The next morning; barely, when I woke it was 2 am; I got dressed quietly, planted a kiss on the forehead of my sleeping wife, and walked out to the bike, waiting for me in the garage. I rolled the Triumph out, gave it one more check, then broke the silence by thumbing the starter and rolled into the darkness of the central Florida night.
The first order of business was to get out of Florida, hopefully by daylight and before the roads were filled with traffic. I headed west of FL60 toward Bartow. Our county seat, then north into the large city of Lakeland and out the other side into quiet countryside on US 98 and past some of the best riding roads in Florida, stretching from Dade City up to Brooksville, unvisited this time. It was a long haul on 98, running over two hundred miles from where I joined it, only fifteen miles from home, to Perry in the area known as the Big Bend where so often I had turned west, continuing on 98, tracing the shoreline of the Gulf of Mexico. But that day, I was going north, so I rode US 27 from Perry toward Tallahassee. By the time I turned north on US 19 and crossed Interstate 10, the sun was rising and I was in the land of the pecan tree, passing grove after grove,between the field of young cotton plants, as I rode north into Georgia.
Rest stop in Georgia with the packed bike parked up beside Pachitla Creek, between Morgan and Edison
I worked my way north and west, toward Albany and then Columbus, where I crossed the Chattahoochee River into Alabama. North and west would be my mantra for most of the outbound trip and again I continued in that direction on US 280. This was a familiar route I had taken many times before enroute to the Barber Vintage Festival in Leeds, Alabama, that would take me into Leeds without entangling me in the snarled traffic in nearby Birmingham. There was a another bonus of taking that way and that was AL 25 just a few miles north of 280 before it plunged into the metropolis. 25 turned, twisted, climbed and dropped across the mountains east of the city and landed me in Leeds—a nice way to end a long day of riding.
My camp behind Ken's place in Birmingham
In early afternoon, just across the little creek bordering Barber Motorsports Park, I met up with a fellow ADVRider, Ken, after 578 miles of riding, where a nice shaded area for my tent, a cold beer, and friendly conversation was waiting for me.
So far 578.1 miles