Go West Young Man

What I was calling a journey I am now reverting to call an adventure.  Because the adventure to discover America’s roadside motels has so far taken me 2,141 miles to get to Florida.  Already I’ve travelled to the Catskills in New York, over to Pennsylvania, down to the Wildwoods in New Jersey, back into Pennsylvania only to head back to Virginia Beach, spent the fourth of July in Jacksonville NC, down to Savannah Georgia and back across the state going south west to end in Panama City Beach, Florida.  

No adventure would be complete if it it didn’t have some adversity. This journey has been no different.  For me it started on day two.  They turned away me from my destination motel because they had cancelled my reservation.  This despite the confirmation email I had on my phone. There was no arguing as they had sold my room and there were no more left.  It was up to me to find alternate accommodation. No problem. I’m resourceful and can figure out what to do. And I did. I’m thinking if this is as bed as it gets this trip is going to be a breeze.

Well you know what they say about things happening in threes…!

Laptop remains. RIP

Day five into the adventure I am coming down from Western Pennsylvania on my way heading southeast to the Coast.  It’s July 3 and AAA has said that this is the busiest day on the roads in America.  They must have been in Fredericksburg VA when they declared that.  Because that is where I was when I heard it – dead stopped on the Interstate.  After crawling at 5 miles an hour for two hours in 98 degree temperature, the congestion cleared, and I was rolling.  But not one hour later a car raced up beside me pointing at the back of my bike.  I looked back in horror.  My panier was open and the contents empty.  Inside the panier was all my electronic equipment, laptop, camera equipment, personal notes. Basically everything that I needed that wasn’t tools or clothes. I backtracked 30 miles to my last rest point on the GPS only turn around again this time going back down at a slower speed scanning the roadside.  And I found it.  Strewn for a quarter mile and broken in a thousand pieces.  Nothing recoverable. All lost.  Fortunately, there is this thing called the iCloud, so 95 percent of my files are retrievable.

Hoping that the worst was behind me, not two days later I am riding down I-95 in South Carolina on my way to the Thunderbird Inn in Savannah when my tire warning light comes on.  I pull into the rest area and discover a three inch nail in my back tire.  I got this covered. Hell, I even wrote about it back in January in Getting Direction.  And although the temperatures are in the high 90s and with the humidex over 100, I get it plugged.  Now to put in air. Hmm, this is where the problems start.  My mini-compressor won’t work.  OK, not a problem. I have a back-up plan.  That is why I purchased AAA Roadside Assistance.  So I call AAA.  It turns out that AAA in South Carolina will tow my bike 200 miles but not provide air.  To get air, I will have to pay the driver $125.  So pay I did.  I call my local AAA office (they are all run independently) they say I am covered but to pay the bill and file for reimbursement. 

Anyway, four hours later I am back on the road.  My repair is holding and only 100 miles outside of Savannah.  Then the skies opened up, and the rains came down in biblical proportions. The only way I can see the road ahead is by the lightning strikes all around me.  When I finally arrive at the Thunderbird Inn, drenched and just ahead of another thunderstorm about to hit Savannah, I think about another piece I wrote T-Bird Motels and Thunder Spells. Just call me the soothsayer.

Now here is the irony.  I wrote about preparing for each of the incidents in my Chronicle updates (less the equipment incident but I can loosely associate that with my piece on insurance).  And even The Motelorcycle cartoonist Ron Warne really nailed it this week without me telling him about any of these little mishaps. LOL Karma.

On a much more positive note, the trip has been even richer than I imagined in both content and variety.   The moteliers I have met have been gracious with their time.  The pictures are stunning and the stories almost write themselves.  I have made new friends along the road and I know there is still a lot more to see and learn.  

So continue to follow my adventuresome journey.  I post daily updates on Facebook and Instagram.  And if you have tips, suggestions or comments please send them along.  I promise to respond as soon as I can. 

So now I will start my westward journey and tonight will sleep in Biloxi Mississippi. I can only hope that this change in direction will be the end of my bad Karma. Go west young man!

  1. Kate Pattridge says:

    Drew, I love these types of motels , I cant wait to do this trip! My son and I did an around the USA trip 5 years ago and it was awesome! On 4 wheels tho, lol

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