CHAPTER “27”….DAYS 23 & 24…2016 FLORIDA TO MICHIGAN ROAD TRIP!!!

TUESDAY SEPTEMBER 6, 2016…..DAY TWENTY-THREE!!   MILES TODAY: 0.0    TOTAL MILES: 2819.2

I did something this morning that I haven’t done in a long, LONG time…..I over slept. That is if you call sleeping until 6:15 instead of 5:45 oversleeping. It is a rare morning indeed when Lisa is up before I am. It is just the natural order of things. She was a good wife…..she woke up, took the dog out, fed the dog, and started getting ready for work and all the time letting me sleep. Hmmm, it felt kind of good. I wonder if this will become a habit??

Lisa left for work right on time. Just as she was leaving I received a text from Sherry confirming my address and telling me that they were on the way. They pulled into the driveway at 8:20 and within minutes we were back on the road heading for Gainesville, GA.

We made a quick Starbuck’s stop near Lake City but it was just a quick stop. We didn’t stop again until Lenox, GA where Tony gassed up and we bought an armload of HEALTHY snacks. You know that is a lie because it is impossible to go into a convenience store and get an ARMLOAD of healthy. Among other stuff there was a bag of pretzels, M&M’s, cinnamon roll, Coke, & a 3 Musketeers. I hope that my doctor isn’t one of the four people reading this blog.

The rest of the drive was a bit uneventful. As I have said before “uneventful” driving on I-75 is a good thing. We pulled into Sherry’s driveway at 3:45.

Sherry’s son, Kyle, greeted us along with Sherry’s new puppy. She is a six month old pile of energy…the puppy not Sherry. After a little bit of freshening up we were back in the car heading for Sherry’s parents’ house. Her mom, Judy, is my first cousin who has been almost as close as a sister for as long as I can remember. Not only are we cousins but we are great friends. Her husband, David, is a super guy that has always been an inspiration. They both have worked hard all their lives to support their family and they continue to work hard. Their hard work has paid off in a lot of different ways.

On the way there we were talking about all the different foods that we could take. We just wanted this to be a restful visit without anyone having to cook or fuss around. Tony and Sherry dropped me off and went on to pick up pizza and some Chinese (food not people).

While they were gone I visited with David and Judy for a few minutes before Sherry’s other son, Seth, arrived with his NEW fiancé, Summer. I had never met Summer before and if my opinion means anything Seth did good. He just popped the question over the weekend. That was obviously the talk of the night. I had to sit back and smile at how well Seth and Summer were handling Judy and Sherry trying to take over ALL the planning. Little does that young couple know but they are going to have that “HELP” in planning until about 5 ½ minutes before the ceremony. It will only stop then because the mother and grandmother of the groom will be escorted to their seats!!

Shortly after 8:00 we got ready to head back to Sherry’s. We were all tired and tomorrow Sherry & Tony had to return to work and I had a 500 mile ride. I did get a chance to show them the Head’s Up game that Laura had shown me over the weekend. Then we hugged everyone goodbye and off we went. We were back at Sherry’s right around 9:00 and by 9:30 Tony had gone home and we were all going to bed.il_340x270_425383324_5vx4

WEDNESDAY SEPTEMBER 7, 2016…..DAY TWENTY-FOUR!!   MILES TODAY: 474.5    FINAL TOTAL MILES: 3293.7 

Today is the final day of the trip that has taken up all these pages. I woke up at 5:00 at the same time as Kyle was stirring. He started the coffee pot and I got myself ready for the morning. After starting the coffee he made his way back to his bedroom. I packed up what little bit I brought with me, called Lisa to get her up for work, wrote some notes in my journal, drank my coffee. I thought that by that time I would see Kyle again and that maybe Sherry would have gotten up…..nope, not a creature was stirring not even a 6 month old puppy!!

I tiptoed out to the garage and rolled the Yamaha out to the driveway. I loaded everything up and closed the garage. Back in the house there was still no movement. I had told Sherry that I would be waking up and leaving immediately. I wrote her a very sincere thank you note for all she had done for me the last few days and……I was off.

I weaved my way from her house to U.S. 129. When Tony drove out yesterday afternoon and when we returned last night I followed along on Google Maps on my phone and memorized how to negotiate the various turns to find my way out. Once again I have to say…..I LOVE THE TWENTY-FIRST CENTURY! I followed 129 to Athens where I picked up U.S. 441. I would be staying on 441 all the way through Georgia and to Lake City, FL.

