Tuesday, May 24, 2011


For as long as I have been riding I have had excuses reasons for not desiring to commute on the bike.

  1. 10 miles isn't enough distance to justify the time cost of donning ATGATT
  2. A 10 miles commute that has 14 stop lights is painful
  3. 10 miles that generally take 35 minutes to traverse meant too much clutch action sitting at said lights through multiple cycles.
 All of it combined to make it a fairly miserable commute.  The benefits were never realized with all of the detractors.

Recently my commute doubled in length.  And you might think my excuses reasons no longer held water.  You would think that, wouldn't you?

Maybe.  But doubling those miles also doubled the stoplights and quadrupled the traffic that I encounter.  The new area is more business oriented and daily becomes mecca for a large portion of the North Georgia business people.

I held out hope that I would eventually be able to ride to work.  I spend my first week scouting out every conceivable route between home and work.  Things were not looking good as my 18.1-19.5 mile commute lasted anywhere between 60 - 85 minutes.  I spoke with a few other people that lived near where I did and they confirmed their commutes were also in that range.  I spoke with a couple of riders and they also confirmed the diagnosis.  The only cure was changing arrival/departure time.

I realize I constantly remind you of my Atlanta location.  But it really is relevant.  There isn't one street that is straight for a distance longer than 300 years.  To state another way, city streets are not laid out in a grid pattern.  It is not reasonable to expect to be traveling in the same direction if you turn right at the next street, then turn left at the following.  I does not happen here.  Here, two roads can run parallel, then cross each other a mile down the way.

What does this mean in a commute?  It means that if traffic is heavy on the street that I am currently on, I can't just turn at the next one and expect that I will be able to regain my heading at the next street.  That first street I turned on could actually spin around and weave itself to travel in a direction exactly opposite the direction I was initially heading.

Than you have to add the river.  The river that bisects from the Northeast to the Southwest and has all of its meanderings.  Not many streets cross that river.  So you are bound to certain paths in long lines with everyone else.

I have been informed, and confirmed, that traffic patterns are fairly reasonable if I planned on arriving at 7:00 AM.  Yeehaw.  At that time I could leave home about 6:20 and have a "decent" commute.  To boot, traffic isn't too bad in the afternoon with a 4 PM departure.  Some intersections can get sticky, sometimes, on some days.  I haven't discovered any patterns.

Conversely, I could leave my house after 9 AM and generally make good time.  However, I haven't discovered when evening rush hour ends yet.  At any time between 4:30 and 7:00 I'm still seeing bad backups.  And I really don't like working late.  I am a morning work type person.

All that being said I have commuted on the bike frequently so far.

And I can say that I FINALLY understand why people enjoy it!!  My current route has quite a few miles with few lights.  And some sections actually go against traffic flow a ways.  When I get a few opportunities to get up to speed and can get the wind to blow the cobwebs away I am all smiles.


But what I really enjoy is the necessity to stop thinking about work.  Riding requires so much concentration and focus you can't be thinking about work too.  So coming in in the morning I am not thinking about what I have to do that day.  And leaving for home means I stop thinking about anything that happened during the day.  What a win!  My mind is clear to start the day and focus on upcoming challenges.  And it is clear when I get home, allowing me to focus on family and relaxing.  Wow.

Trite but the saying is true: you never see a motorcycle outside a psychiatrists office.

Not everything has worked itself out yet, though.  I have a distinct aversion to wearing "proper" clothing.  In many other activities you dress to how warm you will get.  Not necessarily to the current temps.  I know this isn't applicable to motorbike commuting since I am not performing anything physical to warm my internal temps.  So I find that I way underdress for morning temps of 44F (7C) when I know the afternoon temps will reach 80+F (27C).  I don't want to layer or get the heated gear out knowing that I won't need it in the afternoon.  So a couple mornings I have really frozen.  :)  My palms are warm against the heated grips but my thighs have stuck to the gas tank like a wet tongue to a metal flagpole in the frozen school yard.

