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PostPosted: Sun Aug 31, 2008 7:28 pm 
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Motorcycle: 98 Valkyrie
Rebel: 250
Country: USA
State/Province: GA
City: Vidalia
Well, for all practical definitions it stopped. It kept one of those "walk around in it all day long and start to smell funny, but never really get 'wet'" kind of drizzles-- sort of like the universe was still giggling at our antics ;)

For all of our time cross country, in the rain, and the last few hours in the dark, and on country roads, coming into the city proper was rather jarring. Several lanes of traffic and bright lights everywhere. Signs all about, and suddenly there was traffic again. Luck was with us, and the weather kept most folks at home (or at least where ever it is that they are when they're not on the road). My backbone was really feeling the toll from the moisture (CSF-- spinal fluid-- is barometric sensitive, for those of you who didn't know that. That's why whether or not I can walk is tied so closely to the weather).

We found the Hardee's easily enough and pulled into the park. Jerry and Jack wheeled around and backed up the curb, but my back wasn't up to the push, so I hopped the curb and just dropped down on the other side. All parked, nice and easy. Immediately, we spotted Howard's van rolling toward us.

We had pulled off our helmets and had already begun the congratulatory "Man, I can't believe we just did all that for no reason other than to see our buddy Howard" sort of stuff--- the laughing, the pats on the back, the laughing, the "hey, do you remember--," the laughing, the grinning, and mostly just laughing! Howard heaved to and rolled the window, and for a minute, the only thing visible was four sets of teeth and there was nothing to be heard over raucous laughter and warm (if soggy) welcomes and great-to-see-yous.

"So," Howard asked, breaking the reverie, "you guys wanna get something to eat first, or you wanna go set up camp and then come back?"

I ain't tellin' no lie when I say that the bright warm lights on in that dry interior of that Hardee's was some kind of hard to resist; I don't know how I found it in me, when we started discussing it, to say "I think we'll all do better go set camp, get on some dry clothes, and stow our gear first. That way we don't have to worry about toting it around in town, and we don't have it to later on tonight. Besides, I've got to find a Sprawl Mart or something and get some dry boots." Being that I needed a dry set for work, I didn't pack a spare set. I hadn't even conceived it was possible for boots to get this wet!

A consensus was quickly reached, and Howard gave that sideways single nod of his and soberly commanded "follow me" and we were off like a shot. We rolled along through what at first seemed like marshland (at this point, I was pretty sure that we had actually ridden to Atlantis) but eventually it came to present itself as farm land. A few straight stretches, and a few ninety-degree turns (gotta love plow fields ;) ), and suddenly we were on a back road, staring at a leather shop out in the middle of nowhere. The sign made me grin, and I made a mental note to get a snap of it before I left-- if the rain ever quit! :lol:

Well, a leather shop out in the woods and a hard right off of a narrow road onto a narrower one-- no doubt we were getting close to camping country at this point. I noticed a little clearing off to one side-- a gravel parking area-- and directly opposite it was a raised boardwalk out into the bayou: a nature trail of some sort. Even with the dwindling rain, it was just dark enough that I couldn't read what it was that nature walkers would be looking for.

A tight, tight, tight ninety-- nicely sloped-- jumped out of the dark in front of us, promising at least a tiny point of fun in the morning, should it be drier when we got up and out.

Then we pulled onto a smaller lane-- pave turning to gravel and dirt. Then we pulled a right, into the driveway to a beautifully tended yard.

Howard's house.

Yep.

We got suckered.

"Y'all pull your bikes up under that tin top and get dried off; I'll get some towels."

We pulled up, protesting hard-- we didn't come all this way to put Howard out; that was never the plan. We argued, fought, and complained. Then we got towels, and suddenly we just couldn't remember what it was we were arguing about. :rofl:

We stripped off and dried off, glad to be dry, finally. We took stock of ourselves-- we were waterlogged enough to accidentally peel off large chunks of hide if we weren't careful. You know that pruney look your fingertips get when you've been swimming too long? Yeah, well, my thighs looked like that! :shock: My mind's eye flashed to tomorrow's headlines: "Men's Whereabouts Unknown! Giant Pink Raisins Found with Motorcycles!"

We hung stuff up everywhere-- if there was a nail, hook, or plastic chair, it had something wet draped from it!-- and finally eased into some dry clothes.

