Excellent Adventure, Day 2 Thoughts

4:14 AM: Wake up. Wide awake. Convince myself it’s too damn early and semi-sleep for another 90 minutes. Get up, pack up.

 

6:00 AM: Free breakfast always tastes better. Even though I know I’m paying for it in the room rate. So, I guess it’s not free. In that case, it was mediocre. Back to the room to go over the route for the day. 587 miles. I think I can, I think I can, I think I can. Realize I’m really goddamn tired. This is gonna be a long day. 5 Hour Energy is my BFF on this ride. (Gatorade’s my mistress, FWIW)

 

7:11 AM: Load up the bike, gear up, fuel up, head out. I don’t know what it is, but “Music Highway” (I-40 between Nashville and Memphis) is all sparkly. Like it got laid down by a steamroller with a bedazzler on the back. Also: WTF, Tennessee? Did your road crews never learn how to make a nice smooth transition between the road and a bridge? On half the bridges it’s like driving over a friggin curb at 80 miles an hour. Thanks a bunch, a-holes.

 

9:50 AM: Need gas. Need caffeine. Need to stand. Stop at a Citgo in Bucksnort, TN. Yes. Bucksnort. Pretty sure it’s right down the road from Cowfart. Actually, This was one of my favorite stops of the day. When I rode up, there was a group of bikers taking a break. They were from Pittsburgh. Taking the southern route out to California, then heading up the PCH to Oregon, and taking the northern route back. A month. Hard fucking core. Also, cool people. Then, another group rode up. Also from Pittsburgh. We hung out, talked about rides we’d done. I told them about my whopping two rides– The Three Sisters (last weekend!), and the one I was currently doing. Ok. Enough time in Bucksnort.

 

11:30 AM (ish): Stopped for gatorade, gas, and a snack (trail mix– fruit and nut mix. No baby shit trail mix today, thank you.). Called the kids and talked to them for a few minutes. Lily informed me that they had put on all of their temporary tattoos and that Cohen’s feet smelled like BBQ chicken. Also, it’s not nearly as hot today. Bu I’m definitely getting tired. And sore– hands, upper back, and ass. I was going to type “butt” but it looked weird. So you’re stuck with ass. And mine was sore. Left cheek, to be specific. Probably has something to do with posture due to the fact that my left highway peg is actually just a nubbin. See Day 1 for details. Or not. 

 

2:17 PM (eastern time zone!!): Dark gray clouds hanging low over the Kentucky hills. Getting sleepy again. Need gas. Maybe some beef jerky, too. Stopped right across the street from the Bullitt County Fairgrounds. Was gonna take a picture, but it started raining so I GTFO. Here’s a crappy Google Maps streetview of the entrance– it’s the sort of arch-y-looking thing. Had white metal cut-out letters: Bullitt County Fairgrounds. It sorta sprinkled all the way through Louisville, but pretty much cleared up once I got to…

 

4:18 PM: Florence, KY. Nice enough place, I’m sure. But it’s like I stepped out of a DeLorean after hitting 88 miles an hour with a brand new Flux Capacitor. 1994 was a good year. Just not sure I’d wanna re-live it today. 120 miles left. Home stretch. Fuck. I’m tired. Earbuds in, and what’s the first song that plays? Bloodbuzz Ohio, by The National. Oh. Hell. Yeah.

 

5:00 PM: Shoulda taken a leak in Kentucky. Rest stop this time. Wanted to keep making decent time, so didn’t even take off my helmet. People stared. Oh well. Back on the bike. Dark Ohio rain clouds up north. This could get interesting. I can smell the rain.

 

5:30 PM (ish): Big fat raindrops start plopping onto my windshield. Onto my helmet. I can see the rain curtain. Coming up fast. Decided to just keep going. I have a perfectly awesome rainsuit from my brother in my saddle bag, but all the overpasses were already taken by the weekend joyriders with their bandannas and sleeveless shirts. Fuck it. After about 10 minutes I can feel it seeping through the seams on my leather jacket. Starting to feel it on the fabric vents on my leather pants. Gloves are soaked. Hands are chilly, but as long as I keep moving them I’ll be fine. Road was shedding the watter pretty well, and I was able to ride in the tire tracks of the cars in front of me. By 20 minutes in, I could see the other side. 10 minutes later, I was back into the dull evening sun. That was actually kinda fun. A little road baptism, I suppose.

 

6:20 PM: Made it! Pull in and roll on the throttle. Who needs a horn when you can make the pipes roar?

I rode 1,337 miles in two days. And made it in one piece– not even any close calls, really.

 

An excellent adventure, indeed.

Posted via email from Seth Gray

Seth’s Excellent Adventure, Day 1 Thoughts

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Prequel: had dinner with the kids and Erin at Chester’s last night. One more green chili cheeseburger. Cried like the Cowardly Lion if he
got hit with pepper spray after saying goodbye (for 2 weeks) to the kids. And Erin.

