I've spent the last few months thinking about how I want to get back to New Hampshire to meet my new granddaughter. She's my first grandbaby and was due last Monday. Riding was an obvious choice, but I wasn't sure that I wanted to take all that time to go back east. I couldn't stand to fly back and not be able to ride some of my favorite routes, so I considered flying and renting a bike. Then I stumbled across this adorable bobbed Shovelhead in Manchester on Craigslist and had the brilliant idea to fly out, buy a bike, and ride it back. I worked on that option for a while, even buying a one way airplane ticket, but the logistics weren't working with me. In the meantime, I'd purchased a new rear tire and rear brakes and had to replace a defective front tire. With all that tread available to me, I made a last minute decision to ride my bike.
Not too long ago, I came across some old friends on Facebook. I know that's what people do, but this was difficult for me at first. I left Georgia 20 years ago (on June 23rd) to escape a dangerous husband. I hated to leave my life there, but I wanted to raise my son in a safe environment. I didn't contact anyone, because I didn't want to put anyone in the position of having to keep the secret of where I was. After the death of said dangerous husband nine years ago, I'd moved on with my life and didn't consider reestablishing those friendships. Although feeling awkward and nervous about seeing these people again, I made plans to head to Georgia after leaving New Hampshire. Getting there via the Blue Ridge Parkway was an incentive, I have to admit.
I was going to try and do this all within three weeks, but in the last couple of days I decided that I don't want to come back until the book is finished. I want to take a little more time than I did on my last big trip. It isn't so much to see the sights, but to write and visit with people. Because I had been looking forward to a no-frills bike trip back on the Shovelhead, I packed much lighter this time. I needed to find a way anyway, since I get so annoyed with lugging the huge black bag around behind me and not having access to my saddlebags while on the road. I bought a small one-person tent, which fits in a bad with my sleeping bag and Thermarest over my headlight. No windshield this trip; just my new ape hangers as a rest for the gear. I have some clothes in one saddlebag, and my computer and various small items in the other bag.
On my last cross-country trip, I prepared for months. On this one, about three days. I learned a few things on my last trip, including that I'm not in the Donner Party. There are stores to buy stuff if I run out or forgot. I headed out yesterday around 3:30. I made it to the end of the driveway and saw a box sitting on the mailboxes. I stopped to get it, and remembered that I hadn't packed my rain gear. I was ready to blow it off, but remembering New Hampshire in the spring (or summer... or fall... or winter...) I went back to get it. Not much room for it, so I decided to ditch the jacket I'd packed on the handlebars knowing that the jacket of a rainsit is excellent at blocking the wind on a cold day.
I made pretty good time yesterday afternoon, stopping right at sunset in Gothenburg, Nebraska. It had been windy, but when I hit North Platte, either the wind died down or the presence of trees lining the roadway made the trip much more pleasant. My new tent went up nicely, and I slept OK. I'm thinking Newton, Iowa for a stop tnoght. We'll see.