Where O Where Are You Tonight??!?!!
One of the many sayings you might hear from numerous motorcycle touring people is “it isn’t the destination but it’s the journey”. There is a whole lot of truth in that proverbial message but I have my own addendum to the proverb. I say that “it is the journey AND the destination”. I too love the ride. I love the sights, the smells, the tastes, the people, the solitude, and all the rest that being out on two wheels will bring……even the rain and the bugs and the occasional rocks that fly up and leave marks my leg have their wondrous spot in the memory banks.
That being said I have to tell you that virtually each and every time that I get on the bike I am heading to SOMEWHERE. In other words I love the journey but in most cases I also love the destination. As I already mentioned in Chapter 1 (as a community service I will remind those that might have forgotten what I wrote in Chapter 1 (or didn’t bother to read it at all)) I have a destination in Waterford, MI and on the return trip I will have the destination of Daytona Beach, FL.
Since my destinations are set my task is now to plot out the JOURNEY.
For those of you that have not read my 2015 road trip blog (BUT you still may at www.donbovaroadtrips.wordpress.com ) I will go over some of the “important” basics. If you are one of the few that have somehow managed to muddle through the pages of the 2015 ride please bear with me as I will probably be a little redundant in the next paragraph or two.
You will notice from the picture that I have accumulated a shirt or two from various Hooters Restaurants. As of this writing I actually have nearly 60 of them (the picture is three years old…..you can tell by how much younger I look!!!). Each one of those shirts (and the shirts that I have purchased since that picture was taken) comes from a different restaurant AND I personally bought each and every one of them. I know…..that is not necessarily a record to be proud of. However in certain circles…………………
I elected this year to go a little more to the west on my travels north so I did the search of Hooters locations along the various highways and byways that fit in my general scheme of things. I plotted out 4 locations that could possibly fit into my plan.
Now that I have those “possibilities” there comes the task to determine if I can actually make them fit…..I’m not talking about the shirts fitting (I actually have NEVER worn any of them) but to make the restaurant locations fit into a good route to Michigan.
Now that we have looked at Hooters (pun intended) I move on to my next step. When traveling I do my best to use almost exclusively the lodging of the Choice Hotels chain. It doesn’t always work out but with so many hotels in the chain it is rare that I don’t use Choice Hotel. The chain includes, among others, Comfort Inn, Sleep Inn, Quality Inn, Econolodge, and Rodeway Inn. They are generally clean and well run facilities…..and MOST IMPORTANTLY there is always a bed and hot water!! A side note is that the people on occasion to be close to me and they appreciate that I stay in hotels with hot water. All Choice Hotels facilities serve a “breakfast” ranging from reasonably adequate to pretty darn good. To be sure, there are some hotels that are better than others but I have never really been unhappy. I joined the Choice Hotels “club” so that I can do “advance” reservations and get REALLY great prices. The catch is that once I click “reserve” I own the room. That means I can’t change it in any way nor can I cancel it and my card is immediately charged. If I don’t show up….oh well!!! I have been doing it this way for years and I have yet to miss my reservation. Even if I were to miss making it to a reservation at this point I think that if you consider all of the money I have saved over the years it would more than pay for me missing.
The next step is to cross reference hotels and Hooters with distance and direction. This may surprise a few of my followers but when it comes to choosing…the hotel will always win over the Hooters. After putting my Albert Einstein math skills and my Lewis and Clark explorer skills to work and scrambled it all into a whirlwind I wait for the dust to settle and “POOF” I have my route. You will note that the science involved is a highly specialized skill.
After all of that I will give you the Reader’s Digest version of my routing. I will head out of the Daytona Beach area on a northwest trajectory leaving around 4:00 in the morning. Around lunchtime I will pass through Columbus, GA near Fort Benning and have a lunch and pick up a shirt signed by all the girls working at the time that I stop and also a bottle coozie at the Columbus, GA Hooters. Actually I have been at that Hooters before when my son, Josh, was in his Airborne training at Fort Benning and we ate dinner at that Hooters. However that occurred before I started the shirt buying obsession so…..lucky them….I will attempt to once again stop at the Columbus Hooters. After the lunch (and shirt) I will continue north and I will stop for the night at Anniston, AL where there is a nice Choice Hotels location.
