Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Day one: Biking

Today's a new record for me, motorcycling-wise, as I biked roughly 590 miles, or 90 more than I ever have in a day.  If all goes according to plan tomorrow will be yet another record (but we'll see how well that works out).
I started the day off with a family farewell breakfast at the Tavern, and then hit the road a bit before 9:30.  Virginia went well, as I didn't hit any rain, but once I got to West Virginia I encountered a few squalls.  I took a brief nap right before reaching Kentucky, which proceeded to go by pretty quickly.  Then, Indiana.
Right about when I hit Indiana the bike started behaving a bit strangely.  It sputtered a bit and burned through gas much more quickly than it should've (getting just a bit over 40 mpg instead of the 50 from earlier today).  This combined with the fact that eastern Indiana is seemingly devoid of all civilization made for a bit of a nerve-wracking ride, but eventually I was able to make it to my campground in Santa Claus, Indiana.  No clear determination of what's wrong with the bike, but the most likely thing was overheating, as it'd done 500 miles in 70-80s degree heat before encountering difficulties.
I have to admit, I'm always a bit nervous at the start of trips like this (although the only really comparable thing I've done is backpacking around Europe with my brother two years ago, so it's a small sample size).  There are so many things that could potentially go wrong.  Normally in my life I just assume that everything'll work out fine and then just deal with it when it doesn't, but any one thing going wrong right now could cascade into a whole massive mess of delays.  The bike is the big thing I'm worried about right now, although I do expect it'll work better tomorrow once it's had a chance to cool.  Regardless of whether the problem persists, though, I'm going to get a bigger bike before going on another long bike trip like this again.  The Nighthawk can just barely make it up to the speed limit on the interstate when loaded with stuff, and it's clearly struggling to do that.
However, that's not going to be feasible until the fall, and right now, I need to get to bed so I can get an early start tomorrow.

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