Friday, November 30, 2012

29 NOVEMBER 2012

We had a gorgeous day to ride, and a gorgeous time at the Beau. 

A nice lady volunteered to take our picture last night and we think she did a good job.
However, we did have to leave today and decided to leave very early and make it a one day ride back home.  We don't normally plan on making a 542 mile ride unless we've been on the road for some time and are in pretty good riding shape, but the weather is perfect, a little cool to start but not a cloud and as we get on I-10 heading east the traffic is pretty light.  Sometimes riding into the rising sun can be problematic with the glare but it doesn't seem to bad this morning.  
     We had clear sailing until we got to the western edge of Mobile, Alabama and an accident on the Interstate caused about a 25 minute slow down and gave my left hand and the clutch a good work out stopping and starting.
 The long tunnel under Mobile Bay was pretty clear of traffic again and we were surprised it wasn't clobbered because of the accident.
After the tunnel it was smooth sailing into Florida.  We made a quick stop for fuel and breakfast in Pensacola and then put the hammer down and let the Wing do it's Thing.  It was great and some of the fall/winter colors along I-10 were very pretty.
Traffic stayed light all the way to I-75 south and as usual picked up quite a bit from Lake City all the way to Leesburg and the entrance to the turnpike.  But is was a great day on the road and we were pulling into our driveway at 5: 15 and glad to make it before it started to get dark.  It wasn't a huge ride, only 1,246 miles over six days, but it was Winging It Our Way.  Can't wait to think up something for December.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

27 NOVEMBER 2012

We are leaving the Island View Casino Resort this morning and moving down to the Beau Rivage in Biloxi.  However, it's raining at a pretty good pace as we look out the window for a weather check.  They didn't mention this on the evening weather forecast.
We decided to hang around and try our luck hoping for the rain to slack up or even quit.  About 11 AM we get lucky, with the weather only.  So we packed up and suited up for some possible damp weather for our ride down the beach.  We had wanted to go the LOOONG WAY around and maybe even stop at the Shed or McElroy's in Ocean Springs for lunch but the weather doesn't look like it will stay dry for very long, so we are going to make a run for it straight to the Beau.
We are leaving this:
Island View Casino and Resort in Gulfport, MS
For this:
The view from our room at the Beau Rivage Casino and Resort in Biloxi, MS.
The  Beau is about a ten mile run straight down the beach road from Gulfport, which is Highway 98 heading east.
It would be a lot more fun to make the day with a nice ride and then come to the Beau but it's not gonna happen today.  The rain has stopped for the moment.

The sky to the east beyond this old light house that survived Hurricane Katrina 05 looks clear but if you look behind us to the west, it's another story all together.  I told Marguerite not to look back and try to get a picture.
Checking into the Beau is always a treat and they have already decorated for Christmas.
So we will spend the rest of the day and tomorrow hoping Lady Luck is here.  The weather is a little too threatening to take a local ride.  Hope the weather clears for the ride home.

Monday, November 26, 2012

26 NOVEMBER 2012

Yesterday afternoon we checked into the Island View Casino and Resort in Gulfport, Mississippi.  Unfortunately we think that Lady Luck may have checked into the casino down the road, cause she sure wasn't with us today.  We spent the day doing our best but the casino won decisively.  I even called my buddy Hink for some advice and even that didn't work.
Tomorrow we have a short ride, only about ten miles down Highway 98 along the beautiful Gulf of Mexico to a new Casino and Resort, the beautiful Beau Rivage.  Hopefully that's where we will find Lady Luck.  The weather is gorgeous and we may have to take the long way around just to enjoy the trip.  We don't have any pictures for today because you can't take photographs in the casino.  Only the guilty would object.
For those of you that follow the Diners, Drive Ins and Dives program, there's a barbecue joint just down I-10 at exit 57, the exit for Ocean Springs.  It just might be on the menu for a drop in lunch.  We've stopped there long before the program made them famous and it was much better before they were discovered.
Until tomorrow and better luck.  We still haven't seen any evidence of damage from Hurricane Isaac.  The locals here say it was mostly wind and a little bit of water from the surge but no apparent damage.
25 NOVEMBER 2012

If you can start your day with a view like this, how bad can it be???  It was a little chilly but if we hang around for a little bit we are sure the temperature will rise rapidly.  It would be a sin to come to Panama City Beach and not take a walk on one of the most beautiful beaches in the world.  After a somewhat chilly walk and some coffee we say our goodbye's and ease out of town.

