Im sure like many other ventures, mine was off with a rocky start. At first I had wanted to leave on the 18th of May so that I would make it to Lake diamond for tech day early. Unfortunately I dropped Spirit twice that day just trying to park it. What I didnt realize till much later was that my heavy load made the spring go way down so the kickstand became rather too long. I also didnt know at the time that I could set the shock to a different number. Worn out and unsure of myself I set of early in the morning on the 19th hoping to make it to Diamond lake in one day. Before hopping on the ferry however I had to mail a package at the post office, where I dropped the bike again! This time to the left because the slant was too much. The mailman there helped me get Spirit back up and after having sent my package I stopped at the coffee shop to say goodbye to a friend. Even though he meant well he made me even less sure of myself by telling me that Spirit was way too big for me and I should wait until I could control her better. Good thing I am stubborn! Once I got to the ferry terminal I started feeling a bit more secure and free, and made it on the ferry easily. I hit another glitch right there and then, couldnt park the bike! There were 3 other bikers there, and two of them tired to put it on the center stand for me, but it wouldnt go. I decided to just stay on the bike until the ferry landed 30 minutes later; the last 10 of them through choppy waters which made my legs turn into rubber. *Finally, land! As I rode off toward Anacortes I started to relax. Riding was no problem, only stopping. *While riding my mirrors started flopping about, turns out I hadnt tightened them enough. On top of that my hands were freezing, the thrift shop gloves were definitely not warm! Grrrr, now I had to stop again. I found another thrift shop in Anacortes with a slanted parking spot, and purchased a 17mm wrench for the mirrors and a pair of leather gloves. As I started of yet again I decided to just let all my anxiety go, it wasnt helping me, and I would just have to deal with whatever came my way. The ride toward Diamond Lake was gorgeous, but I didnt stop to take pictures cause I hadnt emptied out my memory card of the camera yet. I tried to find my buoyancy about finally being free and on the road, but I could only feel trepidation. The mind is a powerful enemy! At one point I had to gas up, but the gas station didnt have a slope to park, so I couldnt get off. I managed to ride close to the pump and tried to get my card in the slot; not close enough! Luckily a couple on a motorcycle stopped there as well and I explained my predicament. The lady helped me with the payment and then commented that my rear tire was almost flat. Her husband then pumped it up for me, it was at 20 psi somehow. I was grateful for the help, thanked them both and wished them a great trip. Spirit rode much easier after that and I was able to park her easier (still having to look for sloped areas). I felt like a fool, why had I not checked the air pressure in my tires? *So many things I didnt know yet. I continued riding and for the first time I felt less worried and afraid. I now felt that if I really needed help, help would be there. This became apparent shortly after I pulled over to look at the map. I dropped one of my gloves, and there was nowhere to park. I just thought oh well, it wasnt keeping my hands warm anyway. Then out of nowhere a young man on a bicycle turned around rode toward me, picked up the glove and handed it to me. I was almost too speechless to say thank you but I did so profusely. I couldnt believe it, help came when I needed it. I figured out which way to go, I had to because my GPS stopped working, turns out the charger wasnt working so now I had to navigate my way by map. I kept riding until I realized that there was no way I would make it to Diamond Lake. After 8 hours in the saddle I was worn out. I hadnt ridden that long in over a year! Coulee Dam was nearby and it showed a campsite on the map. I found it without too much hassle. Once there I had to circle the place three times before I found a site where I could park easily. I must have looked like an idiot again! I was beyond caring however and finally climbed off the bike. It was almost dark but my tent is easy to put up and the can of soup warmed up quickly. I was gone into dreamland before my head hit the pillow (in my case the Teddy Bear). The net morning after having made some oatmeal I set off for Diamond lake. I was proud of myself having gotten Spirit out of the gravely campsite area without dropping her. Diamond Lake wasnt too far away so I should be able to get there by 9:30 AM. Hahaha, I got majorly lost on the freeway and missed the exit North. It took me three more hours of backtracking and getting lost all over again before I finally made it to Diamond Lake. Now I had to find the Tech site. I then noticed a guy on a bike heading my way, it was JetnJim heading out to another town do something. I was utterly frazzled about having gotten lost so many times, so this was not the way I had imagined meeting the guy who made most of this this possible. As I rode up to camp I realized I had a gravel road to go over. My courage dropped into my boots right there and then (I really dont like gravel!), but I decided if I dropped Spirit at least there would be someone nearby to help me get her up. Meeting everyone there was great! Nice to be able to put a face to the name. Tech day revealed that I had been riding with a broken doohickey.