Northern Ride Day 1

August 8th – 13:45-18:18 – Washington DC to Friendville MD – 178 Miles

Before I left on the trip I called my first stop, the state park in Ohio. On the positive side, it’s a large park with lots of sites. On the negative side, they’re all full for the night. Guess I should have called sooner.

At 14:45 I started gathering my stuff and walked out the door. It took two trips since I had all my gear and the bike was in the bike lot.

By 14:31 I was on the bike and on my way. I followed the directions given by the Microsoft Streets & Trips and realized that the times in the directions were very optimistic. I made it to the beltway at 15:14. Traffic was about average I guess for a Friday afternoon.

There were a couple of slow downs on the way out, particularly at the places you’d expect. Turn offs and lane losses. No accidents or anything.

At the Rt 68 turnoff it looked like rain ahead so I pulled off and put on my gear. It was at an exit ramp where the left turn was towards town but the right was a short dead-end. I expected I’d get pretty good at getting my gear on 🙂

One of the first things I learned about with the rain suit was that if you didn’t fully seal the arm and neck holes, you’d get balloon (from the air getting into your arms) and you’d get wet.

After a bit I pulled off and removed the suit. I realized after leaving it on for a bit that it gets fairly sweaty if it’s not raining/cold. A bit later it started raining again so I stopped at an underpass and put on my gear again. This takes between 20 and 30 minutes to get it out and on.

About 30 minutes before I stopped, I felt a pop in my back. I thought it was one of the bungie cords slipping out of its hook. I reached back and felt around a little but couldn’t find anything loose. I had two bungie cords for each bag and a strap for the side stuff (leathers and tent).

About 10 minutes later I felt a sharp pain in about the same place. On that one I thought for sure a cord had released. It was very sharp.

So, by 18:18 it was raining, I was wet and I realized I wasn’t going to get even close to my target stopping site. I spied an exit and pulled off in Friendsville Md. I stopped at the first place and, dripping wet, asked if they had a room. Unfortunately they were booked up but she called the other place and they had a couple of rooms. So I stopped at “Sunset Inn” in Friendsville Md.

It was upstairs and overlooked the pool. The parking lot was rocks and the small wooden kickstand I “made” (10 seconds on the table saw) was useful. I stripped the gear off and covered the bike.

When I took the gear off of the bike I found that the left buckle that I had used a strap on had broken and, while I could find some pieces of the buckle, I didn’t find the strap. I figured it was gone.

I walked down to the town (about 1/2 mile) and to the grocery store. There were no restaurants in town and it looked like everything was closing up. The grocery store had most of the lights out and when I walked by the back room there was a poker/dice game going on (picture of 4 or 5 guys and one with money in his hand). I walked around a couple of times and finally grabbed a premade deli-sandwich, a bag of chips and a Diet-Coke.

I commented that I hoped I wasn’t holding her up, she said that I would be the first customer of the following morning.

Anyway, I walked back up the hill to my room. It was dark and a little rainy. The hills looked cool with clouds hovering around the tops.

When I got done with “dinner”, I undressed and because of the strap, checked out my back. There were three red insect bite-size marks in the middle of my back. I took a quick picture.

I put my wet gloves on top of the light fixture hoping to dry them out. After a while I turned them over. It turns out that this isn’t such a great idea since my left glove looks like it shrunk. It took a couple of hours the next day to get them comfortable again (the right glove needed to be stretched out a little).

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