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Thick as Thieves

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I was asked by a friend to make a post on our group's facebook page: Motorcycle Tourer's Forum- I figured that I should probably put it here too. Luckily he has not read my sappy posting.

My grandfather made a monster. Like Frankenstein but it was out of a well ridden motorcycle, passion, and the curves of the lower Appalachian mountains. My first ride was on the back of his bike in the long and winding gravel driveway. He told me that it would be bumpy, like a dragon’s back. I was scared but after more than 200 yards and stopping at the mailbox, all I wanted was to fly down the mountain. I was still too young to camp or go on longer drives. So my regular rides started with me riding to his friend’s motorcycle shop and the ever constant Dairy Queen. Before long I was able to leave school during recess to go ride and camp. I did not ride much as a teen. However, the desire never faded. I had gone to rallies and seen that he had hundreds, thousands, tons of friends. He knew every…

Highlights and Favorite Moments

I have received plenty of questions about my favorite places or memories of the trip. I have noticed that many of these involve bad weather or sticky situations. I guess that says a lot about me.

-The night in Mena, Arkansas. It rained so hard and while I never had rain leaking into my tent, the floor felt like a water bed. That was an interesting night, I was waking up every 2-3 hours to check it. I would occasionally hear Opa ask how I was holding up or joke that he was standing up to hold his tent poles.

-The night in Elk City, Oklahoma. The third day of the trip! We settle in just before a thunderstorm hits. I'm bracing myself against the wall of the tent and luckily I have my tent pointed in the direction that proved to be more aerodynamic in the storm. Opa and his 4 man tent, however, did not have the same luck. He was standing up for about an hour, holding his tent before the poles just snapped. He collected his things and slept in the bathroom.

-The night in Alamosa, Colorad…

The Official End

Day 48: August 17, 2017: Chattanooga, TN

I did not go back to the garage to unload the bike, I was going to enjoy a day without driving, a day in my bed or on my couch.

Day 49: August 18, 2017: Chattanooga, TN

Went back to the garage and unpacked the bikes, aired the tents, and started to wash the bikes. There was a lot to be done and not enough energy to do it. We both ended up taking a nap in the office of the garage.

Day 50: August 19, 2017: Chattanooga, TN

Both bikes have been washed, everything is put away where it belongs. The 47th day was the end of the trip, but it took three days for the trip to be officially over for us.

IBR Training

Day 47: August 16, 2017: Chattanooga, TN: 750m/1,207km

We packed away our belongings. Opa and Claude sipped coffee waiting for Angie to come in, so Opa could show her just the last few tips and tricks that he had left. We were on the road before 10 A.M. and started to make our way back. Opa joked that when he is less than 1,000 miles from home, he is like a mule at the end of the day. We rode and rode and rode. We rode for what felt like forever, using our shadows like sundials. We watched as the sun slowly sank behind the mountains. We were still miles from home. 9 P.M. turned into 10 P.M., which turned to 11:30 P.M. and a stop at the closest Waffle House in Knoxville. He had coffee, I had a waffle. We were in the home stretch. Opa was ready to race it at 80-85, but didn't for the fear of deers being near the freeway. It was just time to sleep in our own beds. I had to keep him awake and talking the whole way home, he would get a into a drift or a sway going down the road but we …

Wiring in Moto-Heaven

Day 46: August 15, 2017: Middleburg, PA

We spent all day playing with sidecars after breakfast at the Pepper Tree. Opa was teaching Angie how to wire up the sidecar lights and spare battery. I spent the afternoon helping rearrange the motorcycles and sidecars in a variety of ways in the parking lot like a version of Tetris or the game where you have the sliding pieces and one open square-whatever that's called. We are planning to head out in the morning. Knowing Opa, we will probably drive the entire way home in one shot.

Parking Lot Camping

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Day 45: August 14, 2017: Middleburg, PA: 448m/720km

Opa finally got some Bob Evans, which is a must for every trip. The Garmin rerouted us again adding another hour to the trip. We rode through every small town on the way to Claude's. We pulled up to his shop in the late afternoon. After unpacking and setting up, we rode down the road to get dinner and ice cream, of course. Once back at the shop, we looked over all of the current projects. and then we moved the bikes and the truck to block some of the light and noise from the road while we were sleeping in his parking lot. I even had a weird way of trying to stretch the fly out to catch a breeze. It didn't work all that well.

Reroutes and Exhuaustion

Day 44: August 13, 2017: Dayton, OH: 377m/607km

We spent hours running 2 different detours and constantly being rerouted by the Garmin. I finally convinced him to use Waze. It was an uneventful day with little to no scenery. We went to Dairy Queen for dinner and saw a Bob Evan's for breakfast tomorrow. I am so exhausted from all of the reroutes and running around in the heat.