Winter stinks. It really stinks. Riding Motorcycles in the cold stinks too, and since tropical temperatures in February are really hard to come by in Alabama and Georgia, my cousin and I decided to drive down to Tampa to meet up with another of our compatriots to go riding.
Part 1 -- The longest road:
Nathan and I agreed to meet in Columbus, GA after work, and we actually had a good plan to meet and make the trip cheaper and more fun for both of us. He was going to drop off a bike he was selling, and I would be able to load up my bike on the trailer to complete the trip to Tampa. The plan was to meet around 8:30pm EST and go from there. That would make for a late arrival, but honestly, not all that bad with both of us driving and keeping each other company. But with all good plans, stuff goes awry. The meeting time was the first thing to go. I ended up working late, and instead of leaving at 5 CST, I didn't get on the road until 6:30pm CST. That put me into Columbus at well after 9pm on a cold night of riding. Fortunately, or unfortunately, Nathan was experiencing troubles in getting away from Atlanta with the trailer, so neither of us were going to be even close to our planned departure time for the next leg of the journey.
I rode on into Columbus to get dinner and warm up. I stopped at a Waffle House in what turned out to be a not-so-good place to be, but being tired, cold, and apparently a bit thick-headed, I stayed anyway. I'm positive I broke up a drug deal in the parking lot when I pulled in. There were two people in a parked car. I pulled up, looked their way with my goofy neon yellow riding jacket, and one person hurriedly jumped from the car and sped off in their own car soon to be followed by the first car. Perhaps that should have been a clue. Bah, not to be deterred from getting my hash browns and coffee, I walked into the shop. Everyone stared at me in the most uncomfortable way. I just walked over to a table and sat down to wait on Nathan to arrive. It was a really strange experiment in human nature. You should try this some time. Put on the most ridiculous clothes you can find and then walk into a restaurant where you are obviously not the normal clientele. Very funny and awkward.
Around 10:30pm, Nathan arrived in town, and I went to meet him since I was feeling a strange urge to get away from the Waffle House where I had been encamped. The guy that was going to buy Nathan's bike was only 20 minutes away, so we decided to wait at his house after Nathan grabbed a seriously questionable Ruben sandwich from Applebees. This guy proceeded to be "Only 20 minutes away" for the next 2 hours, and there was absolutely nothing we could do about it. I was getting tired of waiting and Nathan was equally P.O.'d at this guy. I won't go into detail of how we nearly dropped my bike off the trailer in an effort to be ready for when the buyer showed up and we could get going. The lesson being, don't tie down your bike in the dark when tired. This guy told us he was leaving wherever he was and would be home in 20 minutes at least 3 times during our wait, and with each passing minute we realized it would not be a "late night" when we arrived in Tampa, it would very possibly be "Early Morning". Eventually this clown showed up and the sale was competed. We were tired yet thrilled to actually be moving. We were about 6 hours drive from Rick's house, and we decided to take shifts driving and sleeping instead of talking as we had originally planned.
In the end, we made good time and got to the house just as the sun was rising. Rick's wife was up and heading out to work when we stumbled into the house amid the barking of dogs. 6:30am was the final arrival time. We made a normally acceptable 8 hour trip into a 12 hour trip. After a very short discussion, we wisely decided to go ride our motorcycles after getting some sleep, and our adventures on the bikes will be the topic of the next post.
Nothing like a good cliff-hanger, eh?