Tour of Tater: Adventures with the Flomax Crew
The first night, I roomed with Dan, and the three elder statesmen of the group slept in the next room. Evidently, B.D. snores heavily, but Dan put in a solid effort as well. With all the sleep I got in the car, I stayed up for a few hours to wrap up an issue for work. We left Cape Girardeau around 8:30 and drove a long, 700 mile day through Missouri, Iowa and Nebraska.
Day 3: Nebraska, wrong turn into Colorado, Wyoming, Utah, Idaho (700 miles)
We ate lunch at a little A&W with a large posterboard offering "Cheese Curds: Better Than You Might Expect" or something like that. I had a hot dog, a BLT sandwich and a root beer float for lunch. I'm anticipating losing some weight on a week-long trip riding dirt bikes through the Idaho desert, but I did not account for meals like that. :)
More drama in Wyoming. The next gas stop might lie beyond the horizon, and the horizon is a long way down the road. B.D. had to pee a mile away from the gas stop, so he signaled and pulled the truck over to the side of the road. Bob opened the passenger door to provide some privacy for a quick roadside pee. We got back on the road and hit the gas station, at which point we realized two facts:
- In the other truck, Dan felt confused and annoyed as to why B.D. had suddenly pulled off the side of the road; and
- B.D. hadn't pulled over quite soon enough, and the front of his shorts showed the results of his poor planning.
B.D. was about to walk inside the gas station store, and Dan seemed flabbergasted. "How can you just walk in there like that? You don't have any spare pants?" he asked. B.D. said something about his spare pants being deep inside the trailer and asked why Dan was upset. Dan looked to the rest of us for support and said, "What? My parents raised me to have some ... standards!"
Watching this unfold, I could not hold a straight face. I broke into giggles and soon morphed into a deep coughing fit, holding my stomach and bending at the waist. I felt happy that B.D. had put in a real effort to keep the wagon train rolling forward. You might argue that his methods were unsanitary, but you can't claim that he wasn't trying hard.
This raises another issue, the fact that B.D., Bob and Lloyd call themselves "the Flomax crew." I watch enough television to realize that Flomax is advertised on TV, but I thought it was the product that allowed mothers to cut their kids' hair using a vacuum clipper attachment. It always struck me as strange that the kids in those commercials held huge smiles while getting their heads vacuumed. It turns out that those commercials advertised the Flowbee and that Flomax deals with another, completely different part of the human anatomy.
Flomax helps men in their mature years with enlarged prostates travel longer distances between restroom stops. In practice, I'm not so sure the Flomax crew actually use the product because we seem to stop every two-and-a-half hours.
In spite of the minor personality differences in this group, I can tell everyone brings something to the table, and mutual respect abounds. During last year's adventure, B.D. broke multiple ribs in remote territory. Dan rode his bike 400 miles to retrieve a truck, and then he turned around and drove the truck back. That's friendship. These guys have known each other for 17 years, and we all take the little kerfluffles and dust-ups in stride.
Day 4: Maintenance in Pocatello
The group arrived in Pocatello, ID today, and I am so excited for tomorrow's ride. Most of us spent the performing bike maintenance in the hotel parking lot and making runs to Wal-Mart and to the hardware store. Jason from Florida totally saved my bacon by bringing a Suzuki DR650 oil drain plug washer--from Florida. He is da man, and I appreciate the fact that Lloyd and Dan thought to ask him to bring the part.
Now my bike only leaks a little oil instead of a whole lotta oil. I think it will be manageable. It's something else to see 16 bikes lined up in the parking lot of the Pocatello Hampton Inn. People kept walking over to us to ask what was going on.
We had a great dinner at a local Italian restaurant called Buddy's. Beth, Bob, Greg, Lloyd, Mark C., Scott and I attended, and it was a fun group. It was good to hang out with my friends from the cross-country trip and to mix in Beth, Mark and Scott for some additional spice. Greg says he is a little worried about me on this trip. The Floribama Riders is one of the few groups that can make a 36-year-old who has ridden to Central America feel like a young pup. My goal this trip is to do well and exceed everyone's expectations. Then I am going to find the only puddle in the Idaho desert and roost Greg's ass.
I am so excited for tomorrow's ride that I can't go to sleep. My roommate tonight is John P., an intellectual, tobacco-chewing good ole boy who listens to NPR and rides motorcycles like a bat out of hell. Sorry, ladies, he is taken. (For my Northern friends, Southern ladies consider these types of traits desirable in their menfolk.) I always thought that John P. and I had some things in common, and I felt vindicated tonight when he admitted he also has a crush on Chana Joffe-Walt of NPR's Planet Money. Ooh, Chana, please reveal today's economic indicator in your sexy public radio voice. Rrrooowrrrr!