A Tradition I Am Trying To Keep

December 29, 2022
  The 'Last Ride Of The Year' at Stockton, Alabama is tomorrow and several of my riding friends are planning on being there. Since I have not taken SweetTreat out on a long trip since I replaced her engine, this is a great opportunity for a longer 'shake down' cruise.  
  It's not a particularly interesting ride as most of it is straight down I65.

But this event gives me an opportunity to see some riding friends that I don't get to see very often. The weather is not supposed to be 'cooperative' but it is what it is. It's a red sunrise as I leave Nashville and I remember the old adage -

"Red sky in the morning, sailor's warning"

"Red sky at night, sailor's delight".

There is Scripture and science to back that up but that's for another day.

  I am so glad that I am getting out of town in the opposite direction of the morning traffic. Nashville traffic with all the growth has become a real issue in the mornings and evenings.
  Down around Decatur there is a new Buc-ees that has been built. I've had a hankering to check them out and it lines up with a refuel stop so I do. I have never seen so many gas pumps in one place in my life. In the store, it has about everything you can imagine and would ever need on the road.
  Next point of interest is Birmingham, one of the few large cities I will pass through today. Traffic is pretty reasonable and for that I am thankful.
  Since I am passing right by Prattville, I have contacted one of old riding buddies, Bamarider and we are going to do lunch together. When I reach out to him, he tells me which exit he will be waiting and that there is a large orange there. The 'large orange' turns out to be a water tank decorated to look like an orange.
  He and his lovely wife have decided to just cook lunch at their house so I follow him along some back roads to get there.
  I even get a free tour of the old Prattville downtown area on the way in.
  We have a lovely time catching up over an excellent home cooked meal. It has been quite a while since we have spent time together. But I've still got a ways to go, so I wish them both well and get back to the slabbing it.
  I get into Bay Minette where I will be spending the night at the Log Cabin Inn. Shuey, one of my riding friends, found this place so this where I stay when I am in the area.
  We do our 'usual' super at the nearby Monterey Mexican Restaurant and it is good. I try to lighten up for supper because I will have a good breakfast tomorrow and then a scrumptious heavy BBQ lunch later.  
  It's time for this old hillbilly to check his eyelids for holes, so I bed down SweetTreat for the evening. She has been running really great with no major issues, so I am really thankful for that. We have a tremendous amount of memories together so it's a real joy to have her back on the road.

December 30, 2022
  Breakfast is at Street' Seafood Restaurant as usual ...  
  and it is good as usual. I go for an omelet and a couple of biscuits but skip all the taters and such in view of lunch.  
  Several other of my riding friends are there plus some friends that I have not met before.  
  When we get to the Stagecoach Cafe in Stockton, we can tell the weather has scared off many riders.  
  But we mill around a while and the crowd does pick up a little bit.
  A rider pulls in on a new Triumph Rocket 3 which I am interested in. I purchased a Triumph Trident back in 1973 when it was the first Triumph triple. In those years the Rocket 3 was the same basic bike as the Trident but badged as a BSA. But this new Rocket 3 has the world's largest production motorcycle engine capacity of 2500cc and is a totally different animal. We have a nice conversation about how it rides, gas mileage, reliability, dealer network and such.  
  Soon enough as the weather appears to be closing in, we light out for Brewton, Alabama - home of the Camp 31 BBQ restaurant.  
  Given what the weather weenies are forecasting, Shuey decides wisely to take us straight there via the interstate so we might have time to get home without getting a free bike wash.  
  We enter Brewton proper and it is a very short ride to ...  
  our destination.  
  The food is excellent as usual and plentiful so once again I get a to-go box for the 'remains' so I can enjoy the ribs and brisket again later on.  
  Oude Geit who lives in Northern Alabama and I decide we'll ride part of the way back. He'll peel off somewhere along the way and I'll keep headed north to Nashville.  
  As the sun starts to go down and the weather starts to move in, I make a needed fuel/defuel stop about 160 miles from the Holler. I figure from here I can make it all the way home without another stop. Given what the skies look like, I go ahead and suit up in my rain gear so if I do hit the storms, I can just keep rolling.  
  And as I figured, I do and it's pretty nasty. But he who minds the weather seldom rides and it ain't my first rodeo in the rain.  
  The storms come and go - just like they do in our lives - but I just keep rolling on until I get back to my beloved Holler. SweetTreat has run like a champ and I am very thankful and grateful for that. It's been a good ride with great friends, great food, and great memories - what better way to end up the year!