We pulled out of the driveway, leaving a small crowd of friends and family, including sponsors Nelson & Boyd cheering us on with pom-poms and bubbles. Turning left on 101 we heard an odd rubbing noise coming from the right rear tire region. We unanimously and silently voted to ignore it and hoped it would go away. It didn't, squealing a little whenever we bottomed out over a bump in the road. We couldn't remember if the van had ever carried this much weight before: three adult bodies, two power chairs, four bikes and whatever is in the Yakima up top.
The universe tried to help lighten our load: looking back, there was a towel stuck to the bike handlebars, flapping in the wind. We pulled over to check the storage unit, but it was mysteriously still closed. No time for playing detective, we added some tie-downs to keep the thing shut.
While we were stopped, we took a piece of one of the power chairs to use as a lever, wedging the offending part of the van frame away from the tire.
Then it started raining. We packed for sunny and 90 degrees, but discussed the fact that we’d left the rain gear at home.
After a few hours, the skies turned blue, the terrain beige and flat, and that rubbing squeal only interrupted the travelling music once every ten minutes or so.
The blue sky gave way to a dingy taupe from the smoke of a thousand fires. The van was repeatedly attacked by tumbleweeds.
Meanwhile Jimmy and Josh B were lounging at a brewery, apparently too thirsty to wait for us.We found them at the No-Li brewery and loaded their cheery selves into the van. The added weight made the van bottom out with greater frequency, even with all of us leaning to the left. Happily we arrived at our airbnb safely and unloaded the poor overburdened vehicle.
We fueled up with dinner and beer at Manito Tap House in Spokane, where we were joined by good friends Todd and Karen who will begin the ride with us tomorrow. It's great to have the team together, and we are all excited for the adventures that await us!