Dave's Cross-Country Trip 2003

Day Nine

by Dave Schultheis

Tuesday, May 27, 2003 - Leesburg, Virginia

I was awake early, got up at 5:50 a.m. (the same time that my alarm sounded on work days), stripped the bed, dressed and put away my last few items. There was a little bathroom incident, proving that a plunger should be standard equipment in every bathroom. In this case, there was, so tragedy was averted.

I found a bagel, a toaster, and some milk for breakfast, then waited for my niece and her boyfriend to wake up and turn off the alarm system so that I could load the bike; then leave for work so that I could get the Road King out of the garage.

They both had to go to work that day, so I said my goodbyes and thanks for their nice hospitality, and they went their separate ways to work.

It was 7:20 a.m. when I was free to go, so I rode north on U.S. Highway 15 for a few miles to the Potomac River, pulled over at a wide spot just across the river for a Maryland sign picture, then returned southbound on Hy 15 and then westbound on Virginia Highway 7.

I stopped at a Chevron Station in Berryville VA for fuel about 8:45 a.m., then continued west on VA 7 to Winchester VA, and turned south on Interstate 81. I stopped at McDonald's just south of Winchester about 9:15 a.m., amid tiny sprinkles.

I continued south on I-81, stopped for a short rest near exit 263, then stopped again at another rest area near mile 232 for rain gear because the sprinkles were getting larger. It wasn't long until I got into real rain for quite a while.

It's funny what you sometimes see while riding on the freeways in America. I often ride in the right lane, especially so in places where (a) I am not familiar with the road and (b) it's raining heavily (!). Several times over the past 8 days I have observed the phenomena where someone will pass, then immediately pull over in front of me, without leaving much room. Did they forget when they were learning to drive and were taught about a "cushion of safety?" Do they forget how much room it takes for a car, truck or motorcycle to stop, even without rainy pavement? They should pass, then wait until they're a few car-lengths in front of me, then signal and pull over safely.

I stopped for fuel at a Shell Station in Buchanan VA (near Arcadia) about 11:45 a.m. I rode another hour in the rain, then when it let up, I pulled into another rest area near mile 108 to dry my glasses and face shield, but left the rain gear on.

It's funny what you sometimes see while stopped at a rest area. There was a man in a Corvette with a small white poodle. Somehow it seemed odd.

Somewhere south of the rest area, the sun was peeking out. A little later there was actual sunshine! About 2:10 p.m. I stopped at a rest area south of Wytheville VA, mile 54, and removed my rain gear.

The sunshine continued for a while, then there was a little rain near Bristol VA (near the TN line). I took exit 1B, then went about a mile to a Shell Station for fuel, then returned to Interstate 81 and stopped almost immediately for a photo at the Tennessee state line.

Not long after that, the wet weather was gone and there was sunshine, beautiful sunshine, and warmth soon followed.

Near Dandridge TN, I-81 ends, and I continued westbound on Interstate 40 toward Knoxville. I had considered turning east on I-40 (toward Asheville) for about thirty miles to get a North Carolina photo, but didn't really look forward to a 60-mile round trip, after all those tiring miles in the rain. Some day I will return and spend a little time in the great state of North Carolina.

But today I was in the very wide state of Tennessee. I decided to bypass Knoxville, so I turned westbound on I-640 for about 9 miles, then continued west on I-40 for a while. Looking at the map, I'm not sure sure that was a good decision, but that's what happened.

It was very warm by this time, so I took exit 380 and parked in the shade at a Schlotzsky's Deli about 5:25 p.m., checked the porcelain, got a sandwich and removed the soft lowers from the Road King. On the way back to the freeway, I saw a sign on a Walgreens that said 83 degrees F. I continued west on I-40 and it was downright hot.

About 6:20 p.m. I stopped at a Shell Station in Harriman TN for fuel and called Bob Carroll (EVLTWN) in the Nashville area, but got his answering machine.

About 6:45 p.m. I passed a sign that said "Cumberland County" and "entering Central Time," so I readjusted to 5:45 p.m.

Almost to a rest stop I recall coming down a long straightaway and saw cars slowing for an accident that had just happened, including a car that had rolled into a ditch in the divider, but I saw that people had stopped and were on their cel-phones calling for help, so I continued.

I pulled into the next rest stop and called Casa de Carroll again, but there was no answer to the home or cellular phones.

I rode for another hour, then stopped at a rest area near mile 267 and called again, reaching Bob and getting directions to their new home.

I continued into the Nashville area, and following Bob's directions, turned south on Tennessee Highway 440W and then I-65, I stopped for fuel at a Shell Station near Brentwood TN, then follow instructions directly to their home in suburban Franklin.

I arrived in their driveway at precisely 9:00 p.m. CT, where the thermometer said it was 79.5 degrees F. [It wasn't until some months later Bob discovered that the thermometer was broken and that it was always 79.5 degrees in their garage.]

I greeted Bob & Willa, then met their dog, two cats, four kitties, and Willa's daughter Kayla. I still had some sandwich left in my saddlebag from "on the road," so I put away my stuff and finished the sandwich, along with moist refreshments, while catching up with the Carrolls on current events.

Their beautiful home, in a nice neighborhood, had a spare bedroom, where Bob's son Grayson usually stayed when he visited, and I was to stay there. Although Miss Manners may not have approved my showing up on Tuesday evening for a Thursday evening barbeque, it turned out to be for the best, as I was able to help out (just a little) around the house.

I took a shower and went to bed a little after 10:00 p.m.

Miles for the day = 700. Miles for the trip = 4181.

Tomorrow: a service visit to Cool Springs H-D, hang around the house, and a wonderful dinner.

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Created on January 4, 2004. Updated on January 19, 2004.
David W. Schultheis, San Josť, Silicon Valley, Santa Clara County, California, USA