Ouellette | #63 | Waffle House Extreme SS1000
This is actually going to be my first Ride Report ever. I have done a few IBA rides, but I never write about them because all of them up until yesterday were pretty uneventful. (and I am not a great writer). Most every ride I have done was not planned at all, I usually jump on my bike and just go for a ride, if it ends up IBA certifiable, I submit paper work. If not, well I set out to do what I have always loved to do, I ride my bike.
Well this ride was a little different, I read the qualifications for some of the rides in the new Waffle House Tour and for some reason this one intrigued me and I decided to actually plan for it.
I laid out different routes and scenarios on how it should be done. Spoke a lot with Russ Dickerson on his idea's for this ride. Here is what the well organized plan was. Since I live on 2-4 hours of sleep a day anyways I figured I would start early some morning and grab a few local WH's in the Atlanta area, run down a circular interstate route, and grab only WH stores near an intersection. That means not counting the regular 1k ride, you will have to get off and on the interstate roughly 48 times, just to stop at the WH, get out your flag, log your picture, actually take the picture, put it all away, and move on to the next location, all in under 24 hours. And being that I rarely plan anything, after I had this route all planned out, with 60 WH locations (planned for errors in picture taking or location errors in WH mapping program) at the last minute I figured, Jacksonville, FL is only a couple of hundred miles out of my way, and I have a new saddle waiting for me at Sargent's, I might as well swing in there and pick it up. (how long could that take?). So as most of my rides started off it was pretty uneventful, overcast day, but at least it was warm. Left about 2am went to a WH which was only a mile from my house. Filled up at the QT across the street first, then went over to the WH to get my starting time. I needed 2 signatures, I was going to use the employees at the WH (pre-arranged with manager a couple of weeks prior). I show up and the place was mobbed at 2am on a Friday morning? Spoke to the waitress, and she said a group of 30 just showed up. I figured since it was just her and the cook, it would be tough getting them out to check actual mileage and sign my forms. The waitress said the manager asked her to help me when I showed, so she did run out, noted the mileage and filled out her witness part. Since I needed a timed dated receipt and coffee is the cheapest thing they had (I don't drink coffee) I offered to buy coffee for one of the patrons in exchange for signature and mileage verification. First person I spoke to did it, and wanted to hear back from me on how I did. (she thought I was insane).
Picked up a couple of pics in downtown Atlanta to get things rolling. Headed south, staying on I-75 and took a long stretch with very few WH stops until I was a couple of hundred miles south. I added long stretches between multiple stops, so I could make up for lost time. Got to I-10 headed east to Jacksonville picked up 5 more WH's along I-10 and in Jacksonville before I picked up my seat. And that's where my trouble started. While in Jacksonville, 2 of the locations were not where Ms. Garmin said they were. never did find one of them, then I headed over to Sargent's and because of construction, I had to find my way around. As all of you who have Garmin's, B_thching Betty was having a fit. Got to Sargent's, and he had the saddle already for me to go, popped it on in less than 10 minutes from the time I arrived. Paul, from Sargent's noted my countdown timer and asked what I was doing. After telling him my plans, he tried to hurry up so I could get back on the road. He also offered me a short cut back to the interstate. Saddle all on, and ready to go - Nope saddle didn't fit. Big gap between front and back. He went back inside to get the loaner that I had been using, and it fit perfectly. His first thought was the material was cut wrong for the top pulling it forward. After looking at them both (new and loaner) doing some measurements, everything looked the same. Looked at the bottom of both and still everything looked OK. My 15 minute planned quick stop has now turned into over an hour including traffic/construction problems. While he was trying to figure out the problem, I happened to notice the wiring for the heated seat laying across the mounting tab, moved the wire out of the way, seat popped into place, no gap front to rear and life is good. He did apologize for not seeing that, No problem, just lets strap my old pinion seat on the back o I can go. Paul told me to just get going and he will ship seat back to me N/C. Who could argue with that.
