Big As Texas Party (SS1K Ride Out)

Big As Texas Party (SS1K Ride Out)

One SS1K Hat-Trick In The Books !!!

When I got back to my room, following the banquet, I turned on the weather channel to check on Hurricane Nate.  Thankfully, the storm had been downgraded from a category 2 and it was moving north between 25 & 30 mph.  The weather channel talking heads had already begun a reduction in their efforts to scare the crap out of everyone and they were referencing Katrina more than Nate. 

I know they only get a few good storms a year, and I understand that they have to make hay when the sun doesn’t shine, so to speak.  I’m sure ad rates skyrocket during hurricanes.  God knows they run enough of them.  But they have long ago destroyed their credibility.  So as usual, I see what NOAA is reporting in the sidebar numbers and I look at what is happening behind the talking head.  At the time, much like a mime, he was leaning with one leg bent in an effort to convince me that the wind was blowing really hard.  Unfortunately for him, but good for us, the palm trees behind him weren’t moving.  So my prospects of getting home on Sunday, and completing my SS1K hat-trick, were looking better.  On that note, I got to bed so I’d have plenty of rest for the ride ahead.

When I woke up Sunday morning I turned the weather channel on again.  The storm should have passed over I-10, my route home, while I slept.  My main concern was electricity.  I would need to make 3 gas stops very near the gulf coast, on I-10,  so the power would need to be reliably on before I could start out.  My alternative was a more northern route.  However, the storm was already up around I-20, my second best route, and seemed to be doing even more damage up there.  More trees to blow around means more power outages.  The talking head was standing on what must have been a boat ramp.  He was going on about the horrific flooding that was happening and expected to worsen.  He said he was in Mobile, AL.  The place the storm most directly hit.  However, immediately behind him was I-10.  The cars were zipping by at normal interstate speeds and all of the street lights were on.  That was all I needed.  I packed the bike, got my starting dated business receipt/odometer photo, and started out for home.  So I guess they do provide the service advertised, once you know how to process what you are seeing.  Not hearing… Seeing.

My start time was 07:46:31.  It would take me several hours to get down to the gulf coast.  So if there were any power issues down there they would have most of the day to take care of them.  I figured that I-10 would be a priority since thousands of commercial vehicles travel that route daily.  The weather was beautiful in Dallas, my prospects looked excellent, I had memorized the route out, so the fact that my GPSs had lost their minds again didn’t bother me, my favorite music was playing in my helmet, Sunday traffic was light, what could be better.

My ride home was mostly uneventful.  The weather was beautiful, with the exception of a 20 mile stretch through Pensacola, FL, where I had to stop and pull out the rain gear.  I took it back off and packed it again before I got to Tallahassee.  There were 4 signs that a storm had passed through and only one of them would lead you to believe it was a hurricane.  The hurricane sign was the fact that many of the small streams and rivers I passed over had boats tied, with multiple ropes, stretched out to trees on the banks, so the boat would be held in the middle of the water, away from the trees.  The other 3 were:

  1. One home depot sign had the vinyl graphic hanging from the bottom of the sign.  The pole and lights, etc. were fine.
  2. One billboard had the graphic material shredded and hanging form the structure, which itself was fine.
  3. One highway sign.  One of the blue ones like rest areas, had the breakaway bolts snapped and the sign was hanging at 90 degs from the poles. 

Other than that, everything looked exactly as it had on my ride to Texas a couple of days earlier.

My ending receipt/odometer photo showed that I arrived back in Jacksonville at 02:59.  18 hours, 12 minutes, 29 seconds.  1,096 odometer miles.  30 minutes, 27 seconds faster than my ride to Texas.  All that was left to finish up my SS1K hat-trick, and the Texas adventure in general, was to submit my ride documentation.

Everything about the Big As Texas Party was better than I could have hoped.  I believe the next IBA event of this type will be right here in my home town of Jacksonville, FL.  The annual Daytona Bike Week Party.  Obviously, I will be participating in that one.  Hopefully, they will do another mini-rally.  I’m hoping to be chosen for the 2019 IBR, so I can use all the rally routing practice I can get in the meantime.  Oh Yeah, you can count on seeing me in Texas again next year as well.

The next adventure is coming up in a few days.  A few members of my local ride group and I are heading to Franklin, NC to see the fall colors in the Blue Ridge Mountains.  We will be leaving Oct. 26th and returning Oct. 30th.  I should have plenty of stories, photos and video to share.  Ride safe.