First days on the road brought me a very surprising experiences, and first of them was being in the police car, and I have to say, there is not much room for legs.
But I’ll start from the beginning.
I was planning on leaving early afternoon in order to ride 3 hours and get to my friends Jenny and Oz in Canton, OH before the dark. But I completely miscalculated the time that I needed to arrange last things like get a new cell phone, clean the apartment, return the car and put everything on the bike. The most of the time I killed on getting a new cell phone and transferring all the contacts (that didn’t work), so now I can say that both companies AT&T and Verizon suck.
Around 7 PM I decided to departure and of course it took me another 30 minutes to put everything on the bike and tight it up. Other problem that I faced is road construction and as a result from that endless detours (Thank you Columbus).
20 minutes later when I left the city my brake lights stopped working, fortunately I spent more than enough time fixing all the electric system of the bike that it took me a very short time to understand what exactly the problem and fix it (one of the wires disconnected from the tail light).
I was very close to the decision to turn around and go back and start driving next day because I’m not a big fan of riding at night, but I already promised to my friend that I’m coming and also I already started my journey, so coming back could be a bad start of it. So I made a stupid decision to keep going even if I suppose to arrive at 11 PM.
I decided not to take highways, because I never rode a bike with so much weight on it, and again it was getting dark and drivers on highways tend not to notice bikers.
Everything was fine and I felt pretty confortable riding when after hour and a half by bike suddenly stopped and the sound meant that I’m out of gas. It not a big problem I thought, because reserve tank should take me for another 50 miles at least. I turned a switch under the tank, pressed ignition button but nothing happened. Just then I realized that the switch between main and reserve tanks doesn’t work and I used all my gas.
I was in the middle of nowhere, eastern Ohio, in complete darkness, no cell phone reception (did I say already that AT&T sucks?) and the next gas station 5 km away uphill. So I started to push the bike to more secure place to leave than just a side of the road. Beside the fact that it was very hard physically to do so I kept thinking how I could let my friends know that I’m stuck. In other words, I was super frustrated.
The most surprising thing for me was that nobody stopped to ask what is wrong; all the cars just kept driving by. But some 20 minutes later I saw a police car stopping and the sheriff was very nice and helpful, he gave me a ride to the gas station and back to the bike. When I asked him about campgrounds he said there was one just few minutes ride from there, he even called the guys and made sure that someone will let me in.
I was pretty upset about the situation, and with all my love for camping I much prefer to stay with friends, especially considering the fact that I didn’t see them for a while. But everything changed when I set up the tent, turned off the light and looked up. I could see so many stars! I finally realized that my trip is started and I’m going to sleep under the stars many times and I don’t know where is going to be the next place that I can call home. From now, my tent and the bike is my home..
But my problems were not over. In the morning I went to the gas station and noticed that my front brakes are not responding well. I needed to change pads already, but procrastination is my main problem and I feel that I’m going to suffer from that a lot during my trip. During the change the regulator that was supposes to stop brake fluid from dripping outside didn’t work, and when I tried to open the box to refill it the screws got striped, probably because they were old.
The local motorcycle garage couldn’t help me and suggested me to go to the next city 30 km away, and even if riding inside small town with no front brakes is fine, ride to another town sounded crazy even for me.
I ended up driving to next garage, they couldn’t help me either, but one of the guys called his brother and told me that he can help. To give me the address he pulled the phone book. I felt like I went back in time. And then I met Jim, very nice guy who helped me to replace the screws and refill the fluid. Overall I was pleasantly surprised how welcoming and helpful are people in small town of Danville. I hope to meet more people like them on my way.
The rest of my day was a long ride to South Bend, IN to visit my friends Yael and Eden. I was happy to finish my first 24 hours on the road with good dinner, beer and great company.