I have been recently looking at this trip, as I used to look at an upcoming operational deployment. This is the wrong mindset to be in. This trip is not about physical achievement or endurance. It is not a means to an end, nor is it meant to prove anything. It is meant to be a spiritual journey. It is a memorial run for a dear friend, as well as a voyage of discovery and pleasure. My preparations will be followed with anal, military precision and logic, yes. But I will not sweat the details. The universe will unfold as it should, there can be no doubt. Still, I've made lists of lists, in an effort to forget nothing and to be prepared for any eventuality.
In the deepest recesses of my mind however, there echoes this laughing little voice which refuses to be stifled. I haven't attributed a character to this voice yet, but it's the one that knows that no matter how much planning I do, no matter what I bring along, I will never be totally equipped for everything that fate or nature might decide to throw in my path. Hmmm... Maybe we'll call this the voice of Reality... or Experience.
But, no... I steadfastly refuse to get sucked into this vortex of pre-departure angst. I will not start snapping at those around me, I will not allow my mind to become clouded with negative thoughts. Those I will leave behind me. I will go as far as I go in the first 4 days and then I will turn around. If I make it as far as Front Royal, VA on the first day of riding? Fantastic!! If I make it as far as Tellico Plains in Tennessee by Day 4? Great!!! I will be ecstatic. If for some reason I do not, then that will simply be a trip for another day. Perhaps even one that I'll get to take with my daughter...
Now that would be a trip... :)