A short 'catching up' session (you know; the word censors ;) ) and a little nicotine later, and we headed indoors to see Jeanie and her killer parrot. Hmmm... Perhaps "killer" is the wrong word; let me clarify: I don't mean "killer" as in 'really, really cool!" I mean "killer" as in "rip off your fingers, whittle cage keys from their bones, then eat fillets straight from your still-breathing ribs." Just don't want any confusion there ;)

Jeanie-- upbeat and charming as always (this woman is amazing-- she _never_ has a 'down' day; ever!). Nothing would do for her but to make sure our waterlogged carcasses (carcii? No one has clarified that for me yet...) at her dining table while we had some refreshment and ran our mouths about anything and everything that came up.

Just about the time we had totally solved the crime problem, the violence in the middle east, and the political scene in the south and the less important parts of the nation, Jeanie's heavenly homemade pizza appeared on the table. Not just good, and not just homemade, but the best pizza you've ever eaten, period. And at that moment-- light drinks with great friends, exhausted, and elated--

well, there was just nothing else on earth that would have been as good right at that moment.

So right here, right now, I want to stop again and thank her for that delicious feast, and the one that miraculously appeared just before the first one went away. I also want to thank her for the threat of a third, even though there was just no way on earth, period! :lol:

We hatched out some plans for the morning:

Sprawl Mart: dry boots.

Breakfast.

Follow Howard where ever he wanted to take us.


Now to be fair-- we didn't come this far to impose on Howard; we genuinely didn't. We had no expectations, except that, with his absence from the rallies when I was there and mine from the rallies when he was there, and both our absences from the last couple--

well, we got to missing the ol' cuss, and all we had in mind to do was catch up. We could'a sat on a cypress knee and strung trot lines for the next two days and been plumb tickled.

But hey-- Howard said "I've got sort of a route, the things I want to show you guys tomorrow. What time do you want to leave?"

And that pretty much settled it.

Dry boots and breakfast, and we'd hit the road.

I didn't know at the time just how often I'd be thinking "hey, this'd be a great time to go get some dry boots" over the next couple days ;)

Then we came to the important stuff:

Where's the shower?! :lol:

Cleaned, but still plenty waterlogged, we turned in. I gotta tell ya, folks, it could have been a burlap sack on a gravel road. It was the best night sleep I'd had in a long time ;)


[more to come]

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Duke
"Skills must be Learned"
------ Herb Christian


"Ask your doctor if medical advice from a television commercial is right for _you_."


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 15, 2008 6:53 am 
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Motorcycle: 1986 450 rebel
Rebel: 450
Country: USA
State/Province: FL
City: Daytona Beach
sitting here wondering if you ever did get the dry boots...

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 Post subject: Al, Magnolia Springs: Typhoon Tour
PostPosted: Mon Sep 15, 2008 2:31 pm 
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State/Province: GA
City: Franklin
Yep...But they got wet again the next afternoon..LOL

Jerry

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PostPosted: Wed Sep 17, 2008 11:38 pm 
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Country: USA
State/Province: AL
City: Fairhope
More Duke ... more... got to have the rest of the story !!! LOL

Greg

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but by the moments that take our breath away."


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Sep 18, 2008 6:36 am 
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Motorcycle: 98 Valkyrie
Rebel: 250
Country: USA
State/Province: GA
City: Vidalia
There's a time issue.

By the time I'm done just housekeeping on this board, it's pushing three in the morning. :(

We tend to lose a lot of members in the winter months; that usually greatly reduces the work load. Looking like that's when I'll get to finish, if I can still remember the details.

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Duke
"Skills must be Learned"
------ Herb Christian


"Ask your doctor if medical advice from a television commercial is right for _you_."


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 18, 2008 9:08 am 
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State/Province: AL
City: Fairhope
I really do love the way you write... very entertaining... I am looking forward to making a ride and meeting you sometime.
Greg

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but by the moments that take our breath away."


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 18, 2008 10:30 am 
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Motorcycle: 98 Valkyrie
Rebel: 250
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State/Province: GA
City: Vidalia
Well,

we were just _in_ Alabama! :lol:

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Duke
"Skills must be Learned"
------ Herb Christian


"Ask your doctor if medical advice from a television commercial is right for _you_."


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 18, 2008 11:01 am 
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State/Province: AL
City: Fairhope
I guess Howard and I will have to plan a trip up your way before long.
Greg

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but by the moments that take our breath away."