6:04 AM: Rolled out of the driveway of the house that had finally helped make Texas feel like home. May or may not have spent 10 minutes before I left just listening to the echoes.

6:35 AM (or so): Foot rest of brand new left highway peg fell off my bike. Shit. Mounting hardware gets progressively looser.

7:58 AM: Stop at 100 miles or so, broke out the tools, tightened up what’s left of my brand-fucking-new highway pegs. Wish I wasn’t such a noob when I put them on in the first place. Note to self: tighten the damn highway pegs. Regularly. Also, made the mistake of not drinking enough coffee and eating Burger King for breakfast. You are getting sleepy. Very, very sleepy. Your eyelids are getting heavy…

9:16 AM: Falling asleep while driving a car is one thing. Falling asleep while riding a motorcycle? OK. They’re both pretty bad. Anyway. Coffee + 5 Hour Energy. Good to go. Texas sure is pretty.

11:15 AM (??): realized I’m almost outta gas. Stop in Dallas, right across the street from the Cotton Bowl. It’s… um… pretty ghetto. I didn’t even get off the bike. Just filled up and took off. (That part of) Dallas is not pretty.

11:45 AM: Texas sure is hot. Maybe wearing all black leather, plus a black full-face helmet wasn’t the best choice for heat management. Keeps me safe, though. Worth it. Power Bar, beef jerky, and 64 ounces of Gatorade (Fierce Melon, and Fierce Strawberry, in case you wondered. Also, how the fuck can melon or strawberry be fierce?). Also, also… Dear Greenville, TX: you suck at civil engineering. Did you just randomly decide how long the traffic lights should stay green? I know! Let’s do that, AND let’s reduce the only N/S interstate highway down to one lane, k? I hate you, Greenville.

1:10 PM: Maybe 64 ounces of Gatorade at once was a bad idea. (That means I had to pee. Just incase you had trouble reading the subtext)

2:53 PM: Texadelphia, TX. It’s a city that stradles the Texas, Arkansas border. Now, the best I can figure, some moron (probably from Arkansas) had heard of this place called Philadelphia. He’d also heard it was the “City of Brotherly Love” or something. So, being from Arkansas and probably hating it because of all the rice and Clintons, this bumpkin decided to name his town the “City of Texas-ly Love”. Except that he picked the wrong part of the damn word. So, Texadelphia actually means “City of Texas Brothers”. Don’t even get me started on Arkadelphia. Oh. And I ate lunch at Subway.

5:10 PM: North East of Little Rock, Arkansas. Gas. Gatorade. Talked to a fellow biker. He was on a white Suzuki Boulevard M109 with a tan ostrich-leather saddle. We talked shop. Which means we tell each other all the things we’re gonna do to customize our bikes. But we’ll never actually do them. On to Memphis?

6:00 PM: OMFG. I just rode into a sauna. It’s about 9 million degrees, and like infinity percent humidity. Stop at a rest stop (too many “stops”?) and hang out in the air-conditioned bathroom. Realize that’s probably a good way to unintentionally get in trouble. Take off my leather overpants (jeans underneath. Relax, ladies) and strap them to the back of the bike. Spend the next 20 minutes puring water over my head, drinking Gatorade/water, and eating melted trail mix. Ok. I’m sorry, but what buffoon of a product manager at Planters decided it’d be a swell idea to put pieces of chocolate (sans candy-coating) in the fucking trail mix? When I opened it, it looked like a package full of baby shit. If the baby had eaten rasins and cashews. Fortunately, it tasted lovely. At this rest stop, there was another long-haul biker taking a nap in a hammock he’d strung between two trees. I was jealous.

8:10 PM: Sweaty. Tired. Sweaty. Hungry. Sweaty. Checked in to the hotel. Grabbed my bags, helmet, leather pants (still wearing the jacket). Ding! Elevator to the third floor. Why is this hallway so damn long? Oh. I see. I’m in room 3-infinty. Hey-presto, thanks to graphing calculators & calculus, here I am. Gonna shower then get some food. Why doesn’t my key work? AHHHH!! Walk back down the god-fucking-damn long hallway to the elevator. Ding! Ground floor. Then some nice people let me cut in front of them. Maybe it was cuz I still had my 80 pounds of gear. Maybe it was cuz I was sweaty. And stinky. Whatever. Back to the elevators. Ding! Third floor. This time it take about 5 years to walk down the hallway. And my mother fucking key doesn’t fucking work agai…. oh. It was upside down. There we go.

8:30 PM: Shower scene.

9:00 PM: walk to get some dinner and pass not one, but two, count ’em, two Circle Ks. Scallops were excellent. Blue Moon was lovely. Almost got run over by a car when I was walking back to the hotel.

Circle K in Memphis, TN

Now: realize I’m so damn tired that I can’t… finish… this…