Ten things to look forward to in the cross-country trip:
1. Starting. Right now, the chase vehicle has nothing in it. Nothing has been packed. Things need to be purchased. The ride begins in 27 days! It will so incredibly stressful until the ride begins, getting everything ready. But the ride will begin, no matter how disorganized it is. Organization is a continuing process!
2. Climbing my first real mountains since 2013. This should happen within the first day and a half. I don’t think I’ve been above 1,000 feet since I left Georgia near the end of the 2013 ride. It’s a real confidence builder to see those road signs telling you the elevation.
3. Getting out of the major areas, away from where the interstates run and getting into the open. Then getting back to a more major area. You can tell you’re getting close to a big city for about half a day before you get there.
4. Cows getting startled and running with me, forming a small herd. Calves especially. Just hope that it’s nearly all beef cattle; dairy farms smell!
5. Meeting Davy, the first implant recipient from the ride in 2013, in Omaha. His mother is pulling together a lot of events and is our main volunteer for that stop!
6. Rain when it isn’t too bad. Whenever it isn’t too cold or windy, or when the rain is very light… it makes you feel like Superman, even though you’re only suffering a tiny bit more. Of course, when it is really a soaked-to-the-skin, all-day, 10 pairs of socks day, you feel less like Superman and instead feel like a weak little animal at the mercy of mother nature.
7. The end of the day. Doing 4 twenty-mile legs or “3 thirties and a twenty” helps break down long days. The last leg always takes the longest, so I’ll try to do more on the earlier legs. It’s psychological. I’ll check the GPS on my phone, and I would see 92.3 miles. I would NEVER tell myself that I have 8 miles to go, but that I HAD LESS THAN 8 miles to go. Of course, based on parking logistics, the van is generally plus or minus 3 miles off of the mark, but still. Getting into the van at the last leg and chugging that last shake is a good feeling. Another day bites the dust.
8. Eating all of the food. All of it. Cold pizza. Mustard and turkey and bread. Hard boiled eggs. Trail mix. Give it to me now. Shake. Turkey. Mustard. Someone accidentally sat on the loaf of bread again? Oh well. Pickles. Shake. Banana. Snickers bars are a treat from heaven at mile 60, I swear they add 2 mph to your speed for like 15 minutes.
9. Getting across the Appalachians and knowing that I am on a coastal plain until the end. Crossing into Maryland.
10. Driving back home and sleeping in my own bed!