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Friday, November 7, 2014

Southern Comfort Updated. Finally.

I'm finally getting off my lazy ass and updating this blog which has been sadly neglected. To be sure, I haven't been up and down the highway to various biker events, nor have I been working on any bikes, but that's no excuse. There's been a ton of stuff going on, and I need to keep the Southern Comfort ball rolling.

Or retire it, which was a thought, but for now, we'll put some more gas in it and go!

Backing up a couple months, I did make it to Sturgis, and what a great ride it was. I wandered somewhat aimlessly for a few days, slowly making my way northwest, riding west out of Nashville, and then north through central Missouri. I referred to the HOG trip planning guide, and followed a few of those yellow-highlighted routes in the book, which were pleasant distractions from the boredom of a straight-to-Sturgis ride. I eventually got into the southwestern tip of South Dakota, staying there for a couple days until my accommodations in downtown Sturgis were ready.

Sturgis was great, of course, and I hit all my favorite spots, plus those I missed the first time in 2012. A special treat in Sturgis was seeing long-time friends Linda and Charlie, Don and Sue, Dan and Gina, and Virginie. I don't see my close friends much since moving to Florida, so reuniting with friends was the best part of my trip!

Once again, I was amazed at the riding experiences while there. From the time I hit the "Welcome to Sturgis" sign until the time I left, I rode over 1,000 miles, loving every darned mile as I twisted here and there through the Black Hills, and beyond into Wyoming.

I won't bore y'all with the endless pix of the rides, babes, and bikes, but suffice it to say that eyestrain was a factor, and not to be taken lightly! Here's just a few of the hundreds of photos I took:

The ride home was something of a struggle. Rain started almost as soon as I finished the first 100 miles, and it really didn't let up for the next 3 days, all the fucking way back to Florida. And if that wasn't bad enough, electrical gremlins plagued the Harley Ultra Limited starting about the same time the rain did. My voltage gauge moved up and down like a fucking tach, and the various idiot lights were going on and off like a slot machine in Vegas. By the end of Day 2, I had gotten to Paducah, KY, and I began worrying if the bike would make it home. Or me either, for that matter.

I'll toss in a plug for that new FroggToggs rain gear I bought, including the boot covers. I didn't get wet except my face and anyplace I'd left the jacket unsnapped. That rain gear is damn good stuff, and worth every penny.

Day 3 started uneventfully, but soon the rain and electrical problems started again, and I rode all the way home.......846 miles.....for fear the bike wouldn't start if I shut it off. I gassed up with the bike running, and ate meals in 7-11 parking lots so I didn't have to shut it off. I'd rolled out at about 8 that morning, getting into Ormond Beach about 1AM the next morning. That was one very long day on the bike, in the rain, and fighting the bike problems.

The last 100 miles or so, I took a "short cut" across one of the darkest, straightest, loneliest roads Florida has to offer, Rt 100, but it shaved off a few miles. That said, next time, if under similar circumstances (God forbid), I'll damn sure stick with the Interstate through Jacksonville. If I'd broken down, which was entirely possible, I'd have been out of luck.

Yes, I could have stopped and had the bike fixed, but wanted to get it worked on here in case the repairs would take a long time. As it turns out, the voltage regulator had OD'd, and Rossmeyer HD in Ormond Beach had it fixed in just a few hours.

Back home, life has taken on a new routine. Gone are the days of endless work inside the house, and with boredom setting in and finances getting low, I took on a part-time job at Home Depot. It's been pretty cool, so far, doing something totally new, and it sure has kept the cash flow from getting much worse. With luck, it'll actually reverse, and maybe I can actually save a few bucks!

So next on the agenda for me is getting the outside of the house painted, and then maybe some work done in the back yard. Just getting ready for guests who just might be visiting from up north over the upcoming cold winter months. Also trying to figure out how to fit in a trip north, but that's going to have to wait until it's warmer up there. Until then, I think any Southern Comfort updates will come from right here in sunny, Ormond Beach, Florida!