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 18, 2008 11:04 am 
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Joined: Aug 2, 2008
Motorcycle: 2010 Vulcan Voyager 1700
Rebel: None
Country: USA
State/Province: GA
City: Gwinnett County
Duke, I want to second gbrown's comments, both about enjoying your writing, and about the hopes of getting to meet some of you folks in person.

My situation is pretty much the opposite of yours right now. My girls are 20 and 17, and they don't demand nearly as much of my time, especially with my older daughter off at school in Milledgeville. Even my job has been less demanding of late. And with my bike in the shop for the past month, I've had nothing to do but surf the web sites and read my David Hough books! Ya'll may have noticed how many messages I've posted here in the short time I've been a member. :D

And it doesn't help any to read about the great time you guys had in Helen (60 miles from my front door) or Andrews (only 120 miles). :cry:

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Road Captain & 1st Officer; SCRC Chapter 09

IMPERIAL RED/BLACK 2010 Kaw Vulcan Voyager 1700

RED/TITANIUM 2009 Kaw Vulcan 900 LT (18,500 miles)

RED 2009 Kaw Vulcan EN500C (9,000 miles)

BLACK 2005 Rebel (2,000 miles)


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Sep 18, 2008 11:59 am 
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State/Province: AL
City: Fairhope
Hey AtlAggie,
When will the bike be out of the shop??? A month with no bike... what a bummer !!! :evil:

Maybe it will be out soon..

Greg

ps.. I like your comment on the black bikes :D

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Sep 18, 2008 12:54 pm 
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Motorcycle: 2010 Vulcan Voyager 1700
Rebel: None
Country: USA
State/Province: GA
City: Gwinnett County
I'm actually supposed to go pick it up in about an hour.

Would you believe that 5 days after I bought a 2005 with only 67 miles on it, a valve broke off and dropped into the cylinder. Wrecked the whole top end. Luckily, it had an extended warranty on it, and Honda is covering the repair. But in that 5 days I put almost 100 miles on it, just enough to get me totally hooked on two-wheeling again, after 30 years away from it.

It's been a looooong month. :x

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AtlAggie

Road Captain & 1st Officer; SCRC Chapter 09

IMPERIAL RED/BLACK 2010 Kaw Vulcan Voyager 1700

RED/TITANIUM 2009 Kaw Vulcan 900 LT (18,500 miles)

RED 2009 Kaw Vulcan EN500C (9,000 miles)

BLACK 2005 Rebel (2,000 miles)


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Sep 18, 2008 2:34 pm 
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City: Fairhope
Have Fun !!!

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but by the moments that take our breath away."


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 Post subject: Al, Magnolia Springs: Typhoon Tour
PostPosted: Thu Sep 18, 2008 5:13 pm 
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State/Province: GA
City: Franklin
Duke...I honestly don't think you will forget any of the details,but if you do ,I know three other folks that will be glad to refresh your memory.. LOL


Jerry

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Oct 10, 2008 8:53 pm 
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Motorcycle: 98 Valkyrie
Rebel: 250
Country: USA
State/Province: GA
City: Vidalia
The next morning, we all leapt out of bed at the crack of noon.

Okay, fine--

two tobacco addicts who'd spent the night absorbing the excess water from their flesh into their blood... We were up pretty early, forming a line in the trees behind the tin-top ;) The sun was crawling up, and I walked over to where I had hung my gear up to dry. The wind had shifted during the night, and it was wetter than when I took it off! :lol: It wouldn't get rolled up this morning, it seemed.

Howard asked which we'd rather do first: breakfast, or buy some dry boots. Breakfast seemed the best course; I was the only one with wet feet, and we were _all_ ready for some coffee. Even though we didn't come to disrupt Howard (beyond the "Hey, Howard! Look what washed up on your porch!" aspect of this trip, that is ;) ), he was bound and determined we were going to tour the bay area, so maybe a bite to eat wouldn't be a bad idea, either.

I really don't remember where we ate breakfast-- Hardees? I _do_ remember, however, that the bay area is home to some of the uhm... _healthiest_ young ladies on earth! :mrgreen: So there we sit-- four married old guys, scared to breathe lest we lose concentration and our guts fall back onto the table in front of us... :lol:

It's over soon enough, and we saddle up and head out. Howard ran us through some of the nicer waterfront properties-- housing areas I like to call "spaghetti farms." Water front lots go for a premium, so the property is cut into two acre lots that are roughly fifty feet wide. What can you do with that? Grow spaghetti ;) The view of the water was spectacular, though, and some of the houses were actually pretty interesting.

