Sunday, June 14, 2009

Bel Alton, MD

The ride home was under sunny skies, broken up by a stay at the luxurious Bel Alton Motel in, uh, Bel Alton, MD. Before that, we found ourselves getting water at Robert Taylor's Tires, Laundrymat, and General Store in Snow Hill, NC, where we were fortunate enough to be regaled with tales of adventure and skill by none other than Robert Taylor himself. He had two old black men in the store with him, who had clearly heard all these stories before, and who wavered randomly from corroborating them to outright calling bullshit. One of them thought Donna had a nice butt. After a little break, it was up I-95 out of the Carolinas and through Richmond.

The Bel Alton was a slab motel straight out of 1959, neon and all, but was really cool and well-kept (except for the 20 stinky cats that lived in the office.) This was a little bit of synchronicity, as we were trying to get another 15-20 miles up the road when we spied what looked like a cool biker bar just after passing the motel. We discussed the possibility of checking out the Bel Alton and if it was nice, throwing the gear in the room and heading up for a burger and beer.

Which is exactly what we did. And it was not only a cool biker bar (the locally-famous "Apehangers" as it turns out) but they happened to have a band every Saturday night. Wouldn't you know it, it was Saturday night! So we went back to the hotel for a dip in the pool (and a quick power nap) and then rode the 1/4 mile back up 301 for a little boot stomping. What a cool place that was. We stayed up too late and probably should have stopped 1 or 2 beers sooner, but it was a great time. How often the most memorable part of a trip ends up being not something planned in great detail, but something that just comes down the road at you.

Friday, June 12, 2009

New Bern, NC

Day 2, and we leave with the suits on again just in case, but it kept getting warmer and sunnier and we ended up taking them off as we entered Virginia on the southern tip of the peninsula and headed for the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel. We decided to plan for lunch in Virginia Beach and have some friends meet us in North Carolina for dinner. But when you factor in Klinger time, dinner ended up being 8:00, and we were barely staying dry all the way down to New Bern. We spent way too much $$$ eating a fancy dinner al fresco dressed like Hell's Angels, and then the rainsuit failed. Failed in a BIG way.

Just as we paid the check, the sky started to flash. Then came the rain, light at first. By now, it's pitch black, and I know what's coming next. We have no hotel, saw none in town, and have only the faintest idea where we are. Karen and [the other] Kevin are 3 hours from home, and we all are about to ride aimlessly in the dark, in the rain, unable to see anything but distorted starbursts of light refracted through our wet eyewear.

Sure enough, it was pouring by the time we got our gear on. We waited through what we hoped was the heaviest part, and took off in the rain, parting with our friends within a few blocks. Think of the most fun you ever had... think, think...

Got it? Now, imagine the complete 180-degree opposite. That's what this is. Anyway, we get up a ramp onto the only "highway" anywhere near our little burg. Just as we're heading out of town, we find the last exit, which is where all the motels are. It was funny as hell when we pulled over and I told Donna that the Hampton and Courtyard I see will both likely be kind of costly. Let's just say price was not a factor.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Wandering Aimlessly

Time to cross some more states off the list.

We had decided some months ago to block off this weekend for a road trip to be named later. Time for just wandering aimlessly without a plan and seeing where we end up.

When the time came, "where we ended up" was decided entirely by -what else- the weather map. The only shot we remotely had at staying dry was to head south along the coast, so that's where we pointed the handlebars. We ran down Rt. 1, crossed the Annapolis Bay Bridge over to the DelMarVa peninsula, and called it a day in Salisbury, MD. Again, we miraculously got sprinkled on, but never really soaked. In fact, we got tired of taking the suits on and off and sweating in them when it wasn't raining. And again, the skies opened up while we were taking showers. I love that rainsuit.