My “Retreat Bike” is a Specialized Allez, 2008. It is from the time before 28mm road tires, and I never considered upgrading from 23mm to 28mm (would require a new rim). This mattered on my last East Coast Retreat.
I lay out a 500+ mile route, with typically a century ride per day. Sometimes the days are shorter. Sometimes the days are longer. Obviously, the longer the route, the less room I have for route modification. So when I got to day 2 of my NC to PA trip, the longest day of the journey at 121 miles, I knew it was important to stick to the route and muscle through whatever I encountered.
I hit a gravel section of unknown length. I pedaled on. One mile later, I was back on pavement.
I hit a second gravel section. I pedaled. Three miles later, pavement.
When I reached a third gravel section, I actually accelerated. Four miles later, pavement.
It’s amazing what you’ll put up with when you have zero alternatives.