Day Five: A Van's Eye View of Fitchburg

Today, as the riders set out on their second riding day, I donned civilian clothing and prepared to drive the van. One of the responsibilities (sacrifices, if you ask me) of being a trip leader is to drive the trip van every fourth day. Driving the van carries a fairly substantial workload:
  • Keep a 15-passenger van with a fully loaded trailer on the road, between the ditches, even if the road is not particularly friendly to motor traffic.
  • Obey all laws, including stop signs and speed limits, which are perpetually difficult to see and arbitrarily placed.
  • Follow the route, which can be complicated and feature frequent turns onto unmarked roads.
  • Be able to field questions from riders who get lost and need routing assistance.
  • Provide gear and support for any riders with mechanical or health issues.
  • Run errands for the trip as necessary.
  • Keep the van fueled.
  • Stay calm, positive, and hydrated through the entire process.
Today's van driving involved a fairly heavy dose of all of the above. A number of riders got lost along the 42 mile route, and between shuttling Kristian to the hospital and making a quick rendez-vous with the Northern van, I was busy. I was given a cookie upon arrival - thanks, Jess! - and passed out once I got here.

We're staying with the First Parish Church of Unitarian Universalists here in Fitchburg, and I can't overstate how welcoming their community has been. A gentelman by the name of Neil Anderson, a former professor at Penn State, provided excellent conversation. Neil rode up on a Trek 520, and does all sorts of interesting things here in Fitchburg.

I'm looking forward to riding tomorrow.