Big Red and I took a few days off during Fall break to hightail it down to Destin, Florida from Rome, Georgia. I needed to get my “head showered”, as the Irish say. Clear my mind. I’m starting work on my new novel: Name’s Sid: Buddhist Detective. It features a brand new “hero” and is set in Savannah, Georgia.
The trip down to Destin, a small town on the Gulf of Mexico, takes about 7-8 hours but is worth it. I guess every ride is worth it as long as you don’t think too much about your destination and instead focus on just being aware of everything around you and loving the journey as it unfolds. I did that as best I could and made mental notes of what I saw and experienced on the way down:
Leaving Rome and dodging the drizzling rain. Stopping to put the rain gear on, take it off and then put it back on again.
Cotton fields with white puffs looking like snow.
Houses and yards decorated with Halloween ghosts, goblins, skeletons and thick spider web.
At the McDonald’s -men with holstered guns on their belts.
Cypress trees in flooded lowlands.
Spanish moss in Live Oak trees.
Firewood for sale.
The scent of fresh cut pin trees coming from stacked logging trucks.
Deer processing signs
Brother and Sister David’s Holy Ghost Tent Revival. The tent is being set up.
National Peanut Festival
Signs for gun shows.
Good Luck Miss Eufaula signs
Hunts Oyster bar
Bonsai for sale
Included in the journey was a scene that unfolded like this: “There has got to be a gas (petrol) station around her somewhere.” At least the warning light hasn’t come on. Ten miles later the light comes on. There has got to be a gas station around here somewhere. Nothing. Nothing. Nothing. Twenty-five miles of nothing. Okay, I need to just accept the fact that I’m going to run out of gas. Only a matter of when. So let’s keep calm, just pull out my Zen mind, stay in the moment and enjoy the scenery. Riding at about 65 mph now. I ride to the crest of a hill and see nothing. I smell a wood fire burning somewhere. Balls of cotton are blowing across the road. The engine cuts off and I pull the clutch in and just coast. I’ll see how far I can get. I’m going mostly downhill and then back up another one. I’ve got my turn signal on and cars are passing me. I drift a surprisingly long way and keep going until the bike slowly and wobbly comes to a stop at the top of a hill. I squint my eyes and see a sign about a quarter mile off but I can’t tell what it is. I know that even when Big Red runs out of gas sometimes if you shake the bike from side to side you can free up so more gas that’s hiding in the tank. Had to do that once on the California Freeway in LA. I shake her and bless her heart she cranks back up. I get her up to about 60 and I’m getting closer to the shop but still can’t make out what it is. If it’s a gas station it doesn’t have the usual large sign high in front of it. I cut over into the left lane as I get closer and damn if it isn’t some tiny gas station on the other side. of the road. I signal to turn left at the next opening in the median. The bike cuts out again and I see a chance coming up where I can drift across the road between segments of oncoming cars. I go for it and the bike coasts right up to the gas pump.
Later, I’m smiling and feeling grateful as I ride along the coast staring at the crystal blue, blue, blue water of the Gulf of Mexico.
I start scouting for a cheap hotel, something with a number in its name and I find it.