Best part of that whole area though, at least to me, was the road itself. Smooth-- not rippled and cracked, but built on shifting soft earth that had washed and sunk and heaved-- it was fun to ride on-- tight curves that followed the water, and all kinds of whoops and dips to keep even low speed lively. After a mile or so, I had dubbed it "the roller coaster."

Well, I was going to do more tonight, but something's come up. :(

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Duke
"Skills must be Learned"
------ Herb Christian


"Ask your doctor if medical advice from a television commercial is right for _you_."


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Nov 14, 2008 11:33 pm 
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Motorcycle: 98 Valkyrie
Rebel: 250
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State/Province: GA
City: Vidalia
It's been a while, but I find myself with a few minutes of time and I'm still awake, so hey--

here we go.


Besides, I've got new momentum. The patches have gone out, and everyone on the Typhoon Tour has received them. I don't even wear patches, but I went to the trouble of putting this one on my shop coat, because by God, more than any other 'commerative', we didn't just 'ride it.' We _earned_ it ;)

For the folks still following along at home:




That's right. And if you'd been through it, not only would know that I haven't exaggerated a bit about the weather, but you'd be certified, too ;)


The style of the title look familar?
It ought to; that's _exactly_ how we carved it into the table top at the Flori-Bama bar:




So where was I...

If I recall correctly, somewhere in Alabama, with wet boots...

anyway--

We rode around on some truly stunning little backroads, following the shores of various rivers and the bay itself. Plenty of sunshine-- the rain seemed to have moved on. Plenty of "old homestead" feel to be had, mixed in amongst the 'too many tourists' places here and there-- just a really nice mix of everything you could possibly want, all of it within easy reach.

okay, fine.

I'll level with ya.

The whole reason there hasn't been a lot of updating here is that my wife used the camera for something.

I haven't seen it since.

Yes, we have more than one camera. But this particular camera is the one with all the nifty pictures in it. :cry:

I recall some points of interest:

Stopping to catch some shade along a river that is the last remaining boat route for the US Postal Service. That was kind of neat. Truly gorgeous boat making way upriver-- you'll have to ask Jack what sort it was. For me, it was 'one of those beautiful old wooden cabin cruisers,' but he like stuff about it and stuff ;)

Watching kids run off the end of the dock and leap into the water. Man, if I wasn't already soaking in my boots (hey-- didn't we pass a couple of places that sold shoes getting here?! What's going on, here?), I'd have probably joined in.

A moving set of displays of historical interest, land mined with dog crap to make sure you didn't get too close...

A woman in the river so portly she floated upright, bouyed out of the water just below her hips... Thought she was standing there till some other folks swam up. :oops:

A gorgeous pull-off looking right out into the bay. Only two other bikes the whole time-- one of whom had to come up and admire Jack's Trumpet ;) I'm telling you, that bike got some attention! :lol:

I recall pulling out to the beach-- too bad I can't find the camera-- the three-story flight of stairs that disappeared to nowhere was a really nice shot ;)

Howard informed us that way, way out on the dock there was a really good restaurant, and it was getting on to be eat:thirty or so, so we hiked out-- stopping to watch yet another of the area's surprisingly.. uhm.. "healthy" young ladies drag a squeaky cooler down the walk. It was a long, straight walk, too... That was actually kind of difficult for us, since it was nearly two minutes before we could relax enough to breathe. :lol:

She disappeared, and we gasped for air while out belts creaked a re-acceptance of their familar loads ;)

we stared out at the water, watching the fish and the fishermen for a while, then the breeze stalled and we were motivated to move again. A few more strides brought us close enough to see the "closed" sign, so we retraced out way back to the covered portion of the dock, and stared at the sun-bleached mileage of concrete between us and the bikes. Lacking any other real choice, we moved on toward the bikes. I really didn't mind the hot concrete-- it was helping to steam moisture from my boots, after all ;)

We headed out, did more touring (sorry, but again, no pictures. At least not right now. If the camera turns up, I'll get them here. Too bad, too-- got some great riding shots of the guys, and I've been wanting to post Howard's Captain America helmet forever! ). We rode along the state border for a bit, Howard explaining to us the story of the spit of land to our left, and how it was gifted from one state to another in exchange for a bridge. Raw deal, right there, let me tell you. You can always make a bridge. There ain't gonna be any more land any time soon ;)

Finally we were rolling down a major through-way, and Howard pulled off at a carnival.

