability to have, and it would obviously become even more indispensable as the trip and the distances became more arduous.

Anyway all three of us arrived at the hotel without any major drama - the other two guys had their first taste of rain for a brief 75 mile stretch, but that was about it. We chatted for a while, grabbed a quick snack and then hit the sack early in anticipation of tomorrow's 1100+ miles and a 5am departure. The trip was about to really begin.


Douf screwed with this post 04-23-2009 at 07:13 PM
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