Leaving was hard to do. I felt more anxiety than excitement. The night before I had to make strategic reductions to my luggage. Did I pick the right things? Rain was coming that afternoon. Could I beat it to my campsite? The longest motorcycle journey I had ever done was a two day camping trip. Was I ready for this? To settle my nerves, I reminded myself that I could change course in Minneapolis, turn my trip into a two week tour of the Great Lakes rather than a cross country adventure. I wished I hadn’t told so many people I was going on a cross country adventure. How would I explain it to them? I told myself it didn’t matter; this was about me. My dad snapped this pic in front of my childhood home and then I departed:
Thirty seconds later I returned. I had forgotten chain lube.
The road was calming. Western Pennsylvania is great for motorcycling. Rolling hills. Farms and forests. And historic little towns serving as their counties’ seats. I got into a riding groove. Started enjoying myself. Took photos in front of courthouses:
Greenville was the last Pennsylvania town on my route. It had a railroad museum:
As I crossed into Ohio, I was greeted by Mosquito Creek Lake, which made for some good pics:
Finally, I reached my first night’s destination, West Branch State Park Campground:
My good friend Dave and his girlfriend Caily drove up from Pittsburgh to join me for my first night on the road. We made an ice cream run and took pics by the lake:
I was feeling good. Lucky even. Although I had seen ominous skies and driven wet roads, I had never actually been rained on. The forecast now only called for rain late that night.
But the forecast was wrong. It started to pour. And everything changed.