CHAPTER “21”….DAY 17…2016 FLORIDA TO MICHIGAN ROAD TRIP!!!

WEDNESDAY AUGUST 31, 2016…..DAY SEVENTEEN!!   MILES TODAY: 400.2    TOTAL MILES: 2771.3

Wow….I slept ALL night without getting up once. I think that I mention back in Chapter 6 that sleeping ALL night is somewhat of a rarity as one continues along in the aging process. I think that the last time I slept ALL night before the Chapter 6 event had to be sometime around Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address… it could be a year or so either way but it was close to then. Regardless, I did sleep great and woke up naturally around quarter to six. That was time enough for me to get myself ready and to give Lisa her wake-up call.

I made my way down the stairs and Marcia had staged the coffee maker. Being the industrious guy that I am I was able to push the button and was rewarded with that hot brew.   Marcia soon joined me. She had an appointment in Charleston and had to leave at 7:00. That was perfect for me. The first task, however, was to scope of the strength and path of Tropical Depression 9.

As of right now my plan is to stay in Commerce, GA for two nights visiting with another of my cousins, Judy, and Judy’s husband, David. That would take me to September 2. On the morning of the 2nd I would leave with Judy’s daughter, Sherry, and a friend….both are riders. Sherry’s twin lives in Florida about 40-50 miles south of me. Sherry was going to take the opportunity to ride with me and her friend. It APPEARED like the storm would pass by quick enough that we would scoot around behind it……BUT I really couldn’t tell for sure.   As it stood Sherry and I were leaving the plans as is…..but we were communicating constantly via text making sure that we were on the same page.

It was obvious that we were still not sure what we were going to do. We had already spun out all of our options…..and we had a lot of them…..but we weren’t really ready to make the final call. That being said, it was time to start my day.

I said my goodbyes and a sincere thank you to Marcia and we were both off. I followed her on Harper Rd to I-77 where she swung north and I headed south.

I don’t know what she was facing but I was in HEAVY fog. It was that fog that pretty much left everyone blind except for the 20 feet directly in front of them. I thought that it might treat me like the rain did the previous day making my view change with every curve. Nope!!! The view stayed pretty much the same no matter what…..and that was for the most part nonexistent.

Ok….there is a tunnel right at the West Virginia/Virginia border and I’ll bet that once through that mountain I’ll come out to the bright, smiling sunshine. Not So Grasshopper!!! I stayed in the fog….come to think of it I pretty much live in a fog but this

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Mountain Tunnel near Bluefield, WV

 

was different. The fog persisted south from Beckley for the remaining miles of West Virginia, the ENTIRE portion of Virginia that I-77 runs through, and nearly all the way to Statesville in North Carolina.

 

At the same time I was having a hard time deciding where I was going to stop for gas. I didn’t like that one, didn’t want to do that exit, the station was on the wrong side of the road, or I “prejudged” the condition of the restroom. Whatever the reason it was 170.9 miles before I stopped in Statesville, NC for gas. For all of the 71,000+ miles I have on this bike this is the second farthest I have traveled. The bike has a gas gauge and when it gets down to about ¾ of a gallon it shifts to a different system telling you how far you have gone since hitting that LOW amount. I call it the “dirty your pants gauge”. It is the part of the gauge that has you telling God about exchanging future changes in lifestyle for an open gas station to appear. You’ll be happy to know that for the next year I will help EVERY little old lady I see with whatever she needs!!! That is because I came up on a perfect gas station and bought my gas and I was good to go for another good while. You know, I’ll bet a lot of those old ladies don’t really want the help. I might have to evaluate with each situation to verify if I think help is REALLY needed!!!20160831_132419.jpg

My first target for the day was Simpsonville, SC just outside of Greenville. While planning my route and Googling various areas I came across the Bova Brick Oven Alternative Italian Restaurant in Simpsonville, SC. I made the location fit into my travels and I was swinging in. Before I knew it I was standing in front of the place. I tried to tell the waitress that the founder was a long lost but well-loved uncle of mine. Didn’t work and I still paid full price for my Bova Club Sandwich……which

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Bova Club Sandwich

 

, by the way, was excellent and even though Bova is my last name and I still had to pay full price I will still recommend it highly.

 

I continued on I-85 out of South Carolina and into Georgia reaching my exit at Commerce, GA. The previous night I had realized that my shirt calculation was a little off. I had a couple of days that I had worn TWO shirts and the ones that I did have really weren’t worthy of going out. Since I was again seeing cousins I was pretty sure that I would be going out. Once again the motorcycle traveling gods kicked in and there was an Outlet Center on the Commerce exit. I found the GAP outlet store and for 9 bucks a piece I had me two pull-over, collared shirts. I might even look semi respectable if I’m not careful.

I made it to the Comfort Inn and Suites and checked in. I made a series of phone calls….one to Sherry, one to my wife, Lisa, one to my brother who was flying into Florida for Labor Day weekend, one to my cousin Judy, and then back to Sherry. It was all in reference to “The Storm”. It was now upgraded to a Tropical Storm and named Hermine. It was predicted to be a hurricane and be smack dab in our way by Friday. By this time I had already arranged with Sherry to make our ride a two day ride instead of a one day but even that was looking shaky. When the dust settled from all the phone calls it was decided that I would spend tomorrow morning visiting with David and Judy at their “chicken ranch”. I hurricane-hermine-lgwould then ride to Sherry’s and park the bike in her garage. Sherry, her friend, and I would jump in the car and drive to Florida on Thursday afternoon/night. I would be home and she would go visit her twin. I could do the Labor Day weekend with my siblings and on Tuesday, the day after Labor Day, the three of us would travel back to Georgia, have dinner with her parents, spend the night on her couch, and ride back on Wednesday the 7th. Don’t bother trying to memorize all of that because you get to live it…..you lucky readers!!!

Yep, my ride was originally going to end on September 2nd but now I won’t officially be done with my ride until September 7th. I may abbreviate some of the days but we will carry this forward until I have my motorcycle in my Florida garage. Riding in a hurricane was not in my original plan.  I actually have earned my “Hurricane Badge” in 2004 making my way through a storm called Francis.  I would tell you about it but my wife still gets upset when the story is told.  I will leave it with…..I AM NOT GOING TO DO THAT AGAIN!

So the plan is set. I am tired and I am going to bed. Talk at you tomorrow.

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 donandlisabova@msn.com 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 yearly road trips to Michigan dating back to 2009 at www.gotyourpic.com/Vacation.

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