I have been sitting in the motel room at the Madison Inn in Madison, PA for almost two days now and it is still raining hard. I really don't mind riding in the rain but this is just ridiculous. These rain storms have been with me since I started out on the trip several days ago. Just not fun. So I decided to stop here for a while. I have a small umbrella that I picked up a few days ago so that I can get out of the motel room for a bit. The thing is that in Madison Pennsylvania there is just not a whole lot going on. The only thing here is the Madison University and it has closed down for the summer and it seems, so has the rest of the town right along with it. The only stores open are the convenience store at the gas station across the street, a café/coffee shop on Main street and a pretty nice restaurant up on the hill a few blocks away. I made another visit to the coffee shop and had another Latte while updating my travel journal, then walked over to the convenience store to pick up my dinner; a couple of slices of pizza and a Dr pepper and took that back to my room where I turned the TV on to the Weather Channel and got a report of rain ending late tonight and sunshine on the way. It sure would be nice. I seem to have had my share of wet weather on the trip so far.
I left Jacksonville, Florida on May 30th and had a pretty good ride up the interstate to Savannah, Georgia where I met up with my old high school buddy, Pete, who was riding his big Harley Electra Glide . We had a good meal at a Hooters restraunt, just across from the Harley Dealer that we met at. After lunch, we rode Route 321 up through central South Carolina up to his house in Columbia. Pete and his wife Geri had me stay at their house for the night even though they were in the middle of some major home renovations. Up pretty early the next morning, I had breakfast with them at the local IHOP and then I was back on the road, riding north on I-77. I enjoy this ride because it heads into the Smoky Mountains of Virginia. Shortly after crossing into North Carolina you can see the mountains off in the distance and soon enough you are riding up into them. Crossing into Virginia, I took an exit from the interstate near Fancy Gap and was soon riding north on the Blue Ridge Parkway; most likely one of the best motorcycle riding roads in the east. After about a 100 miles on the Blue Ridge I got off at the Meadows of Dan junction, where I had planned on a stop for the night at the Willville Motorcycle Campground but as there was still plenty of light left, I continued on to Lexington, Va, stopping near there at the Lexington KOA campground….in the rain again, which would follow me for the next several days
Rather than set my tent up in the rain, I opted to get one of their cabins for the night. I met some other riders in the next cabin. They had just been to the Rolling Thunder Rally in Washington, DC and were headed back home to Kansas. We all rode down the road to the nearby Pink Cadillac Café. Supposedly made famous when Elvis Presley visited many years ago. There are all kinds of Elvis memorabilia inside including an old Harley Flathead which may have belonged to him. The food was just good and I had a fine time with my new friends talking about motorcycles, long distance riding and the motorcycle rally they had just been to. We got back to the KOA in the dark and I went straight to bed. When I got up the next morning my neighbors had already left.
The next day found me riding north, on the Skyline Drive, The weather had cleared some and I had a nice ride for most of the way. The entrance to the Skyline Drive starts at the north end of the Blue Ridge Parkway and both of them run along the crest of the Smoky Mountains. They both have great views but the Skyline Drive has more turnouts so you can stop and take a look or a picture more often. These mountain roads were also a great way for this Florida flat land rider to get used to riding in the hills. At the end of the Skyline Drive and just north of Front Royal I stopped At a small campground and set up the tent for the first time on the trip. I was the only camper in the small campground, I guess the rain was keeping people away. Everything went up smoothly and I made a meal out of some fruit that I have purchased in Front Royal and was in my sleeping bag as the sun set.
On June 2nd I took my time packing up as I only had a 80 mile ride into Harpers Ferry, West Virginia. I made a cup of Hot chocolate and sat at the picnic table, updating my travel journal for a bit, enjoying a nice sunny morning. With the bike all packed, I was on Route 340 north to Harpers Ferry. I had wanted to visit here for quite some time. It is a small town at the junction of the Shenandoah and Potomac Rivers. There is a lot of civil war history here It is best known for John Brown's raid on the armory in 1859 and its role in the American Civil war. I was also meeting with Grace, a girl I had dated some 40 years ago and only seen one time since. She was going to drive up from her home near Washington, DC. After arriving at Harpers Ferry and Checking into a motel, I unpacked my gear and rode down to the small downtown/historic area of Harpers Ferry. There is very limited parking in Harpers Ferry and finding a place to park on a weekend is next to impossible. So I rode up to off site parking area and took a shuttle back into town. I walked around and tried to absorb as much of the history of the town as I could in the few hours that I had, it is a very interesting place and most definitely worth a visit. I'd like to come back and spend more time here. I finally took the shuttle back up to the parking area. Picking up the bike, I rode it back to the motel just as Grace arrived. We spent the rest of the afternoon and evening together. Other than a few hours some 20 or so years ago, I had not seen her in about 40 years so we had a lot of catching up to do. You would think that after not seeing someone for so long you would almost treat each other as strangers. However we found it very easy, even comfortable to talk to each other again. We had a good time sharing old memories and catching up on the past. The older that I get, those old memories seem so much dearer.
