I’ve seriously fallen from the daily updates, and will try to get back in the swing. Needed a little refresh, and this was the weekend we did it.
I had a little trek with friend a few weeks ago. We took our motorcycles for a little spin and burger in the parking lot. While we were there, solving all of the world’s problems, we discussed venturing again to his cabin in the north. We had made the trek on our motorcycles a couple summers ago, and had a blast. We decided to make a run at it for this weekend.
This weekend it happened!
I took the infrequent day off from work, telling everyone I’d be inaccessible for the next few days, carry on and all that. The wife evidently agreed I needed a break, as she practically encouraged the outing, even with the social distancing and other restrictions going on. I pledged to follow the same safety routines we do normally.
The whole weekend was blessedly uneventful, and was wondrously low-key.
We started Friday around noon, just breaking away from the house in a practical sprint. We dashed a couple freeway turns away before topping off with gas and coming up with a plan. It was a roasting 95ºF according to some of the thermometer signs we passed. Seemed hotter. Long sleeves for sun and debris protection made the riding much more pleasant than the stopping.
Along the way, we passed the pig-racing pub we’d stopped at before. That was a bit amusing, before...this time it was just an intersection passed at highway speed.
It’s only about 200 miles from my house, where we’d met to leave, and his cabin. We stopped a few times to hydrate, fuel, stretch legs, and empty bladders. Once for lunch at a spaced-out, but more crowded than expected fast-food place; they made us leave our phone numbers for contact tracing—a call I hope to never receive.
As we drew near, we stopped at the same grocery as before, donned our masks, and grabbed a few things for the night. The important things like soda, pizza, and chips...the bikes were full, so we couldn’t grab too much, and had to plan carefully. We agreed to stock better later or the next day.
We stepped into the liquor store for some beer and rum to go with the soda. Their cooler was a frosty 40ºF, so a little more time was spent there deciding on flavor than was necessary. The masked merchant shared some recent traffic gossip, and commented how nice it was that we were also masked, so we all lamented on the times a little. Then the short jaunt from town to the cabin. After a few minutes of taking gear off the bikes and opening windows, we settled in for the planned relaxation.
We set about the important business of sitting on the lawn chairs, watching the still lake and gentle grass waves, enjoying a couple cold ones.
We covered the bikes in time for the heavy rains to arrive. We cooked and ate the pizza, listened to some old fashioned rock and roll, and told old man stories, some new some again. We’re both technologists, so there was some nerd speak. He’s a much bigger sports fan, but we both like baseball and statistics, so there was a bunch of that, too. We’ve both been married for decades, so we bragged about old girlfriends...and crappy old jobs and the aspirations that happened and some thoughts of what could still be.
The rain was heavy, so we had to close many of the windows, as they’re either propped way open or not at all. Just enough were left to keep air flowing through, and the temperature dropped to very comfortable at about the same time.
We stayed up late, for old men who’d spent the whole day riding motorcycles. Much later than the normal 10PM around home, since we didn’t plan to wake at 6AM, as normally happens at my house. It must have been 10:30 by the time we tucked into our rooms.
I was up by 6:30, so a healthy sleeping in. It was getting a little hot, and I needed some restroom time. I slinked around the cabin, opening the few windows that were easy, and kicked some more fresh air breeze through. He woke not too much later, and set about doing more of the same.
We decided to head to a nearby favorite eatery. Far enough to enjoy a good start-of-day bike ride, but not so far that either of us needed sustenance prior. You could tell the place was meant to be packed in. The generous parking lot was scarcely occupied. The floor space within was empty enough to host dances. We got a table in the corner, removed from others. Took off our masks for eating the delicious and generous breakfast. Many of the people moving in and out didn’t even seem to have masks, much less seem to forget wearing them for the occasion.
We stopped by a bookstore he likes to support. I considered grabbing a game or book for the kids, but saddle bag space is slight, so I passed. We meandered back, stopping again at the grocery for a little better stock up for lunch and dinner.