Another issue that I am still trying to work through is just the expectations of being a girl in a business environment.  How do you dress nicely and manage long hair AND ride a motorcycle???  I don't agree with wearing one set of clothes on the motorbike and changing into a different set in the office.  That may be the ultimate solution...but I don't like it.  My current solution is to wear jeans to the office.  I'm not supposed to, but nothing has been said yet.  As for the top, I will either wear what I want under my armored jacket or wear an undershirt and shrug the nicer top over that when I arrive.

Unfortunately I still have a problem with my hair.  I have long, curly, dry, unmanageable hair.  I would cut if off, but would look even worse in short hair than I currently do.  I can't wash my hair in the evening because it takes forever to dry.  Which is also why I can't wash it in the morning if I plan to ride.  My wet hair would freeze or completely saturate the padding of my helmet and jacket.  And I would still freeze.

So what do I do with my hair?  I normally wash, or get it wet, and let it air dry to maintain the natural curls.  If I attempt to brush it after it has dried it separates every single strand and frizzes out.  My hair is so thick that when this happens I look like the combed out pompoms of a show poodle.

I haven't solved this issue yet, but it will probably mean obtaining hair brushes and spray bottles that stay at work.  A blow dryer might be pushing it since the bathrooms are utilitarian, without much space.

Thank goodness I don't wear makeup!  I couldn't even imagine the havoc caused by sweating in my helmet as I get ready to depart, followed by freezing temps that chill the beads of sweat into place.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Western Corners - Part 3

It took stretching, food, diet coke and some jokes with the wait staff to really wake me up.  I headed on down the road refreshed.  Mr. Oilburner and I had ridden this area a couple weeks ago and nothing had really changed.  So I wasn't needing to sightsee.  The main highway actually bisects the Fort Benning Army Base.  There is one sign I would love to have an image of, however, I am not stopping on a highway going through a military base and whipping the camera out.  Especially when the sign I want the image of is a directional sign for Sniper School.  You will just have to imagine it on your own.

This area of the state is under-developed.  Not many farms or houses.  Though they are here.  No, this area is for tree harvesting pure and simple.  The terrain isn't quite as hilly as the north, but there are still a few peaks that give you a view of the miles upon miles of trees.




 I've heard that New Zealand does not  have any poisonous spiders or snakes.  I've also heard that 22 of the 21 species of poisonous snakes live in Georgia.  (...think about it...)  These thistles are not poisonous, but given the threatening appearance it should be.


I'm on some of the craziest back roads to reach the park; back alleys of a town of twenty houses, barely paved roads cutting between farm fields, some strange cross road in the middle of tall, thin pine trees and dense ground cover.  Approaching the park from the direction I did is obviously more fun than the main roads.  And I can't believe that I am in the park when I see a large swimming pool.  But given the industrial design and purely functional lifeguard tower, I have to be.

I''m still not seeing anything I would associate with Indian Mounds.  Until I encounter a mown field and look over my right shoulder.  Temple Mount is towering over me.


I have definitely entered the park from the less traveled direction.  The visitors center is the last thing before leaving the park.  :)  And I find it a little strange that there is only one car in the lot.  Is the recession taking its toll?

For all intents, this place should be open, but it it looking a little desolate.  So I decide to give it a peek.  Low and behold they are open!  And this is where my road weariness becomes evident.  When the ranger asks me what she can help we with my basic response was "I don't know."  When she asks what I want to do, I stammer "See the mounds, but I won't be doing much hiking in these boots."  But otherwise I just don't know my options.  She looks at me as if I am mildly retarded and kindly lists out a couple options:

  1. Pay the $5 park fee and wander outside to my hearts content
  2. Pay $4.28 to wander through the museum, watch a short video AND wander outside to my hearts content
And by-the-way, there is a partially excavated mound INSIDE the museum.

hmmm...Air conditioning, watch a video, see a mount up close for less money?  That's for me!