The next morning, I was pleased to see the sun shining. I knew that it would be a long day on the bike as I needed to get up around Scranton, Pennsylvania before the end of the day. I rode north on Route 340 through West Virgina in to Maryland, where it becomes Route 15, crossing into Pennsylvania and rode that all the way into Gettysburg where I was going to stop for a late breakfast/early lunch. Riding into Gettysburg, I saw some monuments off in the distance and a sign to the Gettysburg Civil War Battlefield so decided to go and check it out. What an interesting place! I ended up spending the next few hours there. The Battle of Gettysburg took place from July 1st to the 3rd in 1863 and was the largest and bloodiest battle of the Civil War. It is regarded as the turning point in the war with the Confederate surrender at Vicksburg on July 4th. There are all sorts of monuments all over the battlefield and I happened to meet up with a gentleman who was there with his three sons who seemed more interested in climbing on the monuments and rusty cannons than learning any civil war history which he obviously knew well. He was telling us what happened, which direction the Confederate and Union soldiers came from and the outcome of various battles. It was all very interesting and a visit I will not soon forget.
Back on the bike, I finally did find a place to eat before leaving Gettysburg and heading north into Pennsylvania. At Harrisburg, I got back onto the interstate and just before Scranton, onto the Pennsylvania Turnpike so that I could bypass the city. Paying my toll at the end of the turnpike and getting back onto I-81 north of Scranton, the sky turned black with storm clouds in front of me. It became obvious that I was in for some serious rain and that there was nothing to do but put my rain gear on and head into it. I spent the next hour or so, riding into rain so heavy that I could only navigate down the highway by watching the tail lights of the car in front of me. It just never seemed to let up. I finally saw an exit with a sign for a Howard Johnson Motel and managed to pull off there where I got a room for the night.
The next Day, June 4th, I was greeted by still more rain but it was just a drizzle compared to what I had been riding through, No Problem! So I packed up. Got into my rain gear again and rode on through Binghamton, NY where I got off of the Interstate and onto Route 12 which I would take all of the way to Utica, NY and my brothers house. Route 12 is a nice 2 lane road out of Binghamton. At least it was until I reached the sign which said “construction zone, pavement ends” they should have added to that “mud begins” It was a real chore riding through the muddy road for the next couple of miles. I could only imagine the dreadful mess it would have been had the bike gone down in the mud and rain. I just kept thinking, “If the bike goes over here, I will never be able to get it back up”. But I did make it through and all was well. Soon after getting back on the pavement, I stopped for a cup of hot coffee and felt ever so much better.
The GPS led me directly to Paul's front door in Utica. However, he was still at work. As he lived near his work, I rode on over and he showed me around his office and I met some of the folks that he works with. Back at his apartment, I unpacked and got settled in at his place as I did not have to be at Lake George or the Americade Bike Rally for a couple of days. When he got home, we went out and had a good meal at the Outback Steakhouse. The next day, Paul was off to work early so I did some chores, cleaned up the bike and washed some clothes. It was still raining off and on but seemed to be getting somewhat better, hopefully it would be nice during the Americade bike rally. When Paul got home from work we went out and I picked up a few things then we went over to a park along the Erie Canal. Paul says that our Grandparents used to bring our dad and uncle to this same park when they were just kids..WOW!
Next morning on June 6th I left Utica and headed into the Adirondack Mountains on Route 8, riding in a light rain which continued almost all of the way to Lake George. I rode in to the Warrensburg north of Lake George and the Great Escape Campground along the Schroon River. After getting the tent set up I rode the 6 miles into Lake George and registered for the Americade Rally at the Holiday Inn. After getting legal, I went across the street to the Tour Expo to check out some of the vendors then took a ride along Canada Street which is the main drag through the center of Lake George I parked along with several hundred other motorcycles and walked along the street for a bit, stopping at a Ben & Jerry’s for an ice cream before heading back to the campground. On the way back I stopped at a lodge for dinner, eating out on the deck. It was a nice easy spot to sit and I could have stayed there longer but I headed back to the campground stopping at the camp store to mail off a few postcards.