We checked out the dock, our task for the weekend, and found all in order. We took the boat for a spin around the lake. The lake was smooth like glass, except where we or the other few boats disturbed it. Even the loons made noticeable wakes as they scooted about. Tour done, we returned and cooked some lunch brats. Ate and watched the lake more from the Adirondack chairs.
Another mission was some lawn care. It was just starting to look necessary, but with the rain, it was a bit too wet. I wandered, a tiny bit restless and feeling like I should help some, picking up some of the bigger sticks that had fallen, tossing them into the tall grass at the edge of the mowed area. With intermittent rain, we covered the bikes again, and dodged in and out of the cabin as necessary.
We relaxed more. We bragged and lamented and shared more. We turned in again, not too late, tackling only half of the bottle of rum, and most of the beer.
The Sunday morning routine was pretty much a lazy sunrise. We roamed around the cabin a bit, cleaning here and there. We debated leaving, getting breakfast on the way and then continuing, or dashing, getting breakfast out and then returning before leaving for good. We settled on the latter, heading the other way for a bit of ride before breakfast.
The little dinner wasn’t as socially distanced, but we got a lucky table a little removed from everyone. The staff were all masked, even in the kitchen from what I could see. Very few of the patrons were, though. Internet was better in this restaurant than the cabin, so we peeked. Only a single-digit number of cases in the area had been reported. Even tripling the number resulted in a low teens, so we allowed for some different thinking. Still, we donned our masks and kept our distance, and took advantage of the sanitizers and sinks.
We cruised the little town, and visited the big lake on which it’s built. No one we saw walking about was masked. Except for the lower number of people out (you could just feel it was a smaller crowd than a typical summer Sunday), it was almost business as usual.
We topped off the bikes, and returned to the cabin. We joked about the horrible weather trapping us there for another night, but it was a beautiful partly-cloudy 70ºF day. The forecast all the way home said the same.
We finished cleaning the cabin and yard (of a few more big sticks), and set off for the ride home. We decided to take a lazier twisty route likely to have much less traffic for the bulk of the trip. It was wonderfully tree-lined for most of it, with little drifting sways left and right. The few cars that got in front of us generally turned off shortly after we reached them.
We stopped for a late lunch at a little roadside burger place, about 2/3 of the way back. Here the more normal virus feel was on. Everyone had masks. The restaurant only allowed take-out from called-in orders. We called-in from the parking lot, waited, and ate there before we set out. While we waited, a swarm of distanced groups also joined in, most surprised to see the call-first signs, and calling from the parking lot. We chatted with some about our bikes; seems they were coming from some kind of motorsport expo nearby that had just finished. Everyone was polite about masks, and distance, standing a few arm-lengths away from each other, outside of their groups.
We hopped back on and made for the highway. Here we met with some of the heavier traffic we’d avoided all day, but it was not too bad. Had we not hit the expo ending time, there might have been no traffic at all. Instead, there were a lot of pick-up trucks hauling trailers with dirt or sport bike, show or race cars, or trailers for people or things.
We stopped one last time for gas and a plan. There was some construction that turned the entrance to the freeway into a miles-long aside that would evidently allow us to cruise past most of the jammed traffic we saw as we approached the gas station. It worked out great. We joined the traffic right where the freeway spread two extra lanes, splitting to go north or west of the city. We merged into less dense, quickly flowing traffic and continued toward home.
As we turned onto the highway an exit from my house, my pal tooted his horn, gave a big wave, and rumbled past toward his home. I made my few turns and parked in the garage. The heat had just started to hit again, so the timing was perfect.
I grabbed the necessaries from the bike and strode into the house. The kids erupted with joyous greetings, and I immediately longed for the peace of the cabin again. I settled into enjoying the noise of the family again, but it took a nice shower to get there.
I think I’m going to step up my efforts to find that lake home. We had talked about it when this thing started, and since it looks like it might be another year, it might not be a horrible time to look. Of course, they cost as much as regular homes, especially if you want to be able to use them most of the year. We talked about finding a place we could spend the whole summer, possibly with other family members visiting. Nothing small...of course...
Everyone’s healthy. I’m going to keep a watchful eye for a couple weeks, though.