Great Alaska Adventure: Headed North
My younger daughter “claims” to have gone to Athens a few weeks ago and visited the Parthenon. Well, I’m in Athens now and THERE’S NO PARTHENON. Makes me wonder what she was really doing.
Last week the Great Alaska Adventure began, of course, with a trip south to Key West. But today I finally got the compass fixed and headed the Harley-Davidsons north. Not far. Only 323 miles north of Orange Park, but at least we’re getting closer to Alaska.
The most notable thing about today happened before we rolled out of the driveway. Duane “Ski” Zeleski, one of my best riding buddies, drove 60 early-morning miles in the fog from Salt Springs just to wish us good luck and God Speed. And he got breakfast thrown in since we used this last opportunity to empty the refrigerator of perishables that would have perished by the time we get back. I hope I’m still riding on two wheels when I’m 77 years young like Ski. His heartfelt hug for Marilyn and vigorous hand shake for me poignantly reminded us why our motorcycle family plays an indispensable role enriching our lives.
The route to Athens threaded its way north on mostly two lane roads. The flat Florida coast quietly morphed into the rolling hills of north Georgia on the southern end of the Appalachian mountain chain, hinting at some of the great riding to be found in the hills and mountains of Georgia, Tennessee and North Carolina. It was nice to see land with bumps in it again. While clouds peppered the sky most of the way and occasionally provided welcome shade, we kept the rain gear packed in the saddlebags for the first time since we started this ride nearly a week ago. We splashed our way through about 20 miles of roadside puddles and wet roads near the end of the day from a pop-up storm that preceded us by about 30 minutes, but Ski’s wish for “good luck” clearly paid dry dividends.
Lunch today was special because we stopped at the same restaurant in Dublin a group of us stumbled on two years ago on another Great Adventure ride. If you’re in Dublin–or even near Dublin–drop in at Deano’s Italian Grille. Great food, service and ambiance. I made it a point to talk with the owner before we left to tell him that two years ago we ate there by happenstance, but that today’s visit was very much intentional. (Ruth, Marilyn liked the salad she took from you last time so much that she got another just like it this time.)
Today’s ride cleared the “planning fog” I’ve been in for the past few months and showed me what life on the road for the next two months with my best friend will be like. Life is good.
“I can’t wait to get on the road again.”