After covering two days of hum-drum weather and “stuff” from life here at home on Monday and Tuesday, this week’s journal should have been filled with details from Bike Week 2019 in Daytona Beach, Florida. However, we ended up riding 364-miles to Jacksonville, Florida, for dinner on Wednesday and then 80-miles to Flagler Beach for lunch on Thursday, before essentially riding 500-miles back home Thursday night. In other words, we rode 1,000 miles to have lunch at Finn’s in Flagler Beach, but the fish taco’s WERE good and we had a lot of fun with our friends over the first 444 miles of riding. Back at the house I spent a lot of time figuring out how to deal with the issues that caused me to cut our trip short as we found ourselves back in the dreary, depressing weather doing chores. We broke those up a bit with a nice dinner out on Friday night and then dinner and a movie on Saturday night.
Monday: Finally, Blacked-Out Mirror Signals for the Tacoma
Well, it’s a brand new week with the same old weather. Come on Mother Nature, throw us a bone! All of the plants, birds and our brains think Spring is here early. All we need is a little sun and a few extra degrees to make it so!! Oh well, perhaps we’ll find some sun and warmer weather in Florida later this week.
Typical morning routine for me, getting last week’s journal finished up, printed and posted to the mail. I also followed-up with Chris at Custom Camper and made an appointment at 11:00am on Tuesday to have the leaky frame in our Tacoma’s A.R.E. Z-Series shell fixed. I can’t wait to see the cause and solution!
When I took the mail out I looked at the sad state of our driveway where a waste water pipe leak under the driveway we had repaired many years back must have caused some soil erosion. The depression and cracked concrete right over the waste pipe repair continues to get worse each year and I’m guessing the only reason it hasn’t fallen-in is because of the steel mesh in the concrete. I’d thought about getting the sledge-hammer out today, busting it up, backfilling any depressions with crushed stone and then patching the hole with Quick-Crete but held off and, instead, went in search of a concrete driveway contractor. At this point the 500 sq ft of broken pavement at the end of our driveway needs to be properly removed and replaced and I’ll need to get a cost estimate or two before deciding if it’s something I want to tackle or pay to have fixed by a professional. So, I’ve gotten one referral and am hoping to get 2 more for quotes to compare. If I don’t faint from the numbers I’ll just have someone else do it.
Next on my to-do list was getting all of our motorcycling rain gear, heated gear, lightweight jackets and of course the leather jackets and over-pants out of the hall closet and into the garage so it could be packed for our trip. It’s amazing how much “gear” weighs! Looking at the current weather outlook and because we won’t be leaving until around 9:30am on Wednesday instead of at 6:00am as we have on almost all of our prior trips, I’m pretty sure we’ll be able to get away without wearing any heated gear and we also won’t need our rain gear. So, all of that was packed in stuff sacks and will go in the trailer with our full-face helmets (although, I’m betting Debbie will probably want to wear her full-face for the Interstate ride from Atlanta down to Macon, Georgia) and other luggage. Love having that trailer!!
With the bike gear sorted-out, it was about lunch time. Well, maybe it was lunch time. I’m all screwed up with the daylight savings time, as my internal clock is pretty strong. So, trying to con it into thinking everything we do needs to happen an hour earlier is a struggle for me just two days into Daylight Savings Time.
I was surprised to see that when the mail came around 12:30pm the blacked-out, switchback turn signals I’d ordered for the Tacoma’s mirrors were tucked in the mailbox. Wow, that was fast. I’d only ordered them on Thursday evening. I kidded myself by putting them in the garage and telling myself I’d get to them when we got back from Daytona, but 30 minutes later I was back in the garage with a screw driver in my hand, after all… they only took a few minutes a piece to install. In fact, I probably spent a good hour writing up a blog entry on the mirrors and editing a video of the installation process, far more than the 10 minutes it took for the installation. The fit and finish were very good. As for the internal parts and some of the other design features, time will tell if the reliability is there but for my needs they’re a good fit: again, very good fit and finish, the smoked lens gives me the look I wanted and is a vast improvement over my cheap-screw de-chrome efforts using black-out trim tape as an interim fix. The smoked lens could have stood to be a bit darker if only to off-set the milky light color of the non-tapered defuser. Bottom Line: I feel like they were a good value and gave me what I was looking for, i.e., a blacked-out aftermarket-quality replacement for the chrome switchback signal in my mirror to complete my de-chrome of our Tacoma.
