When I was a little girl, my mom took my brother and I up to the rec center to sign up for tee ball.
This was completely voluntary on our parts, whether we did or did not want to play was completely up to us.
Panic stricken at the thought of doing something I knew nothing about, I adamantly shook my head "no" and told my mom I did not want to play.
The sick feeling of drunken butterflies in my stomach led me to believe nothing good could come from this "new" thing.
So, I didn't sign up for little league and my brother did and the summer progressed. My brother received a uniform, his own trading card and after games his team would go out for ice cream.
It led me to believe that I got hosed by those little drunken butterflies.
But that hard learned lesson did not make them go away and whenever I prepare for something new or outside of my comfort zone, they always come back.
As I rode away from my home on the first day of my trip, I felt a little blue. I was going to miss my husband, my animals and my family. Maybe in the end it would have been better to have begged and pleaded with someone to ride along with me so I wouldn't be lonely or intimidated by the mileage ahead.
This feeling lurked about my shadow as I pedaled past the areas I know all to well. Clinton River Trail, the Pontiac Loop (where some crazy ass lady almost swiped me with her car...I hate riding through Pontiac), Bloomfield Trail...
And then I started into a section I had only ridden on once before and then into completely unknown territory.
Which surprisingly made those butterflies start to drop away.
The further I progressed on my route, the happier my spirits became and soon like a good pack of rolaids, my enthusiasm for the path ahead squelched those butterflies (but I still did miss my husband, my family and my animals).
And like bread crumbs, puddles filled the pathways and streets as I moved through each Township, indicating the presence of rain moving in front of me, my private little storm cloud clearing out the trail.
Amazingly, the route I put together was made up of primarily just rail trail paths on this first section. I had very little road riding until I started creeping up on my destination (a small town outside of Lansing called Dimondale).
The sun was shining, traffic was minimal since it was a Sunday evening and before I knew it, I was already rolling into the hotel parking lot.
In an effort to make myself a bit more presentable, I've gotten into the habit of trying to smooth out my fuzzy tennis ball hair when I take off my helmet. I went through the routine out in the parking lot of the hotel prior to entering.
The concierge was very pleasant and quickly checked me in with minimal gawking at my disheveled appearance.
After rolling my bike to my room (I have to say I love the sound of my hub echoing off the walls of places it should not be), I immediately took a shower....and it was glorious.
Then, as I was preparing to leave the room to hunt down dinner, a funny thing happened.
The power went out.
I walked over to the window and threw back the curtains and outside was a torrential down pour. The wind was blowing so hard that the garbage cans in the parking lot were sliding across the pavement.
Talk about timing!
I hadn't been checked in for even twenty minutes, if that!
Panicked at the thought of not getting dinner, I switched into my rain pants and jacket and made my way across the parking lot to the onsite Wendy's.
I had a date with some prefabricated chicken nuggets!
By the time I walked there to get my food and then start back, the storm had already passed.
As I trudged across the pavement avoiding giant lakes of water, holding my prized nuggets, I felt like I had gone out and rustled up that food with my bare hands.
I returned to my hotel room to find the power was back on :-) and set up my little meal on my bed. As I ate an episode of "Bones" playing on the television, I stared out the window in a dazed state of euphoria.
Tomorrow I would venture further west, my destination, the coast of Muskegon. My hopes for the roadside scenery were high, but for now, I cleaned up the remnants of my meal and prepared a cup of tea for bed.
Total trip distance today was 115 miles
Total cost was $74.95 for the hotel room and $7.20 for my dinner
Total time in saddle was somewhere around 9 hours (Strava kept seizing and segmented half my ride while not recording some sections...geez....technology)