Thursday, March 5, 2009

Orange Blossom Special: T+3

There's loud music playing somewhere and it's waking me up. How annoying and rude. As I became more awake, I realized it was my alarm...and I was in my own bed. It took a few moments to process the situation but then sprang into action. I'd just ridden from Van Horn TX, by way of Lordsburg, was in my own house, and now needed to get on the road to head for Jacksonville.

But first things first. I simply HAD to know how Greg did on his BBG Trifecta. I turned the computer on and, as it booted up, prepared a bowl of cereal and started sorting through the piles of stuff I'd unloaded onto the kitchen counter the night before. I set aside the dirty clothes and reduced the amount of clean clothes down to the bare essentials. Checking Greg's SPOT page I was delighted to see that he was in Jacksonville and the ride was safely "in the bag." Great news!!

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Bike repacked, dew wiped off the seat and cockpit, I was back on the road and headed east by 7:30 AM. It will be an easy 850 mile ride on my "favorite" road, I-10. I have plenty of time and there's no hurry so no need to rush.

All of the gas stop went as planned and only a couple of gas station receipts required a trip inside to the C-store to get a duplicate.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Of course, no trip east on I-10 would be complete without stopping at my favorite Shell gas station in Port Allen, just west of the Mississippi River Bridge and Baton Rouge. If I leave my house at 7-8 AM, I am guaranteed to arrive there near lunchtime. They have the best homemade fried chicken anywhere! One of the ladies that works the counter remembers me whenever I go in there. "You're the lady on the motorcycle!" I ordered my chicken thigh and biscuit, grabbed a cold drink and then ate it outside next to my bike in the sunshine. It was so good I almost went inside to buy another, but prudence won out, and I rinsed my hands using my bottled water, put my helmet and gloves back on and continued east.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Many, many motorcyles were heading west on I-10, their back seats, if not filled with a passenger, loaded with motorcycle luggage and, in some cases, camping gear. No doubt all were returning after spending a few days at Daytona Bike Week. I passed a pickup truck with a brand new BMW F800GS in the bed. The driver and I gave each other thumbs up as I passed. Otherwise, my roadside encounters and exchanges were very few this trip.

It grew dark as I approached Tallahassee. My last gas stop before reaching Jacksonville would be about 30 miles east of Tallahassee. There is a Wendy's next door and I considered taking the time to eat, but Jacksonville was so close I could "taste" it, so gassed up and got back on the road quickly, eager to cover those last 150 miles, get my finish receipt and get to the party hotel.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

The IBA event hotel was like a beacon in the night! I pulled up to the portico and quickly realized I was pulling in right behind my friend Claye's bike! There was a small group of folks milling about and, as I removed my helmet and gloves, Greg walked over and congratulated me on my ride. He, of the succesfully completed BBG trifecta, was congratulating me?? It was good to see that Claye had successfully completed her first IBA endurance ride, a SS1000.

Witness forms completed and rooms procured at the hotel, she and I walked next door to a Steak & Shake to get something to eat. I was starving. She'd taken the time to eat something at her final gas stop, but joined me anyway. Other riders were just in or were coming in at about the same time. Two riders were in the restaurant, one of them having completed an incredible double 100CCC (ridiing from Jacksonville to San Diego then back to Jacksonville, not once but twice!!) and the other having completed a 100CCC after dealing with battery problems and getting a late start.

It was a really great two day ride! Completing the SS2000 - and having done 1200 miles on the first leg - was not nearly as hard as the BBG I had done a year ago. I was not the least bit tired and it took me a while to wind down in the hotel room once I got the bike parked and unpacked and got settled in. I reflected on the concern that getting up that second morning and getting back on the bike would be difficult. But that was an unfounded concern. I was in fact eager to get back on the road again, looking forward to successfully completing the ride which would, in turn, bring me to Jacksonville where I'd see many friends and acquaintances at the IBA party.

Tomorrow: Hanging out with friends and attending the IBA banquet

No comments:

Post a Comment