Headin’ South, Y’all!

[I don’t usually include the date in my post, because if I post daily, then that day’s post reflect’s that day’s events. But every once in a while I fall behind, as I did the past few days, so I wanted to make sure everyone knows what page I’m on.]

August 1 was a *very* rainy day. I have been blessed with more good weather on this trip than I had any right to expect, and the past two days have evened that score a bit. It wasn’t raining when I got up at my cousin’s house in Sumter, but just as I was loading my bags in the truck the rain began to fall. So I said my farewells and headed out.

My first stop was a gas station (imagine that…) and I was very happy for the cover over the pumps. Naturally, though, the pump I used had a problem with its receipt-printing, so I had to go inside to get my receipt. Luckily, the rain had slacked off just a tad so I didn’t get *too* wet.

Most of the day passed at 70 miles per hour on I-95. Some observations about that:

1. I-95 is at least three lanes in each direction from South Carolina to Florida. It’s two lanes in SC and 3 in Florida, at least well into the Jacksonville area. When I traveled to GA a year ago to attend Rick’s graduation from the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center, he, Eve and I went to Tampa to tour Big Cat Rescue (http://bigcatrescue.org/). One of the random questions we pondered was where the three-lane ended. It was obviously north of FLETC but we didn’t know where. Now we do.

2. I learned a new definition of WHORE: We Haul Our Rides Everywhere. I was at a rest stop somewhere in Georgia and a rider came out to get on his bike just after I pulled in and parked right next to him. We talked a bit and the subject came up of riding versus trailering. I told him that it was a bit far to ride my Honda from Tucson and he agreed, but gave me the new acronym anyway.

3. Southern hospitality is alive and well, at least at one gas station. I went in to get a couple of candy bars for lunch, and I asked for the receipt along with the snacks. As the young lady handed it to me, she said, “There you go, sweetheart.” It made my day.

4. I drove through a what-I-would-call-severe thunderstorm (and was very happy to be in the truck, instead of on my motorcycle like the person in the next lane), and ultimately the rain got so heavy I again had to slow down to about 55 MPH. I had the wipers on high-speed and everything!

5. I passed the 6,000-mile mark for the trip. When I left Tucson on July 4, the odometer read 226,537. It passed 232,537 in Florida before I got to the motel.

6. MapQuest is great, but sometimes there’s no substitute for “boots on the ground” – or in my case, a cell-phone call to my dinner hostess. I still haven’t figured out where I went wrong, but somehow I got turned around and never would have found her house if I hadn’t called her.

So I finally got to Carolyn’s house (she’s a former coworker of Toni’s) and she, her mother and I had a delicious dinner. I showed Carolyn the memorial service PowerPoint and left a flash drive with her. After a few hours of visiting with her and her mom, I drove to the motel in Ocala where I’m staying for 3 nights. I even managed to find a parking spot at the motel where I could put the truck & trailer without blocking motel traffic or taking up 3 or 4 spaces!

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