Joined: Jul 2007
Travels with jdrocks-the Blue Ridge 2012
JUNE 2012...ON THE BORDER
Day 1, Thursday, 389 miles
Man, go to turn the key, I’m an hour late, should be sucking on that frightful Richmond air already. A final wave, blow a kiss to my wife, aaaah, damn jailbreak, ‘bout time. Thunk the rat into gear, roost the driveway for luck, slam bam, and I’m on the road. I don’t care where I’m going, I never start a trip of any length without charging the first stop sign half a mile away, second gear at around 9,000 before I let go and the throttle bodies snap closed on the downshift. The high note shriek of that exhaust overrun is enough to wake the dead, sound makes my brain vibrate right through the earplugs, muffler innards shoot out like a freakin’ bottle rocket. Woooeeee, let’s go someplace.
This is the V649HP rat…
and all I have with me for this trip is the Expedition bags with my standard bike kit and a drybag for the tent and sleeping bag. Change of socks and the clothes on my back, that’s all. Well, can’t be lying, might be half a bottle of cheap bourbon tucked in somewhere back there.
Another half mile and I get a good look due east across the Chesapeake Bay towards the Delmarva, red sun through ground fog, a raging forest fire through smoke. Ain’t nothing quite like it, but I put my back to it, I was west bound to the border…the West Virginia border.
Been out in that area before, pretty much from Maryland to North Carolina, so I knew my fuel stops, and the first one was right at an I64 exit. This gas station is always crazy because it’s frequented by out-of-state drivers who have quit praying and suddenly given up all hope of reaching Virginia Beach on the gas in their tank. Yeah, God was busy, didn’t take the call, they had to stop right here. Always in a hurry, the ocean might be gone before they get there, some fool might have bought up the last of the saltwater taffy, hot damn, won’t be none left. Men, women, children…tired, plum worn out, often found traveling in pajamas or wrinkled warm-ups with enough dog and cat hair stuck on them, heck, vacuum it all up and ya could weave a couple nice area rugs outta’ all that stuff.
Today there’s a new BMW sedan behind me, diplomatic plates or something, anyway, they ain’t from the YU-ESS-OFA. French Guyana, I guess, or at least that’s what the sticker on the window said. I don’t think they’re going to the Beach for a tan, could be the taffy. Might be diplomats, so I’ll be diplomatic and say the lady driver was big boned…that’s super secret international spy code for say, four hundred pounds.
Tropical print skirt bigger than the rain fly on my tent, sheer blouse, one of those with the big pockets that were supposed to provide strategic concealment. Bad news darlin’, those pockets ain’t doin’ the job, at least not the bottom half of the job, the bits down by your waist…hey, not that I was looking. The kicker, the final straw that caused me to cancel my vacation plans for French Guyana, was the Spanx. Yup, she was wearing 5XL Slimwear, didn’t know they even made it that big. Yikes, stand back y’all, that thing lets loose ya could get hurt real bad, it just ain’t made to fight back against a 55 gallon drum of Crisco. Anyway, welcome to the States, enjoy your stay.
Into the store for a drink, the guy in front of me at the register has a black ink dashed line tattoo around his throat with stencil script lettering that says “CUT ON DOTTED LINE”, oh brother, too much playtime in the big house. The dude was using the counter to hold himself up, half turned towards me, baggy pants riding low, the tag on his plaid boxers facing front, yessiree folks, he was wearing his undies inside out and backwards. Bought a twelve pack, and his parting words to the cashier were “It was just a mister meaner, he let me go on yurcoginance”, pretty sure I got that exactly right, amazing command of the native tongue. If he hadn’t looked like a freakin’ psycho killer with a wolverine face, I might have pointed out that little problem with the boxers. I had to google it up quick on my smart ass phone, yup, public flogging has been outlawed in the Commonwealth for quite some time.
Gone west at 80 cruise, beauty of a day, UFO clouds in a crisp sky. Had the zoom a goin’, and surprise, surprise when I got past Richmond, man, I had picked up a stalker. New Ford pickup, and the guy tried to stay along side of me for 50 miles, traffic or no traffic. C’mon, how many times does that happen? Pretty damn weird, and I wasn’t sorry to see him exit, then a few more miles and I was exiting myself for a quick fuel stop at Waynesboro.
I did say quick, just needed fuel, and I never took the helmet off. Lexus SUV at the pump in front, young handsome couple, Cheeseheads from Wisconsin according to the plate. He looked Wisconsin, she looked Texas beauty queen, and I have to say that at a young age I wouldn’t have minded riding around the country with something like that, in fact, I didn’t.
She was driving and we both pulled up to the light to make a left hand turn, hmmm, backup lights are on, does she really have that thing in reverse? I rolled the bike back about 40’ just in case, stopped, then a car pulled into the gap, thanks dumbass, gettin’ interesting now. Light changed, she hits the gas, and she really was in reverse. Shoots back, hits the brakes, screeeeech, misses the car behind by a whisker, shifts into drive, hits the gas, screeeeech, jumps forward and slews through the intersection way too fast. I could say “All in a days riding”, but if I had been at her bumper, she would have backed that SUV right over me. Beware big haired blond, kitten heel shod Wisconsin drivers, they might not have their Cheeseheads on straight.
Shooting west again with a good look at the horizon, dark clouds out that way, no good for the roads I wanted. Turn the corner at Staunton, now northbound up past Harrisonburg to my exit for Broadway where I’ll pickup 259 out to the West Virginia border, and fuel…and an extra crispy fried chicken lunch. Got the waypoint that says “CHICKEN”, man, can’t miss the recommended daily minimum of grease.
Interestingly, there’s a regulation croquet court close by, so if I ever have a posse along, damn, I’m going to get up a match. We’ll have to pack our whites and court shoes, bring the silver service and all that stuff, no problem. Chicken bones and beer cans scattered around the court, could be a problem, might be a penalty involved, I’ll need to check the rules.
(to be continued…)
jdrocks screwed with this post 08-12-2012 at 09:19 AM