Some days, I spend the whole day in a city meeting friends, seeing the sights, and traveling between different parts of the city. Other days, I spend half the day traveling and half seeing a place - either a morning traveling and an afternoon with friends, or a lazy morning followed by traveling til I sleep, or (most often) an hour of traveling followed by an hour of resting, repeated for an entire day. And some days, like yesterday, I spend the entire day on the bike. And the thing is, I need all three types of days.
It's not too much of a surprise that I'd get bored if every day was a travel day - those days can be rough, and I can't do that many in a row. It's a little more of a surprise that I actually need the travel days to keep me interested - even I was surprised by that.
In the first month of the trip, I traveled 7000 miles for an average of about 230 miles a day. In the last 10 days, I traveled about 1000 miles - an average of 100 a day. The main reason was that I made some (relatively) extended stops in Seattle and Portland. I spent Saturday morning through Tuesday morning of last weekend in Seattle, and then stopped back through a northern suburb for a day later in the week, and I spent Saturday night through Tuesday morning of this weekend in Portland. The only places I've stayed similar lengths are Minneapolis, where I stayed with three different friends and met up with another; and Rapid City, where I got stuck and ended up staying a night longer than I had planned.
Both of them were amazing stays - Seattle was especially cool because of the surprises, but they're both cities that I would consider living in, so I'm glad I got to spend time in each. But when I left Portland... well, it felt good to have a day where I rode 300+ miles and spent 7 hours on the bike.
It didn't hurt that I was riding down 101, and it's one of the better sections of 101 (lots of curves and ocean views). Riding that alone is entertainment enough for the day. But I could have covered the good part of 101 in about an hour, maybe two. What really made the day for me was... well, just riding. For hours. And really feeling like I covered some ground, for the first time in more than a week.
I suppose I shouldn't be too surprised by my need for days like that. After all, that's what my weekend road trips were - traveling all day, seeing a city all day, and then traveling all day again. And I loved the travel days just as much as the days in the cities. There's a feeling of accomplishment that comes with spending a day in the car, and realizing at the end of the day that you're on the other side of the country.
I need the days where I sit around and do nothing. I need the days where I sit around at a coffeeshop til noon and then travel in the afternoon, like today. But I also need those travel days, not just to get through the trip, but to make the trip what I want it to be.