I pay my fee and we meet up again in the room with the excavated mount and video screen.  It's a great room with seating set up in a stair fashion, and I have it all to myself.  The lights go down, the video starts and my boots come off.  My feet are burning up and I am hot.  I had haphazardly pulled off my thermal shirt, but I was going to have to go to the restroom to remove my thermal pants.  (Temperature/body cooling always seems fine while riding, but try walking in the heat with silk thermals and they will overheat you in seconds!)

I have never removed my boots for a refresh before.  I always wait until the end of the riding day, seeming like too much work to get back into them.  Boy is that WRONG!!  I sat there leaning against the next riser and scooched by butt backwards a little.  The seating/steps were so long that the platform that I was sitting on hit me about mid-calf.  So i was sitting there like a little kid with my legs stuck straight out and just flipping my feet up and down.  Just that little air flow produced a good windchill on my hot and sweaty feet.  Sometimes my attention wandered from the video as I concentrated on the cool feeling of my feet.  Pure bliss.  As the video ends I hustle back into my boots.  Hopefully the earthen smell of the Indian Mound masks my stinky boots.  :)

Now that I have my history I am fee to wander the mound and museum.  I'm not sure how I feel about a partially excavated mound being on display.  Part of me wishes we would leave sacred places well enough alone.  But another part of me understands mankind's curiosity and this allowed people to learn about another culture.

This mound happens to be the burial mound of a chief.  The pit holding the ashes of the chief is 9 feet deep and the height of the mound is 11 feet.  Please note that it is illegal ti display Native American remains.  All skeletons are reproductions.








In building the museum they build a platform walkway over and around the excavated mount that really makes this a treat.







Temple Mound is 57 feet high (17.3m).  And those 83 steps aren't terribly fun in motorcycle boots... :(  But climb it I did for some great views.









Can you believe there is at least one place left in the US this is not bisected by cell phone antennae?  I found it!

I was getting tired, but Bainbridge was only about an hour down the road.  It is 5 PM by this time. Was I prepared for another hour on the road?  Could I, in good conscience, call this my Southwest Corner?  I don't have to head home tomorrow, but the thunderstorms and severe weather is predicted for Saturday.  It would be nice to snuggle on a sofa instead of ride through thunderstorms.

I decide to head towards Bainbridge.  Five miles down the road is a Day's Inn that appears clean, well kept and empty.  The only vehicles are huge powerline utility trucks.  I again ponder my moral "southwest" and pull into the lot.  Still no cell coverage to call Oilburner and mull it over with him.  If there isn't cell coverage now, there won't be any in 2 hours and that means no talking with Oilburner at all tonight.  How am I gonna live without talking to sweetie?!?!  No way.  I'm going to Bainbridge.  This way I also don't have any moral dilemmas :)  Oilburner pointed out later that we could have Skyped.  But I'm glad I didn't remember.

The ride into Bainbridge is easy.  The hotel is nice.  There are about 5 restaurants/fast food joints within walking distance.  The hotel is directly behind a gas station for fuel in the morning.  The Holiday Inn next door is newer, but here my bike is parked directly outside my room door.  No such amenity next door.  hehe

I go back and forth between reading a book, playing on the internet and watching Monster Quest on cable.  (We don't have satellite or cable at home.  We rely on rabbit ears.  So it can be a treat seeing some interesting shows.)

