Sunday, July 17, 2011

July 15 - The final stretch home!

NOTE: If you are reading this for the first time please note that you are coming in at the end of the story. Blog posts are ordered with the most recent post on top. So to read the story of my trip to Alaska from the beginning please click on the left-most tab at the top labeled "Table of Contents."
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AMARILLO, TX TO HOME IN HOUSTON - FINALLY THERE!

July 15th was the 29th day after I left on Friday, June 17th. That doesn't even feel right to me now, doesn't make sense. It was forever ago. I can't even remember a few days ago much less 4 weeks ago. The days are so full and every day is so different it is just chaos in my head. That's why I am writing so much in this blog to capture and try to remember it all before I forget it. Sorry if it gets to be too much...

So I set the alarm again for 5:15 and got on the interstate at 6:10 am. Looking ahead at the map, my goal was to ride to Childress, TX, about 120 miles down the road, and stop there for breakfast.
Texas is a damn big state - and I covered most of it today

I rarely ride in the dark but I really do love it. It was really nice to start riding just at the very first crack of dawn and watch the sun come up for the next 45 minutes or so. I started about 72 degrees and watched it warm up quickly when the sun cleared the horizon. In fact, it broke 100 degrees about 10:30 am.

I found a nice family restaurant and got a meat lover's plate of eggs, hashbrowns, toast, and coffee. Also 3 slices of bacon, 2 sausage patties, and 3 ham strips. Ahhh, that was good!

Then it was time to get serious about making some miles so I got on the highway and plugged in my tunes (using my Garmin Nuvi's MP3 player).

Hour after hour went by as I went through Wichita Falls and watched and waited for Ft Worth to get closer.

Interesting side story. As I got closer to Ft Worth I could see it was going to be about noon when I got there. The GPS route had me going to I-35W south right through the middle of the city. But as I got about 100 miles out the GPS showed a traffic delay of 11 minutes, which is a lot. (The 765T means it has a lifetime traffic receiver in it).

So what was interesting was when I got about 20 miles out the GPS said, "Extreme traffic delay ahead, recalculating..." I touched the screen and saw that it had changed my route from I-35W to hwy 287 Business, which paralleled 35W to the west, missing all the bad traffic delay.

The detour was about 12 miles and the first 6 was through an industrial area at 60 mph. Then it got into some commercial areas, then got pretty busy with traffic and stoplights. But I ran into heavy stop and go traffic before in the Seattle area and I would much rather go from light to light than inch along in stopped traffic.

If you are not a motorcycle rider what that means is in heavy stop and go traffic you have to sit there and let the clutch out just a little bit to roll forward, then put it in neutral so you don't have to hold the clutch in. If you are going to sit there for a minute or two I usually hit the kill switch. Then hit the start button and roll forward another few car lengths, which is tricky when you are very loaded and moving slowly. Do this over and over for a few miles and an hour or so and you and your poor motorcycle are worn out!

So finally I got back on 35W and got through Ft Worth and headed south. Coming into Ft Worth the temps got up to 102 degrees and then in the city it went to 104 and 105.

I didn't stop for about 160 miles until I got well south of the city. Got gas, took a break for a while. Drank a bunch of water and ate some Fritos.

Then I rode south to Waco and turned on hwy 6 to head toward Houston. It was about 160 miles, a little over 2 and a half hours, and was the longest couple of hours of my entire journey. Not only was it hot but I was ready to get off and for this entire thing to be over. I wanted to see Susan and my dogs and every time I looked at the odometer it was only another 20 miles. The damn odometer wouldn't move like it did before! The closer I got to home the slower that damn odometer got!

So when I finally pulled into the driveway it was 104 degrees and I just wanted OFF! I completely forget to ask Susan to take a final picture of my in the driveway. Damn, I really wanted that picture. But she had cleared a place for me in the garage so I pulled straight in there and she gave me a big kiss and a hug.

Taking that damn helmet off and my riding jacket and boots never felt so good. I had been living in that helmet for 31 days and I was finally done with it! No more earplugs, heavy riding jacket and gloves, jeans, or heavy socks in my boots to absorb moisture or keep my feet warm. Just shorts and a t-shirt!

And she had made me an iced coffee! And the dogs went crazy! Ahhh, life is good again!

So there it is! There and back again! Seems like such a dream now. 29 days and 11,480 miles. Those numbers don't seem real right now.

No pics from today. West Texas, the "panhandle", and central Texas are just too flat and boring to take any pics. Maybe next time.

Thanks for taking the time to read this far if you have. Sorry it is so long but this is my only way to capture my memories for now, and also to share them with others. I may edit this down later but for now it is just my mind dump.

Time to publish and go to bed.

3 comments:

  1. Awesome adventure! Thanks for taking the time to write it all up and document the journey. One of these days I hope to be able to do something like this.

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  2. It was a pleasure meeting you today. Thanks for taking the time to share your wisdom.
    I look forward to intentionally coming across you in the near future.

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  3. Enjoyed your trip log. Going back soon?

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