Days Thirty Three and Thirty Four.......
Took off Monday Morning from Suburban Houston. Spent a very relaxing weekend catching up with my cousins and enjoying some incredibly generous hospitality from my cousins and hosts, Barry and Mary, some killer food from my cousin Jennifer's paramour, Ryan (who not only caught all of the fish somewhere out in the Gulf of Mexico the day before, but he also grilled them to perfection for Saturday's feast) as well as from my cousin Barry Junior (who, as it happens, is a professional chef) at a pool party at his house on Sunday afternoon.
Was also lucky enough to be able to meet some of the new(er) additions to the family – Darryn and Jennifer's daughter Josie (who's now, like, a year-and-a-half old.....shows ya how long it's been since I caught up with some of my cousins), Barry Junior and Amy's eight-week-old son Trey (Barry The Third), and I finally got to meet my cousin Kelly's two sons (one of whom is still afraid of me!)
Thanx soooo much, guys.......I hope that soon I have the opportunity to return the hospitality that you all have shown me!
Swung by Honda of Houston Monday Morning on way way out heading Eastbound. They actually HAD the mysterious front tyre for The Helix IN STOCK (EXTREMELY ODD)!!!!! PLUS, it was, like, ten buxx more than thee cheapest price I had found for the tyre on the Internet (factoring in shipping, it actually was the SAME price) and they only tagged me $30 to pop it on there!!! And I told 'em to take their swee 'ole time about it.....but it was done in less than an hour!!
GOOD folk........check 'em here - Honda of Houston
Left the Houston Metro area with a new Bridgestone on my front wheel, and I had no set destination for the evening's lodging whatsoever. But, after spending a three-day-weekend on what felt like a Club Med vacation thanks to my cousins, I was really in need of riding!!!
So......just rode and rode and rode.....
Hit Baton Rouge, Louisiana at a fairly reasonable hour (like, 7pm CDT) and pulled into a Waffle House. Asked how far to Noo Awleans, and the kind folk there told me about 75 miles. I had already registered 325 miles so far today, and I DID give the idea more than a passing consideration.......but the fact was that I had a bad case of N.A.S. (Numb Ass Syndrome – which strikes EVERY two-wheeled rider after about.....oooooh......250 miles or so), and figured just stay here tonight (stay in Baton Rouge.....not at Waffle House).
Baton Rouge is a strange place economically. Thing such as motel rooms.....groceries.....petrol.....Waffle House meals.....just every basic thing tends to cost a good amount more here than in most other places. Yet.....YET......nobody here has a pot to piss in!
STILL trying to figure out how folks here make ends meet.
Ended up at one of thee nastiest motels I have stayed in for a while. Now, the Royal Inn in Eureka, California had held that title, but whilst the walls and vent system was paper-thin to the point where whispers could almost be heard outside the front door of the room, and even though it appeared to have more temporary residents than actual traveling folks doing nightly room rentals, physically, the The Royal Inn motel itself was sound structurally. I mean, locks.....toilet....plumbing....TV....etc. etc. etc. were allright.
In Baton Rouge, I dropped fiddy-three buxx on a Motel 6 that Tom Bodett would just about shit his pants if he were forced to stay there! A few broken beer bottles strewn about the property, Wi-Fi that ya hadta pay extra for (and didn't work), guests who roamed around the grounds drinking tins of malt liquor outta a paper bag, (veeerrry friendly folk, though.....one gentleman and I got into a thoughtful discussion about the merits of the Honda Elite 80)....but that was the exterior.
The room itself had this weird-ass dormitory feel to it, with hardwood floors (which I really liked, but was it more for style or for practicality in that how long would a carpet last in that dump?), a lamp that had the plug-end of the wiring cut off and looked like it was either garbage-picked or abandoned (or both – garbage-picked, THEN abandoned.......abandoned in my Motel 6 room), exposed wiring hanging from the ceiling, and a major leak from the bottom of the toilet. and the safety/peek latch on the door looked like it had been previously forced from the outside. Needless to say, I didn't sleep very well, wondering if I would see The Helix in the AM.
Turns out, I needn't have worried. The Helix was just fine where I had parked it. So, grabbed a brekker at Waffle House and ran into a Kinko's to use their Wi-Fi, and tried to figure out where the next destination would be.
Saw a place on Mapquest that looked way off the beaten path (yet was on the way.....kinda/sorta.....to tomorrow's destination of Tallahassee, Florida) and it looked neat on a map. Plus, it would be an easy 225 miles riding from Baton Rouge. Did some research, found thee only motel there, and decided to go to Dauphin Island, Alabama!
Saw the Internet research I had done, looked at the location, and I figured “Fuck it! I hafta git there with at least three hours of daylight left! Wanna vege out on a Gulf Coast beach and go swimming! Rules be dammed!!!”
So I took Interstate 10 for about 195 of those 225 miles........
......vowed that I'd NOT take Interstates........but time was of the essence this day!
Got onto the island via a two-mile big-ass bridge, and found my motel easily enough (was thee only motel on this island, best as I could tell). Nice room......very much on the pricey side ($95)......but......BUT.....
....this island is worth it!
It is very eco-friendly (ALABAMA????), has a bird sanctuary (which I really wanted to hike through, but time constraints precluded that idea), a couple fun pubs (which you can smoke in), a powder-sugar beach, and a decent-sized forest preserve.
Only drawbacks were -
A) - You really hafta git there NOW.....as they are going absolutely apeshit with the condo construction......and
B) - Upon arrival at the beach, I looked out over the vast and beautiful Gulf of Mexico.......
.......and, roughly five miles out, under a clear blue sky......
.......I see five oil rig platforms......
.......man, talk about a total fucking buzzkill!
Still, though........I really, really enjoyed Dauphin Island. It must have absolutely stunning ten years ago. Get here now whilst you still can.....
Tallahassee, next post......