Part V – Houston to Atlanta

Family Loop Tour, Part V

While I was in Houston, I noticed that I was starting to get anxious to get home even though I was looking forward to my visit with my daughter and soon to be husband Robert in Atlanta. As I knew that I would be in eastern time zone on this leg of the trip, I did not know where the time zone change was. I had planned to check it out at my daughter’s in Houston, but I forgot to do it.

At a few rest stops along the was, I inquired about the time zone change and the consensus was “Somewhere in Alabama”. So I got my map out and looked for “Somewhere” but was unable to find it. As I was looking for the time zone line to be in Alabama, I overlooked the fact that it was on the border with Georgia, where I was going to enter Georgia.

It is amazing how much information and mis-information you can get a rest stops and fuel stops. So many well meaning but mis-informed people.

At a fuel stop in Alabama I had lunch with a grandfather on a Goldwing pulling a trailer. He was on his way to the Dallas area to pick up his 8 year old grandson and then bring him back to Montgomery, Alabama for the summer. I thought to myself that this was so irresponsible to have a youngster on the back of his bike for such long a journey. But to each his own. I asked him about the time zone change and he told me it was close to the border with GA.

In a private email to me, Brian Curry pointed out that geography was not one of my strong points and so right he is. On my past motorcycle trips during the mid 70’s and early 80’s, I was always able to remember the connecting states that I had traveled in. On this trip because of my CRS (can’t remember shit) disease, I had a hard time remembering what states I will be traveling in. So it was sometimes a surprise to see the state name on the “Welcome to XXXX” billboard.

I put on my 500 miles for the day and when the off and on showers finally turned to heavy rain, I looked for lodging and I ended up at Atmore, AL. Little did I know at the time, but I was only a short distance to Florida. Had I rode a short distance further south on rt 21, I would have been in Florida and traveled thru 18 states on my trip. But as I was not out to collect states, it didn’t matter. But still it was sad that I didn’t even know that I was so close to FL.

I thought to myself “I probable should have gone to school on the day that they were teaching geography in my geometry class”. But then you can’t have everything. As I went to a trade school in Phila. which had eight floors and a basement, all I learned about geography was the north and sown stairways were down while the center stairway was up. But I still don’t know if the stairway close to 22nd street is north or south. And yes I do remember the ballpark was right across the street and from the 7th floor you could see much of the playing field and occasionally there was a game in progress while the windows were open and you could hear the crowd.

The two fine ladies at the Days Inn in Atmore took a long time checking for a room for me. On a weekday in a small town, I never expected anyone to ask me if I had reservations when the only reservations I had at the minute, was “did I come to the wrong place”. After over five minutes of searching on their computer, they finally found me a room, but it was on the second floor and since it was close to the stairs, I took it. I asked about the time zone change and they looked at me like I spoke a foreign language. When I went out in the early am to load my bike I noticed that the parking lot was fairly empty, I can’t imagine how long it would have taken to find me a room if the lot was full.

One thing that I did notice on my eastbound travels since leaving Sea Brook, TX was that the number of insects on the front of my bike was a lot less that those I had to clean off on my westward travels. As I was traveling a northern route to the west and a southern route to the east, I wondered if that was the difference as I would expect the opposite.

My route to Atlanta was pretty straight forward and I was not looking forward to riding in Atlanta. The interstate lanes are narrower that most other states and the traffic has always heavy no matter what time of the day I have traveled there. I made my entrance to Atlanta about 11:15 am and as I expected the traffic was indeed heavy.

Traveling in Houston was apiece of cake as compared to Atlanta for me. In Atlanta the lane change jockeys and the number of lane merges is quite higher than Houston. I would have been better off following the route signs than the gps in Atlanta, as twice I got off course. I stayed to the side of the highway the gps showed and ended up in the exit lane where I did not want to be.

On one exit lane there was a very sharp turn and as I was really rusty in my countersteering skills, I almost went over a curb at 30 mph. It was very tense and I could not believe how rusty my skills were from traveling over 4000 miles of interstates so far on this trip. And my very squared off tires have paid the price also.

My two route mistakes added over 10 minutes to my journey and also put me on the rt 400 tollway right at the part where I had to pay the toll.

When the temp is in the middle 90’s and I am stopped in traffic, it really felt hot. As I was ok without my wet vest while riding at 70 to 80 mph, I chose not to wear the vest for the short distance I would be off the interstates.

It was good to arrive at my daughters home and she was there to greet me. All I can say about Atlanta traffic is that it ain’t for me.

My gps totals for the trip so far were 4056 miles with 65.4 mph average and 69.26 hours in the saddle. The odometer on my bike show that I had traveled 35 miles less than the gps readings.