Start: Columbus, OH
End: Columbia, IL
Route: 70 West/55 South/255 South
Miles Ridden: 440
Finally there was an “incident” on the road when I was well into Illinois, about 1,000 miles into my trip. Several cars were lining up to merge onto Route 70 West coming down an onramp, their tires humming a high pitched tune on the grooved concrete surface. I picked out a new Nissan Pathfinder, gray in color, tinted windows, and license plate frame with the dealership’s name on it. This vehicle given the situation in that moment was my biggest threat as I continued in the right hand of the two available lanes. As the contour of the onramp brought the Pathfinder past two yield signs and closer to my lane to the point where he would need to merge, the situation would prove my instincts to be spot on.
All at once: I did a quick head check over my left shoulder to peek at vehicles to my left side and left rear with one car coming up my left side, my mirrors showed a car far behind and not an issue, the driver of the Pathfinder had initiated his turn signal showing he intended to come into my lane, I turned my right hand grip (throttle/gas) fully forward to cancel cruise control, speed reduced three miles per hour, move left in the lane as the Pathfinder fully encroached my space, roll off throttle, apply horn. “Meeeeeeep!” A startled look and apologetic wave was offered by the aloof operator of the Pathfinder. I realized the only upgrade the bike would need was a more intimidating horn. Additionally, I realized that some drivers need to be upgraded as well.
That was the most exciting part of the day as well as the trip so far in regards to anything remotely dramatic happening while on the road. The story was dramatized a bit but is proof that people aren’t looking for motorcycles and sometimes don’t look for anything at all. The challenge of constantly being aware of your surroundings, other motorists, and your inputs to the machine are a part of what make motorcycling so interesting for me. It’s constantly engaging your brain, and I challenge myself to take note of any vehicles within sight at all times. I get disappointed with myself if a new vehicle has come up in my mirrors within certain proximity if I didn’t pick up on it soon enough; it means I got lazy and hadn’t checked my rear view frequently enough.
My day had started at MotOHIO with the first service being performed on the Tiger. The oil and filter would be changed with the oil now being Castrol fully synthetic, replacing the semi-synthetic “break-in” oil that comes in the engine. The remainder of the service includes a multitude of spot checks and a cleaning, lubing, and adjustment to the drive chain, ensuring the Tiger would be ready to run through to its next minor check-up at 6,000 miles. The dealership has a very friendly staff; Mike, Kirk, and Gary were extremely friendly and interested to hear all about the Boston to Austin adventure.
The next stop would be on the Western side of Columbus where I would take a quick stop to grab lunch with my friends Monique and Brendon, transplants to Ohio from our neck of the woods. Brendon had been looking at a similar German-made motorcycle to the Triumph, but he was so impressed with the combination of features, price point, available accessories, and warranty coverage that the Tiger offered. The other marque can go back to its sauer braten; we’ve got the bangers and mash! I took down a plate of scrambled eggs, bacon, grits, some fruit, and was soon on my way again headed for Saint Louis.
Coming through the neighborhood to my co-worker and amazing friend Chris’s house, I could already smell the grill. I’d arrive to find a picture message showing pork steaks searing over hot coals. Chris and three of his four daughters came right out to greet me, he with beers in hand for us. A big man hug, a swig of beer and I was at my destination for the next two nights. The pork steaks had just come off the grill after quite the process to get them just right, including a Budweiser bath and Chris’s own concoction of barbeque sauce. Not because I was famished at the time, but this was the best pork I’d ever had. Unreal. Chris, his wife Grace, and I would visit and relax for a few hours before I’d call it a day, unload all of the bike luggage into Chris’s car and take that to my hotel just back across the Mississippi in Columbia, Illinois.
I felt accomplished at this point. I’d made it a fair distance in just a couple days’ time and knew the next stretches that Chris had planned for us would be a lot of fun as we continued to Austin over the coming days.
#BostonToAustin #BahstinTaAhstin #ForTheRide #ForTheAdventure #MS5000