After a couple of days getting the bike sorted, doing my laundry and all the other chores that seem to be left out of other world travellers diaries, it’s time to move on. Yesterday I met up with Andrew Ward (Aurelius) and we had a very pleasant lunch, followed by a ride down to Ponce Lighthouse (Andrew is way
too cool to smile for the camera ;)).
This morning, after an excellent breakfast of bacon & eggs, I bid farewell to Jeff, Keri and Jacob and head North.
Jeff & Keri have left a deep impression on me – exemplifying the generosity and hospitality for which the southern USA has a reputation. They opened their house to me and, at their suggestion, I’ve left my tent, sleeping bag and some other kit there, to be collected when I return in some 3 weeks time for Daytona Bike Week. Jeff’s house will become the home & social centre for several other members of AdvRider, which should be a great opportunity anyway – and bike week sounds like it’s going to be crazy…..
There has been a sudden change in the weather and it’s now cold. Atlanta, some 200 miles north, experienced 27 deg F last night (I haven’t got a conversion chart, but that has to be about -3 deg C). I’m heading that way and put the thermal liner back into my jacket, and try out the thermal long-johns that Mike Belch gave me (they’re Virgin Atlantic ‘Upper Class’ pyjamas
). Suitably attired, I head off out of Daytona, having routed the GPS through some back roads (state & county) rather than take the more obvious freeways.
The weather is fine, with some sunshine, but quite a lot of high cloud. After an hour or so, I notice a thermometer readout on a bank in a small town reads 44 deg F. The roads are quiet, dry and have an excellent surface. I make good progress, although my hands are getting cold, despite having the heated grips on. As I’ve trashed my heated jacket, I’ve no way of directly connecting my heated gloves, so I’ll just have to put up with it. I stop and take a picture of the bike in front of a general store that sells everything, it seems, from satellite dishes (huge ones) to basket case old motorcycles. The Adv looks alarmingly at home……
Pressing on, I enter Georgia at about 1430 and notice no real difference, except that all the motorcyclists are now wearing helmets. Apparently they recently repealed the helmet law in Florida (although, bizarrely, you still have to wear a helmet on a pedal cycle). The woman who championed the right to ride with no helmet was killed 2 weeks after the law was repealed, ignoring a Stop sign on her bike, whilst under the influence of alcohol. She died of head injuries. She was not wearing a crash helmet. Actually, no-one, with the exception of Jeff, Andrew & me, seems to wear a helmet. Even today, when it’s pretty bloody cold, the few motorcyclists I’ve seen are wearing a bizarre and ridiculous looking assortment of balaclavas, leather flying helmets and bandannas. Ah, well – to each his own…
It’s getting chillier as I go further North and I decide to stop at a town called Waycross. Carefully ignoring the Holiday Inn, I check in to the Pine Crest Motel, an old ‘Bates Motel’ style place, though hopefully with a less exciting shower…. $35 (£20) per night, including cable TV. I unpack and switch the AC unit to ‘Hot’ and settle in for the evening….