2:00am – never again with the sake.
4:00am – OMG…never ever again with the sake. Have too many people to apologize for the dream from which I just awakened. Sorry Mom!
This morning Paco had an issue with his protective cover. It was not nearly as egregious as Papa’s the prior day so I won’t mention it in the blog.
We have a 7:45am departure time. We will travel just 10 minutes to the Hilliard dealership offices in north Midland Texas. We were met with a warm welcome. Bat Man Bruce Wayne was there to greet us…what more can we ask for?
It was great meeting the staff and leadership at Hilliard. After a productive conversation we were off the north east Dallas. The actual town is Rockwall.
We roared off and found our way to interstage 20 East. After a few miles we stopped to fuel. This was a quick stop. A little hydration but then quickly back on interstate 20 East. Traffic was constant and this part of Texas lost its federal highway funds in the mail. Much of it under construction and the other was unfinished. Many many miles of grooved concrete. This is quite pleasant on a two wheeled Harley traveling at 80ish MPH.
Given our freedom to travel more than 80 miles before Slaw would beg for a pee stop, we make good time. Even with construction, Texas sees no need to slow traffic… and the Texans comply. From our first fuel stop we have 340 miles to travel. That means if we can get 170 miles before our next fuel sop then it will be the final fuel stop of the day before arriving at our hotel. The Harley GPS navigation was invoked at about the 160 miles mark and showed a fuel stop at exit #321. There seems to be another one at exit #330 but no need to push it at we are passing mile marker 310 and need fuel soon. We exited at #321 and headed into the little village… at least in 1935, per WWII, it was a village. This place liked like a movie set for a post apocalyptic war epic, staring Mel Gibson and Tina Turner. Suffice it to say, there was an open fuel station. Papa led the way on the service road that took and odd adjustment to the right. When Papa stayed forward in a straight manner he soon realized he was heading into a field ready for deer hunting season. He quick gestured to the trailing Paco so he could avoid hunting season. After a careful narrow pitched road u-turn on suspect pavement Papa was reunited with Paco and we found our way back to interstate 20 east and the much better equipped sit #330. All is well and all will be well.
This fuel stop was also a great time for bio and hydrations stop. Paco was approached by a retired Army Infantryman and asked if Paco was retired Navy. The dark blue boldly stated Navy cover was a dead giveaway. This grunt decided to wonder allowed if all this COVID stuff was “crazy as f…”?
We consumed our beverage and had some jerky before firing up and heading directly to our hotel some 165 miles ahead.
The most direct route would have been to exit interstate 20 onto interstate 30 East. The rub is that this direct route takes us into both downtown Fort Worth and Dallas. These are concrete cluster (what the grunt said) that we planned to avoid. Interstage 20 continued to get progressively more traffic dense and at one point, due to an accident, the traffic came to a complete stop. Papa led the charge to the left shoulder and proceeded onward past the stopped automobiles and trucks. Once past the accident point we “attempted” to merge back onto the left travel lane. Papa moved into a space large enough for a semi tractor and trailer. Seems the trailing Jeep Cherokee was non-paused with our move and kept his speed in a manner disallowing Paco his ability to merge. Before this became a more serious problem Paco was able to merge and did so.
We proceeded on interstate 20 all the way to the East side of Dallas and then merged onto 635 north for a few miles before finally joining interstate 30 Northeast toward Little Rock. This took us across the man-made Lake Ray Hubbard. It is beautiful and a cool calming ending to our hard day of riding. Without incident we made our way to our hotel and parked under the canopy.
For our check-ins we were greeted by a wonderful check in person with an A+ attitude. She welcomed us and we were soon headed to our respective rooms. It is approaching 4:00pm, this we have time for a shower before Lone Star and Clamidio (editor note: what a terrible name for poor Jim D’Emidio) arrive to take us to dinner.
We met in the lobby at 5:30am to find Lone Star waiting for us. He will join us on Tuesday as we head to Little Rock for two stops and then on to Memphis for a dinner and hotel. Clamidio arrived and had made the mistake of being out of uniform. Pack members, in good stead, know to never meet other Pack members without the appropriate attire. Worse yet, he had on a golf shirt! The one he wears on his course when he uses his 4 wheeled kiddy cart to haul his clubs around the course. The same course where, he admitted, he avails himself the feminine bathroom on the course because he believes it to be the cleaner of the two.
Lone Star and Paco enjoyed a wonderful meal, paid for by Clamidio. Clamidio and Paco bickered like they were ensconced in a 40 year marriage. They talked about old times and argued the details. Never let the facts get in the way of a good story. They talked about hypotheticals which always leads to clear thinking. They talked politics and swapped industry anecdotes. The most poignant being a story about Clamidio stopping on the GW parkway in front to the Pentagon (class move post 911…. Good thing they weren’t the victim of a drone strike). This stop was to accommodate GQ’s need to exorcise the overindulgence of the evening’s beverages… all while with neatly cuffed pant legs.
Perhaps the highlight of the entire ride was Clamidio’s heartfelt gift to his long time brother from another mother, Paco. In a wonderful pink gift bag was a decorative board, suitable for adorning any self respecting Harley. This board is adorned with a big read heart and the following exclamation: I AM A Mermaid Unicorn Fairy Princess. Paco was overjoyed with the sentiment and perhaps a bit verklempt. Lone Star will find a way to affix this pretty board to Paco’s bad ass Harley.
Best line of the night began with Paco prefacing his comment with “Maybe I’m too old…”. Clamidio immediately retorted: “you are”.
The foursome found a way to share a night cap beer in the lobby without violating too many social distancing guidelines. It was truly a wonderful evening capping off a great day.
Tomorrow is a busy day but we are blessed to be able to make this trip and astounded at the support for y’all.