Sunday, August 14, 2011

While I nodded, nearly napping

Pluto the wonderdog!
On the morning of Wednesday, August 10th, we said goodbye to our friend Michael and his new weird a doodle, Pluto, and headed east.  We worked our way through downtown St Louis, across the old Eads bridge, waved goodbye to the Arch, and rode into Illinois.  The urban and suburban quickly changed to rural as we wound our way through southern Illinois.  The weather was very pleasant all day.  Later, we paid our dollar each and crossed a patchwork of pavement bridge over the Wabash River into the picturesque town of New Harmony, Indiana.  The long afternoon of riding continued through Evansville and into Owensboro, Kentucky.  I think that because of the effortless ride, comfortable temperature, and lack of sun glare, I caught myself actually nodding off a couple of times on the bike (NOT GOOD).  We stopped for some trail mix and apples and I woke back up.  We continued on to our destination for the night, Elizabethtown, KY.  As we rolled into Elizabethtown, our fuel lights started blinking once again, so we stopped for fuel and inquired about campgrounds in the area.  Alas, neither the cashier nor any customers were aware of anyplace to pitch a tent for the night.  Since it was an hour later than we thought (due to crossing yet another pesky timezone) and the sunlight was dwindling fast, we opted for the relative luxury of the local Motel 6.  Colin double-checked all the locks on the bikes as I carried the gear into the room.  Somehow, we seem less worried about the security of our gear and bikes in campgrounds than we do at hotels.

The next morning, we found our bikes exactly as we left them!  As we left Elizabethtown, Colin pointed as we passed a campground less than a mile outside the city.  The ride that morning was a beauty through the rolling bluegrass country of Kentucky.  We arrived in Pineville, KY in the early afternoon and stopped to find a purveyor of Clif Bars, our lunch snack of choice on the trip.  After not finding a grocery store on the main street, we continued through town. Soon, Colin said, "This looks more likely here," while we were stopped at an intersection.  I thought he meant straight ahead.  He, unfortunately, meant to the right, and when the light changed, he turned right as I rode straight ahead.  More unfortunate still, I was riding on Colin's right side.  He made it around the corner as I slammed on my brakes to avoid running into him.  After bringing my bike nearly to a stop, I valiantly attempted with every muscle I had to hold it upright, but the best I was able to do was gently lower my bike into the "napping" position.  Fortunately there was no damage to my bike other than a couple of minor scratches and my own bruised ego, thanks apparently to the spare tire strapped to the side of my gear (it even saved my brake lever, which has been a common casualty in my many prior spills on my other bike).  Colin ran back after parking his bike just around the corner and helped me lift it upright (with all our gear, we are very top heavy).  After we got me situated, Colin turned back to see his bike lying unceremoniously on its side, apparently jealous that my bike got to take a mid-afternoon nap.  It appears that in his haste to get off his bike, he parked on a down grade, and it rolled off the sidestand.  Fortunately his bike had no apparent damage when it awoke from its snooze.  We found Clif Bars, ate them and more apples, and continued on into Tennessee.  A couple hours later, Colin signaled to pull over and said there was something wrong with his footpegs.  He said after picking up his bike earlier that he thought his left footpeg was bent, but later discovered that both pegs were wobbling.  When we got off and looked under his bike, we saw that of the four bolts that attach the footpeg/sidestand assembly to the bike, one bolt was gone, two were backed out at least halfway, and one was sort of loose (the only thing holding the pegs to the bike).  We tightened the three remaining bolts, and after also checking mine, got back on the road.  We still wonder whether the loose bolts were the result of rolling off the sidestand, or if they were already loose and contributed to it rolling off.  Oh, and since our "incident," Colin has religiously used the hand signal in addition to his turn signal whenever we need to turn right!

View from the Bean Station Tennessee scenic overlook. Scenic, isn't it?
The scenery in Tennessee was beautiful through the mountains, but unfortunately as we got to Johnson City and Elizabethton, it started raining, and we again found no camping.  The sun was rapidly setting, but we kept riding, and lucked upon a really nice campground in the Cherokee National Forest (with hot showers!) for the low, low price of 12 bucks!  We set up the tent in the drizzle and crawled in for a good night's sleep under the trees.

1 comment:

  1. Colin,
    While I'm disappointed to miss out on meeting you two, I totally understand. Actually, when I found out you had friends here I'd expected you to spend your time there. I do think it was a total hoot that you got a picture of Billie with your bikes. Is it okay if I download it?

    I suspect you are finding the new chain to be much more to your liking. I've had my new chain on for 800 miles and it hasn't needed any adjustment. Pretty cool.

    Be safe.