From today, it will be exactly six month until St. Patrick's Day.
A number of people pulled out this morning. Malachi & Corvette headed for Colorado while Debbie, Vickie and Kay went towards Texas. Plaything told Scooter that fourteen hours on the road was not her idea of a one day ride, so they were Chattanooga bound a day ahead of plan. This was her first long haul on the Spyder and she was doing great.
As we were bidding Au Revoir to everyone (that is so much less final than goodbye), Magellan and family headed off to have a quiet ceremony to remember his son-in-law J-POB
, who passed away back in January at the young age of 38. Brian was a smiling face on the VROC circuit for years and we are really going to miss him.
The Texas ladies are leaving
Hot Sauce, Mal, Hang, Zeke and Corvette
J-POB's ride to the bridge
Mal and Corvette heading home
There they go
Once everyone was gone, Zeke and Hang joined Sandy, Sherm and I as we headed over to try the breakfast buffet at the Crescent Hotel. This was the dining room that we jammed 416 VROCers into (capacity was 350 according to the fire department) back in 2001 for a banquet sponsored by Kawasaki as well as the place where, back in 2003, photos showed more orbs
than a Lawrence Welk bubble machine.
At 9:00 AM, there was all kinds of space and nary an orb to be seen in the dining room. The food was well prepared, although we had a little misunderstanding regarding the charges. Unlike any other buffet I have ever attended, there was a separate charge for using the omelette preparation table. Our server was very good looking but could have been a better communicator. We chose not to make a fuss and went on with our day.
Crystal Room at the Crescent Hotel
We got back to the hotel about 11:00 AM and found no one else there. After doing a bit of planning for the trip home, we decided to go for a drive.
The five of us piled back into the Equinox. First stop was War Eagle Mill
, which had been partway underwater during the flooding last fall. The water level was part way up the first floor but it was now fixed up as good as new. This is pretty routine since the mill flooded twice in 2009, once in 2011 and again in 2015.
I did a bad thing and bought some of the unusual candies. Sherm chose peanut brittle made with Tennessee moonshine while I got Jack Daniels pecan pralines and something called Wicked Mix.
War Eagle Mill
The drive line
I should not have bought these
The bridge at War Eagle Mill
The rare undershot water wheel
From War Eagle, we continued on around Beaver Lake to Rogers. It was too early to stop at G@d's BBQ
for lunch so we kept going down the new highway to the east. OK, it's an old highway with a new surface and another lane each way. Before too long, we found ourselves back at the Shortstop in Garfield where we introduced Zeke and Hang to the outrageous ice cream cones.
Meanwhile, back at the Shortstop....
Then we looped around to pay a visit to the world's largest beaver dam before returning to our motel.
Another dam view
The Beaver Dam holding back Beaver Lake
A thoughtful moment
Back at the Stonegate, we started to pack and load up for an early morning departure. Some character showed up with a karaoke machine. Apparently he is a regular and has a deal with motel management but he didn't fit in with our vibe and, after a conversation with a few members, he opted to go elsewhere for the evening.
Supper was the leftovers from Hot Sauce's stupendous feed last night. He made up what he considered to be a mild chili. Us poor Canuckians still found it warm, but the brisket was to die for. No one ever goes hungry when Scott and Margot are around. Thank both of you (and all that helped out) for all you do year after year.
Southern Draw recharging his batteries
So much food, so little time
Gambler digs into the chili
As the sun set on our last gathering of the year, there were goodbyes all around. Many of us would be leaving before first light tomorrow so this was the final adieu. The last run of the season is always bittersweet but we know that, when winter is done, we'll do it all again.
With two long days to get home (Sherm's route was 1,296 miles while we had 1,280 miles), the three of us hit the sack early.
Today's Route (79 Equinox miles):