There wasn’t really a lot of other exciting new for the rest of the day. Debbie was also struggling a bit with Daylight Savings time and still getting some sleep back from our very active night life over the past weekend. But, towards the end of the afternoon she headed out to do some grocery shopping and, of course, to stop by Pike’s Nursery. Yes, my baby has spring fever and is really anxious to get out in the yard to dig in the dirt.
I didn’t bother with dinner until 6:30pm, which is to say 5:30pm… and it felt weird being out cooking on the grill while it was still light out. We rang my parents around 7:30pm and discovered my disdain for Daylight Savings Time was hereditary… as my mother and Bill were both struggling with the time change as well. We had a fun chat, as always, and confirmed our plan was to come and visit them the week of 25 March, in part to celebrate Bill’s 91st birthday on the 26th noting weather kept us from making our surprise visit last year for his 90th.
That was about it for the day.
Tuesday: The Tacoma Is Now Triplet-Ready
The sun finally came out and the temps climbed into the 70’s by the time all was said and done! It made facing the day a lot easier and also helped to get me a little more motivated about our upcoming ride down to Florida on Wednesday. In fact, that’s probably why I’ve been mentioning it so much in my journal: I should have been looking forward to it, but really wasn’t. As often as I’ve mentioned it I’m just struggling to get excited about being at Bike Week for some reason. Yes, I was looking forward to the long ride on the Harley with Debbie, but the idea of being “at Bike Week” seems to have lost its luster. I’m starting to think I may need to rethink heading to these bike rallies and, instead, look at planning other trips in their places, i.e., heading up to the Blue Ridge Parkway and riding it for a couple of days, or perhaps riding to different destinations within a day’s ride in other directions other than Florida. Oh well, we’ll see how I feel after this trip.
After my usual morning routine, I hoped in the truck and drove 45 minutes down to Custom Campers in Lake City, Georgia, where Chris thought he knew how to take care of the water intrusion into the back of my A.R.E. Z-Series shell. It was an easy drive, so that was nice, and I arrived about 15 minutes ahead of my appointment. Promptly at 11:00am, Chris took the truck and started to do his thing. However, it wasn’t 10 minutes later when he came back to get me and it wasn’t good news: he didn’t have a hot clue why it was leaking the way it was. We talked about it and then backed the truck around to his wash pit so he could climb in the bed of the truck while I poured water over the closed-door and tailgate and he tried to identify the source of the water. He was able to figure out the water appeared to be coming in through the gap in the two-piece frame, and then migrated down and around the door frame… making it look like it was coming from somewhere in the frame, which seemed improbable. We talked a bit more about possible solutions and packed some butyl rope into what I thought might be the gap. The butyl rope definitely seemed to stem the flow of water on a re-test, so that was promising. To make a long story short, we both agreed it had to be coming in from the outer frame and we didn’t want to start pulling the frame apart to chase it, likely making matters worse. So, based on what we learned trouble-shooting the leaks together I said I’d just take the truck back home, let it dry out and then do my best to seal all the gaps and cracks from the outside and inside. I also wanted to replace the closed-cell, temporary foam weather-stripping I’d installed with some proper rubber weather seals and also apply some additional rubber seals to the rear door to see if I couldn’t get a nearly 100% seal around the door and tailgate. As mentioned in some prior journal entries on the Tacoma and the A.R.E. Z-Series shell, a lot of the issues I and other Tacoma owners experience with regard to water, snow and dust intrusion through the back door and tailgate are an issue with Toyota’s tailgate and bed design.