We had to pass by the scene of the crime and Marguerite wanted it documented on film.  To get away from the beach we take Highway 79 up to Highway 20 then turn left, (West) on 20 and proceed to Highway 81.  At 81 we turn North (right) and it's a straight shot up to I-10.  After getting on I-10 west the first sign we see is Pensacola, 99 miles.  Traffic is still light so we run up the speed and set the cruise control.  Crossing the bridge at Pensacola, we chatted about how Hurricane Katrina had wiped out this bridge but so far we've seen no evidence of damage caused by Hurricane Issac last August.
Traffice stayed light even through the tunnel at Mobile, Alabama.
Another hour and we were within sight of our destination for the next couple of days, Gulfport and Biloxi, Mississippi.

We'll put the Wing in the covered parking garage and see what Lady Luck has in store for us.  It was an easy 200 or so miles for the day.

Winging It To Biloxi

24 NOVEMBER 2012

We've wanted to get away for a ride in November but one thing after another has kept us off the Wing.  We've had one short ride since coming home from Southern Indiana/Culpeper, VA in October.
     It's Saturday Morning and a cold front has come through and dropped the overnight temperature into the upper 40's.  We are still digesting our Thanksgiving feast so no one around here is anxious to get up and get going.
     Marguerite finally says, "Do you want to hear my plan for the next few days?"
     This doesn't happen very often so I answered, "Of course I do."
     "I think we should take our time getting up and let the temperatures rise a few degrees.  While that's happening we could pack, then have some coffee and a light breakfast and then drag out the Wing and head for Biloxi.  We have a couple free days at the Island View and the Beau Rivage.  We had to cancel in August because of Hurricane Isaac, so let's go now.  I'd like to go the long way around and take the scenic route up Highway 98 and we can stop tonight in Panama City Beach.  That's my plan, what do you think?"
     " I think the last one packed buys the beer at Donovan's Reef tonight."
     We left at 11 AM heading up the Florida Turnpike to I-75.  Trying to leave Florida on a Holiday Weekend is not the best idea and from the traffic on the roads it was obvious that we needed to get off the major motorways and onto the country roads just to be safe.  We had to stick with the Interstate long enough to get up to Ocala, and then turn west on Highway 27. 

I-75 was bumper to bumper and it was a very loooong hour getting up to Ocala and the relative safety of Highway 27.  A short run to Williston and then it was Alternate 27 to Perry.  Great route, four lanes, not much traffic, just kick back and ride.  At Perry, it was left onto Highway 98 and due west until we got to Apalachicola, the oyster capital of Florida.  Highway 98 passes through a lot of nice Gulf Beach communities and is a great ride.

At Apalachicola we stopped for a late lunch and got a seat on the pier of this oyster bar, right on the Apalachicola, River.  We were joined for lunch by a pelican.

The run along the Gulf was devoid of traffic and had some beautiful views but we were racing the sunset.  We forgot about the days being so much shorter and don't normally like to ride at night.
We didn't make it but the sunset was worth it.
We finished the ride well after dark, not arriving in Panama City Beach and the Flamingo Motel until well after dark.  It was a long 360 mile ride but mighty pretty.  After checking in to our room we made the short walk to Donovan's Reef Lounge and Marguerite picked up the tab for some post ride adult beverages.  It was a great way to end the day.  Tomorrow it's on to Biloxi.