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Home at Last, Home at Last, Thank the Lord I’m Home at Last

I made it home in one piece, though “rode hard and hung up wet” is appropriate.  We left Spartanburg Friday for LA & MS in the rain.  My friends took a different route home.  I bore down I-85 to I-20 past Atlanta.  The rain alternated drizzle to deluge.  My bike quit in a deluge about 50 miles from Atlanta.  Nothing to do but coast to the side of the road.  I fiddled with the controls and wiring.  The Triumph would crank but not fire.  A trucker stopped briefly and tried to fix it.  He agreed the bike wasn’t getting spark.  A few phone calls to AAA (have you ever tried to have a phone conversation with trucks going past 10 feet away at 70+ mph?) and the tow truck was en route.  Arrival time was “a few minutes”, AKA 120+ minutes.  A young man on a Triumph Thruxton stopped to assist just before the tow truck arrived.  There ain’t many of us, but we do stick together!  He checked out the bike and confirmed no spark.  The tow truck driver suggested we try one more thing before loading the Scrambler on the trailer.  He sprayed starter fluid into the breather hose/air box.  I hit the starter switch.  It fired!!  A few more squirts and the bike was rarin’ to go.  Rain water had gotten into the air system, interfering with ignition.  Ater spending three hours on a rain soaked shoulder I was ready to leave GA behind.  Mr. Doug (Thruxton) rode with me into the Atlanta metro area and made sure I was OK.

Triumph Thruxton road angel

I rode for another 120 miles before stopping.  By that time my brain was fried, so I decided to stop for the night and make the final push home Saturday.  The next day began sunny but dark clouds formed past Birmingham.  It was back into the drizzle/downpour scenario from Tuscaloosa to home.  Though I bought a can of starter fluid that morning, at times I had to pull over because it was difficult to see the road.

Sharing I-20/59 underpass with an H-D rider

I-20/59 underpass visibility break.  Note crap on shoulder.I-20/59 underpass break.  Note crap on shoulder.

A wet welcome

All ended well.  Mr. Mike, the scrounge cats and I had a happy reunion.  Thanks to all who helped me along the way.  I’ll end today’s post with photos of the group (312 Motor Maids from US and Canada) and banquet.  More photos next time.

72nd annual convention. Spartanburg SC

MM banquet and awards

 

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Green and Brown Wild Things: Bacon and Broccoli Mac & Cheese

OK – first things first.  The macaroni & cheese recipe was part of my trip preparation: use up perishables and buy as little food as possible pre-trip.  The recipe comes from April 2012 Cooking Light.  I made some modifications to the ingredients because scrounging is perfect for using things up.

Bacon & Broccoli Mac & Cheese (serves 2)

1.5-2 cups broccoli florets

4 oz spaghetti, broken in half (recipe calls for rigatoni but I didn’t have any)

1/4 cup chopped onion

3/4 tsp all purpose flour

1 1/2 tsp butter, or thereabouts

1 cup + 2 Tbsp milk (1 or 2%)

1 oz American cheese, cut into cubes (recipe calls for reduced fat; in reality there is little difference for American cheese)

1 thinly sliced green onion

1/4 tsp salt

1/8 tsp black pepper

1 slice bacon, cooked and crumbled

1 oz (1/4 cup) sharp cheddar cheese, shredded

Steam or microwave broccoli until crisp-tender (I microwaved mine). Cook pasta to the al dente stage, drain and keep warm. Heat butter in pan (could be the same one used to cook pasta) and saute chopped onions until they are soft; sprinkle flour over onion mixture, cook for about one minute, stirring constantly. Now this is a challenge with a small amount of roux, so plan on adding the milk soon after adding the flour to the butter.  Gradually add the milk and heat mixture until it reaches the boiling stage.  Stirring with a whisk is recommended. Cook for about one minute until slightly thick, then remove pan from the heaat.  Add American cheese and stir until smooth. Stir in remaining ingredients, adding broccoli and pasta last.

Per serving:

Calories: 413; Fat 13.3 g; Protein 19.6 g; Fiber 3.8g. Calcium 317 mg; Sodium 772 mg

Roux with onions sauteed in butter first

Add milk to roux and heat until thickened

Add American cheese and stir until melted

Add bacon and green onions

 

Finished

Finished; tastes better than it looks

Now the green thing: We were surprised to find a green frog under my luggage rack when stopped for the night Sunday.  The little guy traveled over 200 miles in 90+ degree weather!  I captured him and put him in the garden next to the motel.

Frog under Triumph luggage rack

Frog under the luggage rack

Frog just visible under luggage rack

And the brown thing: We were on highway 259 in OK, descending into a valley after a steep climb over a 2800 ft mountain (yes, OK has mountains, check the map).  Mr. Mike was riding ahead of me.  As I rounded a curve, an adult brown bear was standing at the side of the road! I’ve seen deer, moose, coyotes, foxes, armadillos etc while riding, but this was a first for me.  Shades of Wild Kingdom!  Immediately I slowed down (he was a couple hundred feet ahead) and laid on the horn, which is the same technique used for a dog chasing your motorcycle.  The idea is to slow just as they get close, then accelerate away from the animal.  Well, fortunately I didn’t have to execute the near stop and acceleration move because the bear ambled from the edge of the road to a shrub about 10 feet away, all the while looking at me.  Sorry, no photo.  Perhaps the car behind me was able to get one.  Next, more things you can’t plan for.

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