I toss and turn most of the night.  Not really sure what was on my mind, or if the bed isn't terribly comfortable.  But I am ready to get on the road in the morning and see something new.  I have the requisite fight with the air pump in the morning.  This time I remembered to check air pressure before suiting up.  And confirmed that it is the same two pounds low as it was yesterday.  I planned ahead for that and was just going to air up at the gas station.  The trouble??  I only have 3 of the required 4 quarters.  And I'm not leaving all of my stuff in the back lot of this forsaken gas station to get the last one.  I resort to unpacking one bag to get at the pump and just give it another go.  I let it chug away for awhile and the on-board needle jumps from 34 to 44 in the blink of an eye.  I've been siting here watching it and there wasn't any incremental increase, just this gigantic jump.  But it is infinitely easier to let air out and all is well.  Sweating and hot and grouchy, but well.
I believe I hit my groove yesterday at the mounds.  Stress and worry had left me.  I was good to stop and see some sights.  I was thoroughly enjoying myself.  My big decision for the route home was to take a more direct, back roads route or hit the slab.  The back roads would be enjoyable but the slab led in the direction of the ONLY "Q" city in Georgia.  And also near the current location of the Georgia tag.  Hmm..."Q" wins.  I don't know when I will be down this way again.  (Yeah, I know precedence says I will be back within the month.  LOL.)

The highway I am on, heading east, is one of the "updated" ones that is four lanes, divided.  Makes it safer, but usually bypasses the interesting stuff, so you have to keep a sharp eye out.

I can't help but stop to collect a "C" city.  I missed the town and should have circled back for a picture of the post office, but it's still cool.


Looks like I have found another "W" city.  I love the old grocery story for Whitesville, but I prefer the police cruiser for Whigham.  :)


Then I spied a strange historic site sign as I sped past it.  Only to see another decrepit house over the edge of the road on the other side.  Nothing unusual in itself, however, the rock monument and plaque is.  I do turn around for this.




There isn't any information, just the plaque with the name of the place.  The internet reveals a little history, but not much.  And I'm no daring enough to take the bike down the rutted dirt road, but Google map view reveals that it might have been interesting. The Paul Hansell Bennet Wetlands Site was donated by said man to preserve the wetlands in this area that were partially destroyed by the building of the highway.  I read that it is a good place to bird watch.

Back on the road and only three miles to "Q"!  Yay!  GPS says there isn't a post office, which can't be correct.  But how do you navigate to someplace that software says doesn't exist?  I stopped at the first spot that displayed "Q", but it isn't very attractive.

Another mile into town brings me to the city square with the courthouse...but no name.


Still, there is some great architecture here.





After Quitman it is ALL Super Highway to Atlanta.  Boring but quick.  I still have one more detour before heading that front tire directly home.  There is the matter of this Georgia TAG sitting for the last two weeks down south.  A small detour takes me to "E"nigma.  The tag and another "E" city in one shot.  Ephesus or Enigma.  I can't decide between the two as they are both so cool!


Only two more things of interest occur on the way home.  The winds are kicking up fiercely as the front starts moving through.  Oilburner calls to tell me the wind is picking up in Atlanta, not knowing that I have already been fighting with them the last couple of hours.

And then comes the police...  I'm only 90 minutes from home, but I absolutely have to stop for a stretch and get myself out of the saddle.  (Reinforcing the term "saddle sore"!)  The next off-ramp doesn't have any nearby amenities, so I just pull over on the on-ramp.  This isn't generally a busy area.  However, just across the way is the Argirama...an extremely busy area when an event is going on.  I can see them gathering, but nothing too bad.

So I am standing on the side of the on-ramp and I happen to see a police car traveling down the frontage for the Agrirama.  I don't think much of it until I hear a powerful engine revving up and I look up in time to see that the cruiser has turned around and is speeding up the frontage road to the entrance.  My only guess is that he saw me and is coming to investigate.  And I am correct.  I feel it is in my best interest to remove my helmet now, hopefully to show him I am not a threat.  When he takes all of 3 seconds to reach me from half a mile away I thank him for his prompt concern and attention and assure him that I am OK.  All the while thinking in the back of my mind that my bike had better start when I get back on!!


All is well that end's well.  Of course I have to deal with crazier drivers the closer to Atlanta I get.  Knowing that I am getting tired and that it has been a long day I just take it easy.  Home is good to see, but depressing at the same time.  The adventure is over for another while.

