For those who know me, you know that while I'm not a neat freak, and as far away from being a "Type A" as is humanly possible, I *DO* have control issues. They mostly come into play about planning events in my life. I like to know what's coming, and don't really care for surprises.
Last month I went on a trip with a group of women I'd never met. This was the first time I'd gone on a trip that I had NO input into the planning. All I had to do was keep up to the pack. I did mostly ok. No... really...I did.
Dean and I have been planning since January to have the whole first week of August (really the 1st - 10th!) off for a motorcycle vacation. The hitch? This is DEANS vacation. Since I already had MY vacation, this one we go where HE wants.
Sounds simple, doesn't it?
Well, the entire month of July I've been asking him, "Where are we G-O-I-N-G?" to which he would reply, "I haven't decided yet."
Have decided yet? Ever heard of the word "reservations"?
One week to go and I start feeding him ideas. "Gee, everyone we know is going to Sturgis. Wanna go to Sturgis?" No, he wasn't interested in doing Sturgis this year. Been there/Done that.
"Wanna go to New Jersey? It's a three day ride, then a few days out there, then 3 days back." No, he didn't want to "spend the whole trip on the bikes. I wanna DO stuff, and fish, and stuff like that."
Weds before we're supposed to leave he tells me, "We're going up to my brothers for the weekend, and we can fish and stuff, and then Sunday we'll head up to your parents and maybe ride with them for a bit. After that, I don't know yet. Whichever way the wind takes us I guess."
WHICHEVER WAY THE WIND TAKES US? He has been watching too much of the travel channel or something.
I wish I could give you a picture of our bikes before we left. Dean's included a tackle box and two fishing poles hanging off the back of the bike. We got off to a slow start though. Just minutes down the road I had to pull over to adjust a bungie cord that wasn't tight enough. About 1/2 hour later Dean was ahead of me, and I noticed one of the poles had slipped and was just inches from dragging it's way down the road. I signaled to Dean to pull over, and kind of gave him a teasingly hard time about how thrown together his packing looked. Well, another 20 minutes later and I notices there is something fluttering behind him, but I only see it sometimes so can't tell what it is. That is, until we come to a light and I realize there's 20 feet of fishing line floating behind him. LOL Finally, I think we're done making stops (I hate when we constantly stop, I just want to get OUT of town!) when Dean makes a sudden turn into a motorcycle dealership. "Didn't you want to get some of that special cleaner?" Ummm yeah, but NOW? Good grief. Oh well, he remembered something I wanted so I bought it. LOL
We do, indeed, go to the brothers near Itasca State Park in Northern MN and have a really nice weekend with them. We did some fishing, did some Karaoke, (ok, I did the karaoke, they watched and kept asking if I was almost done. LOL) and just had a relaxing time.
Sunday we make the short 1/2 hr ride to my parents who were anxiously waiting for us. It's the first time Mom has seen my on a bike. I'll save THAT story for another post though. My parents still have a beautiful bike. My mom used to ride her own, but since her Meneirs progressed it's just not possible anymore, so she rides behind Dad now. My parents are 70 years old and still very active!!! That afternoon we all rode together to visit my brother Lynn at his new place. (oops, forgot to call. Sorry big brother!)
Tuesday we again rode with Mom and Dad down to Itasca State Park, but this time we got to ride all through the park. It was a beautiful ride, and we'd love to take Angela back in the fall when the colors are at their peak. I think she'll love it there. Really as long as she's in the sidecar, she's happy!
Tuesday we packed up and left Mom and Dad's. But to where? Your guess is as good as mine! LOL Dean said, "Lets head over to Duluth, and we'll decide from there." Oohhh Duluth! I love Duluth, and didn't get to do enough when I was there last month. But Dean had other plans. 1/2 way there we stop at an intersection and he says, "If we can get to New Jersey by tomorrow night, let's go!"
WHAT??? Ohmigosh. My mind was gong 100 miles a second. I was so excited about the prospect of seeing my twin/friend Tink. We stopped at a cafe to get things figured out. I called her and she was just as giddy. "ARE YOU NUTS?? I'm so EXCITED!!!!"
The first thing to figure out was the exact mileage, and how much could we safely cover in a day? It was remotely possible we could do it in 24 hours, but really would probably need one more day. That's ok...it was doable. A hard ride, but it was doable. "No stopping but for gas" Dean reminded me. Just the thought of that made me have to pee every 20 minutes.
So that day we rode from Walker MN to Escanaba Michigan. We were trying for the Mackinaw bridge, but it was already dark and there are A LOT of deer up there that are drawn to motorcycles in the dark. Well, those and suicidal bats. After a quick stop in Walmart we got into our room at 10:30 pm.
The next morning we were on our bikes at 7:30 a.m, headed for the Mighty Mack. That's the local name for the Mackinaw bridge. That, too, is another post. Dean was to the point of measuring everything by how many tanks of gas it would take us to get there. Our goal for the day was Detroit, which would be a 5 tank ride. We continued on down to Saginaw MI, when it hit us. The fatigue and exhuastion. 250 miles a day on a motorcycle is a good ride. 300 miles is an ok ride. 350 miles is a little rough, and 400 miles is the max for most people. We'd just put in two 500 mile days. We called Tink who was manning the computers, "How much further? How many more tanks of gas?" I wanted to cry when she said another 750 miles to get to her.
We sat in that Wendy's 5 minutes too long. Had we left sooner, we'd still be in NJ. Instead, the fatigue overtook us and we decided to throw in the towel and head west. This allowed us to stop in Flint and Lansing MI where we stayed for the night. This is where God shows you things happen for a reason. At 3:30 in the morning we got an emergency phone call from son Noah, about Tyler. (another post, of course, but please say a prayer for him.)
Just a few miles down the road in Kalamazoo we had to put new rear tires on each of our bikes. (a totally unexpected expense!) Experienced interstate 94, through the heart of Chicago, at peak rush hour. (Where stop-n-go traffic means "stop" is stopped and "go" is 90 miles per hour! NO EXAGGERATING! And every other vehicle is a semi and we were often between two of them, and it's normal to go from the far left lane to the far right lane in the blink of an eye. It was a white knuckle ride to say the least.)
We stopped at my sister's in Waconda, ILL and had a nice dinner with her family. It was great to see everyone, especially my nieces/nephew, and their babies!
Friday morning we headed home. In a car this is a 6 hour drive. On bike, with two exhuasted bodies hurting from too many long days on the road, it was closer to 10. At our last fill-up Dean said, "This is it honey. No more stops, we're going to push for home. We should just be able to make it on this tank."
My fingers were numb (carpel tunnel) and I could no longer feel my brake lever. I had a really bad sunburn across my back from the day before so I had the chills really bad. That means even in the 80 degree weather I was shivering and wearing ALL of my leather. Shivering caused me to tense up, which caused my hips to keep cramping in charlie horse fashion. 45 minutes from home I HAD to pull over just so I could stand up for a minute. Did I mention I also had a migraine the entire day, and I was tired? Yep...as much as I tried to control them, I just couldn't and the tears started to flow. There on the side of an exit ramp in rural Wisconsin Dean gave me a helmet-to-helmet hug. "45 more minutes honey, and we're home."
What's really sad about this trip is Dean was the one who didn't want to spend his entire vacation on the bikes, yet we barely made it off the interstate. (the most borningest place to ride a motorcycle!) And yet, we so enjoyed each other's company. But our next trip? Yep, I'm planning it!