Rocketbunny in the Blue Ridge Mountains – Day 01

Day 01
Saturday, August 8, 2009
Monroe, LA to Athens, TN
561 miles

I’ve gotten a bit of a reputation among riding buddies as a late sleeper. On past trips, the only legitimate reason for waking up before 8 AM has been a planned long mileage day. Well, this morning I didn’t use slightly sore shoulders as an excuse to skimp on my (relatively new habit) “every other morning” 6:30 AM jog. My riding camelbak flopped around a bit more than my usual waist hydration pak, but it was fine for a quick 40 minute run. I got back, took a shower, packed the bike, and was on the road before 9 AM.

I found I-20 to be very similar to US59 in appearance. Road construction crews basically chopped down a swath of pine trees and laid down a ribbon of pavement.

I got a few sprinkles just after stopping for gas near Tuscaloosa, AL. I quickly pulled over to stow my camera and cover my GPS with a ziploc bag. A few miles later the cooling rain really caught up with me on I-459 around Birmingham, AL. It was only a cherished memory when I took the I-59 ramp toward Gadsden.

Drying off, I passed my intended destination for the night, Ft Payne, around 5:30. I again decided it was too early to stop and continued on toward Chattanooga, TN.

When riding in the west, I’m generally pretty aware of where the time zone borders lie. I know that Mountain begins roughly even with the New Mexico/Colorado eastern border, and Pacific as I cross into California/Nevada. I’m not as familiar with the boundaries of the Eastern time zone though, and was watching for a notification sign that never showed. I should have gotten a clue when I crossed briefly into Georgia.

I had initially felt a little guilty for stopping for the night just past Chattanooga in Athens, TN at only “6:30″. I felt much better about my decision when I realized that it was actually just before 8 PM.

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