The storms ripped through the state.  Lots of rain, thunder and tornadoes.  We were spared.

It's nice to be home.  I am so excited about visiting my five little corners.  Hmm...how about other states?  :)  Still find it humerous that Oilburner has only visited one.  Hehehe.  He has some catching up to do.

I can feel the pull of the open road leading me further astray for longer and more distant destinations.  Oh when will I get to fulfill those dreams???

My total trip mileage was 851 miles for the three days.

The weather was perfect, except for the impending storms.

Things that I learned:
    • Check tire pressure BEFORE getting all your gear on
    • Pack the compressor where it is somewhat accessible
    • Take your boots off and let your feet cool down regularly - does wonders for your outlook
    • Pink Floyd's "Shine On You Crazy Diamond" sounds great on empty country lanes with a fog over the fields

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Western Corners - Part 2

The sun was bright, the roads were empty, the scenery was beautiful.  I just navigated my way south and didn't think of much, just enjoyed the feel of the bike, listened to the engine, felt the nuances of the road.  I made a u-turn in a small town to fulfill the hunger creeping in.  Subway's fit the bill.  And it was fortuitous that I stopped, allowing me to look at the map and realize the complex little turns/jogs that I would have otherwise missed.

Note: The GPS was on the bike, but was only set to navigate me to the hotels.  Otherwise I only looked at it to confirm changes in highway's.  I did bring a paper map along for grander overviews and high level directional planning.  I really enjoyed not being driven by that GPS.  :)

My last set of tires were "known."  I knew how they felt.  I knew what to expect in response.  I knew their pressure really only fluctuated with barometric changes.  I knew I could rely on them.  These new tires and I still have to work on that trust relationship.  They had only been installed for 12 hours prior to departure and already needed two pounds of air.  Air pressure thoughts whirled around in my subconscious and swirled to the top when the bike started feeling a little squirrelly.  I tend to read a lot about a vast array of experiences other people have on bikes so that I may learn a little from them.  I have keenly read about flat tire experiences.  Think about it.  We are entrusting our lives to two donuts of rubber with contact patch on the ground about the size of our palms.  While I would like to never experience a flat tire on the motorcycle first hand, I would like to know what the bike feels like when it does occur.  Or at least what symptoms to watch out for.

A low front tire is going to feel different than a low rear tire.  The front tire is the steering tire and will feel heavy or difficult to steer when the pressure is low.  The rear is the driving tire and will give more of a fishtailing feel to the bike.  Please recognize, this is info for leaks, fast or slow, but definite deflating over time.  These are not necessarily indicative of feel or response for a blowout.

Reading and theory are all well and good, but I don't have a dirt-bike riding background where flats or running at lower pressures is more normal.  Without that background I don't "understand" what a fishtailing rear wheel actually feels like.  I pay attention when the bike begins to handle contrary to expectations, feeling a little "skippy" in the rear end.  Hey, it is a small thing to pull over and check tire pressure.  It will quickly confirm suspicions, allay fears and give you a short break/stretch.  I pull into the next gas station, sidling up to the air pump just in case.

This gas station is the prominent item at the t-shaped intersection of this quaint cross road with the name of Melson on my map.  I know that I will not be obsessing over the 6-inch drop of pavement to gravel transition a foot away.  I know I find the location of this lake and RV "Resort" directly behind the gas station a little strange.  I know that my tire pressure is spot on, without any problemns.  (Yes, I took into consideration that the tires were warm and would be a little above "correct" pressure.)  OK.  Trust quotient a little higher.  What I was feeling is either a characteristic of the tire (probably not) or a combination of the upcoming wind and aerodynamics of the ginormous top box (more likely).