I am not ashamed to say that I was anxious to get home and make the final turn of this 24 day vacation into my driveway. I did my first gas stop in Madison, GA. This is a great town that has many Civil War era houses that were spared from Sherman’s burning of Georgia. If you are every cruising around North Central Georgia I recommend a stop in Madison. Some of the houses and adjoining yards are truly fantastic.

I made my next stop in Dublin and then Pearson, GA. That put me a bit over half way. All my stops were getting gas, buying a bottle of water, texting Lisa, and jumping back on the bike. My last gas stop was in Lake City, FL. There I left 441 and jumped on Florida State Rd 100 which took me southeast across Florida’s peninsula to U.S. 1 at Bunnell. A quick turn south brought me home.

I pulled into the driveway just before 4:00 and the trip was over and what a great trip it was. I’ll recap that in the last Chapter. Talk to you then.

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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CHAPTER “26”….DAY 22…2016 FLORIDA TO MICHIGAN ROAD TRIP!!!

MONDAY SEPTEMBER 5, 2016…..DAY TWENTY-TWO!!   MILES TODAY: 0.0    TOTAL MILES: 2819.2

I have to admit that the lazy side of my brain (contrary to popular belief it is NOT the entire brain) told me to just copy and paste the opening of yesterday. I have to admit that it was very similar…..BUT…it wasn’t exactly the same. I meandered down to the hotel lobby and secured my HUGE cup of black coffee like I have in the past couple of days but this morning I was a hair earlier. I made my way to the pool deck where unlike the past couple mornings I found it to be nearly cloud free. This morning I was going to have a good view of the sunrise. It was something that Bob noticed when he came to join me as did Steve and Jean when they made their way to the pool deck. We broke right into our dsc_4859morning banter but all the while we were peering into the east watching the rise of that bright yellow/orange ball that we hadn’t seen a lot of over the past couple days.

There was to be no breakfast buffet at the Sunrise Café this morning. Today was packing and leaving day. Everyone said that they were going to meet in the lobby, head over to the Marche Burette Deli for a small breakfast. Lisa and I decided to pack up and checkout at the same time. We were nearly packed already so it took us only minutes to be completely ready to go. We went directly to the registration counter in the lobby and checked out. From there we met up with everyone else.

There were a lot of goodbyes and pictures taken. Alice got assurances that I would be 20160905_094532.jpgseeing her for her 70th birthday celebration. They headed for the shuttle and I turned in my ticket for our car. So far the morning 20160905_094515.jpghad been a whirlwind and now Lisa and I stood alone as we loaded the car. We both decided to go ahead and drive to the Marche Burette Deli to do a REALLY final goodbye. That seemed easy enough…….HA!

We were weaving through all sorts of little roads and parking areas…..including the VALET ONLY area. I have a feeling that we were no closer to finding the place than we were before we ever left the hotel. Sheesh!! Then I saw a shuttle sitting there so I pulled up next to him and unlike the character of ANY male human being I asked the driver for directions. Of course that created severe trauma inside my body that I probably won’t go away until I get good and lost sometime in the future. The driver said “follow me” and away he went. In minutes we were parked and on our way in to do a small encore of the Bova family sitting together at a table. Another round of goodbyes we watched as Bob, Laura, Jean, & Steve started walking back to the hotel. Norm and Alice elected to take the shuttle…….. HOWEVER…now that I was such an expert driving around here I volunteered to chauffer them over. Believe it or not I was able to drive straight there without an issue. If we would have stayed a couple more day I believe that I could have applied to be a shuttle driver.

We had a good drive home. “Good” equates to absolutely nothing to report on.

Once home we chit chatted with Lisa’s Aunt Maureen a bit before we headed out to take her home. We were all a bit hungry and thought that a bit of Italian would fit the bill. The

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D B Pickles Ormond Beach, FL

first place we stopped, Decato’s, closed for Labor Day…CRAP. The second stop was Lenny’s but they are closed on Monday…..CRAP. Our third choice was D.B. Pickles…..YAY….they were open. We ate and we were happy.

 

We got Maureen home and headed home ourselves. I was going to be in my own bed again…woo hoo!! However, I had to be up early. Why? I’m glad you asked. Obviously the first reason is to fulfill my responsibility of waking Lisa up for work and taking the dog out. Secondly, Sherry would be coming for me to drive me back to Georgia to pick up my bike….EARLY. So we are not done yet!!!! I’ll tell you about it 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

CHAPTER “23”….DAY 19…2016 FLORIDA TO MICHIGAN ROAD TRIP!!!

