Day 1 - 7/2/07: Nashville, TN to Chicago, IL

Day 1 - Nashville to Chicago
Loaded Up Loaded Up

I took Hannah to school on Monday morning. Gave her a big hug and told her how much I loved her and that I would miss her very much. She said “I love you to Dad”, jumped out of the car and ran off to camp. I don’t think she quite comprehends how long 6 weeks is. I told her it was 42 days, and I think she has an idea. On the way home I stopped at McDonalds for some breakfast. I got a sausage cheese biscuit, hash browns, and water. I forgot to ask for a receipt (I am planning on keeping receipts to track my spending, as well as my journey).

When I got home I gathered up the rest of my belongings and put them in the living room. I jumped in the shower got dressed and stuffed (quite literally) everything on the bike. I spent around 15 minutes trying to zip shut the U-Pac. I didn’t even have room for my camera or rain suit. I ended up strapping them to the top of my pack.

I rode my bike out to McKendree to get a light weight tripod to help save room and weight on the bike. I left my keys at the house, so I got Mary Anna to open my office and I told her goodbye. While in the office I also grabbed my quote. I ran into Nellie and Mustafa in the office while I was collecting my things. They gathered Rusty and Darin to come outside and wish me goodbye. While I was suiting up Niaz and Reid came by and we had a real sendoff. Nellie hugged me and I pounded (that’s fist tapped) the guys. Then it was time to hit the road, and I rode all the way to Walgreens (I needed some earplugs as mine were buried somewhere deep in my baggage).

It was actually a beautiful day. It never got above 85, so on the bike it was more like low 70’s. It even got a little chilly at one point. I went about 100 miles before I had to fuel up in Smiths Grove, KY. After a quick beef & cheese jerky snack with a bottle of water I hoped back on the bike. As I headed north through Louisville I realized I had not reset the trip meter on the GPS, which would be tracking my total mileage. So right in the heart of Louisville I reset the meter, right before the bridge that crosses the river. I made it a total of 250 miles or so before I had to fill up in Lebanon, IN, just north of Indianapolis. After I fed the bike I headed to McDonald’s to feed myself some double cheeseburgers. The kid behind the counter was very curious and asked “Why are you going to Alaska” to which I replied “Why not?”  I found on the 250 mile stretch that I needed to reconfigure the bike. There was way too much weight on the rear. When I would shift around the handlebars would jiggle.  When I got off 65 and onto 30 to head for Eric’s shop I got stuck at a light. Being a little impatient I got on the throttle right off the green light. With all the weight on the back of the bike the front end was doing the big wacky. I was freaked out by it but got it under control. I did whack my left shin and calf on the foot pegs, but my leg feels fine and looks great.

When I got to Eric’s shop I thought I went the wrong way. I ended up in a dead end. So I turned around and found the gate, but it was the wrong entrance. As I did not know how to get around I just started wailing on the horn. Brian came out and let me in. Once I parked we unloaded the bike and Brian went to work installing the Fire Stick antenna for my CB installation on Tuesday. Eric bailed on us and headed back to the house while Brian and I finished up. Once finished we loaded up my bike and headed for McDonald’s once again. Brian treated me to a Big Mac Meal while we drove the interstate home in the sprinter. I finished out the night on Eric’s couch in the basement.

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