Today, the adventure began. Scott picked me up at the house at 5am. It was cold, as usual, probably 18 or so degrees Fahrenheit. It has been colder when we left, but it is March 1 after all. It feels like it should be warmer. It feels like there should not be snow on the ground any more, but there is. There is a lot of snow on the ground still Seems like the snow is never going to go away this year.
I think that having all of this snow this year, has made the preparation for the season easier. It has been easy to focus on. There was not really any possibility of a distraction to go and ride somewhere. No clear ground to entice us out on the practice bikes. It means that we have spent a ton of time working on our bikes, working on our set up and working on our fitness. We will see if it pays.
Out side of Paw Paw Illinois, there is a wind farm. It is huge. I counted over 100 windmills. Big huge 3 bladed windmills. I imagine those things must make a lot of noise. There are some farm houses out there, and I imagine that they can hear the blades going through the air during the night. The tip of the blade is going quite fast, after all. I don’t know how fast. I suppose that a smart person could figure out how fast the tip of the windmill blade is going. Some sort of formula that would have to do with the length of the blade and the distance it travels. But, I am not that person. I just know they are going fast, and they must make some noise. I wonder how much electricity a windmill can generate. Is it enough to run a house? A block? A city? A state?
I wonder how much noise the windmills make. Is it loud with the blade going through the wind? Is the generator loud? Do birds die by getting hit by the blades? I imagine a group of young daring birds, shooting through the blades. Sort of a right of passage for young birds moving into manhood. Or sort of a dare. Or maybe, it is just for entertainment. Proving to themselves and to other species that they are much more talented than the rest of us. What do birds really do for entertainment anyway?
We passed a truck from Wisconsin a few times. They were pulling a big trailer, with Fox stickers. We figured they had bikes or quads in the trailer. We pulled in to a Subway restaurant somewhere in Southern Illinois (Candi found it for us. Candi is the voice on the GPS. I have decided that Candi is a stripper from Wyoming. Don’t know why Wyoming, it just sounds right.) They pulled in to the Subway just behind us. Turns out they are going to ride at an MX track in Alabama, and then on to Daytona for bike week. It was a guy and his son from Wausau. They were pretty nice people.
I am writing this now from the campsite in Tennessee. It was an adventure today, for sure. When we were in Kentucky, suddenly the van began to make a vibration, and then Scott said, “we have a flat.” I thought he was kidding at first, and then sure enough I could feel that the right front of the van was lower than before. Ugh. There goes our good time, was all I could think of.
We made it to the side of the road, extricated ourselves from the van and went to work. We are decent mechanics, at least. I took off the bad front wheel, and Scott worked on getting the spare down. We had not done that yet, so that was an exercise to figure out how it dropped. We got it down, got it mounted up and then stood back from it and realized that we had an extremely haggard spare tire. The spare was worn out on the inside edge and cracked and drying on the side wall. As we were working on the side of the road, the Wausau truck pulled up behind us. They got out, and talked us through our repairs. They knew the area, and told us to follow them to a tire shop just down the road. We mounted it up, drove slowly for 25 miles or so and ended up at a Wal-Mart in Clarksville Tennessee.
After 2 hours or so at the Wal-Mart, we were on our way, about $200 lighter. A new tire (to replace the worn and haggard spare), and a repair to the front tire.
We had to get to Nashville before night time. Apparently Scott feels cursed with Nashville. Claims he has been through there many times, but has never seen the city in the day. He feels cursed. We got there at about 5:30pm. Made it through the city in the daylight, and Scott got to see what he was missing. Not sure what that was, as Nashville appeared to me to be just about it. Not much more.
Ok, so that brings me to where we are now. Tennessee Hills Campground, outside of Chattanooga. Actually, outside of Murphfreebouro. Wow, that is a mouthful, eh? Candi found the campsite for us, which makes it questionable, in the first place. After all, what can a Wyoming stripper know about campgrounds in Tennessee? We drove up the side of this mountain, and up on top there is a campground. We take one lap, but cannot find the office. Scott hoped out of the van, and knocked on the door of a camper to ask if they knew where the office is. He hears bunch of scuttling around inside the camper, and then a guy with a wife beater shirt, a mullet and a shotgun whips the door open. And asks what Scott is doing there.
Scott insists that he is just looking for directions. I think there was a tense moment when they both stared at each other, but in the end the mullet guy backs down and then became friendly. He gave us directions on how to get the owner on the phone and set up a campsite. Turned out to be honest and probably legal. He did have a nice mullet though.
That gets us to where I am now. Sitting in the camper, listening to the heater working, trying to make it to 8:30pm before I fall asleep.
It is only 3 days till we are racing our motorcycles.