Awaking to the persistent beeping, I struggle to free an arm from the sleeping bag. Turn the alarm off and roll out of the tent. Grabbing a headlamp we walk to the lakeshore. Explore for a bit in the early morning dark before a long day of riding.
Baylor fed, I organize gear. Turn to take the tent down and find him back inside snoozing. He tries to convince me that crisp fall mornings are meant for napping after breakfast. I’m mighty tempted, but we’ve many miles ahead of us. Rain threatens and I’d prefer to get as much time dry on the road as possible.
Stopping for fuel, I look at the map. Compare and contrast route options. See that I-40 will save some valuable time. Get us to Asheville by dark, before the gates at the expo close. As much as I detest interstates, it seems the best option. We’ll be riding in the cold and rain no matter what, might as well choose that route that will get us there faster.
Twenty minutes later I reconsider the interstate decision. Find myself standing on the side of the road as semis blow past kicking dirty road water in my face as I stare at the bike. Looks like we won’t make it to the expo tonight. The chain broke, flew off. Time for a new plan.
I’d been lubing it daily, checking the tension regularly. I’d done my best, thought it all looked okay, but clearly missed something. It’s annoying and perplexing, but there’s no point in getting overly upset. As Epictetus said,
It’s not what happens, but how you react to it that matters.
Insurance called, tow truck arranged, I wrap the tarp around Baylor. Turn him into a little sidecar burrito. At least he’ll stay warm and dry while we wait. And wait. And wait.
Rufio loaded, we climb into the backseat of the truck. Insurance only covers a 15 mile tow and it’s after hours anyways, so I ask the guys to drop us at a nearby KOA.
The go back and forth. Switch radio stations. Turn the volume down, then up. They carry on a constant dialogue while we ride. It’s english, but I only comprehend every third word. The drawl is thick, foreign to my untrained ear.
Parked in a camp spot, I wave as the guys leave. Baylor sniffs around momentarily. Wanders back. It’s raining, late, dark. And the tent isn’t up. He moves closer, stares at me impatiently. I’ve yet to solve the chain obstacle, but first-things-first. The furry sidekick wants to be home for the night.
111 days down. Many to come.