Sunday, May 25, 2014

Coast to Coast: Day 18: Cartersville, GA - Macon, GA. Sunday, May 25, 2014

     I woke up extremely tired at about 5:30 in the morning. I couldn’t budge. Beaufort, South Carolina was only 350 miles away, so I figured the ride was short enough to tackle with a few extra hours. I just fell back asleep.

     I got up again at around 8:30. This time, I had just enough energy to crawl out of my broken tent and pack my bike. I went to the camp office to make sure my late registration was kosher. The manager told me that the tent spots were actually under renovations, and so I wasn’t going to be charged for the night. Sweet.

     Along my way, I pulled up next to an older motorcyclist who had a 1978 BMW r80/7. It was in great condition, but we didn’t talk too long before the light turned green.

     I was about 80 miles outside of Atlanta, Georgia in Macon when my motorcycle started vibrating again. Georgia roads are the worst in the country. The vibration wasn’t too bad, but I felt it could still use some attention. I pulled off to a Shell station, and check my chain. The manual called for ¾” of slack, but I had about 1 ¼” of slack.

     I thought it would be a simple fix. I just needed to adjust the tension bolts on the back of the bike, except I should have had it on the center stand because there was too much load on the rear tire. As a result, when I went to tighten the chain (which I did too much) the wheel popped far back so the chain was under extreme pressure. The load was so strong that I bent the tension bolts as I was trying to turn them to get it back in working order. My bike wasn’t going anywhere.

     I searched up every motorcycle repair shop in Macon, but they were all closed on Sundays. Tomorrow was Memorial day, so nothing was going to be open for another two days. I painstakingly pushed my 500 pound bike with 75 pounds of gear under heavy chain pressure to the hotel next door and parked it near the entrance of the hotel. I couldn’t push it uphill to an open parking spot by myself since the pressure on the chain was just too great.

     I tried to buy a room for two nights at the Palm Tree Inn Extended Stay. All of my information was in the system, but when I reached for my wallet, it was gone.

     I went back to the gas station, but it wasn’t in the parking lot. I asked the gas station attendant if anyone brought it in, and she said no. Finally, I saw a black rectangle in the street. I picked it up, and sure enough, I had my wallet back. I kicked myself for putting it on the seat of the bike instead of securing it in the tank bag.

     I paid for the two night stay and checked in to my room. It was dirty and in desperate need of a renovation. There were some holes in the wall. The grubby, old air conditioning unit struggled to keep the room cool. The sheets were stained and there were dead bugs in it. There was even a tube television. I haven’t seen one of those in a while. The carpet was also stained and dirty. The fire alarm had been removed and was on the desk. The bathroom was moldy and there were no towels of any sort. I wasn’t going to shower here.

The crappy room I lived in for two days 

Only the best at the Palm Tree Inn Extended Stay

     I’m sure at one point when the hotel was a Motel 6 that it was half decent, but now it was a mess. Cigarette butts lined the floor of the “nonsmoking” hotel. There was trash everywhere. I was thankful I couldn’t smell, but the air still made me dizzy.

     I brought out a dirty cart to my bike, unloaded my stuff, and brought everything in. The first thing I did was check on my computer to see that the hotel had Wifi. The concierge didn’t mention wifi, so I really hoped that I would have access to the internet. I was going to be here for a while.

     Nope, nope, nope. The hotel didn’t have Wifi, and I went through all of the hot spots in the area, but they were all secured. I tried to use my phone as a 3G hotspot for my computer, but I needed to purchase an extension from Verizon. Finally, I tried accessing my journal on my phone, but the file was too large to transfer through 3G. I really shouldn’t have uploaded the pictures until I was done.

     I made one last ditch effort to check the local hotspots again. I tried the Wifi of “Motel 6”, and to my surprise, popped up on my open browser. Thank you, Motel 6, for living on after the hotel staff killed you long ago. Since I had so much time, I crawled in to bed and took a four hour nap. Like I said before, time is a luxury and I only eat and sleep just as much as I need to to function.

     Of course when I got up, I was really hungry. I walked about a mile and a half by the side of the road to a Longhorn’s Steakhouse. I ate a 16 ounce prime rib in no time, and then walked another mile and a half back to the hotel.

     I witnessed a drug deal just outside the motel on my way in. If there were as many mechanics here as there were drug dealers, I would have been in good shape. I wasn’t that lucky though. Since I had so much extra time, for the first time during my journey, I actually spent time relaxing. No racing the clock to the next campsite. No talking to strangers. No worrying; at least that’s what I told myself.

     I was a bit concerned when one of the patrons even asked what my colors were. I didn’t realize it at the time, but he was asking what gang I belonged to. Apparently, there was a gang staying in this hotel a few rooms over. Whatever, I had no beef with them.

     I looked up online at the reviews for this hotel. They started to scare me, so I just closed my browser and pretended everything was fine. I was really scared though. I don’t think I had ever felt that unsafe in my life.

     I considered leaving, but I wouldn’t be able to push my bike up the hill to get it out of the parking lot. It was stuck here, and I wasn’t going to leave my motorcycle. I called my sister, because she usually helped me feel better. The conversation only made me feel worse, as my bike breaking down could mean that I miss her high school graduation party.

     At the very least, I found it easy to fall asleep. It had been a long and terrible day.

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