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Monday, April 28, 2014

Let The Riding Season Begin! Texas, Coming Up!

I probably should have renamed this blog, Home Makeover, given the amount of time and focus the remodeling of my Florida house required. I don't think I've ever undertaken anything like it before, and certainly not intentionally. That said, I couldn't possibly be happier with the outcome, and I now wake up in a home of my own design in the place I always wanted to live. What's not to like, right? So now it's time to think about riding again. The work on the outside of the house can wait for Fall/Winter when Florida temperatures drop just a little.

There were two choices for a ride, actually, and a decision was required. I could putt up to Maggie Valley, NC, to meet Linda, Charlie, Sol, & friends for Thunder in the Smokies, or I could ride west to Texas to see Gypsy Father Time, Brad, Laura, Nathan, Rhonda, Mark, Colton, etc..... 

Yes, I could also have tried to do both, but making both stops put me on the road a lot longer than I wanted, at least for this ride. I'm saving the year's long-haul run (and my ass!) for later in the Summer when I ride to Sturgis, SD, again, this time from Florida. Decisions aren't always easy, mind ya. My friends are like my family, but many of us will be at Sturgis together, so I decided on Texas.

In either direction, weather is a factor. As I'm writing this, I'm hearing tornado reports from Arkansas and Oklahoma, and the week's forecast isn't the greatest due to a prediction of more rain and storms. The best route, then, seems to be way south, so I'll hug the Gulf most of the way while the nasty weather blows eastward, hopefully north of my path. I should have a reasonable chance of making it without getting soaked constantly, or without being whisked away in a tornado to Oz. Worst case is that I hole up in a little motel or parking garage until the crap blows over.

The route on the map is just a rough plan. I want to get back to the idea of NOT knowing what's around the next corner, or what's going on in the towns I stop in. I like trips where everything is a surprise, including the towns, restaurants, weather, and yep, the route itself. 

I plan to pick up a riding buddy in Fort Worth, and then head south to Austin to hook up with friends. On the way back, I'll spend a little extra time in Fort Worth to see family and pay my respects to departed family Mom and Aunt Annie for sure.....before heading back toward Florida.

I'm going to ride the 2013 Harley Limited for the trip. The '08 Softail is good for road trips, to be sure, but I'm sorta getting used to having a windshield and not struggling with storage room, not to mention having a softer ride. Having a passenger along for part of the trip made the decision a no-brainer, especially for storage requirements! I can run for days on end with just one change of clothes, but I can't expect a girlie to do that!

My Limited is now a year and a half old, and it just turned 10,000 miles. I'm dropping it off for service tomorrow morning before I pull out. No sense getting on the road and having something go wrong, or at least not the sort of thing that can be detected during a major service check-up. I'll also get a second opinion on leaving the original tires on. They look great to me, but I want to make sure I'm not overlooking the obvious.

And so on. I'm taking my time, and I'll stop when something looks interesting or the road is wearing me out. I'll shoot for 500 miles a day, but less is OK too. It ain't a race, and for the very first time in my life, there's no job to get back to and no hard dates on the calendar to drive the schedule. I'll get back when I get back. I can't wait to get on the road!

Updates when I can....