Thanks to the friends and other folks who signed on as blog followers. It's given me a motivational kick in the rear to keep up the posts. I'll try and add some photos soon as I can. I forgot to bring along the card reader gizmo to get them from camera to computer.
Georgia. Karaoke honky-tonks, Christians, and white Ford pickups. Here begins the long, lonely stretch of the journey. In all my past cross-country drives, we'd avoided the south, shooting over to see Lanks in Memphis and eat wet-sauced barbecue ribs. I knew the mountains would be bad this time of year and figured I was overdue for a trip in the deeper states. I took some good advice and skipped Atlanta, cutting south from Bozer's on I-77 instead.
I don't know a soul between Charlotte to New Orleans. Planning the trip back home I'd glossed over this part, figuring I'd ride fast as possible and sleep when necessary. I shelled out the cash for a cheap motel tonight, badly wanting a hot shower and a bed after five days on the road without either.
The cold and high wind is wearisome and I ended the day's 300 miles with little energy left. I alternated between interstates and Georgia highways, getting rained on a few times between shifts. I stopped halfway, frozen and starving, at one of the thousand Waffle Houses along the route. The old women inside gave me the same crazy stares when I talked of riding to Arizona, but brought me coffee and baked potatoes just the same. In just one day the attitude of the trip has changed completely. Most noticeable is the quiet of the motel room. Since leaving Delaware I'd been immersed in old friends and the commotion and partying that comes with. I was a bit worn down from it all, and it's likely that these lonely days before New Orleans will be a necessary recharge. Still, the riding is tough, given the cold and battering winds.
As I get closer to Daytona (bike week coming up soon, from what I'm told) I see more and more motorcycles, though all of them strapped to the backs of trailers and pickup trucks (all Harley-Davidson so far). To date, I've only seen four other motorcyclists out riding, one of them being Porkroll who saw me off in Delaware. It's a thrill when I do run across another biker, sometimes sharing a moment side-by-side in the road before roaring off ahead. They all seem to have newer bikes, better-matching luggage, and slower cruising speeds than me.
I started the ride a bit hazy from the late nights in Charlotte. On Tuesday I'd went to work with Bozer at the Habitat for Humanity site, spending the day volunteering and hoisting heavy furniture from place to place. It felt good to work and to have a day off the saddle. I'm still inventing strange new positions when I ride so I can unkink and stretch without getting off. The wind is fierce in the wake of yesterday's snowstorm and my fingers take the worst of it. I can easily ride with my left hand tucked behind the windshield (a last-minute purchase for which I am constantly grateful). The right hand, being in charge of throttle, is much trickier. I spent a few miles perfecting knee-operated crusie-control before realizing the stupidity of such a venture. Praised be that damn windshield. I spend much of the day ducked forward behind it, watching the ripples in the road and remembering the heat of Costa Rica.