The first night camping in New York was pretty good, the air mattress held up well and was a big improvement of the Thermarest pad. The temperature dipped into the low 40's but the sleeping bag kept me pretty warm. I awoke to a very foggy morning, hardly able to see across the small lake outside my tent. The fog cleared up around 9am and with blue skies for a change, I enjoyed the rest of the day at the bike rally. I took a demo ride on a brand new Honda Goldwing, It is a large touring bike with everything you could imagine on it. Very smooth ride and would be great for the long ride, especially with two people, but seems to be just too much bike for one person. Over at Tour Expo, I purchased a new pair of Motorcycle Boots from Tourmaster as the ones I had been wearing for the past couple of years were getting pretty ratty. In the evening I took a dinner cruise out on Lake George. This particular cruise was sponsored by Yamaha Motorcycles and they raffled off a bunch of neat stuff during the boat ride. I won a hat.....which I gave to my brother later. I sat with some guys from Maine and we had a good time. A light dinner was served aboard. There was some live music. It was a lot of fun. With the sun setting over the Adirondack mountains, we arrived back to Lake George just as It was getting dark.
On Friday, June 8th, I took a ride up along 9N along Lake George. At the north end of the lake is Fort Ticonderoga and the ferry that you can ride over into Vermont. It was closed last year, when I was here, but has since reopened. I rode over into Vermont with a few other people and we rode together for a while through the Vermont hills and pastures. It was nice to be riding with a group for a while. We had no set destination, just following the back roads through the pretty Vermont country side. We rode up quite a steep hill and, for some reason, the pavement ended at he very top. Rather than turn around we decided to keep going down the gravel road. It was a pretty tense ride: a steep downhill with hairpin turns on loose gravel. It was not a lot of fun on our big touring bikes. Towards the bottom of the hill a rider on a Goldwing in front of me took too much front brake on a hairpin turn and went down. He was not hurt and other than some cosmetic scratches to the fairing, the bike was OK. When we got back on the pavement at the bottom of the hill, I decided to go off on my own. Heading south on 23A I stopped at the village of Benson for a drink and found a small figurine for sale in a small general store that I thought my wife might like. It began raining again as I rode back into the town of Lake George.
Saturday morning I was up early, hoping that there would be sunshine as I needed to pack up camp and get on my way. I did not want to pack up a wet tent but that was not to be. It rained again, most of the night and as on previous mornings, I woke to fog around the camp. So I rode down to Warrensburg and had a leisurely breakfast. By the time I got back to camp the fog had burned off and the sun was shining but everything was still wet. I packed up anyway, wiping things down as best I could. At least the sun was out and I could only hope that it would stay that way for a while as it has been a pretty wet trip so far. I had a nice ride up Interstate 87. Perhaps the most beautiful of interstate highways I have ridden on. It runs north through the Adirondack mountains, the traffic is fairly light and the scenery is spectacular. After about 80 miles on the Interstate I took an exit towards lake Lake Placid and on Route 73 rode even deeper into the mountains. At Lake Placid, site of the 1932 and 1980 Olympic Games, there was still a lot of Olympic stuff going on. The Day that I passed through, there were some sort of Olympic trials being held for the upcoming 2012 Games in London and the place was crowded. Not a single parking spot to be had so I rode on through the town and on to Saranac Lake and Tupper Lake before heading south on Highway 30 to State Road 28. Before leaving leave the park, tired from all of the mountain riding, I stopped in the town of Old Forge and spent the night at a small motel there. Waking to a sunny morning, I was on the road, soon out of the Adirondack National Park and back towards Utica where I got onto the New York Thruway and rode a quick 60 miles to brothers home in Syracuse.
Sunday afternoon, My cousin Tom and his wife came over and we all went over to my niece's home for a visit with relatives there. Later that evening we went over to Wegmans for Dinner, by far the largest supermarket that I have ever been in, it even has a large restaurant.
