|From Behind My Eyes - The Adventures of Tim Stubbe||
Sunday morning in Bolingbrook Illinois and after 6 solid days of riding, I'm taking a day to relax. The downtime after several days on the road is nice and give me time to post to this page as well as reflect on the trip.
This trip for me has exceeded all my expectations. Generally the weather has been favorable and when it turned sour, I was always able to find a place to hole up. There have been only a few disappointments on this entire trip.
1. Not making it to Key West. To much bad weather in the form of 10 inches of rain and Thunderstorms to take the risk.
2. Not being able to see the C.S.S Hunley, the confederate submarine that was recovered from Charleston Harbor a few years back. It was only open for viewing on Saturday's and Sunday's.
3. Probably my biggest disappointment was all the rain and forecast of extended rain in Maine/New Hampshire and Vermont, This was high on my list of places to come back to and ride. From the water drops on my windscreen, I could tell that this would have been a highlight of the trip.
The funny thing about this trip, though nowhere near done, I feel like its nearing its end. I've traveled 2/3s of it and like the spring of a clock I can feel it winding down. Not that, that is bad, it just I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. The funny thing about this adventure is that I actually thought it would be harder to accomplish. Maybe because of all the planning or just good fortune or both, I never really experienced any really trying times. The 2 full days of riding in the rain, one in North Carolina and one in Maine/New Hampshire/Vermont, wasn't all that pleasant, but, it wasn't catastrophic either. North Carolina was a little harder only because I had never been in the rain on the bike and that took a bit getting used to.
Several people have asked me what the best thing was. For me that is a really hard question. There are several that left an impression.
Appomattox Courthouse Virginia,- probably because of monuments. Most Civil War Battlefields have hundreds if not thousands of monuments to this state or that group or this general. Appomattox was unique to me for its simple recreation. The buildings the dirt road going through the village, lent and air of realism that I wasn't expecting. You could almost feel Robert E Lee signing the surrender papers in front of U.S. Grant.
Monticello - Thomas Jefferson's Home This place almost had a hallowed feel to it. The home showed the best in Jefferson's character. In 21st century terms he was a super geek, with the latest inventions and gadgets. He was meticulous in his documentation and and it was very evident that no minute of his day was wasted, how he accomplished everything baffles me.
National D-Day Memorial - Bedford Va This is a case where because of the detour we took as a result of the North Carolina rain day ride, we stumbled on this gem. Between the Blue Ridge Parkway and Appomattox Va. Bob Kendall and I found this special place. This is a memorial to the men that invaded France June 6th 1944. Built as a timeline, it starts with busts of the Military and Political drivers to the invasion, progressing to the actually landing with statues replicating the landings. Water jets going off randomly representing bullets hitting the water. Further along a tall bronze of Rangers Scaling the cliffs and finally a statue of a battered "statue of liberty" representing the sacrifice our soldiers made in 1944. I was a very moving place and well worth the stop, something I'd recommend to anyone that passes by it.
That being said, The best thing about this trip hasn't been a place or a road, but more the nuances of the trip the subtle things. The people I've met and friendships I've made. The changes in architecture as I've seen from region to region. The excitement of waking up each morning anticipating what the day had in store for me and going to sleep happy at what I had seen that day.
The feeling of history each day as I'd pass homes and churches. The feeling of accomplishing something more than just a motorcycle ride. Most importantly though the feeling I have made myself a better person for the effort. Its been a great time for self reflection.
Now as I look back at what I wrote, I probably should have saved that for the end of the trip, but I'm sure I will have even more observations by the time this adventure ends, since I have a few more weeks of riding to do and many more things to see.
This is what happens when I take a day to rest...