After leaving Gettysburg I headed west on a two lane road. They say, “All roads lead to Gettysburg.” The town is set up like the hub of a wheel with several different roads branching off like the spokes of the wheel. The two lane road I left on took me to the 81 interstate and I headed south. For the first part of my trip the weather was good, but when I got down into Virginia that changed. I saw a massive storm ahead of me and the sky opened up. It was raining so hard that it was unsafe to be on the interstate so I took the first exit that I could find and wouldn’t you know it. I found myself at the exact same spot where I had to pull off on my way up north and took refuge under the awning of a hospital. There I was standing under the same awning watching it rain. I wondered if it just rained every day in this exact same spot. After standing there watching it rain for a while, the storm moved on. I smoked a cigar in the parking lot, climbed back onto the bike and continued south on the 81. At the end of the day, I pulled off the interstate for a break. I had wanted to make maybe fifty more miles that day, but I was tired and it was starting to rain again. I pulled into a cheap motel in the bad part of town, but there was a gas station and a place to eat nearby so I stopped for the night. After I checked into my room, I stepped outside for a smoke. There was a woman outside that was staying in the room next to mine. Sometimes your first impressions of someone is not exactly right. She looked like a tweaker. As I sat on the front porch to smoke we began to talk. She told me about her life. She was going through some hard times and trying to get into an apartment. I asked her if it was a safe place to stay and she said that on the side where my room was that it was okay. It was where people that were traveling through stayed. She said on the back side of the motel was where people lived their full time and that people like to party on that side. She said that she would keep an eye out on my bike. I went off and headed down the street to a pizza place and had dinner and then went to the convenience store and gas station and bought some munchies and beer for the room. After having a beer and enjoying the munchies I watched some TV until bed time. I set my handgun on the nightstand next to my bed and then went to sleep.
The next morning I hit the highway heading south and crossed over the boarder into Tennessee. The weather was good that day. I had to deal with one major traffic tie up where a motorhome caught fire and then I got caught up in rush hour traffic in Knoxville, but I remembered the words of the chapter president of our motorcycle club the last time I went to the National Rally when it was in Alabama, and I kept my head on the swivel. On interstate 40 now I headed west and stopped for the night west of Knoxville. The weather continued to be good, so the next day I motored through Nashville and Memphis, crossed the Mississippi River and entered the state of Arkansas. I stayed the night in Arkansas and headed west the next day. As I passed through Arkansas and across the pan handle of Texas it started getting hot and windy. When I would stop for a break, I would slam a bottle of water, soak my long sleeved white tee shirt in water, then put it on under my vest. By the time I made another fifty miles down the road, my tee shirt would be dry. By the time I crossed into the state of New Mexico I was out of it. I was dehydrated, tied and sleepy. I got hit by a violent gust of wind that felt as if God had just picked up my bike and gave it a violent shake. That woke me up real quick. “Okay I’m awake!” I said and pushed on for another ten miles or so and pulled into the New Mexico welcome center. After drinking two bottles of water, I checked out the little museum, then soaked my shirt in water once more and headed west. I stopped in Tucumcari New Mexico for the night. It had been a long hard day.
Two year prior, I went on another trip. I rode with my club brothers to Alabama, then down to New Orleans and home. On that trip I also stayed at Tucumcari on the way home. I hadn’t brought a bathing suit and it was hot so I headed to a dollar store, bought a bathing suit and went swimming in the motel pool. On this trip, I brought my bathing suit, but I left it hanging in the bathroom of the first motel I stayed in by accident, so on this trip I once again went to the dollar store and bought a bathing suit so I could swim in the pool. This is my second, Tucumcari bathing suit. Back at the motel I went swimming, had my supper and then settled in for the night. The following morning after breakfast, I headed west. At Albuquerque I took the 25 freeway south. If you have ever been on the 25 in New Mexico you know that there are long stretches of desolate road between the cities and towns. It was blazing hot that day and I was starting to get dehydrated. It got so bad that I thought I was going to get heat stroke, so I pulled off the freeway, drank a half a bottle of water and then continued on. Luckily there was a gas station and restaurant about twenty miles down the road. I gassed up the bike, bought two bottles of water and asked the woman behind the counter if I could sit down in the restaurant and cool off for a little while. She said that I could so I drank my water, cooled off under the air conditioning and then headed south. At Hatch New Mexico, famous for their New Mexico Chilis, I headed west on a two lane highway and cut over to Deming New Mexico and then headed up into the mountains to Silver City to visit my nephew Matt and his family. I spent a few days there visiting with my nephew and other family members. We had a barbeque one day and they invited people over, me and Matt sat around a bon fire during the night and sat around the fire smoking and drinking and having a good time. I enjoyed my time there, but I needed to get home. I had been on the road for almost a month. The day I left Matt rode with me part way. To beat the heat, we headed north on the 180, which would head through the mountains. (Keep your eye out for part VI of my 2019 Grand Motorcycle Adventure: Homeward Bound.)
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