I had to roll out of bed at 4:15 Tuesday morning, June 30, to get to Manchester from Portsmouth in time for the United flight to Chicago -- too early for Dunkin Donuts or any caffeine-dealing convenience stores to be open.
Despite my beating him once at both eight ball and nine ball on Monday night, brother-in-law Ed drove me to the airport in his big Toyota truck. Ed majors in collecting, refurbishing and selling Lionel trains and minors in antique pool equipment -- the kind to play pocket billiards not to swim. In fact, while his office is lined with choice model trains and there are boxes of them stacked in his basement and garage, he actually turned his living room into a pool parlor.
Winning two games on his home table -- out of the dozen we played -- was therefore no small feat. I got lucky at eight ball, but "Nine ball is your game," Ed said. Actually, golf is my game -- the holes are larger and further apart.
Ed admits he gets up this early every other month or so to drive as much as three hours or more to an auction to buy more toy trains; so, getting me to the airport might not have been an unfamiliar sacrifice. Still, I'm grateful for the ride and the hospitality.
The KLR is safely stored under a $20 Walmart motorcycle cover, behind Ed and Betsy's garage where my helmet hangs on a hook to my jacket, which has a fresh coat of waterproofing, which I found at the nearby Harley dealer's. Freshly waterproofed boots are locked in the saddlebags along with riding pants, rain suit, a few tools, a pair of jeans, toilet kit, boot socks, a half-quart of synthetic motor oil, back-support belt, flashlight and other items that I didn't need to take all the way to Hawaii just to come back in a month.
"You ought to do a blog about all this sorting and packing," Betsy said.
I'm taking most of the clothes I brought this trip back home and will bring far fewer when I return. You just don't need a lot -- especially when it's too cold and wet to swim or wear shorts. Of course, that should change by August.