So after a pleasant night by the fire and another night sleeping on a flat air mattress, I wake up around 5 AM and of course, I have to pee. Damn, I hate getting old. Although, as they say, it is better than the alternative. Its cold too. My thin little sleeping bag is definitely not cutting it! So I throw on some clothes and stumble in the dark to the bathroom and take care of business. I crawl back in bed and try to get warm and fall back asleep. No dice, its cold and I am thinking about the trip back up the boring 4 lane. After a bit, I grab my ipod and check the time. Hey look, I got WIFI out here! Lets check the weather radar...oh crap, look at all that rain! Where the hell did that come from?
In a state of near panic, I decide that I need to leave asap, because the bulk of the rain is still west of here. It looks like the rain is sitting just west of I81 the entire way to the top of Virginia. This is gonna suck!
I throw on some clothes and start packing up. It of course takes twice as along as I think it should. Its 7 AM and dark and drizzling when I pull out of the Iron Horse.
I have a plan to just ride east, away from the rain. So that's what I do. I avoid the trip over the mountains toward I81 and head toward Asheville instead. When I pass over the ridge where 19 crosses the Blue Ridge Parkway, the temperature read out on the ST drops to 41 degrees and I am riding in a cloud. My hands are really cold. If I make a habit of riding in this weather, I will need some heated grips or gloves. I get to Asheville and stop for gas and McDonalds breakfast and WIFI. The rain isn't moving, its just hanging west of the I81 corridor. If I decide to head that way and the rain moves east, I will be in it all day. Not good. Another large rain system is in the Raleigh area. I put on another layer and continue east on I40. Once I get to Hickory, I have to decide whether to take I77 north to I81 or continue east. I am still hoping the rain will move east and I can cut through it and head up I81 in the clear area behind it.
I get off the highway at the rest area west of Hickory. I call my wife and tell her I will call back at the next rest area in Statesville, please look at the weather radar for me. I curse my cheap butt, why don't I have a smart phone?
In Statesville, my wife tells me that I81 still looks socked in, so I decide to head east to I95, where I will have to turn north, rain or no rain. I text my brother with my new plan. He recommends route 29 north from Greensboro. Sounds like a shorter route and he says its a good road. Sounds like a winner!
I stop in Greensboro for more free WIFI and a fast food lunch. Its raining here now, but looks like its better north in Virginia. I head up 29 in the rain, its 46 degrees, but the ST provides decent protection and my cheap rain gear is doing much better than my cheap air mattress did. Route 29 turns out to be a nice 4 lane highway. As I enter Virginia, I stop at the welcome center. The rain is tapering off, but its still cold. Once I get warmed up, I get back on the bike and continue North.
The rest of the day I fell in to a rhythm of travel. I would ride until my hands got cold. Stop for coffee.
I finally pulled into my brother's driveway. It never got above 46 degrees on my trip today. He offers me a beer, but I decline and tell him I would rather have a warm shower.
Once showered and dressed in dry clothes, I am ready for that beer!
Today was 470 miles, most on the slab.