TO HONOR A FRIEND 2020
 

July 31- August 1, 2020

Zanesville Ride To Eat

 
July 31, 2020
 
I've picked Redbird, my first ST1100 for this ride. She has the best set of tires on her and this will be a lot of interstate. I tell the other three girls to rest and be patient, as they will get turn as time goes on.  
 
After my wet riding experience on my return from out West, I've put on my rain gear ahead of time since there are supposed to be a lot of storms the way I'm headed. As I know from past experience, if I don't put the rain gear on I will get soaked. If I do, I will probably not see much rain. There's a few clouds up ahead but it does not look too bad.  
 
But the farther north I ride, the darker it gets. But since I'm already geared up, I just roll right along. This ride is to Marietta, Ohio where I will spend the night and some time with other riders for the evening. We will head over to Zanesville, Ohio tomorrow and have a lunch and a time to honor Bill 'Saddletramp' Gordon who we lost a few years ago to an illness. Miss Helen, his lovely wife, will be there so that will make it much more special. Bill was a Marine like me, so we often talked about our experiences in the service. There are certain things that only Marines understand since they go through some pretty unique training experiences. He had a tough outside, but his heart was pure gold and I miss him greatly.  
 
I see one of my favorite old plantation houses off to the right as I make my way. I have to imagine that the road beneath my wheels was probably once a field that was part of that plantation.  
The sky still looks like it is fixin to dump buckets of water on me, but I'm high and dry for the moment. And for that I am thankful, having had the recent experience of riding with water in my boots for a long period of time.  
 
As I said early, if I wear my rain gear it will not rain. I manage to ride the entire 490 miles to my motel for the evening and only get about 5 minutes of sprinkles all day long.  
 
I unload Redbird, bed her down for the evening, and get check into my room. I figure if I am going to supper with folks, I ought to wash the road nastiness off and clean up a bit. I may not look any better for the effort, but at least I will smell better. Folks start rolling in shortly after I do, and we get ready for the march across the parking lot to the eatin' place.  
 
It's called Wings Etc and the grub is pretty tasty. It's great to catch up with some folks I haven't seen in a while and folks that I have. Tall tales are told but I ain't saying who says what...  
 

I waddle back across the parking lot with the group after demolishing a pile of ribs and fries. John buys ice cream for everyone on his tab out of the motel freezer supply. I tell him -

"Thanks, Dad" and we all laugh.

But the effort I expended on dealing with those ribs has taken it's toll. So I bid all a good night and go upstairs to see how many holes I have in my eyelids. I'm afraid I don't get very far into that project.

 

 
August 1, 2020
 

The motel usually has a little breakfast set out but due to the Covid mess, they will not have it open. You have to turn in a ticket and they will give you a 'breakfast to go'. I made my choices last night, so after I get Redbird packed up and ready to roll, I get my 'breakfast' and head back to my room. Since my room has a microwave, I can at least heat up the sandwich a bit. It ain't much for a breakfast feller like me, but it fills the empty spot and that will do fine enough.

 
 

The weather weenies are predicting rain all day, so some decide they will make the trip in quadracycles. But a few of us figure we'll follow Pat and Annette by a less than straight route he's prepared and just wear our rain gear. As I tell them -

"If I get wet, I may shrink ... and that would be a good thing!"

 
 
And what a route it is, starting out along Highway 26.  
 
It's a lovely asphaltic serpent and I am having a blast trying to keep up with Pat.  
 
Not only is the road great, I see a couple of covered bridges ...  
 
along the way. I always find them interesting as you don't see them down around where I grew up.  
 
Then we leave 26 for 260 and it is just as good. Maybe it's a child of 26 ...  
 
It's nice to only have to follow instead of lead so I really enjoy the twists and turns and just having to tend to my own business.  
 
Then we hit 565 which is also a delight to ride.  
   
  I see this old manse off to my right and it reminds me a lot of the old ones down where I come from.  
 
When I pass this church, I am a bit saddened by its poor condition. I'm sure the lights went off in the hearts of its members long before the lights went off in the building.  
 
Pat has arranged the route so we can stop by the Miner's Memorial Park.  
 

It is the final resting place for the bucket from Big Muskie -

Big Muskie was a coal mining Bucyrus-Erie dragline excavator owned by the Central Ohio Coal Company (formerly a division of American Electric Power), weighing 13,500 short tons (12,200 t) and standing nearly 22 stories tall. It operated in the U.S. state of Ohio from 1969 to 1991.

 
 
Although the machine was turned into scrap metal, the bucket was saved and sent here.  
 

The bucket could hold 220 cubic yards of material. It also held a complete marching band at one point and you could park two Greyhound buses inside it.

 
 
The construction facts about it boggles the mind to even think about. But when strip mining and high sulfur coal fell into disfavor, it spelled doom for the big machine.  
 
But time waits for no man or machine, so soon we are blasting our way to Zanesville, our lunch destination.  
 
We sort of sneak in the back way but ...  
 
soon we arrive at the Muddy Misers, which was one of Bill's favorite places.  
 
Some other riders have made in also, so we have a pretty good crowd.  
 

And thanks to Doug, I am introduced to a new culinary experience. He orders up some deep fried green beans for our table and I have to give them a whirl. They are pretty tasty if I do say so myself. I tell him -

"Don't reckon I've ever had them before. You'd think somebody in the South would have come up with the idea instead the North since we fry everything!"

 
 

I get a ribeye sandwich and fries and so do most of the folks at our table. It's pretty tasty also but then there ain't much food that ain't pretty tasty to me.

 
 
After the plates are cleaned, we get together for a group shot. Never have I seen so many lovely roses amongst so many ugly thorns. Miss Helen, Bill's widow is the lovely rose in the pink blouse in the middle.  
 
But I've got 450 miles to do to get back to the Holler this evening, which will put me a bit late. I give hugs around and then make my way back out of Zanesville proper.  
 
I have the forethought to put on my rain gear again before I leave and I am sure glad that I do.  
 
I'm in and out of storm cells just like my return ride from the West a few weeks ago. But at least this time I have on my rain gear which keeps me relatively dry and the water out of my boots.  
 
When I see this up ahead, I know it ain't gonna be pretty ... and it ain't. Once again it seems people freak out in the rain and want to run 20 mph side by side down the interstate. And as it is pouring down in sheets and visibility is at a minimum, I see a few cars that don't even have their lights turned on. I guess it is not dark enough for the automatic light sensor to turn them on and they don't know where to find the switch.  
 

I break out of rain for a while and hit a Pilot for fueling and defueling. While I'm taking a break, a couple of young fellers from Texas pull in towing this old Oldsmobile. I ask them -

"55 or 56?"

"55" he tells me. "I just got it out of my grandpa's barn."

It's in really good shape considering and still has the 55 plates on it. I wish them safety on their trip and I gather myself up and head back to the slab.

 
 
 

I run in and out of some more rain, but arrive in my beloved Holler around 8:30 PM. It's been over 1,000 miles in two days, but it's been well worth it. Bill was a friend and well worth the trip to honor his memory.

 
 

 

 

THE END