Going Home Day Two

Going Home Day Two


Monday July 26, 2010


1133 Miles


Objective for the day:


Home Sweet Home


The alarm sounded at 4am.  First though was “What idiot is making that noise”.  Oh, it is my phone going ring dingy, it is time to get up.  Second thought is “Damn I am tired”.


It is too early for breakfast at the motel; they won’t start until 6am local time.  The 4am is GA time so it is only 3am here.  I shower, pack, and start loading the bike.  I am not in any big hurry because I have calculated that if I leave by 5am, I should be home by 8:30pm.  I think the desk clerk is a little startled by me as I load the bike.  I don’t think he sees that many folks this early.


The bike is loaded, the ice chest is loaded, the gps is set, the I-pod is in the pocket of the bike warmed up and being tuneful, and I am sitting on the bike ready to go.  I stop across the street and fill up and head out.  It is around 5am EST when I hit the interstate.


The 80 mph speed limit ends almost as quick as I get on the interstate.  I am not far from San Antonio, so the speed limit drops to 70 mph.  As I cruise along, I see more Hampton Inns a little closer to San Antonio and most of them have nice restaurants near them.  I think better planning on my next trip is in order.  I have really blown the end of the day restaurant experience this trip.


Both of the gps say turn onto C W Anderson Loop.  I think to myself “Self, that is not the way you want to go, you want I-10”.  Well it turns out that this is a bypass around San Antonio, but not before I have passed the exit.  This is the first of the mistakes and problems that will cause me grief in the latter part of the day.  I took the next bypass that the gps said to take, and was now back on track.  I thought I was paying better attention now, but oops I missed my turn onto I-10 off the bypass.  This time I went to the next exit and turned around.  Okay now I am back on track.  One look at the gps tells me I have blown 15 minutes and I will not get back until 8:45 pm.  No problem, I can handle that.


As I enter Houston everything is just fine.  I am on track and traffic is moving great.  As far as I can tell, there are no bypasses just straight through on I-10.  I do not remember any problems, traffic tie-ups, slow downs or any other problem.  I make a gas stop just east of Houston get gas and grab a quick chicken sandwich from Wendy’s which is right there at the truck stop.  It didn’t seem like I was there for more than 10 minutes before hitting the road.


As soon as I am back up to speed and running with traffic, I take time to look at the gps.  It is now saying I will be home at 9:15 pm.  Houston and the lunch break have cost me a lot of time.  I still have a lot of gas stops and a lot of miles to cover.  This is my first time thinking I may not make it.  I stay on track and run about 78 mph for the next couple of tanks full of gas.  What I make up in time is lost with each gas stop.


Louisiana is the longest state I have left to transverse.  I think it is about 400 miles.  I keep moving, gassing up, and moving some more.  By the time I get to Mississippi I am showing around 9:30 pm as arrival time in Albany.  Mississippi is a relatively short distance, but I find myself stopping at more rest areas to get off and walk and wake myself up. 


I see now, that I am not Iron Butt Rally material.  Those guys run well over 1000 miles a day for 11 days.  It is not unheard of to see some of them run 15000 or 16000 miles during the rally.  They get extra points for going to different spots to collect bonuses.  I would be lucky to just finish the race without any of the bonus points.  Right now I just have to finish this final leg of my journey.


By the time I get to Alabama, and stop at the rest area, I am showing 9:45 pm ETA.  I call Elaine, and she tells me to get a motel and rest up and get home in the morning.  I told her I will let her know for sure what I will do.  I might just head down to the condo and spend the night.


The die was cast in Mobile.  As I was entering the tunnel, traffic started backing up.  Just outside the tunnel a sign was flashing telling traffic there was a wreck on the bridge.  As I passed Battleship Park where the Missouri is anchored, traffic came to a standstill.  It crepet a little, but it was only feet at a time. All I could do was watch the gps start clicking off the minutes at it added time to the ETA.  By the time I passed the wreck and jumped back up to speed it was showing ETA 10:15 pm.  No need to hurry any more, I can stop and smell the roses or whatever other odor that might be in the air.  I wasn’t gonna make it home tonight.


Plan B has now taken effect.  I stopped at the welcome center coming into Florida.  I called Elaine and told her my plan now was to go to the condo, spend the night, and get up early and come home.


Back on the road I am now a little more relaxed knowing the hurry was gone.  I tried to think what I was going to eat for supper.  Did I want to go to PC and find something to eat there?  Maybe, but I was getting hungry now and didn’t want to wait that long.  I decided that Applebee’s at Crestview would be a good place to stop and I could get gas there also.  So now the plan is to eat at Applebee’s and then head to the condo.  This is also the first good end of the day meal I have had since the first night.  I had wings, fries, and a beer.  Boy, it was good.


I finally arrive at the condo just about dark.  I grab my suitcase and headed up the stairs, set down my suitcase, and it hit me like a ton of bricks, “I do not have a key”.  No problem, I cannot remember all of the times I have opened one of these condos with a credit card.  Normally it only takes one or two tries, and I am in.  30 minutes later I have almost destroyed my Sam’s Card and I am still standing outside.  I call Joan (a lady who used to manage the complex and a good friend).  She suggested I call the office and get someone to meet me there and get a key.


As I hang up and before I call for help, I tell myself “this door is not gonna beat me”.  I head back up for one more try.  I guess I just needed rest, because the next try was the winner.  The door was open.  I am surprised someone didn’t call the police about some idiot trying to break into a condo.


I walk inside and turn the a/c down so it can cool the unit.  Now what?  No air conditioning.  I check the thermostat and it is set right.  I now fear that the air conditioner, which is on its last legs, had finally gone out.  I went outside to check the breaker box and make sure it had not blown a breaker, and found that it had not been blown.  Back inside I find that the breaker had been turned off inside the panel.  We normally turn off the breaker for the hot water heater, which was still on, so someone had hit the wrong breaker.  The a/c starts feeling good.


I called my daughter to tell her I wasn’t going to make it to the office in the morning.  She said okay and then told me my brother was at one of the other condos.  I grabbed a beer and went down and sat and talked with him for while before hitting the sack.


Hitting the sack meant sleeping on the couch so I wouldn’t have to make up the bed in the morning.  I think when my phone went off at 4am I nearly turned it off and went back to sleep.  I probably would have except I told Elaine I would see her in the morning before she went to work.


The ride that morning was nice and cool and it was a pleasant journey.  As I neared Albany I got a little depressed that the trip was ending.  I wonder if anyone would miss me if I just kept heading north.  Let’s see there are mountains up there and I bet even in July they are nice and cool in the mornings.  Oh well, I guess I better just go on home (sniff, sniff)


I did make it home at 8am.  I moved Elaine’s car out of the carport, pulled the bike in and headed out to work.  My journey has finally ended for now.