The ride “to” Panama City Beach is always a lot easier and shorter-feeling than the ride home. But, at least for Sunday’s ride, the weather couldn’t have been any better. It was a beautiful, warm & sunny day, the kind of day you’d like to be able to spend on the beach…. not riding the other way.
We had to be out of the condo by 10:00am and I think we may have been out and on the road by 8:30am. Since we arrived wearing our leathers, heated jackets, gloves, booties, rain suits and had also pulled out the jacket liners for evening rides in PCB, I ended up spending a good 15 minutes or so packing all of those items back into their respective stuff sacks… far more time than it took to pack our clothes. But, all that gear sure made what could have been an uncomfortable ride down quite pleasant. It was also well-worth having each garment in a color-coded, labelled stuff sack that made it a lot easier to pull out the right item at the right time without digging through a pile of black clothing.
With the room cleared-out we all saddled up and headed north on 79 toward Vernon, Florida. I’d pegged a gas station just past the bridge near Boondock’s restaurant for a fill-up and a bite to eat so that we could avoid the crowds in town and hopefully find some premium fuel. However, when we arrived we discovered that, like most of the gas stations in town, they too were out of the two highest grades of gasoline. Did anyone tell the folks in Panama City Beach & Bay County 60,000 motorcycles that mostly run on premium would be coming to town? Hmmm… I’m guessing they checked with the restaurant owners and agreed this year would be a bust due to the rain. Thankfully, we all had more than enough fuel to get to Chipley so we grabbed a little bite to eat then headed back on up the road to Vernon and over to Chipley on mostly two-lane back roads. After fueling up in Chipley it was a non-stop shot up to Eufaula where we stopped for lunch at Subway; they were short-staffed too! Seriously, who would have expected to find 9 people in line at 11:00am on a Sunday?
Bobby suggested an alternate route that would take us across the Chattahoochee River into Georgia, then up 27 where it eventually tied back in to I-185 as a way of by-passing Phenix City, Alabama. It was about an extra 15 miles of riding but the two-lane rolling terrain was quite nice and I suspect once all was said and done we didn’t lose much if any time vs. the time usually lost in Phenix City traffic.
We all made one final gas stop before hitting I-185, then I-85 North and then I-285 West to I-75 North. We parted ways with Bobby and Ryan at the I-75 / I-575 split around 4:15pm in the afternoon. Bobby and Ryan were headed to Bodocks Bar & Grill for their traditional post-trip decompression session and to get their bikes washed. We thought about it, but the prospect of another 50 miles on the Interstate wasn’t all that inviting. Moreover, Debbie had Piña Coladas at On the Border on her mind, so that’s where we went for our decompression session.
After our respective libations we made one more stop on the way home to visit with friends Jody & Sarge at Loco Willy’s where Sarge had been providing the entertainment for their Cinco de Mayo event since 2:00pm. We grabbed some hot wings while we were there as dinner, visited with some other friends and then headed on home just after 6:30pm to begin the unpacking and motorcycle clean-up process: I had definitely bagged more than my limit on Sunday’s bug hunt.
It was good to be home and we both were in bed and asleep by 10:00pm. Not all that unusual for Miss Debbie but way early for yours truly. Moreover, I slept all the way through until 5:00am which is even more unusual when I go to bed early: I tend to sleep 4-5 hours a night, max.
It will take a few more days until I have everything unpacked, clean-up and put away but I’d do it all again next weekend in a heartbeat! There’s nothing like getting out for a nice motorcycle trip with my sweetie; she truly is my best friend and I do so enjoy spending every waking moment with her!
Until the next adventure….