I take a little time to let the hair out of the helmet and give Mr. Oilburner a call before Mr. Tell-tale (SPOT) gives my away.  It's about 3pm and he is concerned about where I will stop for the evening.  I figure another hour and a half on the road.  He pushes for 30 minutes.  He wants me to have a chance to relax and see some sights without getting worried about stopping for the evening.  I give in and we select a Holiday Inn Express about 30 minutes away in Cedartown.  Amenities include a pool and hot tub.  Oh yeah!

I've had a couple experiences of Cedartown before and always thought the town was clean and lovely.  My dealings have always been on the other side of the proverbial tracks apparently.  Approaching from the west this time gave me an entirely new view of this "clean" little town.  I received a few unwelcome glances and hoped for green lights.  My misgivings did not improve as I rode down a decrepit historical Main Street onto the newer version of fast food, used car lots and automotive garages.  And my hotel was only 0.6 miles away.  Oh well.  Roll with the punches.  The ambiance goes uphill at the end of "main" street literally and figuratively.  Uphill marks the move towards residential, and the hotel is right in that transition.

If you ever have the chance to stay in the Holiday Inn Express in Cedartown, DO IT!  Beverly, the night shift supervisor is phenomenal!  She was nice, bubbly, talkative and helpful.  I am not a frequent customer of the chain but Mr. Oilburner stays there frequently on his business trips.  So that qualified me for a free beer that I spied sitting in a bucket of ice behind the counter.  Then she pulled out the goodie basket and gave me my choice of chips (Cheetos), then shoved an 8 oz water and Oreo's in a bag for me.  I made it upstairs to my room with my cache of goodies and returned to start unloading the bike.

I asked Beverly about a "safe" parking spot since all of the front spots were taken.  She directed me to park in the "drive thru" section of the entrance where two cars were currently parked.  By the time I had returned downstairs (I love bag liners!!) one of the cars had been moved (it was her son's).  This is service that I can get used to!


After everything was squared away I crashed in my room in front of the air conditioner.  Despite the cool start it had turned into a hot day in the mid-80's (30C).  I partook of my munchies but had failed to procure a bottle opener for the beer.  I soon donned my bathing suit and hopped into the liquid nitrogen that passed for the pool.  The pool was small, but large enough to swim short laps to warm up.  Good workout for the free cookies the hotel was baking up.

After swimming I lounged around to drip dry and read my book.  Every so often someone would happen by the broken hot tub an we would have an interesting conversation of the broomstick handle that was wedged in the bottom of it.  Fun speculations as the reasoning behind it.  Another "guest" (I believe he lived there) recommended a restaurant that he worked at just down the street, so I took a stroll down the hill.

Zorba's - Greek name and motif specializing in Americana and Italian cuisine.



The place was packed and the food was good.  I opted for the broiled salmon that my waitress recommended.


Just after ordering, another hotel guest that I had been chatting with at the pool happened up to me.  It seems that she had been told the restaurant was 2.5 miles away (4 km) instead of half a block.  She related her driving exploits then invited me to join her and her husband at their table.  OK.  I'm not here to eat alone if I don't have to.  :)

Judy and Bill are great people on their way home to Florida.  They had been visiting their son and his family up north.  Bill was a previous rider and was thinking of picking it back up.  Judy has ridden pillion of old, but has plans to take her beginning class as soon as an injury heals.  We swapped stories and shared pictures over a good meal.  Judy even revealed her dream bike: the anniversary edition of the Harley Davidson Cross Bones.  :)

Image from Web 2011 HD Cross Bones
Time to head back to the hotel and they offered me a ride back.  I could hear Mr. Oilburner's gasp of disapproval, but I will remind you that I am naive and believe most people are good.  I had a good vibe from them and accepted the offer.  The horse sticker was on the passenger window when I turned to grab the seat belt.  I had a good laugh at it and all she could say was that it had come with a handful of other stickers with an album she had purchased a while back.


