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.

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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.