Thursday, July 1, 2010

July 01, 2010 – Day 26 Green Girl gets her 6000 mile checkup when we visit St Augustine

It rained last night and naturally I didn’t put Green Girl’s cover on. As it happened by morning things had pretty much dried out so all she needed was a bit of toweling off. Weather permitting I do that every morning anyway so it wasn’t a big deal. So far on this trip I’ve been lucky and not had to start out the day in a rain storm. That’s a good deal as repacking the bike during a monsoon is not the best way to get going.

Breakfast at the motel was one of the best so far and I had the place to myself which is both nice and a little weird. When I left there was no one in the dining room and no one at the front desk…very Zombie-like ambiance.

Before leaving Palatka I spent some time wandering the back streets and taking a few pictures. The sun was warm and it was a great time for exploring; some of the homes are absolutely fabulous as are the old brick pavers. 

Green Girl was due for an oil change and a few other 6000 mile service items so I headed into St Augustine where First Coast Yamaha-Kawasaki is located. The ride in was nice and for the most part I kept to the outside lane and the legal speed limit. This practice has saved me from getting speeding tickets several times and today was no different; the coppers were out in force and gaffing speeders left and right. I’m lucky in that I’ve no deadline to meet or schedule to keep and can take as long as I need to get wherever I’m going. As a graduate of one of Oregon’s state sponsored special driving schools I no longer speed; the cost for tickets is way more than I care to gamble.

OK, here's the deal..

Plenty of bikes to sit on...

The bike shop was generous with their time and schedule and got me right in which was really nice of them. For the next few hours I managed to sit on nearly all the bikes in their showroom and when I grew tired of that I went next door to the gun shop and ogled more toys. It seems like a lot of bike enthusiasts also have an interest in firearms and I’m no different although I no longer hunt. One thing they had available were silencers which I don’t believe are legal in my state. Boy would I like one of those. What fun!

Once Green Girl had been turned over to me again I set out for the town of Blackshear, GA where I heard the food was especially good. I made fair time due to the intense speed on the freeways but it wasn’t a whole lot of fun until I cleared the area around Jacksonville. Once beyond that things settled down to a more leisurely pace.

I think I’ve mentioned I can smell the rain coming? Today I did and within a few minutes it started in, not too hard but steady which I didn’t mind. I left my rain gear in the bags and plugged along without much concern and before long it stopped. I was feeling kind of smug about it; maybe a bit too much as not long after crossing over into Georgia I noticed some really black clouds gathering.

It dumped on me again, this time fairly hard and for a long time. Still I didn’t bother to put my gear on as the windshield deflected nearly all of the rain and unless someone passed me I stayed fairly dry. This is the first bike I’ve ridden with a full windshield, all the others have what is called a sports shield and are a lot smaller. I didn’t think I’d like it at first but the more I ride with it the better I like it.

I made it into Blackshear in good time and decided to call it quits if I could find a place to stay. Blackshear is a nice little community but no motels were available, at least as far as I could see and I decided to backtrack a bit to Waycross, a much larger town. The only thing of unusual interest I saw was on the road out of town; a small sign declaring that I was on the Woodpecker Trail. Finding this interesting I did a U-turn and went back for the photo op. After that I decided to photo the road sign so I’d know later where I’d seen it and while doing that I noticed several No Parking signs, one of which I was parked very close to. Nothing like tempting fate, eh? I left post haste as I really don’t like talking to officials in any capacity.

I set the Garmin up for the Comfort Suites Inn located in Waycross and after a short drive I was soon ensconced in a really plush room. I unpacked and without so much as a shower headed out for dinner, this time to an Applebee’s not too far away. My dinner was super, some kind of chicken with lime juice and hotter-than-hell salsa and mashed potatoes. About half way through my meal I happened to glance out the window and saw it was raining harder than anything I’d witnessed in Florida. At least I’d unpacked all my gear at the hotel but my helmet was parked on top of the GPS and getting the full benefit if the deluge.

My waiter saw it too and suggested hanging around for awhile and it might quit but I figured it was going to last and daylight was fading fast. Outside under the overhang I paused for a moment; then decided there was no use and mounted up, in full view of a restaurant full of gawking non-believers. It was a good thing I had the GPS as I might still be out there wallowing around in the water; I couldn’t see more than a few yards.

After a few misses I finally managed to locate the right motel – they were all beginning to look alike in the rain – and dragged my soaking wet carcass into the lobby. The gal on duty found me entertaining I think, but she was kind enough to point me in the general direction of the laundry facilities. It actually worked out quite well as most of my clothes were due for washing and I didn’t want to do the bathroom sink thing again.

Evidently I was the only one who got caught in the rain as no one else came in to use the laundry while I was there. Maybe I should work on my timing a bit.
Misson Control now located in the laundry room

Yes I take in laundry but I don't do windows...

Anyway I’m hoping tomorrow will be drier or at least if it isn’t I’ll wear the Frogg Toggs. Yippee…

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