Yesterday was the first really nice day we've had in a while. It started out cold, but soon warmed up into sunshine and the low 60's for temps. Even cold and sunshine would have been an improvement over the mid 30's and rain we enjoyed the week before, so this really brought out the urge to go someplace on two wheels.
Earlier in the week, a friend from Mississippi had called and said, ÔÇ£LetÔÇÖs ride and do breakfast in Meridian this weekend.ÔÇØ So, through the week, and contingent on the weather holding good, several of us planned to make the 90 mile trip. Saturday dawned to suitable weather, and it was a go.
On the way to the gas station where we would all meet near the interstate, I discovered an issue with my rear brake. Mentally jumping the hoops over whether to make the trip with a spongy pedal, I thought, ÔÇ£Well, I once did a three day trip around south Louisiana with no rear brake at all.ÔÇØ So it was still a go for me. One other rider called and begged off, but another showed, and we got underway about 9:30.
The ride over on the big road was uneventful. I was awake by the time we arrived, and we soon commandeered a table at Cracker Barrel and cornered a waitress with enough savvy to keep the coffee cups full for a table of five.
After an hour and a half of swapping lies and insults, we parted company. My partner and I elected to take old U.S. 11 back to Tuscaloosa. Neither of us had ridden that route for quite some time, and we decided the leisurely ride on the two-lane would be preferable to the crowds on the interstate.
Briefly heading east on I-59/20, I led us off the interstate at the wrong exit, which I now know was one exit too soon.
Generally riding south, and about three miles into the rural countryside, I pulled over on the edge of the asphalt and killed the engine. Two old guys were sitting outside a mobile home firing up a BBQ grill.
Taking off my helmet so I could hear, I shouted and asked, ÔÇ£Which way to old 11?ÔÇØ
ÔÇ£You can't get there from here,ÔÇØ one of them grinned and fired back.
Then he told me ÔÇ£Go to the stop sign and turn left -- and after you cross the tracks, bear right. ItÔÇÖs several miles, but that road will put you back on old 11.ÔÇØ
Shouting ÔÇ£Thanks,ÔÇØ and giving him a thumbs up, I went to put my helmet and gloves back on.
Sitting, as we were on the wrong side of the road, my partner restarted his engine and moved over to the right lane -- more or less at the center position of his lane.
Just at that moment, a pickup truck came over the hill and the driver saw him sitting in the lane with his engine running (i.e., headlight on), and there I sat at the edge of the asphalt on the other side -- but with no lights showing.
I had just begun to shift my weight to throw myself off and into the ditch when the truck whizzed by me -- only inches from my right side mirror and side case. It was a close call -- as close as I have come in a long while!
We made it back with no further incidents. Hopefully, I now have that out of my system for the season, and I hope your riding season starts on a less stressful note than did mine. For me, it was a graphic reminder of how quickly something as simple as a roadside stop can turn sour.
FYI: After originally posting this on Campfire, I deleted it and moved it here.