At least, it looked like a carnival from a distance. A couple of great big colourful canvas tents, cheezy gates, and a line of port-a-potties right there along the pavement.

The closer we got, the less like a carnival it looked, and it became more and more a sort of gypsy shanty town...

[more to come]

_________________

Duke
"Skills must be Learned"
------ Herb Christian


"Ask your doctor if medical advice from a television commercial is right for _you_."


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Nov 16, 2008 11:23 pm 
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Motorcycle: 98 Valkyrie
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City: Vidalia
And by the time we parked,

it had taken its true form as a hobo jungle. Okay, you'll have to be either really old of strangely connected to know that one, I suppose. Suffice it to say, the place was a wreck.

A collection of tarps, tents, and random pieces of plywood seemed to be the only building materials allowed. Fortunately, the bulk of it was shielded from the road by a ramshackle fence and a long line of port-a-potties. Seriously-- that was for the best.

There was a section of plastic railing, possibly missing from a construction site, that served to both indicate the edge of the road and delineate which patch of the mud-mixed crushed run was for parking. The area closest to the gate was emptying, but with the mad pattern of duck-walking, pushing, and general confusion around that end of the lot, we opted to park further out on the edge and walk in.

The sun, in spite of all the warnings to the contrary the night before, was high and hot and cooking moisture straight up from the earth. Hot and sweltering. I'd been cautious all morning, what with our ride over and the news blaring reports of more storms to come. But at this point, as I watched the others walk toward the gate, I decided I was plenty hot in my clothes, and stopped pulling out my rain gear, crammed it back in, and tied the bags off. Used to being last (it's the cane, folks-- I get stiff and slow after a long ride :( ), I hobbled off after our guide.

As soon as I got through the fence and around the corner, I knew this was my kind of place! :D

The place was right on deep water-- one side was highway, the other side was open beach. The sand and mud were covered over by mulitple expanses of wooden decks at varying levels, and doormats and rolled roofing when the wood ran out. Shade and light shelter was provided by pole-framed canvas canopies, with miles or extension cords running everywhere to power an army of fans and provide lights for the slate-topped pool tables on the middle decks.

To the left was a large covered wooden patio, originally a walkway between a couple of storage freezers, it had 'growed' like Topsy into a long shady breezeway with a benches here and there for those who had partaken enough to lose the use of their feet. ;)

Beyond the pool tables was what appeared to be a building-- I would later find out it was the back of a three-walled stage, with performances directed out beachward-- with a couple of holes through which beer tenders poked their wares and plied customers.

To the right, on any of the various decks, were doors into a-- a building? Okay, no. But definately to the Flori-Bama. The "building," such as it was, seemed to be three ramshackle wooden huts of dubious construction that someone had finally decided to join through the simple expedient of erecting a tent over the ground in between them then throwing a couple dozen tarps one on top of the other to fill in the reaches. Honestly, one badly-placed cigarette and everyone inside was doomed. I loved it! :mgreen:

Perhaps the differing heights in the various decks was to allow access to the doors in the various buildings; perhaps it was simply to add some visual depth and architecture to the vista; perhaps it was to amuse the designated drivers at closing time. I don't know. I can tell you it was really nice, though.

Howard led us across a deck, down the other side, back up, then across a path of rolled roofing, up a few stairs, down a sloping catwalk, and through a door that didn't really seem like it could possibly close in any measurable sense of the word, and we were inside.

The inside was surprisingly well-lit. I imagine the weather had a lot to do with that, as the bulk of the illumination was the sun streaming through the various layers of cavas and nylon at the center of the place. We had come in more-or-less in the center, which was a ground-level pit filled with tables (picnic tables, where they?) rowed out in front of a small stage, on which someone was doing his best to deafen us. The singer was probably good, but his amp was so loud there was no real way to tell what he sounded like.

On an aside, I've never understood that. They tell me they turn it up so that people can hear over the folks talking, but the people just talk louder to be heard over it, so they turn it up louder, and the people start yelling at each other across the table. :? The upshot is you can't hear the music or your friends, so you just focus on drinking, hoping someone will remember it clearly enough to tell you about it tomorrow afternoon.


But getting back on target--

Like I said-- the first thing you notice when you walk in-- even more than the number of 'healthy' young ladies milling about-- is the light. It's bright and strong, and you look up.

Man, that's a shock.

