Sunday August 12th - Chrome's Reflections

Well, we did it, we did it. We said that we would do it and we did it, we did it (with apologies to the lyricist of My Fair Lady).

I was telling Bill and Alice at breakfast that these first mornings after the rides remind me of the nights when the show is all packed on the truck and the doors close. There's a vague sense of longing and loss as you watch the truck drive away. You've made new friends and renewed some old friendships, but now, just when you get into the groove of the gig, it's over, and you go your separate ways. 

I woke up this morning and for the first time in 9 days I didn't have to lead a group of bikes across the land (which is probably a good thing after last night's conviviality, but that's another story...). 

I woke up and went down to breakfast in the hotel dining room, and didn't see a horde of familiar sunburned faces, perched atop various forms of black gear, including the ubiquitous LRLR shirts. 

I woke up and didn't have a feeling of needing to rush to pack the bike so that I could make the casual round of checking in with everyone to make sure they were feeling good and ready to ride. 

For the first time in many days, I'm at a loss for something to focus my complete attention on. 

"Ninth by Northwest" has come to a close. 

Alice and I will spend today with her sister, brother-in-law Nate, and the World's Greatest Nephew™ in Ballard. Alice's Dad is flying in from Austin, so it will be good to see him again as well. I leave tomorrow morning, and will point the bike eastward at some hour hopefully before sunrise, and definitely before Seattle rush hour. 

I may have mentioned that this is the last cruise for the Queen Anne's Revenge, the bike I have come to know and appreciate so well over the last 65,000 miles. Soon it will belong to someone else, and may have a new name as well. I called it Barca Lounger for a long time, but that didn't seem to fit. The more Alice and I toured on it, especially with the LRLR, the more it seemed like the flagship of some ragtag pirate outfit, setting sail for points unknown and treasures undiscovered. Just like the original QAR, Edward Teach's flagship, our mechanical companion has served us well as we've come to know those points and discover those treasures. 

Our greatest discovered treasure is the friendships we've made because of this ride. 

I'll be blogging my way back east, if only to try and come up with adequate words to express my profound gratitude to the riders for once again trusting me to lead them and keep them safe. 

Alice and I won't be leading for at least the next 3 years as others step in and take over routing for the upcoming rides. Allow me to say that any success we've had in putting this together is due in major part to my beautiful bride. 

At last night's final group meeting, we talked about the outline for the next four rides, and they look pretty special from where I sit. For now, we'll just let you know that the next one's theme is "Ten Great Years, Five Great Lakes!". 

I can't wait!

That's it for now. I'll let the photos below tell the story. Click on any of them to enlarge, then scroll through. 

Never forget why we do this. Take a moment to donate to our charities.


P.S. Happy 24th Birthday to our son Matt "Superfly" Williams. Missed you on this one buddy!



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