One obvious thing I allowed myself to admit is that I'm not in the same kind of shape I was back when I did the Allegheny Mountains Loop, 4 yrs ago. I did 400 miles in 4 days! I still think back fondly on that trip and hope to get in that kind of riding shape again!
The other thing holding me back is realizing that I have some level of separation anxiety. It turns out that this condition is recognized in children but while being fairly common among adults, it is not acknowledged, talked about or dealt with.
The week leading up to an adventure, I would stay stressed out and look for any and every reason to cancel the trip. I love bikepacking, but so many excuses come to mind and failure of many sorts ensued.
Once I figured out what was going on, I did a bunch of research and the symptoms matched. I talked with the wife about it and she found ways that she could be more supportive. More about this in another post.
On to the route: The Yancey Ridge S240 from Bikepacking.com
I made a to do list over the summer. Realizing that I can't ride 80 miles a day back to back right now, and admitting that although I love an epic ride, I needed to start small, I started with the shorted local route I could find.
Free overnight parking at the Wilson Creek Visitor Center. I parked and headed out around 2pm.
I went off route to camp at a campground. I usually carry all of my camping gear and end up trying to find a motel or something to sleep in. This time, I had made a commitment to myself to camp out, no matter what. Fortunately, the weather was amazing and I wasn't even tempted to find indoor lodging. I had made a reservation at The Down By The River Campground and fulfilled that reservation. I do enjoy some comforts while camping, and a hot shower and clothes dryer are a nice touch.
After getting camp set up, my next dilemma was deciding if I should eat freeze dried, Mexican or Italian... I opted for Italian and ate some pizza! Stuffed, I headed back to the campground and enjoyed being bored for once. It seemed like I had a pretty good handle on my emotions at the moment, and embraced where I was, relaxing and enjoying my trip. Small victories.
I did not sleep great but got up and packed the next morning, excited to see what the day had in store. Being in the area, I could not miss getting breakfast at Christa's Country Corner. Homemade yeast rolls with bacon, egg and cheese, one for now, one to go: without the egg.