Saturday, May 15, 2010

Home Sweet Home (Part 2)

OK, we lied.

It's more of a harmless lie, and we honestly were kinda telling the truth when we said it. So don't hate.

We arrived in Allentown at 4 pm: 23 1/2 hours after we pulled out of Daytona Beach Harley-Davidson 1,015 miles to the south. In other words, we now both have our Iron Butt membership.

The mission prep and early phase didn't go well. We were feeling under the weather (for reasons unknown that had nothing to do with drinking, I'm ashamed to report) and Donna didn't really sleep at all the night before. Not what you want before standing in the sun for hours, and then leaving on a 1,000 mile day.

But with the late checkout, we were able to stay indoors until about an hour and a half before launch. Then, we found a nice shady spot just 2 blocks away (100 times less crowded than the park, to boot) and there was a nice breeze blowing in off the water. My escape plan worked to a T, and we sat in traffic for all of 4 minutes.

We decided to stop at Destination Daytona 60 miles up the road and get our documentation together, just in case. We did that, got back on I-95, and went as far as we could.

That wasn't as far as I thought we needed, however. I had hoped to make about 400-450 miles by around midnight or so. We packed it in as soon as we hit South Carolina, only 5 hours and 270 logged miles. We were beat.

We did set the alarm for the 5 hours break I figured we could afford, and agreed to decide what to do when it rang. We'd have 700+ miles to go, and no time to slow down. At 2:30, we were packing back up and downing a cup of coffee. By sunrise, we were in Charlotte, NC. And it was getting steadily colder, and damp. We were adding layers of clothing. I put the bottom of my rainsuit on as makeshift chaps and we ate the only meal we would get - a McBreakfast swallowed in 10 minutes.

At that speed, every 100 miles was a necessary fuel stop, and with it a reassessment. We always had kept or made up precious minutes, and always decided to continue. By noon, we were still in northern Virginia, but within range and on time. The last two stops were in PA, and by then we were heads-down determined, battling aggressively against the gusty crosswinds. We made up almost 10 minutes on each run, and coasted into Allentown at 4 pm with 25 minutes to spare.

It will take months to process the submission and get our patches and certs, but we proved Donna can do it. On Sportsters. She did it without an iPod, which I shudder at the thought of, and without a windshield, which I would never even consider. She's unbelieveable. And, she's mine!

So, we're home safe and sound. And, more importantly, home together now. Life is good.

I'll put up the usual final post with all the stuff I forgot to mention, and lessons learned. And photo albums.

Stay tuned...

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