Evidently it gets hot in there, too. Really, really hot. So hot, that people are desperate to block out the sun at any cost. And evidently, so hot that these young ladies have to remove their under things to keep from dying. They're a brave lot, these southern gals, and defiant to the last. Once they shuck those things, they toss them up to the rafters, trying to help block the sun (though really, they'd block more of it if they'd either get bigger undies or toss their shirts up there ;) ).

Apparently, what with motorcycle-centric lifestyles, we didn't really appreciate just how hot it was. We were all fine, but three or four more ladies added to the collection during the couple of hours we were there. :shock:

We found a table in the higher section, so that we ended up watching the floorshow through a filter of ladies' dainties, but it didn't matter much. There were so many other things to watch right there amongst us that the show was quickly forgotten. Good thing the four of us are married. We had _so_ many chances to get into real trouble... :mrgreen:

I knew not to drink more than a couple, though. I figured it out when I realized that I couldn't tell which waitress was ours unless she was facing away. :oops:

Oh yes; this would have been a grand place for me fifteen years ago, and still would be a lot of fun were I single, and had I fourty-eight hours or so to take in the hospitality of the local constabulary. :twisted: But it isn't; I wasn't; I didn't; I played it safe. My momma _did_ raise a fool, but it weren't me ;) I just watched the others talk (half-deaf, remember? That kind of background noise, I'm pretty much out of the conversation, period) and casually carved our memorial into the tabletop. It's the one from the start of the thread; the one a couple posts above from which the patch was derived.

Howard has vowed to check on it for us. If it gets eradicated, we'll have to do it all over again.

??

?? what was--

never mind.

??

You guys here that?


Hear what, Duke?

Ah-- thought I heard thunder. Never mind.

??

Okay, now I know I heard thunder. We might need to move it along, guys. Maybe head somewhere to eat. I know; we can eat here. But bar food has two problems, which can be summed up in a single thought: it costs four times as much as good food.

For those of you who don't know me:

Yes; I really am half deaf. 60 percent in one ear, 40 percent in the other. There was no way I could actually "hear" the distant thunder over all that din, but I can feel it before a lot of folks with good ears can hear it. The tremble in the air does something to the damaged area of my backbone. Thunder hurts.

Then it clapped again, much, much closer and louder. Jerry was the first to react: "Thought I heard that last one. Ain't no doubt about it now, though. We best git a move on." We squared the tab, but we didn't actually get up until the waitress had walked away and out of sight. Okay, fine. We're pigs. But come _on_! Bah-- you had to be there. :D

The tent top began to ruffle a bit, and some of the patrons down in the pit were beginning to question their situation as bras and panties danced in the various breezes of two dozen holes and tears in the overhead fabrics of the roof.

As we exited, we were passed by a mad scramble of younger men in crisp new black leather and shiny black boots, racing out to their various trailer queens and shiny road machines. We took one look at the sky over the ocean-- steel grey-- and decided that we had a few minutes to let the panic subside before we tried to get out. The general look of the crowd told us we didn't really want to even see the sort of mess they were going to make moving en masse. :roll:

The drizzle had started-- I was kicking myself; I was _this_ close to bringing my rain coat! Oh well; the sky over the ocean was already starting to lighten, and Howard had settled under one of the canopy shelters, so we weren't too concerned.

[more too come]

_________________

Duke
"Skills must be Learned"
------ Herb Christian


"Ask your doctor if medical advice from a television commercial is right for _you_."


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 17, 2008 9:35 am 
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Joined: Jul 25, 2003
Rebel: 450
Country: USA
State/Province: AL
City: Magnolia Springs
Check it out, lots of pictures.

http://florabama.com/

Howard

_________________
Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty well preserved body,
but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, proclaiming WOW--What A Ride!!


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 24, 2008 10:52 pm 
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Joined: Jul 25, 2003
Motorcycle: 98 Valkyrie
Rebel: 250
Country: USA
State/Province: GA
City: Vidalia
So where was I?

Oh yes--

the FloraBama, enjoying yet another quick shower.

The sky lightened just enough to convince us to weather it out for the few minutes wait before clear skies would again take over the vista. We listened to fewer engines start-- a few even just shut down. A casual crowd ambled here and there, milling about the bikes, and eventually some left, but most either waited it out in the parking area (such as it was) or came back for more drinking.

The wind blustered. It went from a quick breeze to nigh tornadic in a fraction of a second. The canvas shelters (I always referred to them as "funeral tents," but it seems most people don't like the reference) began to snap and vibrate, and here and there employees checked the tethers on the various riggins. Then the wind slammed full across the spit of land we were sitting on, and one of the funeral tents ceased to exist!

