Saturday morning, July 24, found Ricardo Art and me enjoying the hospitality of Russ Smiley and his family. A great and tasty brunch on Lake Hartwell, life was good. By 10:30 AM, I departed, headed to see my son and grandchildren near Birmingham, Al. Art and Ricardo would depart in the early afternoon.
My ride to Birmingham was uneventful, hot with a few messy shpwers. By 5:00 PM, I was safely housed in the local motel. A quick call and my son's mother volunteered to fix dinner for all of us. My ability to score a free meal is intact.
Sunday with my two grandchildren and by nightfall, I was on the Vulcan headed south towards Texas. Speaking of the Vulcan 900 Classic LT, it has been an excellent mount. Running strong and steady, I am very pleased. I ended up riding a couple of hundred miles before stopping for the night. A Hampton Inn in Laurel, MS was my abode for Sunsay evening.
And Art and Ricardo? I certainly expected that they were near Savannah, but no! Monday, I learned that the 1978 GL1000 had once again let us down. When departing Lake Hartwell, the clutch totally failed and a local shop, upon examing the bike, advised Art that only an installation of a new clutch would get him back on the road. What to do? Art and Ricardo were stranded, staying in a local motel. I offered to ride swiftly back to Texas and to trailer one of the BMWs back to Georgia for Art to ride.
But Art had a Costa Rican friend in Lake City, Fl, who was coming in a pickuo to save Art, Ricardo and the vintage wing. Plus, he knew of another mechanic who could do the needed repairs. Three or four days later, at a cost of $900, the GL 1000 had a new clutch and Art and Ricardo were back on the road, riding the Gulf and bayou counrty back to Texas.
And Chuck? Terrible gulf storm rains made his ride a challenge. Monday night, I gave up early and checked into a LaQuinta east of Houston because it was raing so hard I could barely see. Tuesday morning, the storm was still with me. A scary ride through Houston in pouring rain, and I slowly made my way toward Riveria, TX. Finally, I ran out of the rain and smack into the hot Texas sun! I was back on the Bay by 5:30 PM, totally safe without a scratch on me or the Vulcan. 11,600 miles! Through the USA, Mexico and four provinces of Canada and an a few states (TX, NM, CO, UT, NV, CA, OR, WA, MT, SD, MN, WI, MI, NY, VT, MA, NY, NJ, PA, WV, VA, MD, SC, Ga, AL, MS and LA). And Art and Ricardo even rode Florida.
Finally, by Saturday, Art and Ricardo were back on the road, exploring the Gulf areas. Late Tuesday afternoon, August 2, found them riding up to my house on Baffin Bay. A happy reunion and a couple of good meals later found Art chomping at the bit to get back to Costa Rica. On Saturday, August 7, Art was on a Frontier flight flying home.
And Ricardo? I think he was concerned with my well being and health. He remained with me. And what a great time we have had! We are both gaining weight and among other things, had a great trip to Mexico Monday to help the local Mexican economy. Tomorrow, I am taking the Latin Cowboy (in Cowboy Boots, Stetson Hat and a Large Silver Belt Buckle) to San Antonio where Ricardo will catch a flight to New York to visit his daughter, Marcela, for the weekend and by Wednesday evening, he will be back in Costa Rica.
I will miss Ricardo! We are friends. I am already planning to visit him in Costa Rica in a few months. And Art? He and I are already planning our next adventure ride for sometime in February.
And my tent? I gave it to my two grandsons, Brandon and Justin. You can bet that I will never spend another night sleeping on the ground. I will leave that for the real adventure riders, Art and Ricardo!