FRIDAY SEPTEMBER 2, 2016…..DAY NINETEEN!!   MILES TODAY: 0.0    TOTAL MILES: 2819.2

WHOA!!! What is this?? Oh yeah, I remember now….it’s my OWN BED!! This is the first time that I have woke up in my bed for 17 days. It is going to be a short lived feeling because I will be leaving it again later today.

I did remember my old routine and woke Lisa up and took out the dog at 5:45 AM. The time of day didn’t make any difference because I had never stopped doing that for almost the entire time I had been gone. I am trying to find out when it is that retirement is going to start being relaxing. Not today!!

I can’t say that the day was very exciting at all. I headed up to the loft over our living room which is my “Man Cave” and starting pounding on my computer. Those that know me are aware that I have an Excel spreadsheet for just about everything that I do. I would lay out a

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THE BOVA MAN’S CAVE!!!

few examples but if you are reading this you are already aware that I lean to the weird side. If you saw what I track on my spreadsheets terms like “certifiable” or “yikes” will come into play. I spent a good part of the morning updating 17 days of spreadsheet entries. AHHHH….I feel whole again!!! I also did some badly needed blog writing and caught up on a couple of emails. Aunt Maureen would stop at the bottom of the stairs leading to the loft and listen for me hitting the keyboard so she knew I was still alive up there.

 

Lisa’s workplace closes down every day at 3:00 in the afternoon. She didn’t waste any time getting home meaning that by 3:30 I was loading the car with our weekend bags. The plan is for us to meet up with my brother and two of my sisters at the Omni Resort of Amelia Island north of Jacksonville near Fernandina Beach, FL. The original plan was for me to ride home from North Georgia today, run in the house, shower, put on fresh clothes, and run back out to the car. Because of that I had packed my weekend bag 3 weeks ago and had it ready to go. We anticipated leaving about 7:00 in the evening to make the 2 hour drive up to Amelia Island.

Giving credit where credit is due we have to give thanks to Hurricane Hermine for, 1) causing us to worry and having me come home early in a car and, 2) to change course and speed enough to have little or no impact on our weekend. Here it was 4:15 and we were pulling out of the driveway….a full 2 ¾ hours ahead of the original plan. Sometimes when you think that Mother Nature is out to screw you up it turns around to be the best ever.

The drive up was moving right along on I-95 when, OOPS, traffic ground to a near stop. At the same time the emergency responders..i.e. police and fire….were racing up the wp-1473522999887.jpgshoulders. Whatever was in front of us must have just happened. Sure enough about a quarter mile later we see a semi off the road facing in the wrong direction. Then as suddenly as the traffic slowed down we were back up to speed. Had we left our house 15 minutes later we would be in the middle of a huge traffic back-up.

We got to the Omni and I let the valet take the car and let the bell guy take our bags. We checked-in and found our way to the room. I have to say that the Omni Resort in Amelia Island is a very nice place. We did wait a little longer than we thought we should for our bags but that wasn’t a big deal. We were both hungry and the rest of the family were either making airport runs or still had to fb_img_1472856715554.jpgcheck-in so we headed off to eat.

Our “target restaurant” was the Falcon’s Nest because the brochure said that Friday night was Prime Rib special night. Somewhere I am sure that I have a spreadsheet on prime rib!!! Lisa saw a stairway near our room and we thought that it would be fine to take since we were going DOWN. Unfortunately we went DOWN one too many floors and our short cut had us walking all over the place. We also elected to walk to the Falcon’s Nest rather than taking the shuttle. As it turned out that wasn’t a bad call but since we had no clue where we were going we really didn’t know how far we would be walking. Thankfully after we corrected our blunder of wandering through No Man’s Land after the stairway we negotiated our way to the restaurant flawlessly. Soon we were sitting comfortably and were finding out about the OUTSTANDING customer service there was at the Omni. The prime rib was excellent and I have to tell you…..I HATE asparagus and yet I ate every single one on my plate because they fixed them perfect. Those were some of the first asparagus that I have eaten in my life and stand a good chance of being the last….but those 8 stalks were delicious.

