Even though I have done this before, I was pretty anxious about the first day. I got up before dawn and set up the fundraiser for BBBS of SW Washington on Facebook. It seemed like I kept thinking about details concerning the route, places to stay, things I might have forgot, things I wished I’d done beforehand, etc.
Becky was and has been incredibly supportive. We had our phones in airplane mode so we wouldn’t get hit with roaming charges while in Canada. When I left that morning, we agreed that she would wait at the border crossing for me to take pictures between 9 and 9:15 AM. If I didn’t make it by then, she should just leave, since we would have no means of communicating. I left just before 8 and had only about 13 miles to the border. Even weighted down with the panniers, I thought I’d have time to spare. I was cruising at better than 15 mph. Just as I came to a RR crossing, the gates came down and I heard the train’s warning horn. Had I got there 45 seconds earlier I could have easily made it across. This train had 3 engines in the front and went as far as the eye could see. There was even an engine in the middle and I think another at the end. Had I gone ahead of the train, there would have been no cars for 10 minutes behind me, but lots of traffic in the opposite oncoming lane. This was important because the shoulder was narrow, not leaving much room to pass me safely with traffic from both directions. Now I have cars lined up like a vehicular train and I’m at the front as the obstacle that’s keeping them from their morning commute. I pull over and let 20 or 30 cars pass, then hop back in the mix so they wouldn’t get angry at me. Even nice Canadians have their limits! My act of kindness didn’t make much of a dent as the traffic came to a standstill anyway for traffic lights and stop signs. I went so far as to walk/run Hidalgo in the grass next to the standing vehicles just to move up a few places in line.
When traffic finally cleared, I stopped for a light only to hit an incredibly steep hill, without getting any momentum. I can’t think of a hill or mountain I didn’t climb from the Rockies to the Appalachians on the last ride. However, I found myself walking a section of this hill. Suddenly, I am literally sweating bullets from climbing hills and trying to reach Becky in time. As you can see, I made it at 9:11, with just a couple minutes to spare.
The rest of the ride went pretty smoothly. When I took a detour to make the route more efficient, my new GPS was constantly screaming at me like R2D2 going haywire as it kept recalculating and requesting U turns. Since the GPS was unhappy with my choices, I had to make more stops to check my phone to confirm my course at uncertain turning points.
I made it to my warm showers hosts by 4:30. As you can see from the route statistics , I was only riding for less than 5 hours, but I had another 3.5 hours for various stops. My body has certain input and output requirements! I won’t have the time luxury tomorrow. The plotted course is close to 95 miles and it includes 2 major bridges and a ferry ride. My hosts are early risers and have offered to have breakfast ready for me at 5:30 AM. I will need the early start.
It’s all part of the adventure!
The Lone Rider
PS The border patrol asked me where I was going, my business, etc. I offered him one of my cards with the prominently displayed message “The Lone Rider”. It was inevitable that he would ask “Are you riding by yourself?”