Russell Fisher - TransAmerica Trail 2000 (First off-road across the USA)

In which our duck-like hero decides he's worried enough for anyone his age and finally gets on with it...

two weeks before the off...

Two weeks before the off and boyish enthusiasm takes over (requisite experience and ability just out of shot).

This is it - absolutely no going back now, whether I want to or not.

I wave a not-entirely tearful farewell to full-time employment today, the bike shipped out yesterday, the flight was booked this morning and I'm deeper into this whole thing financially than anyone with half an ounce of sense would consider, er... wise.

But "wise" can kiss my big fat bottom. "Wise" can swivel. "Wise" can sit back down, stop wagging its finger and refrain from muttering any further dark incantations re slow and painful demises and my inevitable future six months hence as an itinerant Trashcan Content Investigative Consultant (specialising in bus stations, naturally).

I really don't care.

On July 13th I should arrive in Jacksonville Florida, pick up my bike and set off on what I sincerely hope will be the first off-road coast-to-coast crossing of the USA (well, 90% off-road anyway). Along the way I want to learn lots and laugh out loud. And that'll do for me, thanks very much. My needs are simple.

Despite the fact I came across Sam Correro's website ( roughly eight months ago, the decision to jump wasn't really taken until a couple of months ago. So it's taken... ummm, two months to prepare for this. No, you're right - it's not enough. It's been a web-based research and prep job throughout which, of course, has cut down on time considerably, but I'm still running around like a decapitated duck now and will continue to do so for the next couple of weeks. Hey ho.

Me? Aaaah, pretty much par for the course really - just turned 40, long-term magazine journalist, recently divorced and - quel surprise - nurturing an embryonic little mid-life crisis.

The bike? Oooh, '93 Honda XR650L ill-advisedly purchased as a commuter hack, now replete with 23-litre Acerbistank, MT21s, Happy Trails racks, Ortlieb Drybags and more off-road potential than I'm really willing to exploit - I've ridden the odd trail weekend, a Weston Beach race and spent a couple of days with ex-UK Enduro Champion Geraint Jones and one with Paris-Dakar niceguy John Deacon. But all that was on featherlight little girly bikes. And this thing weighs a ton.

And it's going to be 95 degrees in the shade throughout.
And I could be fitter.
And I've never changed a puncture.
And... (that's enough self-deprecatory moaning. Get on with it. - Grant :)

Laters, Russell Fisher (a.k.a. Psyduk) (Psyduk? It's a Pokémon duck that gets headaches apparently. Kinda struck a chord...)

First Report - Florida, Alabama, Arkansas

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