Back at the hotel my younger sister and her husband, Jean & Steve, were there. They live just a short distance from us in Florida. Along with them my brother and his wife, Bob & Laura, were also there. They live north of Dallas in Texas. It was his brainstorm to get all the Bova siblings together. We all hooked up and found a table and cushy chairs near the pool where we talked and laughed and laughed and talked until it was time for bed. The last thing mentioned was coffee at 7:00 in the lobby. Yep, life is good!!

Back to the room and a really good night’s sleep! Talk to 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.

CHAPTER “22”….DAY 18…2016 FLORIDA TO MICHIGAN ROAD TRIP!!!

THURSDAY SEPTEMBER 1, 2016…..DAY EIGHTTEEN!!   MILES TODAY: 47.7    TOTAL MILES: 2819.2

Early to bed….Early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise. Hmmmmm, I would like to even have 2 out of 3!! I have 1…………most of the time!! That be as it may, I was in bed early last night and I was up early this morning. I did my normal wake up call to Lisa and the dog. I headed for the lobby and ate breakfast, typed on the computer, and watched the storm. I made the decision that the decision I made was a good one and I remained decisive. Hurricane Hermine’s speed and direction now made it impossible to judge when and where it would be relative to our travel plans.

Another quick call to Sherry and it was confirmed. She would go to work for a couple hours in the morning and head for home early. I would go visit with her dad and mom for two or three hours and then I would ride to her house. I would leave my bike in Sherry’s garage and the three of us…..me, Sherry, and Tony, who was Sherry’s friend and frequent riding partner…….would hop in Tony’s car and drive to Florida and return on Tuesday.

That done I sent a text to Sherry’s mom. Sherry is my “first cousin once removed”…..my comment is that we have removed her several times but she keeps finding her way back…..and her mom, Judy, is my first cousin. The text I sent was asking if they were up and if they were to give me a call. I got a text back saying she was up but BARELY and she would call in 20 minutes or so. I waited patiently….tapping my foot……staring at my watch!!!

Judy called and away I went over to their house. They are about 10 miles from the hotel. It is mostly a really nice ride along 441 in North Georgia. I pulled up to their house and was greeted warmly by my cousin, Judy, and her husband, David. Oh yeah, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that I was warmly, loudly, and slobberingly greeted by their two dogs. I love being loved!!

I was escorted to their dining area where I was greeted by a breakfast cake…..aka birthday

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Happy Birthday to ME!!

 

cake….and a semi sorry rendition of Happy Birthday. Thank Heavens it is the thought that counts!!

 

We did the normal chit chatting away gossiping about anyone not in the room. Since there were only three of us it was Open Season on just about everyone else in the world. Due to the fact that we were limited to only 3 hours we kept the subjects of our story telling (fact and/or fiction) to just family members.

So I was traveling around for both Lisa’s birthday and my birthday. Still, Lisa received flowers and mystery cards, quite a few Facebook greetings, a pile of “snail mail” greeting cards, and a destroyed cake a week later. I received a gazillion Facebook greetings, generous cards from in-laws, a special greetings from Lisa (and she let me do this trip), a cousin concocted birthday cupcake with WAY more candles that OSHA normally would allow, and another cousin birthday serenade accompanied by a breakfast cake. You can have all your gifts and presents…….I had a GREAT birthday (although a Burke’s Law Rolls Royce would have been nice).

It was time to go. My main issue was I wasn’t really sure how to get to Sherry’s house. Judy, bless her heart, did her best to give me directions. I’m sure that they were accurate but I have this feeling that if I tried to follow them I would right now be running circles in Wyoming trying to find the “big tree right after the liquor store” so I could turn right a block past the other place I could have turned right but the second place is better so I was to forget she mentioned the first place. I think that she could tell by the absolute blank look on my face that I had no clue where her instructions were leading me so she said “would you like me to drive and you can follow me?” WELL OF COURSE THAT IS WHAT I WANTED!!! However being the brave, highly intelligent, macho, hunk of a rocket scientist that I am it seemed like I needed to SOUND LIKE there was no need for that BUT if she WANTED to run over there I would follow her…..just sayin’!

I have been to their house a few times on my bike and I always have pulled up ALMOST to the back but where there was a spot to turn around…….with a bit of back and forth rolling. For some reason I pulled all the way to the top of their driveway and the only logical way out was to leave the concrete and follow the sand and gravel back down the 100-150 feet back DOWN to the road. Judy had gone to the other side of the house to get the car and would be coming down a different driveway.

