As promised, a little more about my trip back home.
As I often do at the end of August, I head back into my home state of West Virginia to visit the family. Two reasons–these are the weekends of my family reunions, and the weather usually makes it pretty easy. No snow or particularly bad weather over the mountains, you see. Start going that way later in the year, and even if it’s gorgeous in the lowlands, you may have to contend with whiteout or fogout with slippery ice.
So, end of August is a nice time to head over, though I often get poured on when hurricane remnants blow through.
Or just plain hurricanes. Two years ago (has it been that long already???) when I first got my bike, I rode in–and that was, naturally, through the hurricane that seemed to pop up just in time for my trip. That was a very, very wet and windy ride… However, it gave me a lot of confidence in myself and my bike. I don’t think I’ve traveled in anything worse than that… though I will generally eschew traveling through thunderstorms, or in icy conditions. Rain is okay, cold is okay, but unless you just have to, I don’t think exposing yourself to lightning (esp in the mountains) is a good idea. Nor ice.
A motorcycle is a tool. A tool for traveling–and generally you should use a tool for it’s best use.
But anyway… my trip.
The trip out was pretty uneventful. I drove my brother’s red Del Sol out, because it was that time of year again. Ah, yes, that is the other reason I came in. His tags and inspection run out each August for that car, so it needed to come back home and get re-upped with each. And since I had been the primary user for the year (he had his Buick up in DC), I felt is was my responsibility to take it back and get those things taken care of. In addition, my new roommate, Chris, asked to use my truck to help move in whilst I was gone, aaaannnnndddd, my brother was giving up his Buick to our youngest brother, so had to drive that back to WV (otherwise he could’ve driven the Del Sol back, you see).
All of which means that instead of riding my moto out that way, I took the little red car, “Nikita.” (What–you don’t name your cars? 🙂 )
It was nice to see everybody–I hung out at both my mom’s house and my dad’s. It was good to see my mom and youngest brother Chris and his friends, and my dad and stepmom Susan.
My nephew is a monster! He’s such a cool, intelligent kid. He learned to swim this summer, so a trip with him to the pool was mandatory.
We had good fun, and I got to teach him the Fireman’s Carry, as used in wrestling. He’s looking to start wrestling as a sport this year (he’s in sixth grade–11 years old), so this was a fun move. He’s a bit over four feet tall, and very very strong for his age. He was able to carry me in Fireman’s Carry in somewhat shallow water. He actually weighs more than me, by the way.
But I’m pretty strong, too, so I hefted him a bunch of times, but he is heavy enough that I could feel it later in my neck and shoulder (he’s like, 240 lbs or more, I think he told me). But it was great fun. And of course, I’m pretty amphibian, so any chance to be in, on, or under the water is good for me.
Of course, any trip back home is not a trip unless we go to the range at my dad’s employee park. I went several times, with different mixes of people.
About each time, we saw deer on the range (“Home, home on the range, where the deer and the antelope play–but not wisely :)” )
I think our second time, we took Gabe (my nephew of the Fireman’s Carry) and he got to shoot a boy’s-sized .22 single shot. He’s pretty good with it. He also shot my dad’s Thompson/Center in .17 HMR. That’s a wonderful gun. My dad had made a neat contraption that was a horizontal board with clothespins on it, to hold clay pigeon targets vertically on it. Like so: |_O_O_O_O_O_O_|
The two stakes on the side (made with rebar) stuck into the ground to hold the horizontal plank about a foot off the ground. Like I said, a neat and fun contraption.
The Thompson .17 shot super well. At 25 meters I was easily hitting the clays from standing, and even the fragments left over. My last shot was at a fragment that was the thin edge of the rim left over of a clay. My dad said that I would be wasting ammunition, but I actually rested the weapon on a support and popped it. Heh-heh…
He had another Thompson/Center handgun (the .17 HMR was actually put together as a rifle, with a longer barrel and rear stock) in a good deer cartridge–7-30 Waters. A good shooting gun, that both he and my brother Dave liked, but I found that I couldn’t use it very well. Oh well.
One of the T/Cs was an “Encore,” the other a “Contender G2,” I think. Sorry, I don’t remember which was which (the T/Cs have interchangeable barrels and such, and don’t remember how each was configured). The .17 HMR had a composite stock and the 7-30 Waters had a wooden stock. They are both beautiful, and beautifully made. They have an “old-world” dueling pistol sort of look to them, as you can see by the links, and are definite craftsman-like pieces.
One of the times we went, with a different mix of people, I ended up shooting some interesting handguns, including a “Broom-Handle Mauser.”
So that was fun, and it’s good to get my shoot on.
The reunion itself was quite nice, with several of my mom’s side of the family driving from quite some distance away to come to it.
At some point, my retired father started to earn his keep:
Gotta keep him active, you know, in his sunset years…. Man–what a son I am, looking out for him like that… 😀
Of course, we also visited my 97 year old grandmother.
And speaking of keeping active; I did, as indicated below, hit the kettlebells several times whilst I was home. So there…
The way back was beautiful, though it was a tight squeeze to fit both my brother Dahood and I into the little Del Sol. Actually, we fit well enough, and we both packed lightly knowing that we’d be coming back in the little two-seater, but we were concerned with weight. The two of us together already (allegedly–I haven’t seen the specs on it, but my bro tells me so) overload the carrying capacity, let alone any cargo. Apparently, the designers designed the thing for two 150 lb bodies plus a couple of bags of groceries.
But we had no trouble with driving, though Dave said that he could feel it in the turns a bit. We came back through mountains up through Grafton (so he could pay his city bills and such for his home there), then out through twisty-turny Route 50 until we got over to the turn-off to Thomas and Davis. Thereupon we headed to Corridor H, which gave some bee-yoo-tiful views until we got off that and eventually into Virginia and then the 66/81 Interstate. We did, in fact, have the top off for much of the way. And it was good.
All in all, a good trip. See y’all next year…