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Saturday, June 26, 2010

Almost time.....Last minute stuff

I roll out in 6 days and not much left to do now but figure out finances and settle in on a general route.

I finally got up the balls to add up receipts. So far, I've spent almost as much money on bike stuff as I had budgeted for the whole fucking ride, which was something of a jolt, but I guess that's what credit cards are for. First the T-Bag, then the windshield (with deflectors and a windshield bag), then the GPS, then the safety inspection, then the new brakes, and finally two new tires ($603!). And yes, the much-admired chrome cup holder. Bottom line: There won't be many extended stays in 5-Star hotels, and a few meals might consist of beef jerky and water. Hell, maybe I'll lose a little weight, but at least I won't have to worry too much about the bike.

I need to throw in a plug for the service department at Patriot Harley Davidson, Fairfax, Virginia. Jeff and George, who knew what I was planning, gave me solid advice on tires, etc, and I suspect, also made sure my scoot was ready for the long haul. And beyond the practical stuff, Marika at Patriot reminded me that a trip like this is a chance to meet people, share experiences, soak up the culture, with the result of returning to DC with a different perspective. She's a cool lady, and I wish I thought like she does. It's refreshing to meet people like that.

Packing is done, sorta. Got one saddlebag full of spare parts, tools, and a first-aid kit...the other has rain gear, a bike cover, leathers, face shield and an extra helmet. (Hey, you never know when a suitable passenger might jump on the back!). Will pack clothes last, the few that I'm taking.

The route choice is driving me up a many excellent choices. Irish Mike, also at Patriot Harley Davidson, suggested an awesome route called Natchez Trace, running from just south of Nashville to Natchez, Mississippi. Then there's the route through Asheville which gives me a little time with kayaking friends.

I'm still not going to commit to hard dates and having a set itinerary, but guess I gotta have a rough plan.

As attractive as the Natchez Trace Parkway is, I'm thinking that it might actually hide what I'm trying to see.....the real South. I want to see the small towns, eat at Mom & Pop diners, and stay in off-interstate motels. That's the trip goal...It's not a destination-oriented trip...the TRIP is the theme. Still, that Natchez Trace route is extremely inviting. I'm running the first day to Bristol, TN, and when I wake up the next morning, that's the day I make the final decision. The decision might even be determined by which traffic light is green: Nashville or Asheville.

And I'll hook up with Linda and Charlie Pearce in Nawlins. We're going to have one hell of a good time for a few days. Linda made me promise to ride through the French Quarter one night with just my cowboy boots on. Stay tuned for pix...... Hey, maybe I'll get some beads! Linda and Charlie will be on their own Great Southern US Tour, and we're lucky enough to be able to cross paths in NOLA. Pretty cool.

I'm just about settled in on a route back. New Orleans to Panama City, Florida...over to Savannah...Charleston......up the coast, swinging over to Raleigh, hopefully to see my friends Emerson and Deb. I figure I'll be averaging about 250-300 miles a day. Maybe I can find a little beach town for a day's rest from riding.

Or maybe I'll find something else interesting to see/do. As long as I'm back by the 18th, the route really doesn't matter as long as it's fun.

So right now, it's Saturday morning and I'm here at the computer drinking coffee, screwing around with Google Maps, and I'm as excited as a kid waiting for Santa Claus. I simply can't WAIT to get on the road next Friday.