Full Throttle: "Ray on the Road"
The "Real" Four-Corners Ride ... Part III of III ... down the Atlantic Coast
Three touches - one to go.
The last leg of the ride is to Key West, Florida. We began at the Mexican border in southern California, rode to Canada at the Washington line, hopped across the land to the most northeast Canadian point in Maine, and then south to Key West.
Key West ... the land of the Truman White House, Hemingway, snorkeling and diving, great food, hurricanes ... the southern most point of the Continental USA. And closer to Havana than Miami.
To get there we ride southward through the coastal states of Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and finally Florida.
Gene and I are anxious. We're ready to go. We decide to ride out of Madawaska immediately upon arrival. To get 100 miles under our belt. Get a jump on the run. Two things happen to bring us back to the present;
... there are literally no rooms at the inn anywhere in northern
... breakdowns happen.
The no rooms bit is not of real concern. I've never been anywhere at anytime that you couldn't find someplace to lay your head. No exception here - it's just 100+ miles further down the road than planned - and certainly not a plush accommodation. Still, it works.
So, we get a few hours rest - are up pre-dawn and on the road early. The breakdown is a surprise. Gene is on a BMW. German machine. Well built, runs efficiently - he's had no trouble. And then it stops. Just stops. No notice. No sputtering. Stops dead. Quickly.
It's six o'clock on a Sunday morning in middle Maine and the bike quits. Need I say more? It's a looong morning of frustration - and another day before things even begin to come together.
In the between time it's decided I'll ride on to my sisters place - where we'd planned a couple of days anyway. A family visit, a little R&R, service on my Harley.
The short and long of this is we're back on the road again ... right on schedule. Life IS good!
738 miles and 9 states later we stop for the night. This is the fourth 700+ mile day on this trip ... we just do it. What is different about it is the 9 states. Those of us west of the Mississippi aren't use to that. Texas alone is wider and California is longer than we rode today. The east is different.
It's a tad hot - and a bit muggy. That time of the year. Gene planned todays run. He guaranteed we'd missed every big city from Boston to Richmond. They were wonderful misses. Of course I got us off course in New Jersey - the detour didn't length our ride - just changed our scenery.
We criss-crossed back and forth across various waters ... big bays, wide rivers, giant lakes. More bridges in one day than I'm use to. The parkways, turnpikes and interstates are nice rides. Lots of flowers, trees and grass ... and other things green.
Speaking of green . . . for ongoing trips like this - where there is a timetime to meet and a destination to get to - two things are very helpful; credit cards and ATM's. Credit/Debit cards get us in and out of most gas stations at the pump. When we run inside the C-store for a drink or snack, we pay cash.
Cash - when we run out we look for an ATM. They are everywhere in the States today. Good thing ... as both Gene and I get low on green backs.
Gene suggests our next day route. The interstate to get us off to a fast start ... then US#301 and #27 through central Florida. Everyone knows about the Florida coasts - we decide to run down the middle. The center of the center is one long strip mall with a "Levittown" atmosphere. Next time we'll avoid this area.
We experience our first day of rain since early in the ride. It was wet before dawn - and again most of the afternoon. Many Florida showers are just that - a shower. It comes - you ride through it - it goes. It came today ... and stayed. We never rode out of it.
My bike is sans a radio - my choice. This allows me to smell, see, hear, "feel" and "taste" what's happening around me. Part of what is happening is other traffic. I began looking at license plates - and discover most are not boring.
i.e., the slogans added for promotional value; for Connecticut it's "Constitutional State". Delaware says "First State" - because they are. Florida is the "Sunshine State", because it is. It's "First in Flight" for North Carolina - Kitty Hawk gives them this distinction. New Jersey is the "Garden State".
Two of the more innovative slogans come from South Carolina; "Smiling Faces. Beautiful Places", and "Georgia . . . on my mind", from the Ray Charles song, adopted by the State of Georgia.
Another part of "seeing" is sugar cane fields, and swamp land. Eagles and egrets. Coconuts and orchids. Weather is wind blowing the flag at right angles ... all day long. A constantly moving band of gray, white and black clouds. Bursts of rain, with thunder and lightening.
All this on our ride into Key West. We arrive early in the afternoon - in time to take pictures and finish the paper work. The USA 4 Corner Run took us 7544 miles through 25 states and 3 provinces of Canada, all in 15 days.
This ride had a dual purpose;
... to see America, and
... to visit family & friends.
We did just fine on both counts. It was good. It was all very good.
Ray Jutkins is a "new" rider. Been on bikes only since 1989. Yet, he does ride his Road King; 76,000+ miles in two years.
Twice he's been to "The Wall" for Memorial Day. To Daytona, Laconia, the 90th & 95th Harley reunions in Milwaukee, half the Laughlin River Runs, State & Regional HOG Rallies in California, Arizona, Idaho, Nevada & Utah, the Portland to Portland Posse Ride, plus countless special biker events. And, 9 times to Sturgis.
A number of all bike events, too; a Rider Rally in Wyoming, the Retreads National Rally, a couple of GWRRA Wing Dings, the International Drill Team Competition, the Golden Aspen Rally in New Mexico, all where he did web cast radio & television.
He's also done Iron Butt cruises ... like Coast-to-Coast in 50 hours (Ray took 46, including a 2+ hour maintenance fix in Louisiana). Always he rides - never trailers!
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