A Chronicle of My Adventures on "The Patriot"

Fortitudine Vincimus -- "By Endurance We Conquer"
ride hard, ride far, ride safe

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

The Fizzle

Bottom line up front. As of 1:00 pm today, rider and trike are home in Stafford, Virginia safely without injury, damage, or speeding ticket. I guess I successfully accomplished the more important of my two goals.  You can view how far I made it at:  http://spotwalla.com/tripViewer.php?id=5667.

Trip Report. My official departure receipt from the Kittery 7-Eleven was printed at 1:58 am on Sunday, June 20. I had four witnesses, including one of Kittery’s patrolmen who was passing by on duty that night. Everything was going perfect. The Gold Wing – Lehman trike performed superbly. Absolutely no complaints or problems; although I would enjoy an 8 – 10 gallon tank for greater range (which would have also avoided the problem below that was caused by a stop required for gas but not required for getting a receipt). It was a bit warm on Sunday (mid-90s) but about 4 hours of rain on Monday made up for it going through Cincinnati. And I hit very little traffic or construction during my entire trip. My goal was an absolute minimum 1,000 miles per day, but I wanted to hit 1,100 or 1,150 per day if I could. On Day one (1:58 am Sunday to 1:57 am Monday) I hit 13 states, stopping in Elyria, Ohio at 1:21 am on Monday with 1,046 miles under my belt. Day one was a good day – I was hyped and excited about having a great run to Hyder. I departed my hotel on Day two at 7:00 am. It was a beautiful, cool morning ride to Ottawa Lake, Michigan. Again, no traffic or construction was anywhere in sight. My next scheduled stop – as everyone who has studied the Ron Ayres route knows – was Lawrenceburg, Indiana by way of Cincinnati. On the way to Lawrenceburg something pleasant and unexpected happened that I hadn’t read about on the LDR listserve – I found that sweet combination of position and posture that seemed to eliminate a sore butt. Again, everything was going well – great weather, no traffic, no construction, and got in the rhythm of the trip. My eight days to Hyder looked right around the corner! The 228-mile trip to Lawrenceburg exceeded my comfort zone for the range on my trike, so I stopped at Lima, Ohio for gas. It was lunch time and I was starving, so I bought a sub sandwich; in hindsight, a terribly huge mistake. About an hour later, the torrents of rain hit, but that was no problem. My Olympia Phantom suit kept me bone dry. Although way, way too hot for 90 degree weather, the Phantom did not leak in 4 hours of heavy rain. Another hour later, another type of torrent hit. I pulled over and quickly found myself projectile puking in the middle of a concrete medium strip on the Cincinnati beltway in the middle of a pretty neat rainstorm. Okay, in the Corps, I guess that’s just another great day in the field. I was feeling pretty weak by the time I got to Lawrenceburg, but thought I would recover on the road with the cool fresh air on my face. So I pushed on another 370 miles to London, Kentucky; Gate City, Virginia; Johnson City, Tennessee; and Mars Hill, North Carolina. Sadly, this leg of the trip was slowed down with a few extra stops caused by my sub sandwich. My good friend Imodium was also not very helpful with the other consequences of my sub sandwich. Mars Hill was at mile 1,739 on my 8,880-mile journey to Hyder, and I got there at 10:50 pm Monday night. I was now a little behind schedule and I wanted to be on the south side of Atlanta before its morning rush hour, so down the road I went. The moon and the stars were out and there wasn’t a cloud in the sky. What a perfectly beautiful night for a motorcycle ride! But, I didn’t make it far south before the continued puking drained my strength and alertness, so I decided to take a 2 – 3 hour nap to see if that would help, and figured I would simply take my chances with Atlanta’s rush hour in the morning. I turned off my SPOT and crashed at a roadside park with my bed roll. I woke up around 4:00 am and saw Hyder slipping away since I didn’t feel any better at all. So I decided to pull the plug and limp home to regroup, cursing every place along the way home that I saw selling sub sandwiches. I made it home to Stafford at 1:00 pm, glad to be home and still too sick to eat. Other than the sub sandwich, the only blip in an otherwise perfect trip was that the Johnson City, Tennessee “1 Stop” computerized gas station receipt didn’t have a city or state on it, so I had to go immediately next door at the Burger King to buy a diet Coke to get a receipt with all the required elements. Like a said, a perfect trip – so once I recover and regroup, I will try it again, likely next June – and I cannot think of a single thing I would change in my planning and execution, except being more careful about what I eat on the road.

My apologies. I apologize for not turning SPOT back on this morning so that everyone tracking me would not be concerned that I hit a deer or was otherwise injured. In hindsight, I realize that leaving it off was inconsiderate – but SPOT was the furthest thing from my mind as I was worried about making it home and I was overwhelmed with the disappointment of not making it to Hyder this year.

My thanks. Many thanks for everyone's advice and kind wishes before I began my trip -- and many thanks for your concerns when you didn't see my SPOT working this morning.

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