The Last Day and the Aftermath

We hit the road at the normal 10:00 AM and toughed out the last 180 miles back to the ranch.  I found that between paper maps, GPS maps, and road signs the road may have as many as 3 different names.  This can be confusing to my little brain given that there is so much road construction that all the roads (regardless of name) can be closed at once.  I struggled a little until we got on a US highway.  It’s tough to mess up US-68 as a name.   That lead us to US-33 which is being turned into an interstate type highway.

Near Celina, OH US-33 changes to Ohio 29 and we’re back on familiar roads.  The Grand   Lake of the St Mary’s at Celina is one of our favorite weekend visits when we’re relaxing on the bike on a typical weekend.  We’re only about 80 miles from the ranch and can choose a half dozen different routes home.  I had one final stop in mind before putting the bike away so the route was predetermined.

For almost 4 months we have been on a very restricted diet of high protein, low fat, low everything fun.  It was time to go “off the reservation” with a cheeseburger (hot pepper cheese of course) at Pete’s Duck Inn in Albany.  Years ago this place was know as the Green Duck (it has a giant fiberglass duck out front that was obviously green).   While the food is good, the service isn’t so if you go there make sure you’re order is correct before you dig in.

OK – craving satisfied for now we saddled up one more time and drove the last 30 miles home.  I don’t think we said anything to each other the entire way from the Duck.  I mentioned before that we are anxious to be home but don’t want to get there.

The odometer was 1.5 miles short of 1700 for the total trip.  The bike performed flawlessly.  I wish I could say the same for me.  I am more convinced than ever that the long trips in the future will be on the trike.  The weekend visits to Celina or the Duck or new places will be done on 2 wheels but extended trips wear me out trying to manage the 1100 pounds or so of motorcycle, luggage, and people.  I’m not sad about that.  It’s a chance to continue to do what I love to do, enjoy it more, and continue to learn new things (managing 3 wheels).

I’m writing this on Sunday morning after getting home about 3:00 PM yesterday.  Daily life restarted pretty quickly.  The yard hadn’t been mowed in about 10 days so it was somewhat jungle-like.  The pups needed immediate attention.  The luggage was all unloaded which created a significant pile of laundry.  The mail delivery had restarted so there was a pile of that stuff.  That’s enough detail – you get the idea.

The yard got mowed just ahead of a thunderstorm that moved through the area.  The other chores got started (well – not all of them).   We splurged again for dinner with pizza (back on the food program can wait until Sunday).   Vacation is officially over.

I’m sitting on the deck on Sunday morning writing this final entry.  The coffee is of my own making and the Sunday paper has the familiar feel to it.  The pups are running around enjoying the pool deck and their toys.  Jana is sleeping in just a little.  I’m reflecting on the trip.

Our adventure  was different this year.   The miles traveled were a lot more reasonable.  The weather was cool and damp.  We only had sunshine on 3 days even though we never once had to break out the rain suits.   We saw a couple of places that had been on my list but skipped a couple more because the weather, roads, and traffic were just not fun.  Would I do this trip again if we got a do-over?  Probably not.  My heart belongs to the wide open areas of Montana and Wyoming.  Retirement is just around the corner so maybe there’s a chance next spring to revisit those areas.  In the meantime, I’ll just settle for planning the journey and the occasional cheeseburger from the Duck.

Thanks Jana for sticking with me, supporting me, and helping me enjoy the trip.

Thanks Andrea for house-sitting and pup-sitting so we wouldn’t have to worry about the ranch.

Thanks Spencer for the encouragement as we traveled along.

Henry is done rambling for now.

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