It was back at home by 12:15pm and after some lunch I headed off on the Harley so I could enjoy our beautiful weather while running a few errands. Miracle of miracles, the Yakima rack clips I’d ordered from REI back on 23 February finally arrived at my local store 13 days after they were dispatched on a truck from their Pennsylvania warehouse, so my 1st stop was REI! After picking up the clips I stopped at a local QuikTrip to top off the fuel in the Harley for the 1st leg of our ride on Wednesday, then ran by the bank and made one other stop before heading home around 1:45pm.
By the time I arrived home Debbie had headed out to an appointment at the nail salon and to run a few other errands while she was out. Since her car was out of the garage, that gave me the incentive I needed to get the Yakima roof rack down from the storage hooks over her garage bay to check and see if I’d guessed right on which Yakima BaseLine clip model would work on the Tacoma for my semi-custom installation. At first I thought I’d goofed and gotten a bracket just a bit too short. However, after making several different adjustments to the width of the towers, angle of the tower feet and angle of the fixing bolt that pulls the mounting clip tight up against the top of the door frame everything seemed to be coming together for a perfect, secure fit. Yeah Me !
Once I had the Yakima crossbar mount sorted out I pulled the truck out into the driveway, attached the Sea Sucker rear wheel holder to the top of the shell and then retrieved the triplet from its ceiling rack in the garage. The Tacoma is a little shorter than the Tundra, so it was a little bit easier to put the triplet on top of the Tacoma, which was a good thing. We’re now all set up for hauling the triplet to tandem rallies on the top of the Tacoma if and when our friend Lisa will be available to ride with us.
Debbie returned home as I was finishing up the work on the Tacoma & triplet rack and headed inside to finish getting her clothes out for Daytona while I turned my attention to the back door of the Tacoma. First up was sealing the suspect gaps with some fresh butyl rubber rope now that the shell was dry and the rope would adhere. I also filled the heads of four pop-rivets shot through the door frame and could potentially be migration paths for water. I decided I’d let all of that cure while we were out-of-town and order some PVC rubber door seals before we left so I’d be all set to tackle weather-sealing the tailgate and shell door when the material arrived next Monday, 18 March. My goal is to re-seal the truck’s back door and tailgate before we head to Pennsylvania on the following Monday, 24 March. Fingers crossed, I’ll get this done and will end up with a dry bed when it’s raining.
We both did a little more packing after dinner at home and spent the evening relaxing a bit as I suspect we’ll have some night-time activities over the next four evenings.
Wednesday: The Ride to Jacksonville
We left the house around 9:40am which gave traffic time to die-down and made our way to the Delta hanger at Hartsfield-Jackson Int’l Airport where we met up with our friends Chuck & Julie, who were joining us for the Bike Week mini-vacation. The weather was overcast and in the mid-50’s, so not exactly the warm, sunny ride we’d hoped it would be.
We stopped for lunch at Chili’s in Macon, Georgia, about an hour later at 11:20am, as that would be one of the last familiar “bar & grille” restaurants we’d encounter on the Golden Isle Parkway — our preferred back way down — until we reached Waycross, Georgia, around 3:30pm. Again, the nice thing about going down to Jacksonville for the night is it takes the urgency out of making good time so we could arrive in Daytona early enough to enjoy a full afternoon and evening after being on the bike for eight hours. So, lunch at Chili’s was a leisurely, enjoyable time. It was about 12:30pm when we headed back out on the next leg of the ride to Eastman, Georgia, where we’d stop for gas noting Jacksonville is just a two tank ride when you’re getting about 37 mpg riding two-up on a fully loaded Harley-Davidson touring bike.
Our next stop was at the Applebee’s in Waycross, Georgia, at 3:30pm, to ‘hydrate’ and hopefully shed a few layers of outer wear now that the temperatures were sneaking into the 70’s, although the sun was playing hide & seek with us.
Thus far, we’d encountered no real traffic, which I suspected would change as we got on the 295 beltway and I-95 South out of Jacksonville, noting I oped to stay on US Route 23 all the way into Jacksonville and deal with the local traffic through four or five small towns, instead of jumping over to I-95 at Kingston, Georgia, to by-pass the local traffic. I-295 South did not disappoint, we hit traffic as soon as we jumped on. It finally opened up when it changed to a 3-lane closer to the I-10 interchange, and I-10 East was wide open, as were the first few miles on I-95 South. The last 5 miles to our exit at Baymount were another story, but for Florida at rush hour it still wasn’t awful. We reached the gas station in front of our hotel right around 6:00pm, topped off the tanks, and then rode around the corner to the hotel.
