People ask, “What was the best moment?”, or, “What was the scariest moment?”, etc., and the honest answer for Rudi is, “We had to live in all the moments, good, bad, scary, funny, etc.” Jesse may feel differently, but as level-headed as he is, there were only the predictable ups and downs of a multi-week trip with the old man, the motorcycle, and mother nature. Whew!
Macho types we are not. Meeting our life partners was easily the best part of the trip for us. Not only did they smell good, they were genuinely happy to see us too! By then we had showered, of course, several times to be exact, and “Dalton Highway Dust” was a thing of the past.
But Rudi digresses again.
The 49th and 50th days of the trip were in the 100+degree heat and high humidity of the Southeast United States. Rudi left Cameron, Missouri, at 6:30 a.m. under overcast skies and threatening storms … a welcome weather change. Bertha leaped forward at 75-80 mph on the lightly traveled Highway 36 heading east to Hannibal, Missouri, of Mark Twain fame. Rudi skirted a strong thunderstorm for almost three hours, getting hit with occasional rain and wind gusts, but taking advantage of the cooler temperatures to make time. It was to be his final 600+ mile ride of the trip.
The goal at 9 a.m. had changed from Paducah, Kentucky, to Nashville, Tennessee, since Rudi now had 200 miles in his pocket courtesy of the early cool start to the day. This meant he could spend the night with Chuck & Sheila, great friends of long standing, and then have a short 270 mile jaunt into Atlanta and home the following day.
Chuck is now on a four day motorcycle trip in California with HIS father and he told me about the great food smells he encountered in small towns north of San Francisco. It’s true. Motorcycle riders get to experience both profound temperature changes and olfactory (scent) changes as they ride. It’s quite sensual at times, overwhelming even. The sense of smell is a great memory trigger … the smell of high mountain creeks in Canada hurls Rudi back into his childhood, while the smell of the oil rigs in North Dakota helped him remember his father’s saying, as they crossed West Texas in an un-air conditioned station wagon over 50 years ago, “That’s the smell of money”.
Up north, the smell of evergreens dominated, until you hit the unmistakable odor of the dead caribou or deer in the ditch a few yards ahead, or the pulp mill around the corner. The smell of horse manure in eastern Montana morphed into crisp-mown hay, then sharper wheat under the combine blade (causing sneezing in the helmet), and finally into the pungent smell of “money” or oil, around the drilling rigs. Near the Arctic Ocean, you could smell salt and feel the cooler air, same as when you rode by a glacier or raging mountain stream.
Temperature changes show up near every creek you cross or piece of shade on the highway. When skirting the thunderstorm this morning, Rudi’s left side was wet and chilly in the wind, while his right side was warm and comfortable. The wind tossed him around to help equalize the experience, but there was no mistaking mother nature’s intent to impress. That’s why Rudi loves to ride, folks. It is a sensual experience, with that dollop of danger that can’t be found in an automobile.
The final 100 miles approached and Rudi did not want to have his final memories of this great trip be that of hot, aggressive driving on Interstate 75 north of Atlanta,a miserable road in the best of times. So off he went on a flier into his beloved North Georgia mountains for the familiar narrow twists and turns into Ellijay and Dawsonville.
This video ends the travel portion of the trip. There will be other posts, but for those curious to see if Rudi made it back alive, this is it! It won’t show up on your RSS feed through your email, so go to the main site to view it at: https://rudisadventures.wordpress.com to see it.
Thanks for traveling with Rudi and Jesse. Godspeed you and yours on your own life journey.
Adios, and thanks for sharing the journey: Bob, Jesse, and Rudi.
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Rudi G & Jesse