Today was the day.
The day I took the bike on the road.
I have to hand it to Mr. H. He has endless patience, yet sets a plan of action and goes for it. I was planning on a few trips up and down our lane before venturing farther. Not him. "Here's what we're gonna do: down to Howell's Grocery, straight at the intersection all the way to Tanner Williams, then left over to Wilmer Road, then left on Howells Ferry and back to the house."
That is a 20 mile trip.
And I did it!
I learned that once you get going, the going is easy. The difficult part is stopping. Well, not exactly difficult, but there is a lot more to remember and keep track of. The first several times, I stopped well short of the intersections. I think I was afraid of running out into oncoming traffic (which wasn't even there.) I turned from stopping at a stop sign and even turned left while traveling (I held my breath, but didn't lay the bike down so that was excellent.)
Made it all the way back to the intersection of Howell Tanner Chapel and 612. I'm not sure what was going on in my head, but I managed to have the bike go over. I wasn't moving (or at least was barely moving) and wasn't turning, but it started over and I couldn't pull it back up. Mr. H helped me pull it back up. We rode the last 2 miles back to the house to have lunch and talk it over.
After gumbo leftover from last night and the end of the MSU-Bama game (we won't discuss that one), it was time to go back out. This time we went right at Howell's Grocery to CF Ward. In the car, I take the Will Howell Road shortcut, but the point where Will Howell ends at 612 is in a curve and the visibility stinks. Until I get more experience I'll take the long way (and so will Em when she gets her driver's license!) We crossed the bridge and I slowed enough to make the right turn onto CF Ward. The map below is of the center section of CF Ward Rd. (You may have to click on the X right above Sat to close the address box and be able to see the map.) There are 2 pretty sharp curves: the first to the right, then a 90 degree turn to the left.
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I was doing okay around the first curve, but didn't slow down enough for the 2nd one. About where the C in the vertical text of CF Ward is, I went wide into the grass. Amazingly enough, I kept my head, didn't brake, and headed back onto the road. AMAZING! I didn't stop and just kept going up to the stop sign. Mr. H was very proud of me for not freaking out! He suggested that we head to the church parking lot for some slow practice. Which I did, but very carefully because that parking lot is full of sand and fine gravel.
Coming home, I crossed over the R/R tracks with no problem. In fact, on that leg of the trip I felt very comfortable. Mr. H says that for the first 6 months or so, everytime I get on the bike, it'll feel like I'm starting over, but that's normal.
Over all, I am incredibly pleased with my first day of riding. I can't wait to make it a part of who I am.