So...am I ready? Let's see...
- Do I have the right gear? I think so. I will write a whole separate post about the gear I'm taking with me. I'm in the middle of trying to figure out if the gear I have amassed will all fit in the two bags I've chosen to use for the trip. Final verdict on that is still out.
- Am I healthy enough? My doctor thought I was okay to go when I saw her. She sent me the results of my blood work with a note that said, "Blood work wicked, awesome, good. Have a great time." so I guess that's that.
- Am I physically fit enough? I think I have done all I could do to prepare physically for the trip. I tried to train wisely--pushing myself to improve my strength as much as I could with the amount of time I had, without pushing myself so hard that I risked injury. I have lost a total of 25 pounds since I began training in January, and I am delighted to have less weight to haul over the miles. There are times that I hardly notice the difference because, believe me, I could still stand to lose more weight; in other words, I'm not gaunt or wasting away. (I guess I was in denial about how much weight I had packed on these last few years.) My brother says I look different, though, so I guess those who haven't seen me for awhile might notice the difference. My core and my legs feel a lot stronger. I have spent enough time on a bicycle seat that my butt has "acclimated"; I'm sure fellow cyclists can relate to this. I have ridden enough over these last few months that riding feels like a given. When I'm on a bike, I feel like I can just go and go. I get into a kind of zone where I'm not thinking about every ache and pain or how heavily I'm breathing on the uphills; I just keep pedaling while I think about other things and enjoy the view. If I don't ride for more than a day, I feel like something is missing. Particularly since riding a lot of miles every day for six weeks encourages repetitive-use injuries rather than recovery, I do have some concerns about this aging body handling the demands of the trip (my knees are creakier than they used to be, my hands have some arthritis and don't rebound from the road vibration as well as they used to, and the soreness in my right ankle gets worse if I walk a lot [not so much when riding]), but I think these things are manageable and worth giving the trip my best effort. A few people who know that I have an artificial hip have asked how my hips are doing. Honestly, my hips have felt fine and have not given me any concern throughout my training.
- I have read a number of books about slavery and the Underground Railroad to give myself context for the ride and the historic sites we will see along the way. I will write a separate post about this.
- Have I arranged housesitting and pet care? Check and check. All set. (I have even been working on emptying out the refrigerator so I won't be met by green meanies when I return.) Well...then there's the matter of the extra cat that appears to be living in my yard like s/he has adopted us. I have not done anything about that yet--except to confirm that the cat is not wearing a collar. I have wondered if s/he might have a microchip. (My cats don't have chips, but you never know.)
- I have (hopefully) anticipated every bill that will be due while I am away and prepaid them.
- I got a hair cut that is a little shorter than usual because I hope it sees me through the whole trip. Had my teeth cleaned and checked for cavities; none. I have my last chiropractic adjustment tomorrow.
- How about connecting transportation? I have a ride to the bus in Portland on Friday. I will take a bus to Boston and ride the T to East Boston (to my sister's place). I have flights to Mobile on Saturday and a reservation for a shuttle to the inn. I have reserved a rental car in Buffalo for May 23 and I have a campground reservation for that night in Ithaca (my old stomping ground--haven't been back there in decades). I haven't figured out the night of May 24 yet. (Turns out most campgrounds want a minimum three-night reservation during Memorial Day weekend, so maybe that means I should treat myself to a motel room.) I have a little time to figure that out.
- I confirmed with the bike store in Mobile that my bike arrived on Monday--earlier than I anticipated. They hadn't opened the box yet, but the box looked fine (had no damage), so I assume that my bike is fine and will be ready for me when I arrive.
- Emotionally? I mostly feel upbeat and excited. I have had to employ a few tricks (like the pep talks) to keep my nerves at bay. Another example: Even though I love maps and normally enjoy pouring over them endlessly, I set aside all of the route maps after studying them one evening--and I haven't looked at them again since. Anticipating the mileage and looking at the ride contours was freaking me out. I decided to protect myself from all that and just study the routes one day at a time once I'm out on the road. Whatever works, right?
I think I'm ready!