Monday, December 13, 2010

Monday Mystery Tour, December 2010

Getting ready for the sunrise along Lake Pepin

This latest road trip wasn’t for the purpose of getting away and having a relaxing time sightseeing, or looking for unique eateries and coffee shops. I did a little of that because it’s habit when I’m on the road, but that’s not why I took off and headed to Washington DC.

I sold one of my motorcycles on Ebay and arranged delivery to the buyer. I didn’t make any extra money on the delivery, but I got gas money, and although the purpose of the trip wasn’t for leisure, I enjoyed traveling.
My Triumph still sits in the garage awaiting the next ride, but that won’t be very soon as we are knee deep in snow and the high temperature for today might only reach zero degrees Fahrenheit. There are plans to haul the bike to New Mexico later in January and do some riding down there.
The bike I sold was the BMW, the little 650 GS. I liked riding it, especially off-road, but I didn’t find it comfortable for longer distances, distances I usually had to ride to get to good off-road riding. So, I sold it. A young man bought it as his first motorcycle. For some reason, I feel I might see this guy again someday as he’s traveling across the country on his bike.
The trip itself was four days of driving. I took the Mississippi River out of here and really enjoyed seeing the eagles that gather this time of year along Lake Pepin. I saw an amazing sunrise that first morning out from home. What a great feeling I find it to be to be sipping great tasting coffee and smoking a good cigar while driving in the early morning.
The pre sunrise plume of light followed me for miles

I angled through Illinois and didn’t get on the Interstate until the LaSalle/Peru exit where I-39 meets I-80. I had a great lunch at Grubsteakers in Rochelle. I’d stopped there before, so this was a repeat performance. Dang, I didn’t take any pictures of the food! I had a very nicely prepared Monte Cristo sandwich that was so big I had half of it to take with me and I ended up eating it for dinner!

And finally, Ole Sol

I drove through Illinois and Indiana to the Ohio border on Interstate 70 and spent the night there. The next day, I traveled to Frederick, Maryland so I could get up Saturday morning, get into DC, deliver the bike and start the long drive back. I arrived in Frederick early, so I took in a matinee before dinner. 
I saw “Unstoppable”. Denzel Washington is always good. The movie was non stop action without guns. That’s an accomplishment. It was about a train that was on the main line, unmanned, high balling out of control, carrying volatile chemicals. The hero, Denzel Washington, gets it stopped. I liked it a lot.
Dinner, and breakfast the day before and the day after, was at Waffle House. For those of you without the Waffle House chain of restaurants around where you live, well, they are simple diners. The menu is printed on the heavy duty plastic laminated place mats that sit on the tables and counter.
Typical Waffle House along the highway

I had a rib eye steak for dinner. Breakfast was grits, eggs and toast. I’ve had their waffles before, but not on these visits. Service is quick, the coffee is better than most restaurants and the food is good. We don’t have these where I live, but I frequent them once in a while when I’m on the road in places where they do.
In this one I stopped at near Wheeling, West Virginia, I had a funny exchange with the waitress. They were all wearing blue or gray shirts except this one gal, she had on a red short sleeve polo shirt. When she walked up to where I was sitting at the counter, here’s what happened:
“You know whut cher gonna have, Hun?” she asked in her sweetest voice.
I ordered my eggs and grits and started sipping my coffee. She walked by after placing my order by yelling from one side of the room towards the cook who stands at the grill.
She turned to me and asked, “You the one whut honked at me in the parkin’ lot afore?”
“Nope, wasn’t me.” I answered.
“Yeah, some trucker honked at me. I wuz out back eatin’ a waffle. I didn’t get a good look at ‘im, thought it might be you.” she said.
“Well if I’d a seen ya out there, I woulda honked you know?” I told her.
“I wuz ready to give that trucker a great big hug and a kiss for honkin’ at me. I ain’t been honked at in a long time!” She exclaimed.
“Well, I told you I would have had I seen ya. Don’t that count fer nuthin?” I mentioned.
“She said, “Oh yes Hun, I’m gonna have a real good day t’day.”
She smiled and went about her business. She welcomed every customer that walked in that door and said good bye and “Thanks fer comin’” to everyone that left. 
When she was in front of me, I noticed she had the largest band aids they make on her forearms. I looked as I could without staring and saw that they covered large tattoos. I figured that Waffle House had a company policy against tattoos on employees. I didn’t ask, but I would have loved to see the tats.
Other than that exchange, the trip was uneventful. I made the motorcycle delivery and headed for home. I took a newer Freeway on the Interstate system, I-68, and traveled West to Morgantown, West Virginia instead of the usual Breezewood, PA route that I’ve taken so many times in my life as I drove to DC over the years often when I was employed as an over the road truck driver for 33 years, on and off, of my life.

I kept ahead of snow information that I heard was falling and causing road conditions to deteriorate back home. I stayed South and didn’t see anything on my windshield until I hit Columbus, OH. It was spitting a little when I stopped in Peoria, IL. I traveled home from there, back along the river, saw more eagles and stopped at the Our Lady of Guadalupe Shrine near LaCrosse, WI for a look see and a little picture taking.
This beautiful stained glass was found at the shrine

All in all, another road trip under my belt. Wish I’d have written down all the miles over the years. I did keep track on this trip. I went 2453 miles in all and got over 16 miles per gallon. That’s pretty good for a full size van hauling a motorcycle in the back and bucking a stiff Northwest headwind.
Until next time, keep the rubber side down and be peaceful



Anonymous said...

Thanks for this fascinating account and wonderful photos.

Have a nice day, Boonie

Mel said...

Oh....I'm glad for you. And I'm glad for the fella with his new bike. I'm hopeful the two of you will cross paths again--how cool would that be.
*laughing* And what a fun waitress. Shoulda made a point of laying on the horn when you left the joint, though I'm thinkin' you made her day as it was.

Awesome photos--AND you got to see eagles..... :-)

susan said...

I hope the young man who bought your BMW has as many great road trips and lessons learned over the years as you. I'm sure it was neat for you to meet a younger brother of the road.

That was a great ride and I enjoyed it immensely.. especially the waitress in West Virginia. I haven't been honked at in a long time either :-)

eb said...

oh Spadoman
what a wonderful account of your trip!
I spent 5 + years in Athens Ohio as a grad student - I love this part of the world...
your dialogue is terrific - and that opening sunrise over the lake...
you do know how to have a good time
howabout keeping a journal?

xox - eb.

english inukshuk said...

did you say how you got home? I was so busy smiling at the story of the lady serving your breakfast that I wasn't paying attention at the end


(lovely photos tho!)