To preface the next statement you have to remember that I ride MOSTLY in Florida where it is flat and straight EVERYWHERE. Hence, I have become a lazy rider and use my front brake about 98% of the time and rarely touch the back brake EVER. Also there are virtually no areas in Florida that are left unpaved. It is amazing but EVERYTHING is paved in Florida. Ok…not EVERYTHING but you almost have to search for unpaved streets, parking lots, or driveways. All that is a lead into me making about four mistakes at one time. I got going DOWN their rocky, gravelly, and sandy driveway picking up speed as gravity was pulling me down the hill, I pulled in the clutch SO I WENT FASTER, I never touched the back brake to slow and stabilize me, I waited until the last minute (still going too fast) to look up the road, realized I had to stop, and hit the front brake while turning the handlebars. Let’s see…..Motorcycle 101 says “doing any one of those things is wrong……doing them all is plain stupid”. The Motorcycle 101 penalty for breaking those rules is to imitate Artie Johnson’s Laugh-in Tricycle skit of flopping over. Of course Judy was panicking and I was laughing too hard to ease her panic. Thankfully the young guy in the VW that was going by stopped and helped the OLD laughing guy and the OLD panicking women lift the bike.  Darn it….I was laughing and not thinking (obviously) and I didn’t take a picture.  Oh well, next time!!

After a little readjusting of the mirror we were off and on our way to Sherry’s. As we weaved our way to her house I was trying to recall Judy’s instructions…………nothing seemed to be matching. We pulled into Sherry’s driveway, I parked the bike in her garage, I loaded my bags into Tony’s car, I met Tony, we said our goodbyes, and before 1:00 we were out of the driveway and headed to Florida.

I was in the backseat and I realized that I am SO glad that I grew up when I did. When I was a toddler, youngster, and preteen we didn’t HAVE TO sit in the backseat. In fact most of the time toddlers were STANDING in the front seat. There were no such things as seat belts……in fact highway safety was the guy with the biggest bumper. The backseat is, in a

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The Backseat View!!

 

word, boring. Thankfully, I had my phone and I could look at it every once in a while to keep me occupied. I’m not saying that Sherry and Tony were boring. They were the best part of the drive but one can feel a little isolated back there watching the trees fly by only to be blocked by an occasional tracker/trailer every now and then.

 

The drive was good pretty much the whole way. We hit two or three pockets of heavy rain but it never lasted a long time. We did one quick stop at a Northern Florida Waffle House. We were hungry and it was fast and it was good. It was also REALLY cold!!. I’m not sure why but in the summer it seems like all Waffle Houses are COLD. Maybe it is so you eat fast and then get out. If that is the reason……it worked!!

Right about 10:00 we pulled into my driveway. Tony and Sherry did a quick “rest stop”, did some minor small talk with Lisa, and left to hopefully reach Sherry’s twin’s house before 11:00. I plopped in the recliner……a sweet thing that I hadn’t seen since August 14. I did some chit chatting with Lisa and with Lisa’s Aunt Maureen before heading to bed. Maureen was at our house to spend Labor Day weekend watching our dog while Lisa and I went to Amelia Island for my Bova Sibling Reunion.

That brings me to the next phase…….Bova Reunion on Amelia Island. It wasn’t my original intent to include this weekend on this blog but since the motorcycle trip won’t officially end for 6 more days when I pull my bike into MY garage I will carry on. For the three of you that are still reading this I am forewarning you of a few more chapters. Talk to 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.

CHAPTER “3”….2016 FLORIDA TO MICHIGAN ROAD TRIP!!!

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.

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Me and my son’s inheritance!!

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.

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My custom made seat cover

 

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.

choicehotels-logos-footer-options-5The 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.

Bova-107
The house wines at Bova Pizza in Simpsonville, SC

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 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 road trips to Michigan dating back to 2009 at www.gotyourpic.com/Vacation.

Enjoy and I’ll talk atcha again next week!!!

CHAPTER “2”….2016 FLORIDA TO MICHIGAN ROAD TRIP!!!

LET’S LOCK IN THE PLAN!!!

I’m checking the calendar and, like Santa, I’m checking it twice. I can’t comment on the naughty or niceness of things but I do see that I am only three weeks from my departure day of Monday August 15, 2016…..YAY!!!. As I start in earnest to get ready for the trip at hand I think back to all the vacations that I have had in my life. As far as I know it started back when I was 4 years old (if you do the math you’ll see that it was about the same time that Moses was a teenager give or take a decade).

