As the sun began to rise over the hills outside Ft. Knox, Kentucky, I pulled over to stretch my legs and snap a couple of pics. 6:00am, 925 miles since my official start of the Ride 1k In A Day Challenge.
The day started 22 hours earlier, leaving my house in Central Kentucky for a relaxing Sunday morning ride. Five hours later, I'm outside Knoxville, TN. That's when I started the 1,000 miles. The plan was to ride through Chatanooga, up to Nashville, over to Memphis, up through St. Louis, and back to Louisville before heading home.
The ride to Chatanooga started with a full tank of gas and a cheeseburger. 79 miles in the first leg. My 2.5 gallon tank meant I had to make a pit stop just outside the city. Just over an hour in, I rode into downtown Chatanooga. After a quck stop for some photos, I started off on the second leg, 135 miles to Nashville.
It was an uneventful two hour ride to the city center. I ended up getting lost in the Nashville and eventually made my way to the Grand Ole Opry. As I left Nashville, rush hour began. An hour later, I was on I-40, headed west toward Memphis. 212 Miles.
The long, straight road to Memphis was livened up by another driver. For some reason, I assume it was his horrible job, horrible wife, or maybe he was picked on in school, but he felt the need to try to run me over. Twice. I let it go. I had to. I wasn't even at the halfway point yet and couldn't afford some road-rage BS.
The sun started setting as I entered Memphis. That's when I noticed my headlight wasn't on. I tried a few tricks to get it to turn on (flipping the HI-beam switch, turning the key, pulling fuses, etc.), hoping to get back on the road before dark, but to no avail. I pulled in at a local Autozone to give it a more thorough inspection. Turns out, the ballast for my HID kit burned out and to make matters worse, the only tools I didn't bring was a pair of screwdrivers. This was the first Autozone I've ever been to that didn't have a screwdriver I could borrow. Relligated to buying and returning a phillips head, I was back on the road an hour later with a $12 light bulb. Luckily that was the biggest setback of the day.
Night fell as I headed north up I-55 to St. Louis. Plans changed and I decided to bypass St. Louis and head to I-64 via I-57 in Illinois.
Indiana sucks. The long, straight, flat highways are unbearable. I've driven I-65 hundreds of times over the years and never look forward to it. I-64 isn't much different. It was quite uneventful, except for the massive mosquito attack at a gas station.
I met a man at a gas station in the middle of nowhere. We had a nice chat about my bike, riding, and the Ride 1k In A Day. He told me he once rode his Harley 5,000 miles in a week, but never tried to hit 1,000 in 24 hours. He wished me luck on my adventure and we parted ways. I had several of these types of encouters along my way. They were my "single-serving friends," like Edward Norton in Fight Club.
Taking another short break in Louisville, I double-checked my route and realized I was going to finish with 900 miles. This was what we call a "No-Go." I had to add 100 miles somehow. I headed through the west-side to 31-W and started south to Ft. Knox.
925 miles in, I hit Ft. Knox, but you already know that part. I headed out from there and took the Bluegrass Parkway from Elizabethtown and headed home from there. Overall, it was a 1,001 mile trip, not including the 269 miles before the challenge started.
I made it home just after 7:30am Monday. My hands were swollen and numb from the vibrations, I couldn't feel my legs, and I had been riding for 24 hours at that point. My bike and my t-shirt were both covered in bugs. I could barely see out of my visor from all of the bugs, road grime and dirt caked on it. It was a gloriously exhausting experience and I would do it again in a heartbeat.
1,000 miles, over 7 states, in 18 hours. They say there's freedom in the open road. I set out to find it that day, and can honestly say I found it. No cares, no problems, no worries, except the odometer, the clock, and the gas tank.