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Monday, July 11, 2011

Day 3 - On the Run

A great ride today, some country roads but mostly super slab again just trying to outrun the storm. No storms where the star and I were yama-hopping and now I'm just opening the second map of the three maps it takes to cross the United States, having completed 1,910.3 kilometers of my ride so far. I’ve learned a few things these past three days:

One, Google is a little short on their distance estimation. Today’s ride was longer than anticipated (as were the previous two). Perhaps that’s because I programmed Garmin Dan to take the fastest route, which looked to me like the shortest as well. Still I was 69 km over the estimate. Tomorrow, I’ll ask for the shortest route.

Two, listen to the weatherman but take it with a grain of salt. If he says there’s a chance it might storm, understand that there is also a chance that it might not storm. That is, of course, provided it is not already raining, in which case he was right. Today, he was wrong. I woke up under blues skies and decided to go for it. I’m glad I’m not sitting back in Ohio waiting out the storm that might have been…or maybe it was there, who knows. All I know is that I didn’t get wet, I didn’t see a tornado or hail stones as big as baseballs, thankfully! I rode under partly cloudy skies most of the way but could usually see blue sky somewhere.

Three, there’s no better motivation to get up and get going than the threat of tornadoes and hailstones. I still slept in but managed to get on the road two hours earlier than yesterday, under sunny skies. Ominous skies around you also motivational (didn't stop very long in one place).

Four, riding on the highway is not so bad provided your aim is to ride fast and put distance between then and now. After having read so many accident statistics last year and finding out a divided highway is one of the least likely spots you are to have an “accident” it’s not so scary. A tip I have, take it for what it is since I’m not an expert in any way. Tractor trailers are big, a motorcycle is small. I try to shift around in the lane (one side to the other) when I come up behind them, making sure I’ve seen their right mirror and their left mirror. If you can’t see their mirror, they can’t see you. I try to make sure they see me in both mirrors, especially before I pull out to pass. When I do pull out, I get left and get by. (I think I may have heard that advice somewhere before). If you enjoy looking at construction, tractor trailers and super sized petrol stations then the super slab is the place to ride.

Five, you might be able to adjust old equipment to fit/feel better. Today my right glove (on my throttle hand) was sticking to the throttle. Every time I adjusted my hand on the throttle my thumb was being squeezed into the thumb like Cinderella’s ugly stepsister’s foot was squeezed into the glass slipper. I finally had enough and asked for a pair of scissors at the truck stop. Problem solved, there was now lots of room for my thumb as it was proudly sticking out riding bare! Believe me, I think I'm onto a whole new design in gloves for Joe Rocket. The thumbless glove.

Six, (and this kind of goes with five) if you have one square centimeter of bare skin showing you can be sure that is the spot where the stinging insect will hit at 120 km per hour … and…

Seven, you can fall in love with Garmin Dan again; you just have to know how to handle him. When he misbehaves give him a time out, put him on ‘the thinking chair’, push his off button – shut him down. When you turn him back on again he’ll be much more cooperative (for a while at least). Today he was a good boy. Not one U turn required. However I've also broken down and decided to wear my glasses so I can read his actual map as we travel. That may have accounted for fewer U Turns.

Tomorrow I’ll tell you what you can expect from your body if you're a grandmother riding across America and I'll rate some of my old equipment and tell you my favorite new pieces I bought for the trip. Until then, ride safe. PS when you’re trying to outrun the storm there’s barely time to stop to pee and definitely no time to stop for photos. Though, if I was going to stop I would have stopped in Wabash just because.

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