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Not So Great Trip With Some Great Moments

by "Froggi Donna"

6/23/04 12:15 pm
Well, we're packed and the bikes are loaded. Time to hit the road for what we hope will be the trip of a lifetime. While I've done a long trip (18 days, 4800 miles for the Pone Express Relay for Breast Cancer and the solo ride home), the longest trip Mike has done has been a three day one. With his current health issues we hope he will be able to deal with it all and enjoy it as well.

The afternoon was a typical Florida ride, hot and sunny, getting prettier as we rode north. Enjoyed the horse country, then the clouds moved in. Cooler temps, nice, but fortunately no rain. Jacksonville traffic was light even though we hit it during rush hour. Mike thought he'd like to make Savannah but was happy that we made it across the border. Stopped for gas in Brunswick, realized how tired we were, took one look at the black sky to the west and headed to the Super 8 behind the truck stop.

---> 6 hours, 260 miles

6/24/04 7:00 am
Very damp and humid out, rained during the night, thank goodness for our bike covers. They aren't totally waterproof but do protect to an extent. Got off as planned, around 7-ish, needed the early start since this will be the longest day of our entire trip.  Mostly overcast so the temps are reasonable. Started to really enjoy the scenery - SC, NC and on into VA. Riding the highway to make time, not our favorite thing but so far the traffic hasn't been bad at all. Had to remember what it's like to throttle up on hills and throttle down on the other side - don't have that in Florida. What a joy!

First catastrophe of the trip happened today. We stopped in Mooresville, NC so I could eat. Since there was both a grocery and drug store handy, Mike run over to get more Boost (for those who don't know, he eats via a feeding tube due to his cancer). For the trip he was carrying his over-the-counter and prescription medications, bandages, feeding syringe, etc. in a small case. He took it out to put the Boost in...when we stopped about 30 miles down the road so he could eat and I could buy more Boost in K-Mart, he discovered that he had not put it back into his saddlebags when he took it out to store the Boost. We knew it was hopeless and a waste of time to travel back.

He was pretty distraught, I just started thinking how we could get the minimum things he needed to survive. There was no way for him to eat without the feeding syringe - he can't swallow. Some things were easily replaceable and I headed into K-Mart to get those as well as talk to the pharmacist about an alternative for his feeding syringe. Long story short - two hours later we were on the road with a temporary feeding syringe solution, OTC meds, bandages, tape, all in a small cosmetic case. We made arrangements for our houseguest to next-day his home feeding syringe and the rest of his prescription medication to the hotel where we would be spending the weekend. Disaster resolved but Mike's mood was not the best for enjoying the rest of the riding day, missing some very pretty scenery.

We continued on, managing to make our target for the night, Wytheville, VA. The hotel was built into the side of a mountain which made for some interesting parking opportunities. The desk clerk came out and asked if we'd like his parking spot by the office - on the flat. We thanked him profusely...our fatigue and stress levels were pretty high and not having to deal with a steep hill was a good thing. Of course that was the good news which is always followed by some bad. Our room was on the second floor (all they had available) and there were NO elevators (isn't that illegal now?). So, not a great end to a very tiring day. Dinner for me as an apple and two cookies, albeit delicious, along with several cups of coffee all complementary thanks to the office.

---> 11 hours, 462 miles

6/25/04 7:30 am

Well our 7-ish time turned into 7:30 even though we started loading earlier than normal. It not only poured all during the night, but it was still raining when we got up. Loading up in the rain is not fun, especially when it takes two trips each up and down the stairs to get the gear to the bikes. The sky looks ominous even though the rain has slowed to a drizzle. The temps are cool so we don our leathers and top those off with our Frogg Toggs. [Talk about feeling like Mr. & Mrs. Orange Michelin!]

Road spray on the highway was ugly but we made good time. The rain finally dissipated but the overcast skies and temps in the mid to upper 50's make us glad that we're wearing out leathers. Plans are to have breakfast in Fayetteville, WV where I'll meet up with Cheryl (Gypsy/Dark Angel) for the first time. Watching carefully for signs for Fayetteville while eying gas tank levels, we get off at the first Fayetteville exit. We gas up and decide to backtrack three miles to a previous exit with a Shoney's as well as several other stores including a CVS Drugs where Mike could get more Boost. Needless to say our cell phones were useless but fortunately I had her phone number stored in my Palm Pilot. She joined us for coffee, took some photos and then off we went.

From here we continued from there mostly off the highways, lower speeds but much prettier scenery. WV turned into MD along &68, our last stretch of interstate. We then turned back north into PA on Rt 219. We both felt we had come back home. Gorgeous countryside, mountains and tight corners mixed with woods and farmland, interrupted by the occasional small town bursting with patriotic displays ion anticipation of the upcoming 4th of July.

We hit the hotel, Days Inn in Somerset, PA around 4 pm. 335 miles today, total for the trip thus far is 1057 miles, 25.5 hours on the road (including stops), roughly 40 mph average for the trip.

We spend the evening chatting with all the other riders arriving from all over. About 6 Gold Wing riders from Ontario arrive, break open one of the tour packs and share some beers. We're seeing all manner of riders, mostly Harleys though. We did meet a couple from West Palm Beach - and they rode the whole way as well. Looking forward to tomorrow.

---> 8.5 hours, 330 miles

--PART TWO--> Thunder in the Valley

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About Froggi:
Learning to ride at age 55, this grandmother to 12 wonders why she waited so long. Coming from a long line of Harley-Davidson riders, she enjoys taking trips on her 2003 Anniversary Edition Low Rider. She is the Host of the Lady Cruiser Motorcycle Touring Forum (LCMT), a co-host of the Women Who Ride Forum (WWR), and a frequent visitor to the
Harley-Davidson Women Riders Forum (HDWR)


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