"I think we lost one!" On employeed, hand on his hat, screamed over the wind to his companion.

Yeah. Lost one. If by "lost one" he meant in the space of half-a-blink it was snatched out of it's buckets of concrete anchors, ripped free of its mooring lines, _shot_ out to sea and shrank into a miniature black speck so fast that it left a faint popping noise as it vanished from this plain of existence, then yes. Yes indeed; they "lost one."

The the rain came. Not the rain that lulled us to sleep during the evening. Not the rain we sat and watched just moments before. No; this was the rain we had brought with us. This was the full-on monsoon in which we had ridden earlier. As the heavy cold drops began to drop, Jerry and I sprang into action, racing to check on the bikes.

As we rounded the wall and gained sight of the parking area, it became evident that we had made a prudent decision about not crowing the entrance for parking. The entire lot, save a small patch here and there, like where we parked, for example-- was under four or more inches of water. The wind had blown a plastic barricade onto Jack's front fender (absolutely no damage), and with lack of any other option, we quickly flipped it over the other way so that the wind wouldn't grab it again. I thougt about for my rain duster and decided against it-- no one else seemed too concerned, then we bolted back to the others.

The rain was in full fury even before we got back under cover. I had managed to get so completely soaked as to make the notion of even putting a rain coat on at that point a silly and pointless gesture. We briefly discussed the option of running back inside, but between our reluctance to take our wet carcasses into the air conditioning and Howard's general faith that it wouldn't last long, we opted to wait it out under the funeral tents.

The wind picked up again, and our shelter was useless. The rain was driving the impressive volume of rain hard enough that there simply wasn't a tent big enough to offer any dry spots. I wished that I had grabbed my coat if only to use against the chill as I looked about for better shelter.

There was a long, long boardwalk along a couple of storage coolers on the far side of the area, with a short leg running up between the coolers themselves. Solid walls on two sides and a long length of roof. Seemed better than where we were, and I bolted for it.

The others seemed reluctant to run through the rain enough to follow, and opted to sit in the spray under the tents. Then there was a spectacular series of lightning strikes, and before I knew what happened, Jerry was next to me. As it turned out, the hype of our hidey-hole was just that: hype. The wind had picked up even more and was now driving the rain so hard that it simply wrapped around the coolers and blasted us even where we stood. Between the volume of the rain and the strength of the wind, anything more than twenty feet or so away might as well have been completely invisible. It was like the world had simply faded into a grey haze.

Two riders appeared out of the haze, running at a full tilt and finally just leaping up onto the boardwalk where Jerry and I stood, shivering and dripping and glad for at least the illusion of shelter. We tried to talk, but the roar of the wind and deafening hammer of the rain made that simply impossible. From time to time, the wind would slack off just enough to make the parking lot of the hotel next door visible. Remembering my camera, I dug it out and snapped shots during these lulls.

I wish I had those shots now; they would lay to rest any doubt about the conditions in which we had ridden for this entire trip. Even in photos, contrails of water could be seen blasting around the edges of the parked vehicles, and when lighting provided a strong enough light, the rain was completely horizontal. There was more water than air in the atmosphere.

During one of the lulls Jack found his way to join the group of us on our little island, and I ran to explore the 'little building' I had mentioned earlier. It was at this point that I discovered it was simply a stage, open to the weather.

Howard remained steadfast, sitting on a bench, hand on his helmet (to keep it beside him), looking for all the world like a man who would happily trade a kidney, a lung, and half a liver for a dry cigarette. Eventually, he took his hand from his helmet for a moment, and I suppose it moved enough to encourage him to join us. I wanted to holler "don't bother! We're wet over here, too!" but he'd have had to been standing right next to me to have heard it. Calmly, as though strolling through his yard, his sauntered over to us. No point in hurrying, I suppose. It's not like he could have been one drop wetter either way.

I don't know how long we were stranded there-- my phone gets all testy when it gets wet and the little display doesn't work for an hour or so afterwards, but I amused myself snapping pictures to show the length of the cover we were under, how low the roof was, and how it was completely soaked from one end to the other anyway. This had been a championship monsoon.

