|02-28-2011, 09:21 AM||#1|
Joined: Nov 2007
Location: Woodstock, GA
Back in the saddle again - Destination: Arkansas
Saturday - February 26, 2011
The usual routine: Stress, rinse, repeat.
This is your life and it's ending one minute at a time.
With my job, everything lately has just been one constant jump from one place to another. Never planned, always spur-of-the-moment. Always emergencies, of course.
Sometimes I'll close my eyes, expecting to be somewhere else when I open them. It's amazing how the great moments can sometimes pass us by, but the awful ones always overstay their welcome. I really haven't gotten a chance to get out on the bike, in fact I really haven't done a really long distance ride since Summer or 2009. I can always blame it on the house, but I know it would just be an excuse.
I had thought about just heading to the usual roads in the mountains, but something in me just wanted to get away and get the hell out of here. No plan, no purpose, no stress. Just a chance to shred out some miles, and maybe think about my own things instead of other peoples problems.
I get the bike all packed up. I'll probably be gone for a couple days, so I try to keep it to the necessities without being totally worthless if something unexpected pops up:
I ended up running a little late in the morning, as I had forgotten about that purchase order I got yesterday. Had to press pause on my escape while I booked a flight to Tampa and a return flight from Orlando. I couldn't wait until Monday since I fly out on Tuesday. Noticing a trend here?
I finally get out on the road by 6am. I immediately thought about that heated gear I left in the garage. I figured I wouldn't need it. Figured wrong. Damn it was cold! The Olympia gear did okay to hold it off but after an hour the cold had soaked in. I had even thought about heading back, maybe doing something else, but I gave it a second chance. Couldn't stand being cooped up in the house all weekend. Nothing to do there except the chores and... well... ignoring the chores.
Somewhere in Alabama:
On my way through Hwy 78 towards Memphis, I ended up passing some tanks loaded up on some trucks heading the same way. It was quite interesting coming up on them, with their turrets aimed straight back. Since their barrels were removed, it looked exactly like the turrets were aimed directly at me! I was able to get ahead enough to snap a few pics as they drove by:
I had totally forgotten that I've done work in Memphis and I passed by the Valero fuel terminal I worked at earlier last year. I hate reminders of my work but it is pretty cool seeing equipment I've commissioned being used. I kept my way through Memphis and into Arkansas. Never quite made it this far on I-40 before as I head towards Little Rock. Not much to look at but I definitely welcomed the peace and started zoning out a little.
Little Rock, the State Capitol building:
Anyone know the historical significance of this particular high school?
While fiddling around with my map, I saw the town of Tull within a quick drive, so I headed off to find it.
This is for any of the Gunslinger fans out there:
I wander around and check the place out:
Now after my visit to Tull, thing went a little south. My poor ol' TomTom has a certain knack for getting me in the worst of routes, and today was no exception. Rough roads, single lane roads, dirt roads, private drives... my GPS wanted to conquer with extreme prejudice. Trying to avoid the dirt roads, got me a bit lost. I finally limped to a gas station with a whopping 168 miles on my (now nearly empty) gas tank.
My original plan was to get to the Ozarks where I could try to get on Hwy 7 and hit up some twisties. Unfortunately the sun was already on it's way down and I didn't think I could quite make it there before dark. I also wanted to see if I could make it to the Oklahoma state line, but with it being still a couple hours away in the wrong direction... I thought best of it and turned around towards home. A little disappointed, but I can always come back and try again.
Made a hotel reservation in Hamilton AL, and after about 900 miles or so, was able to make it there by 11pm.
Sunday - February 27, 2011
Before getting back on the road I head across the street for my usual McDonalds breakfast of a chicken biscuit and coffee. I see that in Hamilton, the McDonalds is right next to....
... the local prison
The drive home was pretty routine. I ended up taking the same route as I got here because I was too lazy to really find anything else, but getting home as early as possible was nice, won't lie.
I did see the signs for Barber so I figured why not stop to grab a quick pic or two:
A lot has changed since I've been here a couple years ago, lots of development and construction in the immediate area:
Looks like they're doing some work on the entrance, pretty loose gravel so if you plan on making it here any time soon on the bike, keep an eye out:
Since I was on a track visit kick, I figured I pass by big Tally so often I might as well track it down too:
Felt good to get back in the saddle for some mileage. Probably about 1200 miles or so. Kind of used it as preparation for some other endurance rides in the coming months. Really makes all the other crap at work I deal with between rides almost bearable.
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