We checked-in, got settled in our tired-looking rooms and headed out to grab some dinner about 30 minutes later at 6:45pm. As we did last year, we headed down to Gator’s Dockside Grille, a sports bar just a mile or two from the hotel. We had a nice meal and a great time, but we always have a great time when we’re with Chuck & Julie. After that, we headed back to the hotel and spent a good hour or so socializing in the lobby before turning in for the night. The plan for the ride down to Flagler Beach was to leave around 10:30am and make our way to A1A at Mickler’s Landing and take A1A all the way down into Flagler, arriving around 12:30pm for lunch.
Thursday: Our Brief Visit to Flagler And Then Heading Home – My Bad
Between the time zone change, etc., I found myself up around 4:30am and did my best to rest until Debbie woke up on her own. I think it was around 8:15am when we finally got up and headed to breakfast before they shut it down at 9:00am.
We had ourselves squared away and out to the bikes around 10:00am where I found Chuck & Julie already getting themselves packed up and ready to roll. I had a brief chat with a couple of guests who were headed to a golf tournament about the Harley and never gave the golf tournament a second thought, as I assumed they meant down towards Daytona… where we were headed as that was the context of the discussion at that moment.
We rolled-out right around 10:25am and made our way onto I-95S to the Old St. Augustine Road Exit — a slightly different route from last fall that kept us off Old St. Augustine Road with all of its intersections a bit longer — and then made our way onto the Nocatee Parkway. It was when we got to the parkway I quickly realized the golf tournament the guests from the parking lot were attending was at Palm Valley Golf Club in Nocatee which put us into some unexpected traffic. Thankfully, that and a small detour / back-up in St. Augustine were about our only disruptors on the ride down to Flagler beach. It was a lovely 74-mile, hour and 50 minute ride.
When we arrived at Finn’s in Flagler right around 12:30pm per plan, I was surprised to see so many darn cars, far more than the number of motorcycles on hand. In fact, I can usually find a place to park the bike with the trailer right near the restaurant, not so today. I had to circle the block twice before I finally found a space long enough two blocks up A1A. Sadly, this put me in a foul mood, as we seemed to be facing yet another “Bike Week” overlapped with “Spring Break” where the number of cars vastly outnumbered motorcycles, making for a lot more traffic since cars consume the space of four motorcycles. As Debbie noted, Spring Break’s overlap with Bike Week certainly explains why the number of kids and extra cars in Daytona seems to grow year-over-year as the number of “Bikers” continues to decline.
When we reached the rooftop bar it looked to be a mixed crowd, about 60% bikers and 40% non-bikers, some of whom were locals just out for lunch. Again, my impatience started to get the better of me… not a good omen for the weekend since I’d have to be dealing with traffic, crowds, etc. for the next two and a half days. However, we did find some standing room at the bar and, a short time later, Debbie secured a corner table out in the sun so we made our way there to have lunch and socialize.
The fish taco’s were delicious and as we were eating and enjoying the warm sun our friends Mike M. and Jeff L. from Atlanta with their respective friends showed up and joined us, finding some seats at the nearby bar. We had a good time chatting with them, some of the locals at the table next to us, etc.
It was probably around 3:00pm when we left Finn’s to head to our respective hotels for the 4:00pm check-in. Chuck & Julie were staying a hotel in Ormond Beach, about 5 miles from were we had our reservations back at the Nautilus Inn in Daytona Shores. All told, it was almost an hour-long ride to the Nautilus given all of the traffic along A1A / Atlantic Avenue due to traffic control at Main Street.