The first vacation in my memory was my grandmother taking me ON A TRAIN from Pontiac, Michigan to Kansas City, Missouri. Like virtually every other kid in America I was obsessed with trains. I worked on the railroad one day and I was Davy Crockett the next. I can remember parts of that trip like it was yesterday…..like being scared to death at the Chicago train station where the platforms ran between the trains. Then there was the part when I saw my first Diesal. We were picked up in Pontiac by a Grand Trunk steam

diesel
Imagine the excitement for a 4 year old

locomotive that took us to Chicago and that was neat but after we left Chicago and I was looking out the window….HOLY CRAP…. I was in Heaven.   What happened was that while the train was cruising around a curve I could see the front and we were behind a DIESEL. Man….we NEVER saw a diesel in Pontiac.

 

As years went on I did many week long stays up on the farms of my mother’s side of the family. They ran dairy farms north of Lapeer, Michigan. Us “city cousins” would spend time on the farms and the “country cousins” would spend time with us. I think that the country cousins liked us visiting them because when we were there they were kind of excused from a lot of their chores. They certainly liked visiting us because we lived near a lake and we spent all possible time at our little beach.

Later in my mid-teens I would ride an all night Greyhound with my next door neighbor best friend. His grandparents lived in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan. I can’t imagine today dropping a couple 15/16 year old kids off at the bus station to ride the overnight Greyhound 300+ miles ALONE. We had some really, REALLY great times the couple years we did that. By the way….if all goes well I hope to see that buddy while on this trip.

My adult life has had me go on adventures all over North America. Most of them could be a book by themselves. Thinking back over some of them I still shiver with excitement. I also

vietnam
“Camping” in ‘Nam in 1969

went to Vietnam but I guess that doesn’t really qualify as a vacation (I did some serious camping over there).

 

My motorcycle treks have taken me throughout the State of Michigan, around Upstate New York, a long weekend in New Paltz, New York, on Iron Butt rides, touring West Virginia, cruising Georgia and the Carolinas, numerous runs from Florida to Michigan, and many more.

AND YET…………

Before ALL vacations I still get a case of the “excitements”. If my wife and I plan for a weekend in Key West I get excited. If I go into Georgia to see my sister or cousin I get excited. Heck, if we are packing up to spend the night in Orlando I get excited like I was planning to travel around the world. I hope that it always stays like that. I mean, com’on, if you aren’t excited about a vacation that you are about to go on then why the heck bother going at all.

So here I am just three weeks out from loading up the bike and heading across the country. There will be 19 days and roughly 3,500 miles of whatever Mother Nature decides to throw at me. There will be friends to see….old ones and new ones. There will be family. Heck, I even consider some of my family to be friends!!!! There will be my offspring and there will be my offspring’s offspring. There will be gatherings big and small. It will be full of all things good. If there is any “bad” spots they are still “good”….and besides they usually make the best stories.

So now the planning begins in earnest. The first thing that I will do is plan out my route. I’ll go through all of that with you next week. A lot of thinking goes into that. You’ll understand what I mean when I explain it all. After I know the route and have a general idea of when and where I will be doing things I can plan out the packing. I have created the “Don Bova Science Of Motorcycle Packing System”. I was thinking of printing it out with an accompanying DVD and selling it on a TV infomercial but I opted to not do that…..mainly because of my of fear law suits. I would hate to charge someone $98,000.99 (plus s&h) for my system (that should put me right in line with televangelists) and then have someone sue me for $10,000,000 because they didn’t pack enough toothpaste.

So that means that I will let my generous nature shine forth and FOR FREE to the next 100,000,000 readers I will tell you how I plan and pack for a trip. I almost tear up thinking of the love.

Let me get busy. I have 19 days and those roughly 3,500 miles to map out. I have to have just the right clothes, appropriate places to stay, and a rough idea of some kind of an activity schedule……including an occasional afternoon nap. I’ll be spending the next week working on all of that together and I’ll let you know how it’s going next Monday.

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 road trips to Michigan dating back to 2009 at www.gotyourpic.com/Vacation.

Enjoy and I’ll talk atcha again next week!!!

CHAPTER “1”….2016 FLORIDA TO MICHIGAN ROAD TRIP!!!