Monday, June 11th, I woke to a sunny day and spent the morning cleaning up the bike, working on a loose headlight connection and getting stuff in order. I went out to a nice lunch with Paul a local family restaurant and as the weather forecast was predicting more rain over the next couple of days, I decided to leave Syracuse a day earlier than planned and head on down through the finger lakes in to Pennsylvania, hoping that the weather would be a bit better there. I was on the road by 2pm in the afternoon, with good weather for a change. Riding through Seneca Falls then south along Cayuga Lake, one of the larger finger lakes, to Ithaca NY, home of Cornell University. After a light lunch I rode on through Elmira and across the border into northern Pennsylvania onto Route 549 and one of the most outrageously beautiful rides of the trip; 40 miles through hill and farm country with forests, hills, pastures, farms, cattle, and horses along the well maintained, winding road with hardly any other traffic.. As I rode into Madison, PA it began raining hard again, so I stopped at the Madison Inn in downtown Madison where I spent the next two days watching the rain come down. It seemed as if the rain would never stop.
The good thing was that the Weather Channel was forecasting clear weather well into the next week. Having had my share of wet weather in the trip, I was ready for a few consecutive days of sunshine. Riding in the rain is all part of the motorcycle touring experience. There is just no way around it. So you get good rain gear and live with it. Once, I was stopped under and overpass because it was raining too hard to ride in. Sitting on the bike, watching the cars as they sped on by. The drivers all warm and cozy inside their vehicles and probably pitying me for having to sit in the only dry spot around or more likely wondering what kind of an idiot would be out on a bike in rain like this. All of a sudden I realized that I was exactly right where I wanted to be, that there was no way that I would have changed places with any of them. Which makes riding in the rain, while not exactly the most enjoyable aspect of motorcycling, at least tolerable. Even when it comes down buckets or I get holed up in a motel for a couple of days.
Finally riding out of Madison, into a very chilly but sunny morning, heading west on Route 6 across the top of Pennsylvania, it was a fine winding rode through the hills and farm country. I stopped at a local diner in the small town of Galets for a light breakfast and some coffee and had a nice chat with the owner about my long ride. Another 100 miles or so on Route 6 and just past Smethport I turned southwest onto State Road 66 through the Allegheny National Park and after another delightful 100 or so of winding, mountain miles I was back on the slab again, onto Interstate 80 for a quick ride into Youngstown, Ohio. Where I picked up the Route 7, which runs south along the Ohio border, following the wide, Ohio River. The Ohio River still has a lot of boat traffic with barges pushing all sorts of stuff up and down the river. The Ohio is one of the great rivers in the US and has been used since the early 1700's for travel, trade and commerce. There a six dams and locks along the length of the river to help keep the depths constant. Back in the day before the dams, riverboat captains were required to memorize every foot of the river in order to avoid the many hazards and sandbars that existed. The river finally turns westward at the bottom of the state. At Newport I crossed the river over into West Virginia and road along the south side of the river on Route 2 hoping to find either a campground or a small motel as the sun was setting and it had been a long day on the bike. It was almost dark when I finally rode to the junction of Route 2 and Interstate 77 and found a room at a Travel Lodge.
The next morning I tried to see if the GPS was fixable, but apparently It had been shorted out during all of the rain. So I wandered over to the a gas station that was next door to the motel and was able to pick up maps for West Virginia, Kentucky and Tennessee. I would miss having the GPS but at least with the paper maps I would not get lost, Yeah right! Riding I-77 into West Virginia was a treat. It is always amazes me how nice some of our interstate highways are.I-77 rolled through the West Virginia mountains all the way to Charleston, where I picked up I-64 west out of Charleston, I stopped at a nice looking rest area and took a half hour snooze beneath a big shade tree, Waking I felt much more alert and rode I-64 all the way into Kentucky and I-75. The Last time I was on I-75 was near Naples Florida! South on I-75 to Exit 41 before it goes into Tennessee, I got onto State Road 80 West to Somerset Kentucky and stopped at a Best Western Motel for the night. It had been mostly an Interstate day, but good roads and I was looking forward to the back roads of Tennessee.
