Last updated 1/16/11
The day had finally come. I'd packed up all my gear and shipped it off to Jack, (the seller), a week ago. My wrist had taken a sudden turn for the good the past couple of weeks. Up until then I'd begun to wonder if I was really going to be ready. But now the swelling was way down, and the strength was beginning to come back. My therapist reluctantly agreed I was up for it. I fact, I was feeling so good, my camping plans were back on. But the weather wasn't looking so good. I'd been following it closely for the last month or two. I'd even gone so far as to program the cities along the way in as 'favorites' in our Weather Channel account. Looks like I'd be dodging rain the whole trip. Oh well, I had the gear for it. And I was going!
My flight being scheduled for a departure at 6:40 am meant my wife dropped me off at the airport at 5, but I didn't sleep much the night before anyway. I quickly worked my way through security and made my way down to the gate. I had plenty of time since my bus didn't leave Kerrville, ( a short taxi ride from the Houston airport), until after 12. My first clue that things weren't going to go as planned came to me when we were escorted back off the plane at the gate in Orlando due to ice on the wings. We were in the middle of a record cold spell in Orlando, and the morning's dew had frozen on the plane's wings. Since there was no de-icing equipment in Orlando, we had to wait for the sun to come up and melt the ice before we could leave.
By the time we finally took off it was nearly 10:30 and I knew I was going to have no time to spare in getting a cab to the bus station. Of course the cab driver couldn't find the station, but fortunately my iphone could. Any other time I could have excused him for not knowing where it was, it didn't really stand out.
Once on the bus, I could relax, so I started reading the book my wife had gotten me for Christmas, 'Ring of Fire', about motorcycle racing, and the riders that make their living at it. I love a good book when I'm on an epic journey.
Jack met me at the bus station in Lufkin at 2 pm as we had arraigned. Maybe this trip was going to work out after all. On the ride back to his shop in Jasper I began to have second thoughts. That's when he started telling me all the things about the bike I wished he'd mentioned before I had bought it and planned the trip. Jack began to elaborate, "it's kinda hard to start in the morning..." , "the jettings a little off, but I've got it tweaked pretty good...", "the starter fix I told you I was going to do didn't really fix it...". Oh well I thought, good thing I'd packed all those tools.
Jack and his friend, Jonathon taken with the XV right after I'd packed her up. Jack, on the right, seemed to be fairly amused about the whole thing.
I went through the bike briefly before packing up; checked the oil, the air in the tires, made sure it was charging, generally looked her over. I wired up my Zumo and found a suitable mounting position on the bars. She started a little hard, and the starter made one hell of a racket, but once running she sounded good. I put my gear on, and got ready to go. My journey was about to begin, and I was thrilled to death.
Me and the XV, ready to go.
I was getting a late start and figured there was about an hour and a half of riding left before it got dark, and it was at least three hours to Sabine Pass, my planned stop for the night. I filled up at the first station I saw leaving Jasper and headed south on US96. About 35 miles south in Buna I turned away from Beaumont onto CR62 and headed towards Bridge City and rode on through to Port Arthur. By this time it was dark and a little misty, but not too cold, maybe high 50's. I turned south on CR87 through the bayous and refineries. It was pretty with all the lights shining from the derricks and platforms. My plan was to ride on down to camp on the beach at Sea Rim N.P., but with it already dark, and the forecast tonight and tomorrow calling for wind and rain, I chickened out and decided to stay at the Sabine Pass Motel. Tomorrow I'd start my journey proper, headed across the Louisiana gulf coast towards Grand Isle.
The XV parked for the night in front of the Sabine Pass Motel, Florida temp plate showing proudly.
It looked like new, guess they just opened.