Today was an interesting day with some interesting problems.
First of all I survived the night, so the day already started on a positive note.
I generally have done a good job of meticulously checking Google Maps Street View for the trip and ensuring I had good shoulders on the next day's route. Today I was more lax and just sort of picked a spot on the map, saw a shoulder and said let's go for it.
there's a little google maps view of what I encountered. it wasn't a good time to pull out the camera and start savoring the moment.
So there I am going down SR 80 and all of the sudden I see the shoulder disappears up ahead. I pulled off onto the grass to contemplate my options. To find an alternative route I'd have to backtrack pretty far, and I was hoping that this was just a short section without a shoulder, especially since the entire road up until that point had a nice shoulder. So I decided to go for it, pulled back onto the road and floored it (err, wristed it?)
No such luck. Keep in mind that this is a highway posted 60 mph, so who knows how fast people were actually going. It turned into one of those situations where I kept going, hoping that any minute the shoulder would return, and I eventually would up too far in to turn around and my only option was to press on. I flipped the switch to "3" (which felt more dramatic than it sounds), went into a tuck and sweated bullets in the freezing wind for 18 freaking miles.
At one point before the trip I had contemplated setting up my phone to broadcast video or more likely still images for my family to see. I never got around to it and it was probably for the best. No need for my mom to see this:
As I now play with google street view to grab those pictures, I see that there were actually some pretty places along this road. I don't remember this at all, of course. All I remember is a healthy dose of fear and swear words directed at my choice of a 10 turn version of the Nine Continent.
But eventually I crossed a county line and the shoulder returned. I guess it was a case of one municipality not wanting to step up and pay for road work in the area that the highway passed through their zone. Freakin' cheapskates... use that tax money!
But like most days, the bad was balanced out by good. Once I got back on my side of the state, Google Maps took me on some nicer roads, which I would call "country roads" as opposed to "country highways". These were posted 45 mph but very nicely paved and even though they were only one lane, there was no one around. I could fly at 30 mph sipping barely 12 amps, and take up the whole road which felt amazingly luxurious. Finally I was riding like a human being. I found I get much better efficiency in those scenarios and I think it is because of less wind. On the open highways there's greater cross winds, but on these country roads that cut through forests and towns you have less wind and so I could actually go faster using less energy.
The road was so smooth that doing 30-33 mph felt like I was doing 20, and the wide open road meant I was in the middle of the lane just enjoying the ride. I can even take my hands off the bars because with the battery on the fork there is so much inertia that it tracks by itself like a canoe. So I had a great combo on those roads of making excellent time, enjoying high speed riding and feeling like I was on a slow pleasure cruise, all at the same time!
After 66 miles I decided to actually stop at my house to charge because it was pretty much on the way to my next stop (Sanibel Island) and why charge at some gas station when I can do it in my garage. I got home, plugged in the chargers in the garage and went inside to relax on the couch with some food and TV. Best charging place ever! After two hours I went to get back on the bike, but instead of finding two fully charged batteries waiting for me, I had a garage with lights that wouldn't turn on. Apparently I tripped the breaker shortly after charging started.
I tried again and POP, tripped again. I had to charge one at a time and with nearly 4 hours of charging staring me in the face, I decided to call it a day. 66 miles will have to be enough for today. It's a Friday and I'm going to relax and spend the weekend with my family. Sanibel Island will have to wait until Monday. It will be there.
grindz145 wrote:I always worry about the bedding in the seedy motels as well. I have slept in the sleeping bag on top of the bed several times. At least you can bring all of your belongings inside and lock the door!
That's funny because that's exactly what I did! I remember reading somewhere that bed bugs can't crawl up slippery things or plastic, so I laid my scooter rain cover I brought with me (just in case!) on the bed, and laid the sleeping bag on that.
It's funny that I wanted to get a motel for a supposedly better night's sleep, when in fact I think I would have been more comfortable in my own tent. At least I know my bedding isn't full of parasites. Camping can also be so comforting as well. Some of the best night's sleep I've ever gotten was sleeping in the desert in the army. Of course that could have been because I was out like a light at the end of those long days. You'd be surprised how well you can sleep wearing boots and with a rifle under the head of your sleeping pad. Wish I still had my weapon last night, that's for sure
dogman dan wrote:
One thing I definitely considered when I built bouncing betty, I wanted that fat tire, full suspension bike to be actually comfortable if I dodge off the pavement at 30 mph. Truckers, or even just rednecks that pass too close abound. The bike route is all narrow ass road.
You said it, dogman! I've thought about that a lot on this trip actually. Me and that shoulder get pretty intimate after so many miles. When my dad taught me to drive he taught me to always be thinking about where your 'outs' are, in the back of your mind. As I'm going along in the shoulder there, I'm thinking about how I would bail if I had to. On my current setup, that frame and those tires are going to be a bucking bronco at anything more than maybe 8 mph if I get run off the road here. A couple times I saw the potential for that situation I hit the brakes and prepared, but that's about all I can do. Choose which side I want to lay it down on and go down on my own terms into the grass is about the best I can do. But like I think I mentioned in the last post, the big orange bag means people give me tons of room and see me from a ways off (at least from the rear) so I haven't had to test it yet.
tomjasz wrote:Don't wear a yarmulke or extol the virtues of the new Pope and you'll be fine.
I learned not to do that (the former, not the latter) the hard way while living in Arkansas. The south has a lot of great people. And a lot of the other kind too.