From Somerset, I rode west on the Cumberland Parkway. Another fine 4 lane road that runs through the gentle hills, across the bottom of Kentucky, I kept watching the sky for storm clouds but I had not seen a drop of rain since Madison and was enjoying the fine weather. At Columbia I got off of the Parkway and turned south on Route 66 again to the Kentucky/Tennessee border where Route 66 becomes Route 53, A winding road into the Tennessee back country. Riding along, I noticed a highway sign that said 53N. Hmmm, I thought I was supposed to be on 53. I had not noticed any splits in the road or any unusual turns. In Tennessee, the Highway signs are far and few between, so I kept pressing on. The traffic, got thinner and thinner and soon it was just me, the bike and the narrow two lane road, meandering somewhat in a southerly direction through central Tennessee. I had no idea where I was. Figuring that, eventually, this little road would lead to something bigger: another highway, store or even a house, I kept pressing on. As I still had better than a half a tank of gas I was not too worried running out of gas.....yet. Finally I reached a cross road and a small gas station/convenience store and the very nice owner there got me back on the correct route. Actually I was not that far off but somehow had taken a side road from 53 that led into the Tennessee hills. Back onto 53 and headed south along the winding Cumberland river, I eventually arrived at Smithboro where I stopped for gas and lunch. At Smithboro. I got onto Route 96 heading due west, arriving in Murfeesboro during rush hour and the worst traffic of the entire trip. Now, admittedly, I was there right about the time everyone else was driving home but Murfeesboro is not exactly a huge city. It does seem to have just one main street running through it though and everyone wanted to get on it at the same time. Back to Back, Bumper to Bumper in 90+ degree heat for 45 minutes. Not exactly a fun ride. Finally out of the city I pulled off at a McD's and had a large iced coffee before moving on.
Arriving in Franklin Tennessee, I stopped at the Best Western near downtown, Unpacked the bike and walked around the town. Franklin Tennessee has a lot of interesting history. It lies about 25 miles south of Nashville and many of the country singer stars make it their home now. It was founded in 1799 and during the civil war it was the site of the Battle of Franklin, resulting over 10,000 field casualties and turning over forty buildings into hospitals.
I stopped in Franklin for a couple of reasons. The first being that it was the town that my old boss, Todd, grew up in and I promised him I would take a picture of his old house and stop by the café that he used to hang out at. The other is that it is almost at the very beginning of the Natchez Trace which I would be riding on for the next few days.
As I Walked around downtown Franklin, a nice town with lots of interesting shops, I did find the cafe; Merrides Breadbasket. It seems to be more of a coffeehouse now. I had a nice chat with a couple behind the counter, they seemed very interested in my trip and when they found out why I was there, they gave me a cup of coffee “on the house.” I had a bit more trouble finding Todd's house. I had the address, but without the GPS, finding it was a bit more difficult. After asking for directions a couple of times, I eventually located it. He lived on Adams and street I rode past the house a few times looking for a place to park but as there was no street parking, I decided to just ride up on the sidewalk, and I did: I parked the bike right in front of his house, walked across the street and took a picture. Walking back to the bike an elderly lady all of about 5' tall and 80 lbs came out of a house a few doors down. Shaking her finger at me she said, “You can't park your motorcycle there.” I explained why I did it and all and she calmed down, saying “Well, I suppose that is OK then.” Back to the Best Western, I got a bite to eat in the attached restaurant and to bed early.
I was on the road early, out to the Loveless Café, which is a restaurant, souvenir shop, gas station sitting right at the northern end of the Natchez Trace. I was planning on a breakfast there but could not get a seat. The place was packed. Mostly with other motorcycle riders. Walking over to the souvenir shop, I bought a few postcards and commented to the cashier about how many people were there. She told me that it was like this from spring right through the fall. A popular place.
I had been thinking about riding the Natchez Trace ever since I first heard about it many years ago. But never found the time or was in the right place to do it.
The Trace runs 444 miles from Natchez, MS to Just south of Nashville, TN. It was a trail used for centuries by Native Americans traveling, and for many years It was the only reliable land link between the eastern States and the trading ports of Mississippi and Louisiana. It is now a National Park. Besides its history, there are many things to do along the trace, hiking, camping, boating, swimming in the many lakes, etc. However, it is mostly know for the road that traverses the entire length of the park and what a fine road it is! Only two lanes wide but meticulously maintained and in most places the wide shoulders along the road are kept mowed and trimmed. Its almost like driving down the middle of the fairway of a beautiful golf course. The thing is that it is pretty much the same from beginning to end. After the first 100 miles or so, despite its beauty, I found boredom creeping in. I did stop at quite a few of the many places to pull off and read about the history of the Trace. I stopped at Merriweathers Grave and at some of the original buildings and I took a walk along the original trace. After about 150 miles I was nearing Tupelo, MS and decided to make it an early day so stopped for the night there….Birthplace of Elvis Presley. The Best Western Motel that I stopped at was brand new and one of their “deluxe” motels, more of a hotel really with rooms going at $150/night and up but as they were still having a grand opening. I got a room on the top floor with a view for half price. Granite countertops in the bathroom, big screen HD TV, Deep cushy carpeting and a most comfy bed! For 75 bucks. Sweet!