THE FIVE W’s…….WHO, WHAT, WHERE, WHEN, WHY

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Me on my 2009 Yamaha Tour Deluxe

WHO:  The “who” is pretty easy…..that would be ME!!  Oh, there will be a host of supporting characters that will unwittingly become a part of the following pages and you’ll meet them along the way.  It is, however, MY story and that means that I am the main person of interest….maybe not to anyone else.  At the time of this writing I am at the very tail end of my 67th year of life.  In fact before the final installment I will surpass of 68 complete trips around the sun.  In other words….I am OLD. I was born in Pontiac, Michigan, lived in Dallas for a few years, and as of this writing I live in the Daytona Beach, Florida area where I have had the pleasure of enjoying the World’s Most Famous Beach for 24 years.  I find ME very entertaining but I have found that one man’s entertainment is another man’s TOTAL boredom so I’ll leave the topic of “WHO” at this point.  I can assure you that there will be more to learn about the WHO in future pages….more than likely far more than you need (want) to know.

2015 Road Trip To Michigan (19)

WHAT: Ahhh….What? What is the what? The “What” is riding a motorcycle……that’s what!!! If you have never taken a trip on a motorcycle you won’t totally understand the excitement. I have often told people that once you take a trip on a motorcycle you will never be the same and I’m not just talking about the sensation of your butt going numb!! I have been riding motorcycles since 1970 and it truly is a passion that is hard to explain. Back then I would hop on my little 350cc Honda Scrambler and off I would go sometimes with the only destination in mind was “to ride”. There were many times I would get up at 5:00 in the morning, pick up a gal that lived a couple blocks from me, and we would ride the three hours or so to Cedar Pointe. Once there we would ride the rides all day long and then hop back on that little thing and ride the three hours back.   We would get hit by every bug known to man as we rode after dark along the Lake Erie shoreline on Ohio Route 2. I rode throughout the Lower Peninsula of Michigan. Later with my Honda 550 Four I did a 7 day ride over to upstate New York camping every night in state parks or KOA’s. Since those early 1970’s I have traipsed all over the country on a motorcycle……and I have the Hooter shirts to prove it!!! To be sure I also have driven a car on many trips and I have been known to hop a plane or two BUT given my druthers (I’m not exactly sure what a “druther” is but whatever it is… IF I were to give one it would be this…) I would ride a motorcycle. Riding a motorcycle on a trip is exactly WHAT this is all about.

WHERE: I suppose that to be really honest I would have to say that the WHERE would actually be a whole slew of places. There will be several “WHERE’s” each and every day. However the main “WHERE” for our purpose in this case will be the final destinations…..of which there are TWO final destinations. The first final (oxymoron) destination will be Waterford, Michigan.20160717_170654.jpg This part of the Pontiac, Michigan area and that is where I grew up and lived from birth until middle age. This is where I went to school and where most all of my childhood acquaintances also lived. This community had the privilege to witness my growing up first hand.   OK, I will confess that there may be some persons out there that will accuse me of never actually growing up so for them I’ll add the disclaimer that “growing up” relates to a period of time and not necessarily a state of mind. There is always an emotional rush to go cruising in the old hood. I have done this many times and the nostalgic value is the same now as it was the first time I did a nostalgic run through my neighborhood. The final final destination will be back at my current “hood” in Florida. The ride to and from the first final destination and through to the final final destination will encompass about 3,500 miles, give or take. I have done this pilgrimage to “The Old Home Town” on a motorcycle 12 or 13 times and each and every time I was happy and thrilled with everything I see and do in first final destination of Waterford HOWEVER it is always good to pull into the driveway of the final final destination…..HOME. I am sure that the stories and memories that I intend to be sharing with you in the following posts will house far more joy and happiness than I deserve. I’ll reread the pages and I’ll smile, laugh, and maybe feel a tear or two. Still, it will be good to be home.