Heading west towards Mobile (next planned direction change before heading Northeast back to Atlanta) I had a long stretch of interstate between Jacksonville and Lace City to make up for some lost time. Since I don't run a radar detector, I try to keep it close to legal. A new Challenger SRT had different thoughts, and I followed him until he headed North on I-75. Running across the pan handle was again uneventful until just east of Panama City. Then Mother Nature decided that I needed a good soaking. I have ridden in rain before, and it has never bothered me. (as I said earlier I am not much of a planner) Well this will teach me to plan.
Before I started, I printed all 62 Waffle House numbers on cards, so I could stick them on flag take picture and go. I made sure camera was charged, spare SD card was available, and Waffle House locator was on phone and working. My routine was, as soon as I got off interstate, I reached into my tank bag, and clicked the WH locater on my phone. Pulled into WH, staged for picture, verified location with prearranged numbers on cards, and phone's WH locator, hung flag and number on windshield, clicked picture, put all away and go. I actually had this sequence down to just about 2-3 minutes from the time I pulled into the parking lot. As I said, that was the plan. As mother nature so was upset with me planning, I did not know that this bike that I bought, and have never ridden in the rain, has a tank bag that is by no means even close to being water proof. I pulled into a WH location, opened up the bag to get my stuff out and found everything swimming. All my maps, pre-made store numbers, camera, and phone completely soaked. I went to the nearest truck stop and took my phone and camera inside to try and dry them out with a hand dryer. No good, both dead. Found a local Wal-Mart and bought a cheap camera to finish pictures, bought some construction paper and a marker to make numbers, and figured I could live without my phone until I get home. New plan was stop at WH - run inside ask what store number was and then write it down post it on flag snap picture and go. This was starting to take over 5-7 minutes to do, more than doubling my planned time. (Up to this time I only had 22 pictures). So I scrapped my original plans and went into Bill mode, just wing it. With the heavy rains I abandoned the idea of Mobile, AL. Looked at my GPS and ran from I-10 along a 2 lane, SR-59, to I-65 to make up for lost time. I knew I was giving up 7 locations in Mobile, but I did not want to deal with Friday night traffic and lousy weather. To my surprise I came up to 2 WH along that small road, and luckily both had employees outside on a smoke break, just asked them store number as I pulled up, wrote it down clicked picture, headed out.
Along I-65 heading north toward Montgomery, I could see lots of lightning activity ahead. The rain had let up and there were occasional light drizzles, but I could live with that. I watched for WH signs along the route, and if it looked like an easy off and on I would grab it. Did this all the way to the Georgia line.
When I crossed into Georgia, I was getting concerned about time. Rain had picked up again and it was coming down hard. 3 hours and 20 minutes to go and 148 miles left, and I have no idea of how many WH pictures I have. Does not look good. So I decided to run as hard as I can, get my 1k in at least and grab as many pictures as I can. I scrapped the idea of making it home to North Atlanta, watched my mileage, and as soon as I got 1,100 miles, I would find the nearest WH, get my final signatures and time verification, and call it a day.
Got home within my 24 hours, and I was kicking myself for not trying to get more. But I learned a few things about this trip my new Sidi boots are fantastic, feet dry as a bone, heated grips are great for keeping rain soaked leather gloves warm, new First Gear TPG pants leak when sitting in a puddle, new Sargent seat is dished, and makes for a great puddle during a hard rain, and my 3 year old First Gear Kilimanjaro jacket is no longer waterproof.
So after all that, I got home, soaked, cold, tired and a little disgusted with the ride and myself. Then after a good 3-1/2 hours of sleep, I looked at my pictures, deleted, those that were impossible to view, kept a few questionable (will let Mr. Hickman decide) and I ended up with 54 pics, 21 hours and 1088 miles. All is good, just need to send in my paperwork.
|030212||0345||1643||Forest Park, GA|
|030212||0812||0671||Lake Park, GA|
|030212||0852||Johnson & Johnson||Lake City, FL||
|030212||1020||Sargent Cycle Products||Jacksonville, FL||
|030212||1202||1214||Live Oak, FL|
|030212||1334||BP Fuel||Tallahassee, FL||
|030212||1531||0703||Defuniak Springs, FL|
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