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Location: Clearwater, South Carolina, United States

Thursday, October 06, 2005

tranquility - 6

Day eight, the final one of our tranquility trip, arrived way too soon to suit all involved. This was the first day our alarm clock had been used all week and it sounded rather annoyed at having been forced to do so. The buzz from the radio created such a clatter that I sprang from my bed to see what was the matter - - that phrase sounds so familiar. Actually my springing was somewhat in slow motion and could have been better described as dragging out.

Our breakfast consisted of the odds and ends that were leftovers from our meal supplies for the week. The weather looked threatening and we were concerned about getting damp while loading the van, but we managed to finish before the rain hit, leaving our week-long residence about 10:00am.

We entered the traffic stream on I-4 and headed in a generally Northern direction. Somewhere between Orlando and Daytona we pulled into a rest area for a pit stop. Before this time we had seen several groups of motorcyclists on the highway and assumed there to be some sort of cycling event either before or behind us somewhere. My friend and I finished our rest event first and stood about observing the various groups of two wheel riders while we waited on the ladies.

Maybe it was all in my imagination but it seemed all the male riders were standing around trying to look macho – some were succeeding and some were not. Even their female counterparts were making an effort at the looking macho thing – and a few were achieving this aim to a fair degree.

Then there were the few groups of regular people observing the bikers, possibly thinking thoughts all the way from “I wish I could do that” to “They are not as bad as they think they are”. There seemed to be some character study going on from both sides.

As these straddle buggy riders stood around picking the bugs from their teeth, I noticed a small dog – looked to be a miniature schnauzer – tied to one of the cycles by a leash. This tiny bit of dog flesh had evidently had way too much riding for that day because he was hurling (barfing, heaving, tossing his cookies, etc.) right there on the pavement. The images of the huge motorcycle and the wee lap dog just didn’t seem to go together – maybe this was the dog’s way of informing its owner of this particular fact.

The rain that the very overcast skies had been promising all morning started just South of Jacksonville. It was light at first, just enough to be annoying, but started in earnest after our Georgia Welcome Center pit stop. We got tied up in wreck traffic and the rain continued and even worsened in severity. The downpour was so hard that it seemed to be trying to wash all the motorists’ sins away in one fell swoop. We finally got clear of this and pulled off for a combo stop – pit, fuel and to eat. Wouldn’t you know that it would be my spouse’s favorite highway stop – Steak and Shake.

On farther up the road we stopped in an outlet mall near Darien to see if they were still selling stuff - as it turned out, they were. Hung around the van, trying to pull my thoughts together for a Sunday School lesson the next morning, discussing the same with my cohort in a somewhat uncharacteristic serious manner. Back on the road, the rain continued, cycling between medium and misty all the way home.

The temp had been slowly dropping the whole trip and by the time we arrived at our friends’ home, it was downright chilly. We unloaded from the van to our car and drove home. When I entered our garage, I knew the fun was over and I was now going to have to get back to the very serious job of being retired. ec


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