WHEN: Let’s see….the “WHEN” is kind of relative to the “WHEN” you read this. For our purposes here we’ll consider the “WHEN” in question to be the “WHEN” when I post this page.   Using that as my reference point we can (hopefully) safely say that the “WHEN” begins four weeks from today. Today is Monday July 18, 2016 and my estimated date of departure is Monday August 15, 2016.20160717_120227.png Based on the PLAN…..you gotta love plans…..I will now start putting things in order and getting the packing, mapping, things to doing, budgeting, and timings locked in…..so in 28 days I will be ready to pull out of my driveway. The “PLAN” is that I do that pulling out of the driveway at 4:00 AM on the aforementioned August 15 or for our purposes….the “WHEN”. I will spend the 19 days following that departure date traveling, visiting, ooo’ing & ahhhh’ing over the old homestead, and loving the world of two wheeling. Like trying to limit the “WHERE” to the two destinations that I named previously I can’t begin to tell you all of the “when’s” there will be. There will be nineteen periods of 24 hours that will be full of “WHENS” and each of those “WHENS” will contain multitude of mini “WHENS”. So keeping things in the same perspective the first “WHEN” will be 4:00 AM Monday August 15 when I pull out of my driveway and, God willing, the final “WHEN” will be as yet TBA time in the early evening on Friday September 2 when I pull back into my driveway. I guess you would call that whole scenario a “WHEN-WHEN situation”…ok, bad pun but it was the best I could come up in such a short time. Now is the time to mark your calendars…….Monday August 15, 2016.

WHY: I will bet that I get asked “WHY” more often than any of the other W’s. Like I previously mentioned it is something that a non-rider and specifically a non-trip non-rider won’t totally understand the “WHY” even though I will spell it out. There are two main type of WHY answers with a few sub-type of WHY answers. The first main is on the act of motorcycling riding itself. The sense of freedom, the feeling of doing what others long to do but are quick to come up with reasons or excuses to not do it, the act of accomplishment in a solo platform, the mystical feeling of exhaustion at the end of the day AND YET be totally ready to do it again the next day, and all the activities and instant gratifications ALL your senses….sight, hearing, smell, touch, and even taste….experience as you ride through the miles. I will admit that there have been a few times as I motored away in the driving rain or the frigid cold….or both….when I had a hard time remembering the WHY but at the end of the day the WHY is always there. There is the thrill of being at one with the nature that I am traveling through. There are some out there that think that I do it because of the monetary savings. Sure the mileage is a bit better on a motorcycle than in a car BUT this is not 1950 where people took off across the country paying 25 cents a gallon for gas and could pull off the road a hundred feet and set up camp. First of all it is 2016 and it isn’t wise to just pull off the road and sack out on a roadside picnic table. More importantly as I mentioned before I am flirting with 70 years of age…..and I’m sorry…I WANT A BED!!! I can’t live on peanut butter and jelly……after a 300-500 mile day my body screams for nourishment (and banana cream pie). I don’t know how it is where you are but most of the restaurants I go to actually charge me to eat. So it isn’t the monetary savings. There are, however, those solitary spans of cruising. Sometimes I’m thinking, sometimes I’m talking to God (when I ride I find that I “talk” to Him more than I “pray”), sometimes I sing (when you add the element of the rushing wind….I sound pretty good), sometimes I am saving Marcia Brady from kidnapping pirates, and sometimes I’m solving all the world’s problems. Wherever my mind takes me between each gas stop it is entertaining, edifying, emotional, or all of the above. The other “WHY” is a little more on the tangible side of things. First and foremost my three kids and nine grandkids are at that first final destination. I will get to see all or most of them during the trip. That alone is “WHY” enough for any trip. Since I grew up in Waterford, Michigan I will also see many other friends and family that have been a part of my life for DECADES. Speaking of DECADES I have an additional “WHY” (you gotta love the segue). I will also be attending my class reunion. It is the class reunion that will be celebrating the passing of 5 of those decades. Yep, this year will witness the 50th (gulp) class reunion for Waterford Township High School. The reunion will be witness to a weekend of events. For starters there will be a golf outing follow by an evening “meet & greet”. The following evening will be the actual reunion celebration. The last morning there will be a goodbye brunch. So you can see that there are reasons on top of reasons on top of more reasons for the “WHY” of this trip.

One last bit to that I would like to add to the “WHY”.   Although this trip was planned before his death I would like to dedicate this trip to the memory of my friend John Yates who passed away earlier this year.

2014 Georgia Road Trip With John and Sherry (11)
One of the BEST riding buddies EVER…John Yates

Originally we were going to do this trip together and go through his hometown in Tennessee where I would meet his friends and family. We would continue on to Michigan where he would meet my friends and family. I have tens of thousands of miles logged with John riding along with me. So I dedicate this trip to him and hope that he is again riding with me as a TRUE wing man.

 

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 road trips to Michigan dating back to 2009 at www.gotyourpic.com/Vacation.

Enjoy and I’ll talk atcha again in just a few days!!!