It’s the evening before my annual bike trip and I am just about ready to leave for my third solo ride of 1000 plus miles . Several people have asked me why I sometimes ride alone. Essentially it’s two things: 1) we all have a limited amount of vacation time and mine doesn’t necessarily line up with that of my friend’s, especially those who like to ride and 2) it’s kinda nice to pick your own route and make all decisions based on your own desires. I love to ride with friends … but I sure love riding alone too.
One saddle bag is already full of things needed for riding in “inclement weather” (yep, you’ve got it – rain). Rain coat and pants, plastic bags, a towel, long sleeve shirt and extra socks. I’ve been lucky the last two times I have taken a long ride and I’ve ridden in beautiful weather. I am not so sure I’ll be that lucky this time around.
That’s okay though … it’s all part of the experience!
I spent a couple hours plotting the route and the maps are protected inside ziplock bags. The obligatory email has been sent, I have talked to Andrew, and this year, I met with friends for a “pre-trip” drink. I’ll be riding for 6 days, which is 1 more than the last time I took a long trip and my bike luggage sure seems smaller this year.
It’s pretty hard to fit riding clothes, exploring clothes and concert clothes in one little piece of luggage, in addition to finding room in the saddle bags for the camera, a book, first aid kit, maps, snacks, and a variety of other things that I think are necessary for a week on the road. I wish I could say that the items in this picture are the only things I’ll be loading on the bike tomorrow morning. The bag in the picture has 6 days worth of clothes! Tom Boy that I am, I sure struggled fitting them all in there!
This is the plan:
Tomorrow morning, I’ll be riding to the area around Ocoee, TN and I’m hoping to see lots of beautiful natural sites when I visit the Hiwassee/Ocoee Scenic River State Park. This area is known for whitewater rafting, hiking, and lots of scenic roads for riding. I wish I could do some rafting but they don’t let the river down on the days I will be there, so I’ll happily make do with a lot of photography and other things (zip line maybe?). http://www.ocoeewhitewaterinn.com/
On Wednesday, I’ll head to Nashville. I’ll be staying in a renovated historic building right in the heart of Nashville ($50/night – thanks for the tip, Deb!). It is supposed to be within walking distance to all kinds of fun places, including Music Row, VanderbiltUniversity, and lots of restaurants. I’m sure you can imagine what I’ll be doing there … eating, drinking and listening to music! http://www.scarrittbennett.org/ .
After two nights in Nashville, I’ll ride to Knoxville where I’ll get to visit with long time friends Jen and Justin Carnes and their daughter Eli.
Then, it’s on to Bristol Saturday to see Mumford and Sons (in an outdoor venue) with Shelly, Greg, Dean, and Beth.
I’ll head back to Radford on Sunday, after about 1000 miles of riding.
Liz and Wilson have agreed to take the traditional start of the trip picture in the morning. I hope to be leaving the house by 7:30 and at their house soon after.
I’m riding about 320 miles tomorrow. What might seem like a short 4-5 hour ride in a car, is a long day on the bike – especially because I like to stop and explore (and I am also confident I will take a wrong turn here and there).
Here’s hoping for a good night’s sleep!