Chris' 1994  R100GS/PDChris' new bike, a 1996 F650 ULTIMATE JOURNEY Erin's 1997  F650
Living a Dream . . . 2 Live-N-Ride

Aug 5, 2003.-- 51 months and 100,000 miles...

Credit to bit of Americana

-- Story by Erin --

Tuesday, July 29th:  Taking baby steps now as we near home, we left our friend Lisa Darrow’s house in Richmond, Virginia and headed for Fredericksburg, Virginia where my brother Mike lives.  Jason, my 17 year old nephew, is there when we arrive and greets us with a big bear hug.  Four years is a long time in the growth period of a teenager.  Jason, a star varsity football player, is now much bigger and bulkier than I remember.  He is quite the gentleman as well.  Make’s me proud to be his aunt. 

Spending the next several days in town here we enjoyed seeing family, my Uncle Jack and Aunt Marian, cousin Suzanne and her new husband Virgil and family, and seeing my old friend Barbara with her fiancée Fred.  In between all that socializing we found time to work on Chris’ bike at Morton’s BMW in nearby Spotsylvania.  The guys at the shop bent over backwards to provide workspace for us and lent us crucial tools to break open Chris motor.  The same old breather valve that gave my bike trouble twice is now in need of replacement in his bike.  A local BMW rider Jerry Skene, semi-retired and a good mechanic himself, offered to ride down to Spotsylvania two days in a row from his home about an hour and a half away to help Chris with the work.   While we were at Morton’s the local newspaper, the Freelance Star, interviewed us and took photos in front of the dealership.  In this way we could hopefully give back a little bit (by getting some free publicity) to the shop.  See the article.

After almost a week in Fredericksburg it was time to inch further north.  On Sunday, August 3rd we set off about 50 miles north for Washington, DC to do the last site seeing on the trip.  The weather wasn’t cooperating so in between finding cover from the heavy downpours we rushed to see the Capital building, the Washington Monument, and the White House to snap off some photos.  We ended the day a few miles out of town at the lovely home of our friends Ann and Jonathan, and their two little angels, Nancy and Betsy.  Again, these are friends we hadn’t seen since well before we left and it was wonderful to catch up with them and get to know their two girls.

 Monday, Ann took us into town so that we could see the sites we missed the day before.  After making a quick stop at the huge and beautiful National Catholic Basilica we were off to the Smithsonian Institution’s Museum of Air & Space (a personal favorite from childhood), and the Museum of American History where the flag that inspired the Star Spangled Banner is currently being restored in a glassed-in laboratory.  In addition to the flag, one can see the gowns of the First Ladies, an exhibit on the life of the settlers, and Abraham Lincoln’s trademark hat to name just a few.  The Air & Space Museum is chock-a-block with everything from lunar capsules and astronaut gear, to the Spirit of St. Louis, to the hot-air balloon cabin that circled the globe.  A thrilling IMAX show capped off the day and we were museum-ed out.

Tuesday, August 5th: Our last official day on the road.  Ann and the girls gave us a hearty send-off breakfast and we are on our way home.  The weather was still gray and clouds loomed above us.  We made a quick stop to see the famous Bob’s BMW shop and meet some of the staff that have been helpful to us during the trip.  Soon after we departed Bob’s the skies opened up on us like a giant faucet and we were drenched to the bone with the heaviest rain we’ve experienced on the whole trip!  Since it was lunchtime we pulled off at the next exit and found a Wendy’s restaurant.  We entered the restaurant looking like creatures that have just crawled in from the black lagoon.  All eyes were on us as we dripped our way to the nearest table and dropped our drenched gear on the floor.  Sympathetic nods and smiles abounded from the other patrons.  

The short stop did not help to stave off the bad weather.  When we got back on the highway we rode right back into the northbound storm that made us stop in the first place.  There was just no way around it.  For more than 5 hours we rode in the pouring rain.  We couldn’t have been more wet if we had jumped into a pool.  By the time we reached New Jersey traffic was crawling along and we tried to stay out of the spray of the big trucks and buses.  We got to within a few miles of New York but could barely see that big wonderful skyline because the clouds were so low that it was like a blanket covering Manhattan.

We found an economical (the term cheap is no longer in our vocabulary) hotel near the Lincoln Tunnel where we would cross into New York City the next morning.  We shed the layers of sopping wet clothing, stuffed newspapers in our boots, took a nice long hot shower to get rid of the chill, and called for Chinese food to be delivered.






Having fun at Morton's BMW


Working on the engine with Jerry Skene


In front of the White House


Washington Monument illuminated at night, with the Capital behind


Inside the Air & Space Museum


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