Monday, June 2, 2008

Day 15 - Sleepless in... where the hell am I, again?

So the day before we pressed on through Missouri and made it into Kentuky. We agreed to push as close to Bowling Green as possible. Turns out we made it the whole way. It was a long day and everyone was pretty bushed when we packed in for the night. But it was a good - even fun - day of riding.

Day 15 would prove to be largely the same. We were on more of these non-stop twistie-turny roads that... Did you see the Terminator movie? "It can't be reasoned with, or bargained with. It doesn't feel pity, or remorse, or fear. And it absolutely, positively, will not stop." Yeah, Days 14 and 15 were like that. As relentlessly boring as Oklahoma was, Missouri and Kentucky were as relentlessly active. Again, we're not talking 200 miles of Tail of the Dragon, but the turns never stopped. Ever. By the end of day 15 we were all dragging ass and tired and worn out. It was the good kind of worn out, though.

At one point, Adrian pulled over on the side of the road, rested his helmet on his tank bag and said into the radio... "stick a fork in me. I'm done!" I was following him at this point and his turn entries were getting sloppy. I happily concurred. I was flat-out exhausted. We rode up to Rts. 80 & 23, then into Prestonsburg and grabbed some rooms at the Super-8 motel.

We all wound down for a little bit, then walked over to the restaurant next door to have dinner. Reno's I believe was the name. By this point Bob and Brian were well into their high-mile Interstate run home. We opted up to this point to avoid as many Interstates as possible, but over dinner, most everyone agreed to hop on the big roads and blast home in time for a Saturday evening arrival. For myself, I was a little bummed. I still had a few more days of vacation and as I'm sure you're sick of my saying... this is a once-in-a-lifetime kind of trip. I didn't want it to end yet, even though I was only a day-ride from home.

We talked more over dinner and the decision was made... everyone would get up in the morning and depart. Saturday was supposed to be nice in the entire region and Sunday would bring crappy weather everywhere. I chimed in saying that if I wasn't up that early, go on ahead. I wanted... NEEDED... to sleep in. By this point my back was starting to bother me and I'd been having only sporadic good nights of sleep up to this point.

The guys were all cool with everyone leaving at their own times and we said our g'byes and crashed.

And crash I did. I don't think I woke up until well after 8am and I didn't roll out of the parking lot until almost 10am.

But there was a snag... I checked the weather and looked out the window. Some nasty storms were rolling through and the day was promising to bring a blitz of storms all day. Crap! I'm sure you're equally sick of hearing me say that since crashing the Harley in January, I'm a big sissy when riding in the rain. The bike just doesn't feel planted to me when the roads are wet. So I ride slow and very conservatively when it's wet out.

I shot a quick message off to my friend Doug (RDoug from and told him I was planning on heading North from here and was wondering if he'd like to grab a meal later. He's in Morgantown, WV and taking a circuitous route, I could be in town by dinner time. Well, the skies opened up on me as soon as I left and even with all the water, wind and lightning, I still made an attempt to take the back roads.

For about a mile.

Maybe two.

The roads I was on were slick and messy with dust or mud and weren't fun at all. I got back out onto the Interstate and made a casual ride up the highways to Morgantown. Doug called my cell and said that he'd meet up, and we'd talk when I got into town. I had rain gear on so wasn't rain-soaked, but it was HOT and humid and raining and trucks and traffic and wind and... yeah, I rolled in to Morgantown feeling absolutely beat up.

Doug met me at the Sheetz station and escorted me back to his house where I was introduced to his lovely wife Sheri and his three dogs. Doug insisted I bag the motels and stay there at the house with them. I agreed, but only under the conditions that he let me buy dinner. They took me out to Archie's, a local on-water pub and I had the biggest burger ever (well, Denny's Pub in Clearfield makes them slightly bigger, but it was still a pretty good sized sandwich).

Back to the house for some banter, some TV and some discussions of a route home the next day, then off to bed.

I have to say, Doug and Sheri - THANK YOU. Opening your home to me like that was very generous and I'm honored that the offer was even made. It's great to know that there are still people out there who are so caring and generous. Thumbsup

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