05-04-13 – Well thanks to Mother Nature it took me a few days to leave Webster and head to Panama City Beach for Thunder Beach.
In my last few days in Webster I basically did client work, played cards, and even went to eat ice cream at Lickity Splits with the retired card sharks.
I bought Pops and Janice a gift certificate to one of their favorite Italian restaurants but those sneaky folks slipped some clementines in my jacket pocket as I was leaving Saturday and later I found a $50 bill in there. So they basically offset my gift. It was even harder to leave them this time. I spent a great deal of time with them one-on-one because my friend (their son) wasn’t there there time except for the short weekend to pickup his truck. They are very genuine people with amazingly positive personalities and hearts that know no boundaries. The way they joke around and speak to people is a splendid balance between hilarious and smart-elec which is never ever mistaken for hurtful or rude. This last visit was extremely enjoyable and I felt like I had been adopted by wonderful parents. Pops kept calling me ‘babe’ and ‘kiddo’ and they both even said ‘love ya’ when I left. Pops gave me some grief when I was talking about riding in the rain and said he’d take my bike away from me if I tried it. I’ve said it before and feel it even stronger – my Rider’s Claw family has definitely been a blessing and I’m looking forward to seeing the Conros again when I’m trying to out run old man winter.
I had been in contact with Vic and Vicky and comparing weather. The situation was much the same in Webster as it was in Panama City. I didn’t feel as if my safety was worth traveling in the storm and really… how much fun could we have in the rain? Vicky was for sure chomping at the bit for me to visit and though I love Webster and the people, I was anxious to roll on. Finally on Saturday morning I just bit the bullet and took off. I had hoped I would have a few clear hours but that didn’t last long. I spent 5 of the 6 hours of that ride in the rain. Thankfully it was a warm rain and not very windy. I stopped at sub shop and was debating that or the Mexican joint across the parking lot. A mom and grown daughter pulled up next to me and I asked their opinion. I spoke with them very briefly in the parking lot and stood outside for a bit to check emails and take a goofy picture of me in the rain (again).
I figured ‘eat and keep rolling’ so I went to the sub shop. I ended up at the table with those ladies and we chatted more as I answered their curiosity questions and told them about my journey thus far. These very lovely ladies filled my lunch break with smiles. I sure hope that have tuned in to The BROAD blog and will say hello.
The rain wasn’t really that bad after all was said and done. Like I mentioned, it was warm and not windy, so I was able to cruise along at a good speed and made perfectly fine time. It was somewhat funny and entertaining; I’d drive about 30-40 miles in the rain and then it would stop just long enough that I could serious watch my chaps begin to dry. Then it would start again. Vicky left me a voicemail about 3.5 hour into the ride and said the weather was breaking and the sun was out. I told her to keep it that way so I could dry out. And just a few more miles down the road, I saw it… I saw it… THE SUN!!
When I finally reached Panama Beach City I was all smiles. There were bikes EVERYWHERE!! Vicky came out and helped me unload. I tossed my Fox Creek leathers over the lawn chairs and popped a beer. I caught up with Vic and Vicky for a short while then hopped in the shower (like I hadn’t gotten wet enough). Then we headed out to enjoy the evening. Hammerhead Fred’s was kickin’ with a great live band and Vic and Vicky got their groove on as usual. They are always such a hit. I met quite a few cool folks there and after signing a few stickers for a few hotties, I had other folks approach me and ask me who I was. Sort of a weird feeling, but cool all the same.
We made our way closer to our condo and hit Shuckum’s. Oh my gosh what a fun place. Again, more really cool people and I even let loose and danced my fool head off.
This old boy above looks very much like our buddy Harvey, so I gave him a great deal of grief and we acted a fool together.
05-05-13 Sunday we rode around and in true biker fashion tried our hardest to find a farmers market we heard of. We passed it and flipped around and swore we didn’t see it, but finally found it. And for not, it wasn’t all that great. We hit another club that was a “must see” but didn’t stay long because we weren’t impressed. The weather started to turn so we made our way back towards the condo. The clouds looked intimidating so we figured we’d stop before we were in the middle of a mess. Good Call!! The winds kicked up something fierce and the skies opened up. It lasted long enough to be a pain and have a beer; then we were off again.
05-06-13 On Monday, I had a lot of client work to do so Vic and Vicky went about their riding and worked on a website for Cool Riders Gear (still under construction but getting much closer to a finished product).
After several hours of work, I got a late start and jumped on the bike around 3pm. I didn’t want to go far because I had volunteered to make dinner for us. I contemplated Ripley’s Believe It Or Not, but opted out of the entry fee. Instead, I spent $4 to get into a lovely preserve at the end of the Panama Beach City coast. It was actually a much welcomed relaxing hike with beautiful scenery. I find being in the woods very peaceful and it reminds me that once upon a time, our world wasn’t always brick and mortar at every corner – God’s creation if you will. I had also had a pretty rough night for personal reasons and so I really needed a mental pause. I spent almost 2 hours walking around in the woods and taking all sort of pictures.