By the time we reached the hotel I was extremely annoyed and frustrated by all of the car traffic and just not in a good mood. We have been coming to Daytona for spring and fall Bike Week since the fall of 2012 and have stayed at various hotels along Atlantic Avenue, having discovered the Nautilus Inn and stayed there for the 1st time in October 2017, then again in March of 2018. They were both exceptional experiences. Sadly, year-over-year Bike Week has been changing as has the world around Bike Week, including the overlap with Spring Break that causes the hotels, restaurants, streets and even the Bike Week venues to be filled with a mixed crowd of motorcycling enthusiasts and children of high school and college age, some with adult supervision and some without. But, it is the traffic that has become a nightmare. As long-time readers may recall, in October 2015, Debbie and I were struck by an elderly motorist with minimal insurance who was cited for an illegal left turn from the right lane across two lanes of one-way traffic putting Debbie in the emergency room and our motorcycle on a flatbed. Since that time it has been a love-hate relationship for me at Bike Week, as the experience has changed from one of escaping to enjoy the warmth & hospitality of Daytona for a few days each March with fellow motorcycle enthusiasts to being overwhelmed by motorists in cars — some with questionable driving skills and little or no insurance — everywhere we turn and venues filled with curiosity seekers from Spring Break activities. To that end, I have said over and over again there are some people who should not be “here” at Bike Week, with reference to the inter-mixed Spring Breakers, under or un-insured drivers with poor motoring skills, and the Bike Week crowds.
So, it was with all of this pent-up frustration that we entered into the hotel lobby and it just went south. I’ll skip the details but if suffices to say, after waiting impatiently I finally got to the counter to check-in and ended up getting in a bit of an altercation with the check-in agent on an unwarranted $25 trailer parking fee. Things escalated a bit and we ended up leaving instead of checking-in. As we were leaving the parking lot of the Nautilus Inn I realized I was the person who didn’t need to be at Bike Week in Daytona.
Bike Week and I are no longer a good fit and it is unfortunate I had to “discover” this while checking into the Nautilus Inn. While I could have certainly found another room in Daytona, the things that cause my love-hate relationship would still be there… I just needed to remove myself from the situation.
It was not an easy decision since we’d come down with friends who we’d planned on spending our time with, as that would leave them on their own… and that wasn’t fair. And, it wasn’t an easy decision because I knew Debbie was really looking forward to getting away from the dreary cold weather we were having at home for a few days of walks on the beach and fun in the sun in Daytona. I sent off a note to Chuck and we talked briefly on the phone, so he understood but was clearly disappointed. Again, we had other mutual friends in Daytona for Bike Week so, in the back of my mind, I figured they’d still have friends to spend their time with.
It was around 4:30 when we headed-out of town the long-way around so as to avoid the bike week traffic. My plan was to ride home, all 471-miles worth, arriving sometime around midnight if we didn’t encounter any traffic, made a couple of gas stops and had dinner somewhere along the way. The biggest challenge was getting in to Atlanta ahead of the strong storms expected to pass through shortly after midnight. Yes, we could always stop and spend the night at a Hampton Inn or Holiday Inn Express along the way, but the weather for Friday morning wasn’t much better so best to push through, get home and settled back in.
It was relatively smooth sailing after encountering a bit of traffic 90 miles and an hour and 40-minutes into our ride in downtown Jacksonville on I-95 just ahead of the I-10 West interchange. After fueling up in Jacksonville we didn’t stop again until we reached Valdosta, Georgia, a little before 8:00pm later for dinner at Cheddar’s, same place we stopped for lunch with Chuck & Julie back in the fall. This was not quite 1/2 way home for us, as we still had 256-miles and 4-hours of riding ahead of us when we left around 8:30pm. We were running on fumes when we pulled in for gas in Arabi, Georgia, about an hour and 77 miles later; this would give me enough gas for the final 180-mile leg through Atlanta at our 82mph cruising speed.
I found it odd that when we pulled into the gas station our ETA at home was around 12:24am, but after rolling out it jumped to 12:41am. Well, after getting around Macon on I-75 and heading due North towards Atlanta, about 85-miles from home we ran into a bridge construction project where they had two of the three lanes of I-75 shut down, noting this is prime time for truckers who have to go around Atlanta to get from Point A to Point B making a mess of the situation.