Up early, After a quick breakfast, I was back on the Trace headed Southwest . As the Natchez Trace had been the same boring but picturesque ride since I got on it, rather than ride it all the way to Natchez, Mississippi, I decided to get off at Jackson. another 180 miles down the road. I stopped at a scenic turnoff after a couple of hours and met a couple riding a Honda Goldwing, Gwen and Michael were from New Zealand and they were traveling by bike for several months through the USA. Arriving in Los Angeles, They bought the Goldwing from a dealer there who said that he would buy it back from them when they were done with their tour. And here I thought that I was riding quite a long ways! There is a large reservoir that runs along the Natchez Trace north of Jackson and I had planned on stopping at a campground near the Jackson end of the reservoir. However, when I reached the other end of the reservoir a sign advised me that the Trace was closed where I wanted to be and a detour over to Interstate 55 would take me back to the Trace on the other side of Jackson. As I had already decided not to continue on the Trace, I got out my Mississippi map and tried to figure out a way around or through Jackson. Riding through a large city on a motorcycle is not one of my favorite things to do but sometimes it just cannot be avoided. It appeared that the best way to do it would be to stay on I-55 till it connected to I-20 on the south side of Jackson. Getting through Jackson on the interstate was a bit tense. Nobody seemed to want to let me change any lanes even though I had my turn signal on and was making hand signals. I was mighty glad just to finally get off of I-20 onto Route 49 heading south towards Biloxi and the Gulf Coast. After the beautifully maintained road of the Natchez Trace, RT49 was somewhat of a shock. It was so bad. The road was covered with tar strips and cracks in the pavement and it was like that all the way to Hattiesburg. Just past Hattiesburg, where I stopped for the night, Route 49 continues straight south to the Gulf or I could have taken Route 98 over to Alabama and Mobile. It would have been a faster ride home that way. But then what was the hurry? I really wanted to ride Route 90 along the ocean and take the ferry across Mobile Bay in to Florida. I did not even have to flip a coin, I headed south on Route 49 to Biloxi. Route 49 ends at the Gulf of Mexico there I turned east onto Route 90, pulling into the first parking lot by the gulf and just sat there on the bike for a bit. It was good to be back near the water and the smells of the ocean. As I sat there another fellow rode up and stopped next to me on his Harley. He said what I was thinking, “its good to be back by the Gulf again.” Turns out he was riding back from St Louis. I told him that I was heading home after almost 4000 miles on the road. He took US Hwy90 back towards New Orleans. After stopping for breakfast at the Hard Rock Casino in Biloxi, I headed east on US Hwy 90 towards Alabama, Florida and Home.
Riding along the coast, there was till lots of evidence of hurricane Katrina. When it came through it demolished most all of the property along the waterfront. Other than the casino's along the coast, not much has been replaced. Through the towns of Ocean Springs, Gautier, Pascagoula and Moss point I rode into Alabama and onto the small State Road 188 and 193 riding south east to Dauphin Island at the southwestern tip of Mobile Bay. I took the ferry across the bay to Fort Morgan. An interesting ride of several miles across open water that winds between several large oil rigs. Once off the ferry it is a relatively short ride to the Florida border and Pensacola. I stopped in Pensacola Beach for some really fine fried oysters and a late lunch then rode into Pensacola to find Route 98 which would take me back along the Florida coast. However, riding into the city, I promptly got completely turned around and had no idea where I was again! Next trip out I will have either this GPS fixed or will spend the bucks for a new one.
Frustrated at my inability to find my way around Pensacola, I finally saw an Interstate sign for I-10. Aha! I-10, that would take me almost to my front door. So following the signs, I was soon on the Interstate again riding east. I spent my last night on the road at a small motel near Crestview, FL. It had one of the most uncomfortable motel beds that I have ever slept in. As a consequence, I got little sleep that night and got on the road the next morning tired, with 300+ miles to go to get home, I was not about to stop for another night so I loaded up on a couple of cups of coffee, hoping that the caffeine would keep me going.
Of course it did not and within a hundred miles I was feeling sleepy on the bike. At the next rest stop I pulled in and stopped over by the picnic area. Parking the bike next to a covered table, I climbed up on the cement table, used my jacket as a pillow and fell asleep. I must have been out for a good hour of more 'cause when I woke up I felt ever so much more awake. Some folks seem to be able to keep on going with caffeine or energy drinks, but I have found that the only way for me to stay alert when I get tired is to get some down time. I was back on the bike and soon I was riding through Tallahassee, Madison, Live Oak and Lake City. As I rode into Jacksonville I checked the odometer on the bike, a little more than 4200 miles in a bit over three weeks.