100CCC SS5K B2B
Day 3 (100CCC): Jacksonville, FL to Ozona, CA
Leg 3 was actually pretty tame. It took a while to shake off the fog and get going again. It takes your body a while to adjust to the sleep schedule that is demanded by a ride like this. We made sure to get 6 hours even though we knew it was going to cut into our time to head back. Didn't matter though as we needed the sleep or at least that's what Charlie kept telling me. I was just staring at him in a big daze nodding my ahead "uh-huh uh-huh".
The morning started off with me getting acclimated to the bike again after being off it for a whole 6 hours. We were on the interstate again and it there wasn't much traffic but we managed to have this Cadillac that just would not leave us alone. He wasn't aggressive but we just couldn't seem to lose him and at that hour of the morning I have little patience. I had set a 100 hour timer that was counting down. It was velcroed to a spot on my right handlebar. As I was working on adjusting my mirror I accidentally knocked it off. I saw it bounce once and nail the front grill of the Caddy. We didn't have a problem with him anymore. Oh well, it was the best $11.44 I ever spent.
The big issue on this leg was going to be Houston afternoon rush hour traffic. There just wasn't anyway around it. When you plan these things you try to take into account traffic, weather, etc. and you can do that to a certain extent but only for so long. We avoided the heat of the desert by starting in the evening and we avoided the rush hour in San Antonio too but morning rush hour in Baton Rouge, evening rush hour in Houston, the deer at night in West Texas, and the day long heat of the desert on the return leg were all things that we were going to have to contend with. You better stay on your toes at those times and just make it go by as quick as possible without letting it get to you. So where was I? Oh yeah, Houston rush hour.
We knew this was coming and we had one shot at the express lane. Charlie knew about it but had made a failed attempt previously or just barely made it. I forget which it was. So Charlie would lead and get us onto it because if we didn't we were screwed. It was in the high 80's low 90's and traffic was building before we got to the lanes. We slowed to make sure we made the lane and I let Charlie stay in the lead as I tried to decipher the stupid signs. There were other express lanes but they were for other roads and that kept throwing me off. We made the split, or so I thought so I was rolling ahead of Charlie when all of a sudden the road split again and I didn't know which way to go. Thanks to my quick cat like reflexes I aimed for the little island right in the middle of the two lanes and jammed on the binders. This allowed Charlie to pick which way and then I would worry about catching up. I'm sure Charlie thought I was going to bite it right into the divider but I had it under control. Charlie blew by me on the left so I looked back over my shoulder to see if the lane was clear and gunned it. Then of course I missed the shift (stupid gear box) and probably slammed that thing into second hard enough to make any seasoned mechanic cringe. No matter, me and the transmission were still in one piece and we were now in the express lane.
As we started to move towards downtown I could not believe that this one lane express lane was moving at 55 MPH while the rest of the lanes were all but grid locked. We would have been miserable if we had not made the express lane. Sooner or later I thought we would come to a stand still also or at least a steady crawl but nothing of the sort like that happened. We kept rolling right through Houston at 55 and never really dropped much lower than that. We cleared Houston and rolled back into the general population. The traffic had cleared up and we were west of Houston. Unbelievable!! I would have never made that choice had I not been riding with someone who knew the city. That had to be one of the biggest saviors of the trip.
The rest of the day we had great weather, good roads, and light traffic. We made excellent time all the way around San Antonio as night fell. As it did I could tell we did a lot of miles and I was ready for more sleep. We had traveled almost 1300 miles at that point and I didn't want to chance west Texas without a good amount of rest. We managed to schedule our gas stop and a hotel in Oconto. The woman working the desk was very nice and was nice enough to sign our receipts to verify that the receipts were an hour off. She use to drive out to west Texas to see her grandchildren but doesn't do it anymore because of the deer and it's too far for her to drive. I didn't like the sound of that as we would be heading out from there when we still had plenty of dark to deal with.
Chapter 7: Day 4 (100CCC): Ozona, TX to San Diego, CA