Miles traveled: 186
There are the 10,000 things that could be said and I will stay with only a couple on the top of my mind. Had no idea how little sleep I had been getting over the last couple of weeks. It seemed as if there was just so much to do and was of the opinion that if I did not put in a full corps press right up to the last minute that too many opportunities would be lost.
It is sort of like being a soldier. Deep down in your bones, you follow your gut and when it comes time to push, then push with all ya got because once an opportunity passes then it is gone. So, I pushed right up to the last minute.
Leaving Gainesville was a trip. It was raining. Reminded me of the ride Joe and I took on the day after Christmas. It was snowing in Gainesville when we pulled out of the parking lot at the gas station. Snow was one thing but the weather was also freezing as we headed up to Tallahassee to have lunch. Only saw one other bike on the road that day. We got to Perry where we had a long lunch to thaw out and decided to return to Gainesville. Anyway, the rain was not all that bad and we only had to put the rain suit pants on as the leather jackets were enough protection. Once we got to I-10 the rain suit pants turned into sauna trousers because it was hot and I mean hot. Getting in and out of those trousers is a challenging experience and I always end up taking my boots off.
Am often asked “just what do you do when it rains?” The answer to that question is simple: you get wet. Then at highway speeds you often dry out quickly. Unfortunately, the bags don’t do so well and can turn into a mess.
I imagine that most of you have little idea what a dashboard of a motor cycle looks like on the road so here is a photo of my dash board. There are three leather pockets behind the windshield. The center pocket has my camera, glasses and chewing gum. The one on the right as my pills and DNR. Then the one on the left as a couple of small combination tools. On the left side is a water jug that I fill at most gas stops. Dehydration can be a problem and it is something you have to stay on top of at all times. The square next to the thermos is a TomTom for navigation. The battery life on the TomTom is only two hours and seldom is a trip only two hours. If you enlarge the photo, you will see a power take-off next to the TomTom. This has two USB2 ports which can charge the TomTom and either the phone or camera while on the road.
The only instrument on my dashboard is the speedometer. This I seldom look at on the open road because I travel at highway speeds and the situation can shift very rapidly. Travel too slow and the big rigs as well as cars will pass you and a motorcycle can become invisible when they pull back in front of you. Also, not staying on top of the situation all around you from moment to moment will turn you into ‘road kill’ in a heartbeat. It only takes a few seconds to loss control of the situation and there is no court of appeals on the open road to reverse a bad decisions.
The last thing on the dashboard which you can not see on the first photo but can on this one is the tank bag. I like tank bags because they carry all the pocket litter that is oh so nice to have but oh so hard to get at. Also, on the model I have is a clear plastic map pocket on the top. This I do not use so much for maps but to put the address of where I am going as well as any special instructions. The TomTom has this information but the print is often to small and in city traffic you don’t have time to squint. Also, the sun can make the face of the TomTom impossible to read.
It is getting late and my batteries are running down. So, I am going to jump to the tent. One of the first things I did when I pulled up to the house was to set up the tent and unpack my camping bag. Among the many reasons was that I wanted to make sure I had everything needed for camping. If anything got lost, came up missing or was broken there was still time to get it locally. Sort of like a ‘mount out drill’ or ‘shake down cruise.’ Turns out that everything was there. However, know full well that I put a lot of research into what I needed. Thought in terms of what backpackers would use on hikes. I for one don’t know how they do it because when it is all said and done, there is a lot of stuff.
Within an hour of our arrival a reporter appeared to interview me. Have done a couple of radio talk shows on the subject of women and children in the jails and prisons of the nation but this reporter said she only had 500 words for her article and wanted to stay focused. This she did and she asked some questions that I was not quite prepared for and in the process touched a few nerves. Don’t think they would have had much impact except for I was tired from both the ride and the lack of rest for the last couple of months.