The alarm slowly coaxed me awake. Five hours was barely enough sleep but it'll do. I had a light breakfast at the old teak dining table and savored the bittersweet moments with my parents. I geared up and pops took a snapshot of me. I always enjoy seeing the before and after shots from a long journey. I wonder how much gear, parts and even the motorbike will be replaced by the end. Will there be an end?
I beeped goodbye and set off from the only place a military brat could call a home. It is the people here that make it home more than anything else - good friends and coworkers I won't forget. Justin and John surprised me at the elementary school as I cruised out of the neighborhood. There they were on an old CB and TU pacing behind me out of town. That was a cool feeling ala "Long Way Round" and I appreciated their company. I have plenty of time to be a loner later. They dealt with my speed constraints well and we stopped for coffee and chitchat at a McDonalds on Rt1. From here we went out separate ways and I cruised away from the concrete and traffic toward farm fields and forgotten homesteads.
I ran into rain around Rapidan on a dirt road at the same time my fuel light came on. I didn't think I could make Orange so I dumped in a fuel bottle while the clouds of dust from the oncoming honey wagon enveloped me. I pressed through the storm and gassed up then rode through some high winds to my friends Rob and Gabbi. We grilled burgers and chicken then relaxed with Heath's homebrew honey blonde ale and witbier. The night found us in the garage watching a projector play the opening scene from Super Troopers then The Dictator. We wrapped up the night with a dip in the hot tub beside the creek as the dogs licked my dripping fingers. Tonight I'm in a bed with more pillows than I know what to do with. I'll thank my lucky pillows, soon I'll be sleeping in the dirt where I feel at home. For now, the kindness of friends and motorcyclists will carry me through the next few days. I pine for the pines.