It doesn’t get any better

Father’s Day 2017

4 hours of riding through North Georgia. 

A quick stop for a terrific smoked pulled pork sandwich and a sweet tea. 

Arrive home to both daughters and my wife. 

Grilled rib-eyes, baked potatoes, sweet corn, and carrot cake. 

Watching the sun go down as I sip bourbon and smoke the cigar I’d been saving for a very special occasion. 

God, if heaven offers even more than this, how will I be able to stand it?

A Tale of Two Rides (at least two)

The cross-country ride began Sunday morning with a soft hazy sunrise peeking up over the Tybee Island surf. I took this empty bottle that I found in my hand and filled it with Atlantic Ocean water.

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I plan to empty it into the Pacific when I arrive in August. Just doing my bit for Thermohaline circulation and biodiversity for the planet.

The breeze was enough to dissipate the humidity and make riding in full gear bearable.

No traffic. Just a ride past the light house, then Fort Pulaski, into Savannah, and up toward Statesboro. Easy sleepy back roads, rising and falling gently through tall pines. Stopping for gas was the only brief pause in my engine, then back on the bike to ride up to Waynesboro, bird dog capital of the world, for a Sunday brunch.

The Lakeview Restaurant lived up to it’s name. I sat by the window and watched birds flying over the lake, and flying up to the windowsill to see what I was eating.IMG_4491

Of course I chose the Bird Dog breakfast; eggs, grits, sausage, and a biscuit with jelly. There were only a few locals inside. Sitting at tables by the front door chatting with each other. I was at the back enjoying the view. The waitress was too busy to really converse, but she was quick with coffee and made sure the eggs were to my liking.

After paying the check, I noticed my phone’s battery was at less than half. Perfect time to test my new charging adapter. I expected it to allow me to listen to GPS instructions in my helmet without worrying about my phone running out of juice. I had to juggle a bit of luggage around to make a safe place to run the wire into a pocket to hold my phone safely. Then I mounted up to continue the roll through the highways of central Georgia. The soft voiced google girl politely guided my turns.

Ahhhh, heading away from the coastal climate seems to bring the humidity down a bit. Clouds building darkening towers on the horizon never really threaten my path. The overcast sky was a comfort as I crossed and re-crossed railroad tracks, passed a spotted fawn dining on leaves, and dodged a snake warming on the highway. Occasionally passing some amazing antebellum homes that featured wrap-around porches that were shaded by old trees slowly swaying in the light breeze.  It was a treat for my sense of history. The light on my instrument panel signaled that it was time to find a gas station. A tiny corner station appeared and I pulled in and called my wife as I filled the tank and wiped bugs off the windshield.

Yes, the trip was going well.

Yes, it was a safe Sunday ride.

Yes, it was good to finally start this trip.

Yes, I will see you and the girls when you get home in a couple of …

SHADES OF GENERAL WILLIAM TECUMSEH SHERMAN! WHERE’S MY COMPUTER!???!!!!! 

Some carpetbagger took my machine! I will burn and pillage until I find that… Wait, did I actually secure it after I moved the luggage around? I wouldn’t … Nah, I couldn’t have …

Those locals in Waynesboro seemed nice. Maybe too nice. They were setting me up. Bird dog capital? Hah! Apple dog capital. Some dog fetched my computer while I was eating a biscuit. That’s what happened!

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The ride changed. It was hot. Traffic slowed, and clogged up the highways. I hated humanity.

Wait, could I have forgotten to slide my computer back into the bag …?  How could that have possibly happened?  I would have noticed.

Close to home, I was more than ready to end the 300 mile ride. I didn’t need the stupid google girl voice grating, and harping at me for the last 40 miles! I live here! I know how to get to my own home! Shut up already.

Hot. Sweaty. Tired. And computerless. Because some crazy person took my bag.

Empty house. Throw my boots. Check my email. Who is that one from? Some lady says … her husband…found…my…computer in the road. She wants me to call and arrange pick up.

I didn’t tie it down to the bike.

I dropped it in the road.

I’m the idiot.

But IT’S ALIVE! I love humanity. There are good people in Waynesboro, bird dog capital of the world!

I don’t know how the computer survived with all data intact, but it did. I have transferred my files to a slower, but unscarred computer and can continue on. Hopefully, lesson learned.

Thank you Tybee Island. IMG_4480Thank you kind lady and her husband. Thank you Bird dogs. Thank you Lakeview Restaurant and I’m sorry for the disparaging thoughts about your clientele. IMG_4494Thank you google girl for getting me home. Thank you God for suspending the laws of physics and allowing my computer to survive a Frisbee slide across a road without being run over. And thank you for a great ride today.

Start the engines!

Since I live about 5 hours from the coast, I’m doing the first leg separate from the rest of the ride across the United States. I broke all my riding rules today.

-Got a late start (for a great reason, but still …)

-Rode through morning rush hour in Atlanta

-Stopped at a chain for lunch

-4 hours on the interstate

-didn’t even stop for pictures

-Yuck!

But my bike likes eating up the miles at (cough)ish mph.

The only excitement is going to be avoiding people who have mysteriously been lawfully licensed by the state of Georgia to operate a motor vehicle. There are some interesting folk out there.

So, I have arrived at Tybee Island. My girls are on their way to meet me. Okay, the more honest way to say that is my girls are on the way to be at the beach for the weekend and I just happen to be here. We will have fun.

Maybe I can convince them to take a couple of pictures of my “official” start at the east coast.

My cross-country trip officially begins on Sunday. The route I’m following on this first leg is actually Sherman’s march to the sea in reverse.   I hope that’s a good omen for my trip. I’m thinking the reverse route is a way to ward off the occurrence of any burning and pillaging. Actually, I wouldn’t mind a little bit of both included in my trip. But I’d prefer that the burning be a cigar, and pillaging be in a wild blackberry patch.

After this little jaunt to the Atlantic Ocean to make my coast to coast route legit, I’m going to keep the bike on a tight leash for about a month. My official start date going west will begin on July 21st. Stay tuned.

First Leg – Planning

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Photo by Greylin

It’s a great night on my patio. I’ve got all the tools out. Map. Markers. Cigar. Bourbon.

Got a great starting point – Hilton Head Island.

I’m thinking of starting out at sunrise. It seems like a great time to begin a journey, and a great time to get a picture marking the start of the journey.

The first official day of my trip is scheduled to be 300 miles or about 6 hours on the bike. Interstates are boring, so I avoid them when possible.

The first leg starts at the coast and ends at my house. I’m planning on taking this first section a month before I actually start out from home and head to the west coast. I’m going to ride down, spend the night (and maybe a day at the beach) then begin the official trip the next day.

Most of my trek is through Georgia. There are a few points of interest that I may make some time to investigate either going down, or coming back. Waynesboro, the bird dog capital of the world. Hiram, Georgia, birthplace of Oliver Hardy has a Laurel and Hardy museum. And one of my favorite stops is the beautiful and peaceful Monastery of the Holy Spirit in Conyers.

The sun is going down. Just over the trees, and leaving enough light in the sky to show reds, yellows, oranges, and purples … pretty much all the colors I can name. The breeze is enough to slowly move cigar smoke just over the edge of the patio and let it hang under the trees.

All journeys should be planned this way.  I can’t wait to begin. Or maybe I already have.