At one point, I was just running to take the picture above “Can You See Me Now?” and a biker couple came out of the woods and asked if I needed help. I said, “No thank you, I’ve kind of got this down to a science now.” I told them about my journey and they asked if I’d take their photo. I did, we chatted some more, and before leaving they asked if they could pray for me. Right the spot below with the lovely couple, we held hands and the wife proceeded to say a lovely prayer asking that I stay safe and that God watch over me and my bike. It couldn’t have been any more perfect.
I hiked a little more and took some fun pictures of my Nailmaille jewelry in the woods. I was sure that Mike, Mike, and Jessica would get a kick out these.
As I was leaving I ran into a rather professional looking dude (darn I stink at names)… He has a new BMW cruiser if I remember correctly and he was asking some various new rider questions. I was tickled to answer his questions and I felt like a veteran there for a minute. Maybe he will chime in also and not only remind me of his name, but say hello. I took off at that point and hit the grocery store. I made a really filling taco salad and we all vegetated and BS’ed for the rest of the night. Funny, no matter the weather each day, there was always a beautiful sunset right off our porch. And for those that know me and those that have read about the journey, you know I love a beautiful sunset. To me, it a reminder that no matter what life brings during the day, I made it through and simply being alive is a beautiful thing.
05-07-13 The next day we rode the Pensacola area. We ran into a local biker at an AMVET club and he took us to another local pit stop. We had a good time just meandering around and being casual. It was quite relaxing and after the day’s ride, I relaxed in the hot tub with a big girl drink. We woke up and decided to ride to Pensacola and see what we could find. I didn’t take a lot of pictures this day, rather I just enjoyed the ride and my company. We first stopped at a little place called PMS; a very nondescript little biker bar. The owner gave us a few tips on some local places so we made our way to the AMVET club. There we met a biker that volunteered to take us to some other places. By the time we enjoyed some conversation at the second AMVET club, we were ready to head back for dinner. We hit one more place so we could decide what we wanted to do for dinner. Here we saw fresh oysters and though that wasn’t what we wanted for dinner, we talked Vicky into trying her first raw oyster. Oh boy, that was funny. She said it wasn’t all that bad, but her face made me crack up.
On our way to Golden Corral for the buffet with crab legs, we made a quick roadside stop to take pictures of the amazingly white sand dunes. When we were coming in the sand looked more like snow. But snow is a dirty word to a biker so I won’t say it again.
05-08-13 My buddy Dave Roe suggested that I check out a town called Seaside, FL where Jim Carey filmed The Truman Show. He said it is a really adorable town. Vic and Vicky agreed we would check it out. So we were off. The town of Seaside is indeed adorable in a very high class manor. In the town square they had Streamliners along the walk way which were each filled with some type of snack, food, or beverage. And I caught a glimpse of a lovely art shop that I may somebody revisit. We did not stop in this town as it seemed a little higher end than we were looking for at the moment. We did stop just outside of town at Hurricane’s Oyster Bar in Santa Rose Beach for a cold beverage. This place was a little more our speed. I was intrigued buy the thousands of $1 bills all over the walls. I forget now how many thousands there were but the manager did tell us, “We are just collecting the owners retirement fund.” Well, I guess I donated a dollar to the cause.
After leaving Hurricane’s we made our way to The Outpost for Bikers in Freeport. Now this is a true biker bar. I absolutely loved this place. I was tickled reading all the goofy signs and siting on the bike that is used to gauge if you are too intoxicated to drive. If you can keep this one up, you can’t keep yours up. Sitting right on water, we enjoyed a cold beverage and Vic and Vicky attempted to teach me how to play Cribbage, but that was way too many rules and counting for my relaxed state of mind. When we got to the back porch I thought I noticed a naked back of a biker at another table. I went over the man and his friends and asked him if he was just at the post office in Panama Beach City. Indeed he was the guy and remembered seeing me there. I had been mailed Mother’s Day cards. I proceeded to tell him that I am homeless by choice and tour on my Harley. HA – he too is homeless by choice and tours on his Harley. Go figure! So Boston Mike and I exchanged info and who knows, maybe I’ll “have his back” some other day. That became our little inside joke – had to be there.
05-09-13 Well, all good things must come to an end (or at least be put on pause until the next time). My time with Vic and Vicky is truly a testament to meeting great people in one place and bringing them along not only in your heart but to the next place. I had an amazing time and found that these folks were truly folks I can find to be my friends for the rest of my days. Vicky says she loves me because she sees herself in me and she loves my courage to take on what my heart desires. And Vic says he’s glad I’m a good girl – hahaha! It was funny actually (I back track here) they originally told me that I was welcome in their condo pretty much at a nightly cost of what I would pay to camp. They made that rule because they hadn’t really gotten to hang out with me and see what type of person I am. It was a bit of a business arrangement if you will. Now my big brother and big sister can’t wait to see me again. Vicky sent me a text just 2 days ago that simply said, “Thinking of you today, Love you.”
I have said it before and still believe it, I am very blessed and I am proud of who I am and how I carry myself. When you can meet perfect strangers in crazy environments and make lifelong friends, that says so much. So here’s a big huge hug and cheers to my newest friends, Vic and Vicky! Love Y’all and I’ll see you again, and again, and again!
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