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Old 05-05-2004, 07:35 PM   #23
MikeO OP
Wage slave...
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Joined: Jul 2002
Location: Scarning, Norfolk, today...
Oddometer: 7,094
26th February

It had rained hard all night. I came out to the bike to find that my attempts to make the left pannier waterproof had been a complete failure- there was at least half a pint of water in it. Great. I dry it out, pack the bike and set off towards Florida. It’s raining intermittently, just enough to keep the roads wet and ensure that there’s spray from the trucks. I decide to get off the Interstate and, for a moment, consider applying for a job…

…but decide against it – they’ve probably got enough dancers. I ride heading South East, on small back roads. The rain’s cleared up now, but it’s damned cold. I don’t pass any banks (they usually have big digital clocks & thermometers displayed outside), so I don’t know what the temperature is, but I’m not comfortable. I resolve once again to sort out a new heated jacket at Daytona next week. Jeff has arranged to get a partial service done on my bike next Tuesday at the BMW dealer in Daytona. The plan is to get them to do the difficult bits (fuel filter replacement, Motronic check etc) whilst Andrew, Jeff and I do the relatively easy bits (filters, oil change, valve adjustment etc) Andrew has recommended a tyre dealer in Orlando to fit the pair of tyres I’ve just ordered – so I’ll be re-visiting the scene of my ‘lane-splitting’ crime…

I stop for lunch (with some trepidation, after yesterday’s experience) at Marvel’s Family Restaurant, in the town of Broxton.

Things are quite different here. The young (and quite attractive) waitress Bonnie (is this the most common name or something??) takes my order and then asks where I’m from. I tell her, to which she replies ‘England, honey, howd yew end up heah? Yewer in the most back of beyaand hick town in the wirld!’ As I eat my excellent ‘all you can eat’ lunch of chicken, rice, black-eyed peas, turnip greens and gravy, I meet Mike and June Smith, who farm here. We have the standard conversation about what my plans are and what motorbike I’ve got. They’re good, friendly people – I tell them about my experience in Jackson the day before. They’re nonplussed by it. ‘Some towns just don’t like bikers – maybe that’s one of ‘em’ suggests June. June laughs when I tell them that I’m on my way to Bike Week at Daytona, ‘Just don’t go thinking that’s the way we all live’ – ‘No, but it’s the way we’d all like to!’ adds Mike.

Eventually it’s time to go, so I say my goodbyes and head South again. It’s not long before I’m feeling cold again, so I once again decide to make an early stop. I come into a town I vaguely recognise – it’s Waycross, I was here on the 8th February, heading North. I stop at the Pine Crest Motel again, but there’s a convention in town, and they’re fully booked. I ride up the road to the Days Inn and book in…
All text & original photos © Mike Oughton 2004 - 2015

MikeO screwed with this post 02-12-2006 at 03:27 AM
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