There is something exciting and frightening about having a visitor that you have never met come to stay. The exciting part is actually getting to "see" someone face to face that you have been talking to through email, Skype, or phone calls for over a year. The frightening part is what are you going to do with this person while they are here and will you actually get along with them.
So Roger of All Things Rogey fame was coming to visit after Christmas. While he gave me months of warning, of course I wait to clean house until the last minutes. Which would have been semi-okay if that cleaning didn't actually cause the swapping of two rooms in the house. Oh well. Oilburner and I got as far as we could in the process and what would be, would be after that. No one ever died, in my house, of a few piles of magazines and a little dust. (My mother's mortification doesn't count...)
Right off the bat, Roger proves his usefulness by catching an earlier flight from L.A. Meaning that I could pick him up at 8 from the airport, instead of 10. Yeehaw. This also meant that we could take him to our favorite Malaysian restaurant for dinner. Too bad that was about the best food we ate for the time he was here.
Nothing was planned for Friday. Anticipating that he might want to sleep a goodly portion of the day. But a much delayed response to a text message (from before Christmas) had us scheduling a meeting with a bike in North Georgia. Roger was dragged along, getting to be the first person to ride this new, odd bike. He was also uniquely introduced to redneck, backwoods Georgia during mud and hunting season. Resulting in the start of many gun control discussions.
With his only nutritional requirement of the entire trip being "BBQ", we took him to a local joint for dinner that has given us mixed feelings. They did nothing to change our opinion of them this time around, unfortunately. The night was salvaged with a trip into downtown Atlanta to a great pub with live music. We had an in since a riding buddy is good friends with the musician. So during breaks we were regaled with stories from a recent Rock Cruise she was on.
Saturday saw us hitting the road for Savannah. One thing Roger has said in the past to me is the intrigue of being able to ride so many miles in a day due to our highways, interstates, and abundant land! Well...he was introduced to this first hand today. We took the longer, more scenic route going through much farmland and a few small cities. This gave him the opportunity to understand the distances the U.S. has to offer, with the wide open spaces. He promptly fell asleep, not enjoying the "boring" roads.
He perked up quickly though when he was given the opportunity to drive the rental car. Yeah, he wasn't gonna turn that one down at all. And he did quite well, negotiating a couple of turns, dealing with stop signs and stop lights.
Savannah is a beautiful city with so many things to see and do. We spent time shopping, looking around the squares at the architecture, taking the tour bus to save our footsies, and plenty of underwhelming food. Meh. Tourist season (for New Years) brought out the mediocre food.
The highlight of the trip was were we stayed. I found a cottage through AirBnB that was spectacular. Laura's Cottage, built in the late 18th Century, was a great backdrop for the trip. An original, authentic cottage, used in quite a few films, and featured on many local ghost tours. I found it interesting that we were staying in a cottage that was older than the inclusion of New Zealand into the fold of the British Empire (in 1840). Hmmm...
Remind Roger to tell you the story of his addition to the ghost tours...
We decided to change our plans and leave New Year's Eve instead of New Year's Day. This allowed us to set some fireworks off with a neighbor to ring in the New Year. Nothing says "Welcome" like blowing up some black powder.
New Year's Day was very wet, with rain all day. It was spent mostly indoors following Roger around the shopping mall. I was good for awhile and shopped a little. I picked some work pants and shirts out for Oilburner. (Don't say I never shop for you!) I had fun watching Roger's jaw drop at the sheer volume of camo gear and guns on display in Bass Pro Shops. He just couldn't get over the guns that could be touched, and that the gun counter was the busiest place in the entire store. After awhile I couldn't take anymore and roosted on benches outside of the stores while he went in and browsed. I swore he ditched me at the Nike store. I couldn't see how he was in there so long! But I wasn't about to go looking for him. He could text me when he was done.
Only one trip had to be made to the car to drop bags off. A second trip would have been in order, but we were so close to completing the loop of the mall. Instead, I offered to take the bags and let him finish the last shop while I waited in the car. Ahh...got lots of reading done. And Roger made up for the empty space and shallow poundage of his suitcase.
The rest of the days were a blur. Roger crossed state lines into Alabama to visit Barber Museum. We went to a local gun range and let him fire a couple handguns. (Take that second amendment, Roger!) Attended our local Shakespeare Tavern, preview night for "The Tempest". He was even allowed to swing a leg over the coveted R1200R bike...letting him ride a motorbike on the "right" side of the road. Poor guy, having to test a new bike on a new side of the road, with new rules for stop signs that are foreign to him, all under threat of death if anything happened to my bike. He performed rather well given the pressures. :)
Throughout all of this we talked, laughed, and drank. We swapped riding stories, riding roads, political views, second amendment rights, sports (woefully lacking on our side), independent wealth, and living a life on a bike. Roger, thank you for visiting and bringing a breath of fresh air, making New Zealand come alive. I hate you now that I have to go back to work, when all I can do is daydream about Lake Taupo, Cape Reinga, Mount Aspiring National Park, living off my bike while traveling across the U.S., heck traveling across the world.
Godspeed in your travels in San Francisco. I don't think it will be difficult for you. Hope to see you on your side of the pond rather soon. :)