From the very start of this blog I have striven to keep it motorcycle related in content. Initially I had planned on doing two blogs, this one and another that would be more personal or family related. The truth is though that it has been more difficult and time consuming to do this one than I had imagined so starting a second one just hasn't happened. Yet. ;) This entry will stray away from the motorcycle only content so that I can share what turned out to be a very special visit with my family.
The whole fam Damily, well those that could make it anyway...
For a better look at the reunion and the family in general you can visit a Facebook page entitled "McCrary Family Reunion!" that my cousin Megan started. It can be accessed here: http://www.facebook.com/home.php?#/group.php?gid=191097169748&ref=mf . There are a lot of photos along with some dialog that will make most people wonder about the sanity of some of our family members. You have to be a member of facebook to access it and please be forewarned, I have some crazy girl cousins (whom I love dearly and am scared silly of...) that are quite a handful.
The remaining children of Joseph Beecher McCrary Sr.
"Sister Jane", "Junior", and Mary Jo.
We both are members of an Internet based organization called the "Motorcycle Tourers Forum" ( http://www.mctourer.com ). The MTF is a web site that is dedicated to the long distance rider and many of the members are IBA members. Each year the MTF organizes rides for those wanting to make an attempt at becoming part of the IBA at various locations across the country. Because the MTF and IBA work together to make this as seamless as possible for the riders Bryan and I both thought this would be the best way for us to try our hand at it. As luck would have it one was scheduled in Charlotte on June 27th.
"Three generations of McCrary men. Is the world ready for it?"
As soon as we found out about it I made arrangements at work to be off that Saturday and the planning began! We knew what the route was going to be so using Microsoft's Street and Trips program I started checking mileages to see where our proposed stopping points would be. I wanted to know as much about the route as possible in order to be totally prepared! This was going to be epic!
Bryan and his Granddaddy McCrary.
During the spring I got a call from Dad telling me that this was the year of the "big" McCrary family reunion held in Georgia every five years. He told me that he was planning on making the trip and hoped that Julie, Bryan and I would be able to make it too. I choked when he told me the date... June 27th.
What can I say? Family comes first. So we started making plans to be there.
Dad and his wife Eleanor.
There would actually be two reunions, the first on Saturday for the kids of my Granddaddy, Joseph Beecher McCrary Sr., and their families which would be held outside of Thomaston at the home and farm of my cousin Glenn Ward and his wife Danell. Then on Sunday the big five year reunion would be held on a piece of property owned by "Buster" McCrary close to the old home place outside of Molena.
Cousin Glenn Ward and his wife Danell.
Since we wanted to be there both days we would need to leave on Friday and then return on Monday. We tried to book a room for all three nights in Warm Springs close to where Dad and Eleanor would be staying but the hotel was booked Friday night. However, Julie was able to get us a couple of rooms in Griffin using her hotel points. So the plan was to leave as early Friday as we could, spend the first night in Griffin, then the rest of the week-end in Warm Springs. That way we could hitch a ride with Dad and Eleanor back and forth to the reunions. See, Bryan and I were determined to ride down even though it was going to be pushing it time wise to get there before dark, not to mention that this would be the last trip that Julie and I would be making on our beloved Nomad. We had decided to trade it on another bike and it couldn't be ready before this trip, so this would be the Nomad's last ride with us.
'Mmmm... this is good!'
We took the long way from Warm Springs back to Thomaston, then rode out on Ga Hwy 36 through the booming metropolis of "The Rock, Georgia" (it really is a town) and on up to Ga Hwy 16 outside of Griffin. now we would be back tracking on one of the roads we came in on, but this time it was during the day so we could see! We stayed on 16 all the way into Sparta (remember the TV show "In the Heat of the Night"?) then went north on 15/77 into Siloam where we stopped for fuel at the intersection of I-20 and Hwy 77. Now in my mind we were going to go on up Hwy 77, then work our way over to South Carolina on Hwy 44 and US 376. But it wasn't to be.
'I mean real good!'
The slow wandering pace was eating up too much time and Bryan was wanting to get back home before too late in the day. He wanted to get on the Interstate and get on to the house, suggesting that Julie and I go on through 'the woods' and enjoy ourselves. But rule number one is to never separate, so I pointed the Nomad east bound on I-20 and put it in the wind.
'I'd offer to share, but I don't think there's enough.'
Once again we found ourselves running like the big trucks, hammer down on the super slab. We stopped for lunch outside of Augusta and again for fuel just north of Columbia, South Carolina. From there we didn't stop again until we got to the house. After listening to the pipes on the Nomad drone on for so many hours on end my ears didn't stop ringing for days...
'Just one more bite...'
All things considered it was a good trip. We were able to spend time with members of the family that we seldom get to. I got to know my cousins a little better and hopefully we'll make an effort to stay in touch more so than in the past. Several of us are now on facebook together so at the very least I get to read the posts from my girl cousins I mentioned before when they lovingly call each other "bitch".
'Maybe I ate too much...'
In a way I'm disappointed because the last trip on the Nomad was for the most part blasting down the Interstates, but as it did in every other situation we put it in, it performed flawlessly and with out so much as a hiccup the whole time. On the other hand it was fitting that on our last ride it carried us many miles away to see loved ones and family. It has done so many good things for us through the years and has been like a part of the family, so maybe this wasn't such a bad way for our time together to end.
So long old friend...