Steph, May 13, 2015 8:00AM LaFayette, LA
I’m dreading the next 900 highway miles to our first destination, Big Bend National Park. My butt has some sort of saddle sore/heat rash thing going on – it burns. This dread prompts flashes of doubt that I have what it takes to ride 2,000 miles of mostly boring pavement followed by 4,000 miles of demanding backcountry miles. Like a nasty virus, that doubt leads to further doubts – What if no one reads our blog? What if no one donates to our cause? What if we run out of water in the desert? What if I crash? What if Shal and I poke sharp sticks in each other’s eyes? Dan Quayle was wrong; sometimes it’s not a terrible thing to not have a mind. It – the mind- can be quite an obstacle at times.
Why am I dreading those 900 miles? For me, riding long stretches of straight flat highway produces constant fluctuations between boredom and intensity. Boring when no other vehicles are around and the speed and scenery remains unchanged for hours at a time. Intensity sets in the closer you get to a city due to the volume of cars and trucks moving at high and variable speeds. Riding behind or aside semi-trailer trucks creates turbulence, which makes me want to pass them a.s.a.p. I like to pass trucks quickly to get safely out of that turbulence and out of the driver’s blind spot. On highways with a speed limit of 70 mph that means I have to hammer down to 80-85. A burst of adrenaline for sure. Doing this over and over for hours on end is exhausting. Maybe if I were on a 1,800 cc, 1,000 lb. Gold Wing it would be a different story. But then a Gold Wing wouldn’t get me very far in the backcountry. And that would be a different story.
A fun little video of me riding in traffic.