Today's goal was Hays, Kansas, and I came ooh so close. I wanted to put in a thousand miles in one day, and Hays would be a worthy destination.
I stopped for fuel at Goodland around 8 p.m., and called the Little Woman, after logging around 870 miles. No sweat. Except the lightning to the East.
"If it gets bad, just stop, okay?"
"Uh, sure." I headed toward the light show.
And what a show it was! I felt like Paris Hilton after being released from jail, the flashes irregular and almost continuous, like popcorn microwaving. Some backlit dark, oppressive clouds, while others illuminated the horizon. A bolt appeared, shaped like a horseshoe made of barbed wire. A big one off to the right looked like it stabbed the ground. The further I rode, the more the flashes surrounded me.
Then it started to rain. Steadily it increased. I pulled into the next exit and parked under the gas station canopy.
And the skies opened up, a gully washing deluge, overflowing the gutters, spattering off the pavement. So I put on my rain gear for the one block ride to the motel. Drat! 980 miles. Just 20 more to make a thousand, and 100 more to Hays. I signed the paperwork, hauled my stuff upstairs, and moved the bike from under the canopy. No sweat, as the rain had stopped.
You must be kidding me. Man. I coulda made it. Shoot.
Nevertheless, the ride was my longest, and it went well. Here are a few tips for long rides:
I you want to pile on the miles, this is number one;
Don't stop to eat, don't stop to see, don't stop for anything except fuel. Drive right past Cracker Barrel. I know, it's tough. But see the rocking chairs? Right. No time this time. Save it for the casual rides. When you fuel, use the restroom, buy a snack, fuel, and go. Here's how I ate today: First, I ate a good breakfast. Then every stop, I picked something up and ate it. So I had six little meals. Nutter Butters. A banana. A muffin. Next, an apple. Then a Granola bar. My average stop time, including eating, was nine minutes. Average speed? 68 mph. Speeding? Not really. The speed limit was generally 75, and I rode at 79. Just didn't stop. It included 3 tie ups for construction in Colorado, and a ridiculous search in Vail for a gas station. I'll save that for the Rant at the end of the trip.
Secondly, have a sense of urgency. Not emergency, or crazy, but keep focused on moving, and moving through traffic if necessary. Nothing crazy or stupid, but keep focused on ahead.
While jamming down the highway gets you there in a hurry, it isn't a tour. It becomes merely a method to get where you're going. Riding a bike provides immersion, but it is a blur. A beautiful, wonderful blur, but still fuzzy around the edges.
And so, the trip is a whirlwind. One of the consequences? No pictures.
They would probably be blurry anyway.