Needless to say, they delivered me back to the hotel safe and sound.  Judy and I hung around the lobby talking bikes and eventually said our good nights.  Morning came quickly with thoughts of breakfast downstairs.  Bill and I shared a table and discussed bikes some more while Judy looked at maps for the easiest and quickest route home that bypassed Atlanta and neared a Starbucks.  I think Starbucks won: I learned later they actually did go towards Atlanta.

But back to me.  Room empty, bike packed, me suited, helmeted and gloved up.  When I finally remember to check tire pressure.  OY!!  Important lesson here: check tire pressure BEFORE you are in all of your gear!  The rear tire was 2 lbs low again.  Anal retentive me decides it has to be remedied and I have to tear one of the saddlebags apart to reach my little compressor.  Lesson number two: don't use your compressor for the first time ONB the trip .  It fought, I cursed, it didn't inflate, I did, it blurbbled away, I sweated.  I finally threw my hands in disgust, considered kicking the compressor across the parking lot and calmly repacked all my belongings.  Obstinate compressor included.

I'm finally loaded back up and oozing sweat through all four layers of clothing on this lovely 44F (6.7C) morning.  Let's get moving and some of the airflow through my mesh jacket to cool me right off!

In spite of everything it is wonderful to be on the bike and moving.  Following the signs for Hwy 100 has be on some pretty strange roads.  They are small, narrow, scenic, deteriorating and I only need to watch out for dogs and potholes.  I have a hang up about dogs.  I've already been charged by 4 of them (not on this trip) and I always expect them around the next corner, no matter where I am.

My goal today is Bainbridge.  I really wish I had made it a little farther down the road yesterday, but I really enjoyed stopping when I did.  So no complaints.  My goal may be Bainbridge, but my only objective today was the Kolomoki Indian Mounds State Park.  I had to get there first and that meant a compromise.  I was going to continue on Hwy 100 until I reach interstate, then jump on that for a ways to make some time.

On my way I ran across Ephesus.  What a cool name!  This place in no way resembles the Ancient Greek city of the same name.  But is is a treat to see in rural farm community Georgia.  I think I have my "E" city.  The husband of the City Secretary comes out to see what strange things I am doing.  He was friendly, but very difficult to understand.  We exchanged a few stories of unemployment and the economy, then I was on my way.


Along my travels I had notions of what places "should look like" based upon the city name.  As I am sure you know, we are rarely correct when we do that.  Tallapoosa just sounded odd and I had low expectations.  Turns out it has some fabulous Victorian style houses that could rival old historic cities in Georgia known for their Victorian representation.  La Grange always stirs images of farms, large machinery, big red barns and crops blowing in breezes.  In my reality, my La Grange is a DUMP!!   In all fairness there are probably good parts of town, but I didn't encounter any.

It was in La Grange that I had the chance to meet Earl.  He pulled up to the pump next to me and the gas station and proceeded to talk bikes.  He inquired where I was coming from, where I was going to, how long I've been riding, how far was my longest ride, all of the sizing me up kind of questions.  Though all asked nicely.  Turns out in his younger and crazier days he did something extremely stupid on a bike that resulted in some broken fingers, ribs, foot, leg and back, the upper region.  Doctors never expected him to walk again.  And while it took him a couple of years of therapy he proved them wrong.  Happily.  Now he talks with riders when he can to find out where their head is at in their riding and share his sobering experiences.  I passed the test and was blessed on my way.  And gave me the ultimate compliment of being a "real rider" and not just someone puttering around town.

Almost to the interstate and I spy this old grocery store that I fly by.  I have to make a u-y to catch my "W".


The interstate is fast but boring and begins to lull me to sleep.  Since I know there isn't any food beyond Columbus I accept the offer of a Denny's right off the freeway and think of a nice crispy BLT.  Wish come true.


...to be continued.  I apologize for my delay but work is kicking my rear-end right now.  Just not enough hours in the day.  :)  Hope you are out riding and enjoying spring!