There was no need for an alarm today. I leapt from the bed, showered and was packing the scoot within 15 minutes. Birds were chirping, the air smelled like spring, felt like spring. A smile broke out behind my coffee cup. Day 1 was here. My friend and boss lady Laura came by to snap some photos, while the scoot was being packed. At 1o am I was beeping goodbye to her and my roomie Wendy.
Off I sped, 40 miles down the road to meet my mom for a quick hug and lecture. Which actually never came. Mom handled the bon voyage with grace, although she declined a test drive of the scooter. The sun was higher in the sky and I felt a bit overdressed. This year a nice lady from scooterdiva.com offered me her Alpinestar knee/leg armor. Today is the first run with it on. It’s a completely necessary item, although I waddle a bit with it on, it’s hot and my knees are kinda chafed right now. Still, mere jeans don’t provide adequate protection.
The packing went rather quickly this morning, something I could do in my sleep by now. Compression sacks work magic on gear. Packed in a sack no bigger than a sleeping bag is my sleeping bag, jacket/pants rain gear, tarp, and towel. This is bungied onto the front rack. Later in the day, the weight felt like it was creating a wobble in the scooter, so some stuff was switched to the saddlebags.
When I stopped to adjust the gear, I felt a pressure to go, go, go, hurry, hurry, hurry. I’m torn about punctuality and its place. Punctuality on an epic ride like this seems to defeat the point, even though in every other situation, I try to avoid tardiness. I’m also still learning how to wrap up a candid, interesting conversation with strangers-that’s the Southern Girl in me.
Today I met and talked to 5 total strangers, all wonderful people and on most travel days, I meet more than that. I know I won’t break my back or compromise my health and safety to maintain the illusion of a schedule. It would be hypocritical of me to ask how we can improve our quality of life while compromising my own.
Dave Mangano was at Scoot Richmond when I arrived on time, at noon. It was nice to meet the man in person, having been interviewed by him for sctrsct.com. He is an intelligent man with great style and humor. Another Dave showed up to see me off and the three of us, plus Chelsea, hung around the showroom. We were lounging around on scoots and the fancy shop sofa, chatting away.
The Dave who rides a Buddy asked some questions about gear so we went outside for a tutorial. He’s a new scooterist, and we talked about his shift from driving a truck to scooter. He was a real solid guy, very generous, and he brought up some good references to Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. We agreed that while in a car, everything is so insulated, framed whereas on a scooter you are part of the landscape. We talked the senses, and how they are used more. I joked this must be what makes me so hungry when scootering-shocking when all I’m doing is sitting on my rear 8 hours a day.
Dave M. asked me some questions for his podcast and shared some tech knowledge with me. Then it was time to sc00t sc00t. Time had slipped away, two hours. Chelsea thought the media might come out in addition to Sctrcst, but alas, it was NASCAR weekend in Richmond. Sadly, more interesting. It was a proper send off though and I took a moment to appreciate the absence of any stress.After hugs, I was off down Hull Street. But not before thanking Chelsea profusely for the scooter charity she has kicked my way-an amazing woman. And we worked out a fund raising idea that I will hold her to-just you wait….
Soon potholes, stoplights and urban buildings gave way to sprawling countryside. Traffic was friendly, thankfully, as I dropped my speed to handle the strong wind gusts. I was getting hit hard and had some serious wobbles that were made scarier with tractor trailers going past. The route today was a long open road, through sparsely populated countryside; couldn’t even tell it was rush hour on a Friday, somewhere at least.
Stopping for my third tank of gas, I lingered for a few minutes, making sure to hydrate. This is the most I’ve been out in the sun for awhile and I wanted to avoid dehydration. The break led to an encounter with Ricky Martin. Not the salsa dancing, pop sensation but the North Carolina raised truck driver. He had a friendly Southern drawl and asked a lot about the scooter, but never asked “Why?”
Why the heck are you doing this? So I volunteered the information and asked him how he defines Peace. He said, “I’ve never really had to answer that question.” Exactly. We talked some more and I discovered he has 2 kids and a grandaughter. We talked about how he would describe Peace to her if she asked.
His answer that Peace had something to do with freedom led us deeper into discussion. He said I could definitely make it to the North Carolina border by sunset, but not the original stopping point I had in mind. Around sunset I pulled into Eden. Knowing that I have free places to stay the next week made the motel room an acceptable splurge.
So here I am in Eden, North Carolina, traveling 235 miles my first action packed day out. As I pulled into town, the odometer switched over to 12,000 miles. Mostly all miles ridden on P.E.A.C.E Scooter, minus about 350.
I choose not to drive late into the night, at dark, as I find that foolish and not necessary. Did it enough last year and I know the force that is Southern bugs at night. They literally cover your coat and helmet, making visibility poor. Tomorrow is an early start to Asheville, NC, just under 200 miles away, where I have good friends to visit.
Thanks for reading and thank you to all those who sent me well wishes today!