Charley Barnes Recounts His 10,000 Mile Honor Flight Northern Colorado Endurance Ride – Leg 4 [VIDEO]
Today's story is Leg 4, stage two of the Coast-to-Coast run, on my 10,000 mile Honor Flight Northern Colorado Endurance Ride. Today was the day I'd meet up with my buddy Erik Jon Barrett.
I woke up in Junction, Texas at 11:00 p.m. for a midnight departure that would finally take me out of Texas by sunrise, so I thought. Now don't get me wrong, I have lots of friends in Texas and I don't want to offend anyone, but why anyone lives in 70% of that state is beyond me. Colorado has spoiled me I guess.
After checking out of the hotel and fueling up my iron steed, I hit the road shortly after Midnight with new energy as today was the day I would be meeting up with a very good friend of mine in Hunter, Ohio, Erik Jon Barrett, who would be waiting along the route in Mobile, Alabama to escort me into Jacksonville and be my end witness for the Coast-to-Coast jaunt.
Has anyone ever ridden through Texas, the long way? OMG, that state never ends. It was by far the hardest part of my journey and I am reasonably sure they moved the state line several times just to make it more interesting but alas, the scenery changed East of San Antonio, and Louisiana was dead in my sights.
For the record, I will never, I repeat never, ride through Texas again unless it's in December and I may even change flights if my next one even passes over that state. Again, I'm a Colorado boy and I have nothing but respect for my friends who ride in that misery every single day. I love you all and you all are getting "Cooldana's" for Christmas.
Little did I know "HOT" was still on the way and there would be a point I was wishing I had Texas back again.
The ride was uneventful and hitting the Louisiana state line was a moral booster for sure. It just seemed that Texas had gone on forever and I wasn't making any good time as I still had 4 states ahead of me that day; Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and then Florida.
Who knows how many speeding tickets I avoided that day; 65-70 MPH on the interstate is something I can't comprehend nor compute; I had to take a boot off just to keep track. Erik finally made his way into Mobile, Alabama and sent a text as to his exact locale off I-10 which was still a few hours away.
After meeting up with Erik, we bombed down the road, through the rain and hit the outskirts of Jacksonville around dusk. At this point, I had only about 2 hours to hit my goal of 48 hours even though Iron Butt rules allow for 50, but I hadn't missed a personal goal yet and I'll be damned if this would be the first one missed.
Let's go...whip and ride! John Wayne, Jesse James, Sam Elliott and James Dean all would have been proud.
We hit the parking lot at Jacksonville Beach with about 15 minutes to spare on my 48 hour time clock after getting my ending gas receipt and proceed down to the beach. What a surreal moment; facing to the East and the Atlantic ocean when just 48 hours earlier, I was looking West at the Pacific ocean. I did it...two extreme Iron Butt rides in the bag, with hours to spare on both of them. The best part of this ordeal was my GPS tracker showing Erik and I actually IN the ocean and moving 2 mph.
We hit more rain on our way to find a hotel, some food and much needed rest. I was starting to burn out by this time and the next day would bring a full loop of Florida and into Georgia but I would also be seeing some friends I haven't seen in over a year who wanted to ride a bit with me in Florida.
Alligator Alley...here I come!