Seven month recovery and the road is calling to me....
After the accident I sold 4 of the 5 bikes I had, keeping only the 1995 CB250 Nighthawk I nicknamed Tweety for the bird like sounds the exhaust made.
At the time I pondered getting out of the sport knowing the answer before posing the question, I think it’s a genetic defect.
Six months into my recovery my wife comes home from work to find me watching one of my home made bike videos wearing a helmet sitting in front of a box fan on high, it was time.
A few weeks later I started walking with 2 canes and figured out how to get on the bike.
One Sunday morning I decided to ride up to visit the local crew. Shifting was a problem since the feet don’t work at all so I would hook the fold of my boot to pull up on the shifter. A couple of times I had to ride along in a lower gear because the leg got tired and unable to shift until I rested it some, but I managed.
On the way out to the meeting point running smoothly along a deserted country road I see a cow running in the ditch on my side of the road with a deputy following in his cruiser.
Future hamburger runs up on the road and is now running right at me, by this time I’m at a complete stop. At about 30 feet the cow finally noticed me and tries to veer off but her hooves slip and she lands heavily on her side sliding toward me. I’m thinking “GREAT, my first day out and I’m going to get taken out by a renegade bovine”.
At a distance too close for comfort she regains her footing and scampers around me, whew.
At the meeting place the usual crew is there and happy to see me back in the saddle.
I can’t get off the bike because my canes are still at the house so I say my goodbyes and motor off for the 28 mile return to home.
I fabricate a heel/toe shifter and a quiver for my canes, I am now jonesin' for a road trip.
Ten months after my accident in mid-July I set off on my first solo road trip. The plan is to go from Tampa, FL to Auburn, NY through the mountains.
Staying off the interstate I take back roads and it feels good to be back in the wind as I motor out of Florida. Central Georgia was hot, I passed a bank showing 105*f and I believed every degree of it.
The heat is taking its toll on me and I stop at a local McDonalds to take in some liquids and cool off. The floor had been mopped and one of my canes slipped, still weak in the legs down I go like a ton of bricks. Some of the patrons rushed to my aid and I’m back in business none the worst for wear.
The heat was unreal and I would have to stop again and drink a couple of quarts of Gatorade.
I make it to the motorcycle campground Two Wheels Only and I can now feel the fatigue, I should sleep well tonight.
I carry all my gear up to the second floor on shaky legs, I’m spent.
Cleaning my helmet I notice the padding is going away and needs to be replaced, it survived the crash so it’s probably a good idea any way.
Pulling off my boots I find that I must have had my right foot resting against the exhaust because I have a quarter size hole burnt into the side of it and I remember thinking,
“Damn! I bet that hurts”
A new day dawning and I journey on with a planned destination of somewhere in Virginia. The temperatures are much more pleasant in the mountains and the view of the Smoky Mountains in the morning is breathtaking.
The Blue Ridge Parkway offers many scenic overlooks where great pictures are for the taking, I stopped at just such an overlook to find my Kodak moment. The view was good but there is another overlook across the street so I go over to check it out. After riding back and forth a few times between the two overlooks I settle on this picture.
Back on the road I settle into a nice pace. A hundred miles and the traffic picks up more than I’ve ever seen on the Parkway.
Tired of sucking fumes I pull over by a creek to take a break and eat an apple I’d picked up at the last gas stop.
While enjoying the serenity of my surroundings I notice a tour bus on the road.
Something is off here, commercial vehicles are not allowed on the Parkway.
A few miles farther on I find a maintenance depot and pull in to find answers.
I pull up to a table where some workers are having lunch,
“Excuse me, what state am I in?”
“Tennessee” one of them answered.
It seems when I got back on the Parkway after playing musical overlooks I ended up going back south, DOH!
Checking the map I find an alternate route to get around the traffic and back on track.
Crossing the Virginia state line on the BRP I find a motel for the night. I inform the manager that I'll be parking in the handicap spot so as not to have the bike towed and he suggest I simply park the bike in the room with me, works for me.
Day 3, and I plan an easy day of mountain riding and sight seeing along the BRP.
A couple of hours down the road and what’s that they say about the best laid plans of mice and men?
Rain was on the order of the day. I made my way to Annandale, VA just outside of DC expecting to drop in on a friend for a place to stay that night. He was out of town so off I go in search of a motel. I would travel another 80 miles into Maryland before finding one and renting their last room.
Day 4 and the front has passed leaving behind some nice cool weather for June.
Crossing a pass around Mt Pisgah in Pennsylvania the temperature drops to the lower 50’s, a far cry from my first day. Into New York I make my last gas stop before my destination. To my surprise I find out my legs all but shut down when they get cold as the attendant helps me off the ground after trying to negotiate a tall step.
Back on the bike I arrive at the mother-in-law’s house and she gives me a look to let me know she thinks I’m not wrapped too tight.
After a day of rest and an oil change I take in some of the local roads and catch a nice Sunset looking out across Lake Ontario.
Time for the return trip.
I get an early start after a hearty breakfast and that same look from the mother-in-law. My new helmet feels a little snug but it should break-in before long.
Reversing my course and by-passing DC I get a motel in southern Maryland for an uneventful first day.
Day 2, starts out on Skyline Drive in Virginia. This is a nice road (and free for gimpy people) for sight seeing. The animals seem at piece with everyone there. I stopped when I spotted a deer and readied for a picture. Focusing on the animal she started my way so I kept still and focused. At around 4 feet I snapped the picture causing her to dart away
Skyline Drive is nice but too slow going, 35 mph is no way to travel so to make some headway so I get off in favor of some country 2-lane.
Lunch time and I find a nice spot by a stream at the base of Old Rag Mountain.
Now past the Drive I get back on the BRP. Into the North Carolina. I find a motel in Blowing Rock, NC.
Day 3, I have my saddlebags over the right shoulder to load up the bike but stepping down with a load proved to be too much weight for wimpy legs and down I go. By now I have falling, down to a science but I happen to fall on one of my canes and broke it. Now there's a problem, I can barely walk with two canes so trying it with one is out of the question.
I crawl over to the bike to procure the tool kit. With the tool kit in hand or in teeth I should say, I start the crawl back to the cabin. About this time a woman walks by me shaking her head and uttering something about drug abuse.
Using my pliers I squeeze one half of the cane and shove it into the other. It’s not pretty but it should get me home.
Back on the BRP I come across a bridge that circumvents the mountain.
A little farther on are some of the familiar tunnels I didn’t get a chance to photograph on the way up.
I make it to central Georgia and hold up in a little town called Gray, fitting I thought since I have a friend by the same name.
Day 4, Central Georgia is much cooler than when I went up but lower 90’s is still hot. Riding along with all the vents open in my jacket and sweating like the last lobster in the tank I was reminded that it could be worst, like the poor deer who picked a bad time to cross the road.
Southern Georgia I would find rain, then heavy rain, then it got bad.
Running through a rain squall with a strong steady side wind that slowly had me loosing ground pushing me ever closer to the shoulder. The shoulder in this case would consist of 2 feet of slanted dirt before a water filled ditch so I had good incentive to stay away from it.
Leaning against the wind Tweety was holding her own for the most part and after about 5 miles with less than 10 inches of road left before the dirt, the storm abated and all was well again.
The rest of the way home was off and on rain, pretty normal for this time of year.
What started out as a simple 4,100 mile road trip managed to become another adventure.