Finally, it turned to a steady simple summer shower. "Yeah," Jack said to Howard, "it was pretty much just like that, the whole way over." Howard laughed a bit-- Howard's laugh is... well, it's infectious. It's not particularly loud, or odd, or any other thing that would make you remember it as unique. It's just that it's so genuine-- there is no "social courtesy" or pretension or even "well, it's worth a chuckle" in it. When he laughs-- and don't get me wrong, he won't laugh at just anything, but when he does, he is so completely, totally given over to the joy of the moment that you can't help but get just as tickled at it. No malice, no "laughing at how miserable you must have been," but pure appreciation for the funny side of the story, through clean to his soul. Within seconds, we were all giggling like simple-minded fools.

The rain let up a bit, and I announced that I was going to go ahead and stow my camera (I had been really worried about getting it wet at all. Even the little Zippie bag I had stowed it in seemed to be sweating in the humidity) and headed for the bike. I also decided I was going to grab my cussed rain coat, and I was going to wear it from now till the moment I landed in my own bed, period, forever-and-ever, Amen.

And it was this decision that would offer a most bizarre encounter-- one I nearly wrote off, actually-- that became one of the defining moments of the Typhoon Tour.



It finally let up a bit,

_________________

Duke
"Skills must be Learned"
------ Herb Christian


"Ask your doctor if medical advice from a television commercial is right for _you_."


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 24, 2008 11:21 pm 
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Joined: Jul 25, 2003
Motorcycle: 98 Valkyrie
Rebel: 250
Country: USA
State/Province: GA
City: Vidalia
It's one of those things.
One of those odd throw-away moments of your life that just hits you as so bizarre, so esoteric, that you can't fully appreciate it without help. I really didn't see it as more than an unfortunate decision, really.

I had secured my camera was walking back into the courtyard, and the encounter must have been on my face-- I remember that I was chuckling a bit, as my divided attention caused me to misstep with my cane and nearly send myself sprawling into the mud.

"What?" Jack, eyes alert with curiousity.

"Oh, just some poor goofball kid."

Jerry's voice had the shudder of expectant laughter. "You gonna share it?"

"Yeah; why not?"

I had gone to stow the camera. Having had a couple of beers on top of my coffee habit, and then having been soaking for a couple of hours, I had an ulterior motive for slipping off. After I stowed the camera, I turned around and walked to the nearest port-a-john. I drew a deep breath in preparation, grabbed the handle, and opened the door.

And slammed it shut-- Occupied!

Then my brain processed what I had seen, and I opened the door again, just in time to confirm my preliminary findings:

There, just unfolding, stood a young man-- mid twenties, tallish (perhaps 6'2), broad shouldered, and dressed from head to toe in fine new black leathers with little stainless steel studs all about. Well, "stood" is a strong word. He was squatting on his heels, his feet on the closed lid of the business functions, eyes wide, and he peered a head out and gazed at the sky and took note of the drastic reduction in the rain. As he agonizingly straightened up-- he must have been in there for the whole storm-- he looked at me: "So, Man... You think it's let up enough to be okay?"

At this point in the telling, Jerry was laughing, Howard was laughing, and Jack was positively _howling_ with delight. All of us have extensive construction backgrounds, and we knew what horrors might await someone in a fiberglass outhouse in a high-wind. Suffice it to say that the draw flue on the vent has nothing to stop it from working in reverse ;) Probably why this young man had ended up standing on the lid-- to prevent a particularly nasty sort of mini-cyclone. One that leaves indelible stains ;) To say nothing of what happens if one blows over-- it's not like they're anchored!

"Oh, Man! Oh Man alive! What'd you do, Duke?"

Well there wasn't nothing much I could do, really. I just did the next logical thing: I walked the entire line of chemical toilets, banging on the doors with my cane: "Civil Defense! All clear! Civil Defense! All Clear!" Hey, I'm a community-minded guy ;)

And it was at that point that the legend of Potty Man was born! Oh, the horrible jokes we birthed until the rain stopped. Let's say that "Any port-o-let in a storm!" was one of the better ones ;)

[more to come]

_________________

Duke
"Skills must be Learned"
------ Herb Christian


"Ask your doctor if medical advice from a television commercial is right for _you_."


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 24, 2008 11:34 pm 
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Joined: Aug 14, 2008
Country: USA
State/Province: AL
City: Fairhope
"Potty-man" , your telling of the story has me in pain I am laughing so hard... I have the patch...cow I need the rest of the story...WOW !!!

Greg
"honorary member of the Typhoon Tour 2008"

_________________
"Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take,
but by the moments that take our breath away."


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