We were at a dead stop or crawling speed for a good 20 minutes and my left hand was cramping from having the clutch pulled-in for so darn long. After getting past this little delay it was smooth sailing through Atlanta and into the house with only a brief rain shower as we rode through Atlanta. We rolled into the garage right at 12:30am and the rain started right around 1:15am. Looking back at the weather radar, what we rode through in Atlanta simply got heavier as soon as we’d passed, so thank you Lord for answering my prayer for Debbie’s safe and dry arrival back at the house.
I unpacked the trailer and put our suitcases and Debbie’s overnight upstairs while Debbie finished her chicken fingers from Cheddars. A short time later she headed to bed while I spend a couple of hours decompressing from the long ride and as I continued to wrestle with my decision to abandon Bike Week. Again, I was not in a good place when we arrived in Daytona and the likely outcome from that — dealing with the Spring Break traffic and crowds mixed with the Bike Week traffic and crowds — was also not good and I probably knew this before we left which is why I could never get excited about making the trip.
Friday: Introspection & Moving Forward
Friday was all about being honest with myself about my lack of patience and self-control, choosing vacation destinations wisely, mending fences and figuring out the plan forward. I know Debbie was truly crushed by the loss of her vacation, even though she’s quick to rationalize it was probably for the best. Our friends Chuck & Julie are true friends, so there’s no loss of love there, just disappointment we weren’t with them as planned for Bike Week.
Looking forward, as I said, we won’t be going to Daytona for fall or spring motorcycle rallies for at least the next year or two, if at all. Do I really want to be doing THIS when I’m in my 70’s? Motorcycling is a pastime and hobby, not a lifestyle for us. We’re not “bikers” by any stretch, just motorcycling enthusiasts. So, perhaps motorcycle rallies are not the place for us, or at least Daytona’s Bike Week. Smaller motorcycle rallies in Panama City Beach that don’t overlap other events like Spring Break are still a maybe, or maybe not. Our annual 4th of July trip to Key West, that’s still happening. In fact, motorcycle road trips that have nothing to do with major events will likely be more frequent and take the place of Bike Week / Rallies in the future.
As for the rest of Friday back at home:
- Debbie’s kept herself distracted with laundry, cleaning, etc., because the weather is truly depressing. Seeing her this way is perhaps the biggest, crushing blow to me at this point as this really is all on me. She did enjoy the riding down and back, so the passion for riding motorcycles is still there, as is the enjoyment we have of spending time with our friends. The Bike Week vibe and activities, not so much so we’re on the same page with the important things.
- Me, I went and cleaned 1,000 miles of road grime off of the Harley and trailer after our ride down to Finn’s Rooftop in Flagler Beach for lunch. Yup, that’s the bottom line: We rode 1,000 miles to have lunch with friends (who live 15 miles away) at the beach in Florida.
- As dinner time came around Debbie offered up two suggestions for dinner: Henry’s or Johnny Maccracken’s and we settled on Henry’s. It was the right choice as we easily found a couple open seats at the bar and enjoyed a delicious blackened Mahi Mahi over Irish cheddar and sundried tomato Mississippi Blue Rice grits topped with creamy shrimp and crab beurre blanc. I passed on my usual cocktail as there really was no good reason for me to have a drink… part of my plan forward.
- Back at the house we spent a quiet evening sitting in the family room watching movies on Netflix, including Oliver Stone’s dubious documentary on George W. Bush and a couple of Marvel Studio’s movies.
Saturday: Dinner & A Movie
I began my day up early as usual and on the computer, but 1st up was mending fences and writing an apology letter to the management and staff at the Nautilus Inn for making a bit of a scene during check-in on Thursday; it was just the right thing to do.
It turns out I finally sold an old digital camera on ebay while we were away, so I had to get that packed-up and on its way. I also used that opportunity to re-list the tail and headlights off the Tacoma since we’d be home long enough to get them sent off if they happened to sell during the next 7 days.
