Ken left a bit early for coffee and we picked him up at a gas station near our KOA. He had been scanning the weather radar and it didn't look good. Outside of one small downpour, we had stayed dry most of the trip. I guess it was time to pay for our good fortune.
Hoping to dodge the front, we got on the road. It wasn't long before we saw the black clouds on the horizon and stopped to put on rain gear, face shields, etc. It was good that we did. The water attacked quickly and with fury successfully eliminating any shred of dry fabric in my pack.
Though this was easily some of the nastiest stuff I had ever ridden in, we soldiered on. Ride in the rain, get gas, wring out gloves, repeat. During one stop Wyatt and Chris opted to sample some local BBQ. With many miles ahead, Ken and I decided to stay moving.
There is a bond you forge with someone when you share time on the road. The good times, bad times, sights and sounds you share become part of your common fiber. There is a recognizable difference between friendship and brotherhood. This trip easily moved us from the former into the later.
Though we knew each other previously as just words on a page, this was real. Getting along online is easy. It's crazy how well we transitioned from the digital world into the physical one. When you spend nearly every waking moment with someone for a stretch of days, when its over it leaves a hole.
Our goodbyes were brief. Looks were exchanged that filled in the gaps. I would ride with this crew again anytime. I hope life and fate stay good enough to give us all that chance.
The sun fought through the clouds at times but we stayed under the rain most of the day. Outside Memphis we stopped for gas, a bite to eat and a glance at the map. Despite the heat, when you are soaking wet a/c turns other's comfort into your freezing misery so we ate fast.
Once there was a break, we got moving again. Things started to get more and more familiar. I approached my exit and waved Ken ahead and then waved again as he passed me. I was 15 minutes from my door. Ken still had hours to go, others days yet. Pulling into the driveway, I instantly missed the open road and my brothers. I was comforted in my loss by my wife and children. I unloaded the bike. Still covered in dirt and bugs from 9 nine states, I locked the door behind me and proceeded to unpack.