Bunz on Steel

October 21, 2004

I just looked at the calendar to see what today's date was and I confess, I was a bit taken back by the fact that a over a week has flown by since I wrote last. A serious time crunch is weighing down on me, so much so that I'll be surprised if I will have much time at all to write during the next two to three months.

But tonight I'll jot down a few thoughts before they flee especially since I want to look back and remember my ride in the sun last week.

I arrived Thursday night in Ft. Myers and was picked up by my client at the airport. After a short ride to his house (with me staring in amazement at his onboard navigation system) we talked for a bit but then got serious about loading up the bikes for an early morning departure.

Funny thing, I woke Friday morning after having a discussion with a Harley mechanic in my dreams.

I guess I was looking forward to the ride.

Day one - 208 miles, although our route was not the greatest. All told there were about 60 motorcycles in the dealer parking lot and those were split into three groups. The day was overcast but warm and rain threatened. After an hour or so we all pulled off at a large gas station and broke out the rain gear which we needed for maybe 20 minutes due to the rain, and about 20 more just because of the wet roads.

When an 18 wheeler blows by you on a motorcycle during a driving rain it is not a pleasant experience.

However, once we broke through the cold front the sun came out and although it was cool enough to ride with a light jacket, the day turned marvelous.

Sun, sun and more sun.

I leaned back against my backpack that was strapped to the passenger backrest. Fortunately I've got long arms so I was able to stretch out, put my feet up on the pegs and cruise on down the highway.

Life was good, and I was living large on my Heritage.

All told, the ride which included a stop for lunch took about 6 hours, but it seems that all that work made for some tired riders. After we got to our hotel my client and I laid on the beds to rest for a bit and poof, out went the lights. And I don't nap.


OK, like almost never, because I was out in a moment.

And apparently it wasn't only me, because we talked with another couple or two later that evening that had also stumbled into slumberville right after arriving.

Lots of big o'll rough and tough bikers, all napping.

Maybe they should get some "colors" and form a new HOG chapter, called the NAPPERS.

OK so day two involved a ride through the really scenic rolling countryside of north west Florida. And yep, there really are hills up there, with huge horse and cattle ranches. I confess however that I looked askance at the idea of one of the developments being called "Mountain View."

My client had a problem develop and had to head on back to Ft. Myers after lunch. I assured him that I would be just fine with the rest of the group but later that afternoon no one wanted to do an afternoon ride so I set out by myself. I wasn't about to let that motorcycle go to waste, so that day knocked off about another hundred and seventy five miles.

I was surprised by the amount of water damage that was still evident in various places. One road that I ventured down in the afternoon was still under 2 to 3 feet of water so I turned around and tried a different route. That was along a river that I would estimate was still way over flood stage.

In another field I watched birds perched on the top of a fence post that was just one or two inches above the standing water. Evidently what looked like a small lake was nothing but accumulated rainwater that was still a good 5 feet or so deep.

The evening BBQ was great, the beer flowed, and so did some of the guests, but that's all I'll say about that.

On Sunday morning we split up and all made our way back however we wanted, some blasting down I-75 and others, like us in a hastily formed group in the parking lot, took a shorter "back road" route to Ft. Myers. This short route still ended up being about 175 miles long.

As we approached Arcadia and then drove on into Punta Gorda the detestation was nothing short of complete. Trees were broken like matchsticks, garbage and debris lined the road on both sides and blue tarps were nailed down on those buildings that still had roofs.

What was surprising to see however, was how just a few miles away (20) or so, the damage was already cleaned up, and I think that in my client's development there was only one roof that had a tarp on it.

The boats were all safe in the marina, and even the pool screen was intact.

All in all I had a great time, especially on those stretches of road when I was able to lean back, put my feet on the high pegs and stretch out in the Florida sunshine.

And since our Monday morning was so productive my client said something to the effect that he needed to get me back down there right away.

I asked, "Where's the next ride to?"

He answered, "You get back down here and we'll go to Key West."

Sounds like a plan to me, even if my bunz were a teensy bit tired of sitting on a motorcycle.

Now if I can only get this house packed up and sold....