I was born on Friday the 13th, it was a very Lucky Day for me, but not so lucky for my poor mother who almost lost her life that day due to complications with my birth. Since then the number 13 has been my lucky number. At school I was a very poor Marble Player (yes, before the Internet and cell-phones and Play Station and TV we played Marbles,) but on the 13th, and specially if it was on a Friday,  I just could not go wrong, I had to get my sister and cousin to help me get all the Marbles back to my house after school.

So the fact this is Leg 13 is great news for me, but I must admit my optimism is slightly dampened by the fact that we will be three members short at the start of this Leg,  : Tex and Dog will not be able to join us tomorrow due to them still recovering from the after-effects of Hurricane Harvey. Tex is still fighting their Insurers after extensive damage and flooding that was caused to the factory and Tex’s house (nice to stay on the bay when the sun is shining, not so nice during a Hurricane with the water level rising several meters.) And Dog’s Police Chief has cancelled all the leave applications until the 15th due to the extended shifts their Unit has to work while dealing with the aftermath of the flooding and storm damage. We hope they will be able to fly to Nashville and collect their bikes by the weekend and then try to catch-up with us (who will probably already be in New York City on route to Canada and Nova Scotia as we hope to be able to do a photo-session with the bikes on Time Square on Sunday and missing two bikes will not make the photo as memorable as I was hoping it would be.)

Milsy used the excuse that he had to fly to China on business, which he did, (he left yesterday morning for 7 days work-trip to China,) but I suspect that the real reason is that he has several family commitments, and as he explained to me once, his three lovely daughters are still very young, (compared to mine and the other guys) and he feels very guilty leaving all the responsibilities to his wife, (but we all actually feel a little guilty when we go on these trips, so Milsy is not alone on this matter, a big Christmas present might help.) I might also mention that he has also just returned from Turkey from a Family Boat Trip, only 1 week ago, so these two trips were just to close together and it would have been very irresponsible of him to come on this leg, I would never have been able to do it either. So old Hennie (who drove our Back-up Vehicle on the Scandinavian Leg and then again on the leg from Laos to Singapore) will be riding Milsy’s bike for this leg.

But apart from the disappointment I mentioned above, I was still optimistic that my Lucky Number 13 will kick-in, but then I noticed that we will be flying on the infamous date : “Nine Eleven” and then I looked at the weather on CNN and saw three other storms after Harvey racing in towards Atlanta where we need to catch our connecting flight to Nashville to collect the bikes. At least it seems that Irma has started slowing down and our Boarding Passes were issued on-line, so it seems I will still have my “Lucky Leg Number 13” which will start in Nashville and end in Buffalo, next to the Niagara Water Falls.