Night two will be at Evansville, IN and night three near South Bend, IN. At both of those locations the food and bed gods have, JUST FOR ME, placed a Choice Hotel AND a Hooters almost next to each other. How much better can life get?? I love this country!!!
My fourth day of travel will take me up through Kalamazoo, MI where if the cards (and the clock) fall correctly I will stop for lunch at my 4th Hooters (and probably last) on this trip. From there I will head into Waterford, MI where I will spend the next 10 days or so.
There are many who would rather allow themselves to be a bit more spontaneous and refuse to make reservations ahead of time. This allows them to adjust their route and/or daily distance on a whim. I can certainly understand that concept and in many ways I think that they are onto something pretty special. As for me….I like to know FOR SURE that I have a bed waiting for me. In days gone by I used to make my reservations based on REALLY long days of travel. That was a good plan for a young buck but now that I am an OLD GEEZER I find that my days of travel aren’t nearly as long as they used to be AND much easier to manage (and easier on the butt).
So I am now allowing myself ample time for an early morning coffee and breakfast before hitting the road. If during the ride I see something that I would like to stop to spend some time at I now have the time to do be able to do just that. If weather or traffic disrupts my travel and any way I have a lot of leeway with the clock to play with and not worry about making my day’s destination. There is even a wee bit of wiggle room so that I can take little detours if I so choose.
When I leave Waterford, MI and head back to Florida there will be, sigh, absolutely NO stops at any Hooters. My first day out will be a little longer than most as I will travel all the way to Beckley, WV. My stop there will include a dinner with a cousin and her son. After the night in Beckey I will continue down to Charlotte. I will swing a little to the southwest from Charlotte. That will shoot me into South Carolina and through Simpsonville, SC. There is no Hooters in Simpsonville BUT I found a place called Bova Pizzeria.
So my PLAN is to stop there for a late lunch. If it is a Bova pizza it must be a GOOD pizza. If you can’t have a burger at Hooters then a pizza at Bova’s is a good second choice. I wonder if I tell them that I am a Bova they’ll give me a discount…………..then again, it could be that when they find out I am a Bova they will charge me extra.
I will move on that day to Commerce, GA and I’ll be spending a couple nights there. While in Commerce, GA I’ll be visiting relatives and doing a bit of sightseeing. After the second night I’ll hit Highway 441 south through the center of Georgia and at Lake City, FL I’ll hop on Florida State Road 100 to swing me on my final leg home.
I love getting on Google Maps and the Google search engine plotting out where I’ll be staying each night. It sounds very simplistic and I’m sure that I do make it more complicated than I have to. I will pick dates and stops and change them and change them back and check my mileage math and recheck it all. Once I have it down I write it all out and give it one last check to make sure that it all fits……… That’s when I head to the Choice Hotels website and book all the rooms.
Let’s see….where does that put me? I seem to have all my plans in place. I know where and when I will be and I am even confident of a lot of my activities. I know the places that I would like to see and I have a list of people that I want to see. So now I have to get my clothes laid out so that I have the right clothes for the right day and activity. I will be on the road for 19 days and I have a lot of scheduled events….especially when I get to Michigan. Hey, I’ve got a class reunion to TRY to look good at!!! So keep an eye out next Monday for my page on packing.
I hope that you enjoy my trip as you read along with my traveling. Don’t forget that anytime you might feel it appropriate you may “Like” or “Share” this or any of the posts on social media which would, of course, give me a warm and fuzzy feeling inside. You can also drop me a line or leave me a comment. You can write to me at firstname.lastname@example.org using “Your Blog” as the subject line. You can check me out on Facebook by going to www.facebook.com/don.bova also because I will generally have more pictures and comments over there. Also you can read the blog about my 2015 road trip from Florida to Michigan at www.donbovaroadtrips.wordpress.com. Lastly, you can look at pictures of my past road trips to Michigan dating back to 2009 at www.gotyourpic.com/Vacation.
Enjoy and I’ll talk atcha again next week!!!