Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Big Loop: Florida to California and back: June 2018

I have a little time “between jobs” so I planned a little unplanned ride. A bunch of my motorcycle enthusiast friends—mostly recently retired guys with time on their hands— inspired me to get my bike out on the road. So I threw a leg over my big Triumph yesterday morning and left Tampa Bay for a 5k + mile ride to CA and back.

I had a little scare when my rear tire got squirrelly at about 60 MPH in a lightning storm. Pucker factor 10! So that first day I only made it 600 miles, to Gautier, Mississippi, before stopping to get out of he rain. My rear tire fishtailed in heavy rain and heavier traffic so I decided to call it a day. My iPhone was soaked and that was a $1k ordeal.

The next day I made it 680 miles to Kerrville, Texas. It was a hot and uneventful ride. I’d left Mississippi early and went right through Louisiana. I missed Houston traffic but caught the late San Antonio traffic. The weather wasn’t bad at all. A little warm at times but tolerable. Stopped in Kerrville, Texas for the night.

I was so wet from the Florida to Mississippi soaking that my jacket didn’t dry until Houston and my gloves finally dried out in San Antone! Good times.

On the 3rd day, I was feeling so good I thought I’d just ride until I got tired. I made 600 miles by the time I arrived to Deming, New Mexico but I kept rolling along. By the time I stopped at my friend Dave’s place in Escondido, I’d ridden 1,240 miles. And I felt great. #IronButt

I was able to relax and hang out with some very cool friends and family for a few days. Doug and Daisy put me up for a few days and I met fellow riders almost every day. I was able to see my mom and little brother but missed seeing my dad by only an hour. On Sunday the 17th, a friend and I rode down to Ensenada for fish tacos. We entered Mexico at Tijuana and exited at Tecate. A quick, easy and fun half-day ride.

On the 22nd, I hopped on the I-8 east and rode 400 miles out to Mesa, Arizona to see my friend, Steve. The next day, he rode up to Prescott with me, stopping to see the Granite Mountain Hotshot memorial and the Kirkland Restaurant and Bar on the way. I then rode the rest of the way to my friend Jon’s house in Paulden. The following day I got on I-40 east and rode out to see my brother and his wife near Albuquerque.

I left the following day with no plan as to where I’d end up. I passed through Texas, Oklahoma and Arkansas before stopping for the night in the Ozarks. That was a 750-mile day with some nice scenery. The next day I intended to ride 1,100 miles home, but a flat tire in Montgomery, Alabama kept my riding to 600 miles for the day. I’d passed through Mississippi and Tennessee without even seeing the border signs.

I was up early on the 27th, my final day of riding, with just 500 miles to go. I headed south on Highway 231, a connector to I-40 and I-10. The skies threatened rain but I didn’t get any until I was close to Tampa.

When I rolled into my yard at 2pm, I’d done over 5,300 miles in 15 days. The bike performed well and the weather cooperated for the most part. It was exactly the kind of ride I needed.

Now...I suppose it’s time to get back to work.