Day 1 (July 18)
My trip got off to a less than optimal start. I had gotten only 5 hours of sleep the night before because I was too worked up to fall asleep. I left my house around 9:55am for the nearby gas station where I put air in my tires. They charged 50 cents to operate the air compressor and it stopped running after I inflated one tire so I spent a dollar on air. Good thing I had a ziplock bag full of quarters with me. Tires inflated, I headed for the freeway only to realize I had forgotten my camelbak so I turned around to get it. I am really glad I did too because it was invaluable during this trip. I practically got my money's worth out of it the first day alone.
Packed and ready to go
I had not packed my bike beforehand to make sure everything fit and that I would be comfortable on it and this came back to haunt me. As soon as I put on the camelbak I realized it was running into my duffel bag and pushing me forward in my seat. This seemed like a minor discomfort at the time but multiplied across a couple hours and it ended up making my butt and upper arms sore. As I drank the water I was able to gradually scoot back more and on subsequent days I would pack my duffel bag so as to give me more room.
My destination for day 1 was Portland where I was going to stay at my aunt's apartment. She was actually going to be out of town camping but she left the key under the doormat and I ended up having the place to myself. I covered a lot of familiar territory since my grandparents used to live in Washington and my family would drive up there at least once a year when I was younger. Interstate 5 from Sacramento to Marysville, WA seems like Folsom Blvd or Highway 50 as far as excitement goes. My ride was pretty uneventful. The only difficulty I had to face was the heat. I was sipping water from my camelbak every few minutes and oozing out sweat like crazy. I didn't have to pee all day. If I didn't have the camelbak I would either have gotten dehydrated or else I would have had to stop so much more often it probably would have added an hour to my trip.
One thing I did start to realize was that when people see a guy on a motorcycle loaded down with camping gear they treat you differently. But in a good way. I stopped at a rest stop in Corning around noon to eat some bread and peanut butter. There were several picnic tables all in the sun and as I was deciding which one to sit down and eat at, an older woman asked me to sit down at the table she and her husband were at. There was a small amount of shade covering one corner and they moved to let me have it. They asked where I was from and where I was going. They were travelling in a pickup that day but they had been on several long motorcycle trips together.
I arrived at my aunt's place a little before 9:00pm. In retrospect this was a really easy day with excellent road conditions, good weather (it's much easier to ride in 100 degree heat than rain), and a nice apartment waiting for me. However I felt worn out and tired of being on the road. Boy did I have a lot to learn.
Day 1 route
Expenses: gas ($21.38)