Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Confessions of a Garmin (Edge) Addict

RandoBoy has graciously permitted me (RandoGirl) to write today's blog entry. After all, it is time I carried my load. RandoBoy (RB for short to keep me from typing it over and over) developed the itinerary, made our reservations, got the bike ready, etc. My contribution thus far has been showing up, pedaling hard, staying as still as possible (so as not to rock the monster bike RB is steering) and navigating using the Garmin Edge GPS computer -- and that is where the trouble began ...

After breakfast at the French Camp B & B (which was not as filling as it could have been because the motorcycle group/gang got there first and ate all of the good stuff), we hit the trail. Our goal was to be out early in order to complete our 93 mile or so trip to Jackson before rush hour there began. We almost made it ...

While it was not raining today, it was foggy. The kind of fog that makes you wonder if speeding cars will see your bike in time. We had our headlight and tail light on and, thankfully, the few vehicles we saw in the morning gave us a wide birth.

The fog cleared shortly before we reached the exit for Kosciusco. They have a nice welcome center that we promptly bypassed. We took a back road into the main square, looking for some hot coffee and a snack. I have learned over the years that many of these town squares will have only a few shops open as they struggle to revitalize. The fast food joints and other places to eat are mostly on the bypass roads or major roads that bikes do not enjoy. This was the case in Kosciusco. We had pulled up in front of the one restaurant in the square and discovered it did not open for an hour. We were looking around dejectedly when the owner of the restaurant came out and said he could tell we needed a cup of coffee and invited us in. He and his staff were great.

We drank our coffee (which they wouldn't let us pay for), then stopped by the pharmacy for tape for RB's broken sunglasses. They gave us tape, but also wouldn't let us pay. What more can you ask for? We finished up in Kosciusco by finding the main four-lane, stocking up on beverages and getting Subway sandwiches for lunch later down the road.

Once we left Kosciusco, I discovered my affliction. Yesterday, my focus on the Garmin Edge and its data was helpful as we worked to "getterdun". Today, it was pathological. I was fixated on the mileage ticking away, the speed we were making, the gradient (today it was up 1 or 2 percent, flat or down 1 or 2 percent -- we only had a couple of 5-8 percent hills) and the time of day. I soon realized that I was missing some beautiful sights -- trees, fields, wet swampy areas like the one below, etc.

As we neared Jackson, I saw ant hills around every 40 feet or so on the side of the road, a dead armadillo and many spider webs (complete with large creepy spiders). Then above Jackson, we saw:

The lake above Jackson was beautiful. We stopped on the side of the road, spread out our towel/blanket, ate our snacks and just enjoyed the view. RB rested his arms and hands that were a bit painful/numb from steering the monster bike (the bike is not a monster because of how it performs, just how heavy it is with all of our stuff).

Back on the road, we soon left the Trace for the 9.3 miles to the Fairview Inn. It was some of the scariest miles I have ridden. We were in rush hour traffic on a four-lane highway most of the way. At one point, we went through a series of traffic lights that had steep hills leading up to them -- try that on a fully-laden tandem! I must say, however, that the cars behaved very well. At one point, I suggested to RB that we might have been better served just going to the Red Roof or Comfort Inn that were closer to the Trace. However, when I saw our room, I conceded I was wrong:

Yes, that's a bidet next to the toilet:

The bath was great (especially with the Epson salts we bought on the way to the hotel). RB and I had a lovely dinner at the hotel restaurant and soon retired for the night. I would give you our stats for the day, but I am working hard to stay a "cured" Edge addict. (Suffice it to say, we have completed over 450 miles at 15.5 mph or so.)

Tomorrow is a shorter day (60 something miles), but with forecasts of thunderstorms. Stay tuned.

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