With the garage floor now dry after washing the bike and trailer on Friday, I removed the trailer hitch from the Harley, put it in the trailer and put the trailer back in the shed until…. perhaps our July trip to Key West as we’ll most likely skip the motorcycle rally in Panama City Beach, Florida, during the first weekend in May. I’d been thinking by May we might be ready to give that beach trip a try, but the more I think about it the less enthusiastic I become: it’s just too soon and there are still so many things about motorcycle rallies that give me pause. No, perhaps a few days at the beach in April might be a better option as part of Debbie Fest.
The truck finally got a good cleaning as it ended up filthy from the recent rains where we encountered some mud-covered roads due to light flooding. Debbie’s car will get the same on Sunday; equal time… don’t you know.
As dinner time rolled around we settled on Guston’s as we knew it would be less noisy, less crowded and a bit warmer than Loco Willy’s since our temperatures had dropped into the low 50’s on their way into the 40’s and 30’s overnight. We had a really nice time and split the Cuban sandwich and it’s been great getting back to splitting all of our entrees again. We slipped off our routine during our first few visits to Guston’s and that was not good.
As we were sitting and chatting at Guston’s the subject of the Marvel Studio’s “Avengers” franchise came up following Friday’s Netflix Night and we decided we turn dinner out into dinner and a movie by heading down the street to the Acworth NCG theater where the latest Marvel Studio’s release, Captain Marvel, was playing. It was perhaps one of the best Marvel movies to date, at least by my standards. This was the kind of night out we needed more of!
All-in-all, a pretty good Saturday and I’d gone from knowing what I needed to do to sort myself out to actually doing it on Saturday evening. Now, I just need to stick to the plan.
Sunday: Picking Up Where We Left Off With Our Friends
We woke up to a sunny but cold morning, which was the outlook for the coming week. Looking at the weather radar for the Southeast I could see our friends who were riding back from Daytona were dealing with rain for at least the first 3 hours of their ride as well as falling temperatures.
I used the warmth of the sun to soften-up some adhesive on the foam, closed-cell weather insulation I’d installed around the tailgate of the Tacoma to keep water and dust out I’d be replacing on Monday or Tuesday with automotive PVC rubber seals in various shapes as a more permanent solution. I am confidence between those seals and perhaps a little more RTV silicone sealant I’ll be able to finally keep water from making its way into the cargo bed.
While waiting for the sun to do its thing I washed Debbie’s car and did a few other things out in the garage before pulling off the weather-stripping and then removing the residual adhesives with a combination of duct tape followed by WD40 which turned out to be a better solvent than the Goof Off I’d been using for such things on the truck.
I’d thought about running the mower over the front and back lawns to top the dormant grass and clean-up the bits and pieces of twigs and leaves but remembered I’d used up the last of my gasoline shredding leaves in the backyard a couple of weeks back. That required a trip over to the Quick Trip gas station where they sell ethanol-free regular gas, which is far better for the gas-powered yard equipment… cars too where I find it boosts my fuel mileage by about 5% to 10%.
It was around 3:15pm when we heard from our friends that they’d arrived back in the area and were at Donovan’s Irish Cobbler for a brief stop to enjoy the St. Patrick’s Day celebration. We headed over in the truck to join them for a while and had a really nice time hearing about their time in Daytona and were glad we’d missed the wet, cold ride home. It must have been around 5:30pm when we said our goodbyes and headed off to see if we couldn’t get a seat or two at Loco Willy’s as Debbie was craving Ahi Poke.
When we arrived at Loco’s it was crowded, but we hung in there and sure enough, a seat opened up when our friend Harris left for home. A short time later a few other seats opened up. There were, of course, quite a few friends on hand and everyone was in good spirits, sporting green St. Patrick’s day shirts and other silly paraphernalia. At some point early on our long-time barkeeper and friend Christian shared some jello shots with us and, well, it was just a party. However, Debbie’s interest in Ahi Poke quickly faded when she saw a couple large orders of Loco’s Nachos come out of the kitchen, so that became our dinner. We were there a couple of hours and had a really good time, even seeing our friend Shannon and her boyfriend, Chris… who we’d not seen in quite a while; a very pleasant surprise. It was just a great way to finish out a bit of a topsy-turvy week for both of us.