OK, it's actually the day after the finish line but, I was tired.
The morning started out at 0630 hrs with a less than stellar breakfast in the hotel lobby, no waffles!! So I then took my time loading Vanessa, it was about 7C and I could see my breath. So if I packed slow it might warm up before we got going. Not so much. But the riding gear helps and it was not foggy out so everything stayed pretty much dry.
I proceeded North out of Missoula, MT on some very nice, slightly twisty typical Montana roads. The scenery was also typical Montana, if you have been there, you know exactally what I am talking about. I followed the Flathead river for quite a bit of the way. The time did seem to be flying by and at each intersection it seemed like the US/Canada border was getting closer. I looked as though with this pace I might be at the border at about noon. (ahead of schedule!!)
My concern was that the later in the day that I got to the Kootney Bay Ferry, north of Creston, the possibility of not finishing was higher because of the long weekend traffic delays, might delay the finish time of arrival.
Anyway, at this rate I had no worries, but there was in the back of my head the fear of mechanical failure or rider error causing damage to the bike. So I took it very easy on Vanessa and we in turn took it very easy on the very twisty road. We just enjoyed the sunshine, the road, and the fact that this rally was coming to an end.
The more that I started to think about the end of the rally, the sense of completion started to build inside of me. And an incredible sense of satisfaction, I set out to do something and I had.... well not yet!!
I was really enjoying the road, watching for any problems, getting closer to the ferry, I really started to worry... I feared that I was being over cautious now and that might screw something up. Finally the ferry sign makes it's appearance and I am in line waiting for the ferry. Only about 35 KM left after the ferry.
I found a couple of other TFC riders and they were setting a good pace for the last bit into Nelson, Excellent.
All oof the sudden we are turning into the Hotel parking lot, Holy Crap, I/We have done it,, we have finished the 2012 Three Flags Classic. I sort of go into a bit of shock, I'm trying to find a parking stall, trying to figure where the entrance to the hotel is, trying to remember to take the passport in.... Just hurry up Carl... get it done, all you need is the stamp in the passport and it's official...
As I am making my way to the entrance of the hotel, I see a familiar face, It's Doug. Doug was one of the three in our little group that did the TFC in 1982. He had said he would try to be at the finish, but I had not heard from him confirming, so I was not expecting hime. What a great sight. It meant alot to me that he had made the effort to be there. Doug has not changed, for those that know him, he is still the same Doug.. Outgoing, friendly and can and will talk to anyone. He had already found and met people while waiting for me. He had the place scoped out and walked me to the check in room. Very cool.
I find the check in room, get my passport stamped, get my completion package and I am standing outside the hall, it hits me.... it's over, all that riding, all the experiences, all the sights, over.... and short of Doug (which again was really cool) no fan fare, no bells... it's just over... I am kind of sad.... Happy, very happy that I have accomplished this but sort of sad that it is over...
Doug and I have an opportunity to catch up for a bit, I need to check into my hotel down the street, we agree to meet there. I need to get out of my hot riding clothes and get some lunch/supper. We decide on a place down town, I have been there before (Doug did not know this when he picked it) It's the same bar that the movie Roxanne was filmed in. (Frank Juhasz and I had been there in 1985 just days after they finished filming the movie.
Back to the hotel, call the lovely Marilyn. And fall asleep.
Some personal thoughts...
i am finished the 2012 TFC rally...
Vanessa and I had a great trip, we still have to get home, but she did it, she did not let me down, she demanded some attention every once and awhile, but together we did it. Thank you Vanessa.
Marilyn asked if I was happy, happy that I did it, absolutely. Happy that it is over... still working on that. Happy to have gained some more memories, without a doubt.
Did I enjoy myself, yes I did, there were times, when my butt was sore and my muscles complaining that no one should have to sit on a motorcycle for that many miles/hours, but weighed against the satisfaction... I enjoyed myself.
I met new friends whom I shared an experience with, that's extremely satisfying and brings about a sense of belonging, we did it, we rode the same ride... we did it.
So, does this end??? nope... I still have to tell you about the ride we did today, and the Banquet... really cool stuff there.... I almost cried... not really...but I had a moment....
Stay tuned stalkers, same bat time, same bat channel.... Your going to like the next installment.