Tuesday, June 09, 2009


Caleb here...

This past weekend I sold my motorcycle. Sad, but necessary. The good news is, that it was purchased by my good friend Joe Garner from Maryland. So, in order to properly honor the sale, we decided that a road trip was in order! The destination was Kill Devil Hills on the North Carolina Outer Banks. I borrowed the red bike from a friend at church. I rode that, and Joe rode his new moto! We spent an hour the night before, washing and polishing the bikes.

First things first, the bikes:

Red- Honda Shadow 1100cc with all the trimmings. Highway bars, hard bags, driver's backrest attached to a Corbin seat, floorboards, heel/toe shifter, full windshield. This bike was MADE to eat up the miles!

Black- Kawasaki Vulcan 800cc. Looks great if I do say so myself! However, it was not built for the looooooong ride we had ahead of us! Loud pipes, smallish windscreen, stock seat!

Adrienne took the time to say goodbye to my bike and had a quick photo shoot with it!

And here I am, geared up and ready to go... And waiting for Joe.
Side Story: This was Joe's first distance ride, and boy was he in for it!

Finally, after Joe was done fixing his hair, he joined the ride. We pulled away from the house about 7:30 in the morning, gassed up, and headed East on NC 64.

The ride started great. We both got some highway miles under our belts and got familiar with our bikes. I spent a lot of time trying to find Joe in my mirrors. He's kinda slow.

On the East side of Plymouth NC, about 2.5 hours into the ride, it started to rain. We had been watching the weather intently for the 3 days prior, and NO WHERE did it say there was going to be any rain! The good thing was, the rain was a heavy mist, not those painful, full-on rain drops! Regardless, it was wet, and chilly. All that polishing for nothing! I was wearing rain gear, Joe was not. I was hiding behind a full windshield, Joe was not. I had ridden in the rain before, Joe had not. So we stopped! We sat around in some breakfast joint in Columbia NC for about an hour until the rain moved on. I made Joe drink coffee so he would stop shivering, and then we ate bacon. Trip Count: 148 miles.

The rest of the ride to Kill Devil Hills was awsome! The sun started fighting it's way through and we powered on across the bridges to Manteo and Nags Head. By this point, we'd been on the road for about 4 hours and Joe's rump was beginning to complain (see below)!
Here's proof we actually made it to the outer banks!
We rode up the island until we got to the Wright Brothers memorial at Kitty Hawk. Spent a couple hours doing the touristy thing until meal time called. Below is a view from the top of the hill, looking out over the Atlantic. Trip count: 197 miles.

The view from below the monument.

Lunch, then shopping for chincy beach gear for our kids, then back to the road! This time, we decided to head back to Raleigh via NC 264, which runs South from Manteo, along the coast, the turns back West towards home. We cleared the islands, back across the bridges, then jumped on 264. Little did we know that this would be the best and worst decision of the trip!
Up until now we had spent all of our time on 4-lane highway at 75mph. That's ok, but you spend a lot of time focusing on wind, weather, and other vehicles. We left all that behind when we hit 264! Two lanes, in the middle of nowhere, no other cars for miles, and the sun was out! It was fantastic! We rode through swampland with a canal on our right for miles and miles! Occasionally we got glimpses of the ocean, but for the most part it was solitude. Wish I would have taken pictures from that stretch of road.
As our trip meters counted ever higher we started to get worried we would never find civilization again! We rolled into Englehard NC with 115 miles since last fill up, just 10 miles away from empty fuel tanks! Below is our favorite gas station, because it was a gas station! Trip Count: 253 miles.
By this point, all Joe was talking about was how much his butt was hurting! I told him he should go brush his hair and stop complaining. I wasn't telling him that I thought my arms were going to fall off from holding them up for so long! So, we pounded our chests and hopped back in the saddle, thinking we were in for another hour or two of hard riding. Boy were we wrong!

The road from Englehard to Washington NC was breathtaking! In spite of our soreness, this was by far the highlight of the trip! As we pulled away from that sleepy little town, we hit a slice of North Carolina farm country that had me mezmorized for an hour straight. Fields of corn, wheat, tobbacco, and soy, punctuated by modern silos and barns, coupled with turn-of-the-century farm houses. The sun was popping out occasionally, hitting the fields and trees, glinting off roofs and tractors, it really was quite a sight! I had forgotton all about my shoulders and back, and Joe's butt was numb enough that he got to enjoy the sights and the twisty country road we were on! I just wish I would have taken some pictures.

We went through New Holland and Swanquarter and on into Pantego, and the scenery changed again! It was like we had ridden into Lousisiana back-country. Some of the houses were on stilts, there was swamp everywhere, the trees were hanging over the road, putting the whole scene into darker shade of daylight! This was not hard riding at all! This was what it was all about! I just wish I would have taken some pictures.
I think at some point we came out of our road induced stupor and recognized that our bodies were screaming for a break. Trip Count: 329 miles. Location: Washington NC.
Time to suck it up and ride. We had to make it back before dark. And it was clouding up again. NC 264 goes around the north side of Greenville and becomes a 4 lane highway again. The speeds are up and the miles fly by, but not fast enough. Somehow, we have found the rain again! The same type, the same riding conditions, the same misery, compounded by sore butts, arms, backs, eyes, and ears. We just can't make the distances between breaks anymore. A quick stop in Farmville for gas gives some relief. Trip Count: 366 miles.

Another stop in Wilson at a Sheetz for dinner and a Red Bull. This is starting to drag on. The rain is past, but it is evening now and the temperature is dropping. We aren't wet anymore, but the tiredness is really showing up. Both of us admitted to daydreaming before we pulled off in Wilson. Thus the Red Bulls. Trip Count: 392 miles.

THE SUN! All of the sudden, there it is! And we are riding straight into it! The sunglasses come out, the Red Bull kicks in and we are screaming for home! Some how, everything west of I95 had been in the sun all day, and we had been ducking rain for the last 12 hours!

It is 8pm when we roll up to the house. Trip count: 432 miles. 12.5 hours on the road. Joe and I loaded up his new moto, and I took this parting shot. The clouds were moving in.


Caleb and Adrienne said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Caleb and Adrienne said...

sniff sniff....I know that no one will believe this, but I really miss THAT bike! One of the best purchases we ever made in cash...hands down!

Joe, don't wreck it! =0)

Garner Gang said...


I will not sound any gayer, but besides the announcement post of the birth of Abby, this is definitely one of my favorite posts of all time.

As bad as my hiney hurt at times, I would not of traded a single second of the ride. Truly a most memorable experience.


LoveLladro said...

Sorry to hear about the bike Caleb! I can only imagine how hard it was to say goodbye ;~) I have a secret desire to one day ride a bike... fingers crossed ;~)