Altoona to Kingsland in Two Days

Cloudburst, condensation, deluge, drencher, drizzle, flood, heavy dew, liquid sunshine, mist, monsoon, precipitation, rainfall, pouring, showers, sprinkles…all synonyms for rain.

Tony shared the wet and windy details of our first day’s ride. What a great way to be christened to long distance travel. As a born and bred lady of Canada’s “Wet Coast” (the Canadian version of the Pacific Northwest for you American folks reading) rain really doesn’t get to me. Unless it is coming at me while I’m flying down a highway completely open to the elements. 

As a result, you can imagine my relief that yesterday’s ride from Altoona to Martinsville was much more pleasant. I hopped on the bike fully decked in my rain gear with air activated heat patches (purchased from the local pharmacy) attached to my neck and back. Great soundtrack of 80’s glam rock and a big smile on my face when the first two songs that played when I hit “shuffle” were Motley Crue’s Kick Start my Heart and Poison’s Ride the Wind. I knew right then it was going to be a fantastic day. Beautiful and picturesque ride through back roads, crossing through mountains and farmland. 
This morning was a rough start. The “Deluxe” continental breakfast at the hotel had not one item that did not contain gluten. So we had to hunt down our breakfast at the local grocery store because the only nearby restaurants were fast food joints and their breakfasts are full of gluten as well. The ride started out scenic through similar countryside as yesterday but unfortunately my trusty companion was on a mission to get us to the Georgia/Florida state line and took us on the Interstate. All I have to say is that I dislike travelling on Interstates in a car due to the boredom factor and motorcycle travel has added a new level of loathing to Interstates. Huge semi trucks, hit sideways by wind and still boring with nothing to look at. I was very relieved to reach our destination, put my bathing suit on and go sit in the hot tub and pool in the sunshine.
A few observations I’ve noted over the past few days:
  • A good soundtrack makes all the difference for making 7-8 hours essentially by yourself on the back of a bike pass by pleasantly. And that last hour when your headset batteries have died all that much longer! 
  • Those headsets are great for music but if you’re going above 45 mph forget about conversation. The wind makes almost anything the driver says unintelligible. 
  • You need to quite like being inside your own head and enjoy your own company doing nothing but gaze at the scenery and reflect. I think a true extrovert would go nutty in an hour back there.  
  • Canada must have a magic road kill clean up fairy that doesn’t come to some parts of the US. I lost count of the number of corpses in multiple states of decomposition on the side of the road. No roadkill was spotted in South Carolina or Georgia. 
  • Biker culture is interesting. Walk into a roadhouse whose parking lot is full of Hogs and it is like entering a secret club..that I still don’t quite get yet. Get off the bike anywhere and someone is walking up asking questions about it. I also think the little wave on the road is kind of neat and very fraternal.
  • You can sit back there longer than you’d think before your arse gets sore. In fact, my knees and my neck give in before anything else does. At the end of the day you feel like you just worked out all day.
  • As a whole I have found every American I’ve encountered thus far friendlier than the average stranger or server I have dealt with in Canada. Where do we get the reputation for being such polite and friendly people? Is it our Nova Scotians and Newfies out there in the world? The only time I’ve encountered such open friendliness in Canada was in Nova Scotia.
And for my final thought in this post, I am giving homework. I was contemplating in that last long hour today after my music stopped: In backpacking culture there is the term “flashpacker”. I was called one more than once in my 8 months of backpacking. It is basically a term for a backpacker who has a bigger budget, is older, and has more technology (and likely a job waiting back home for them) than the average backpacker. I started wondering what the biker culture term would be. I found “R.U.B.” which is the acronym for Rich Urban Biker. Not being a great fan of that one, I have tasked myself with putting more thought into a better term during my hours of ride in the next couple of days. Suggestions?

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