Wednesday, June 17, 2009

The Tale of There and Back Again - Day 1

I said my goodbyes to my Honey and left Orleans at 0720hrs, Friday morning, 05 June. Baby had 53,705km on the clock. It was a beautiful morning. Sunny and still slightly cool, with a mild breeze. I took my time cruising down Innes Rd., which I would stay on until I met up with the turnoff for the Anderson Road, by the Correctional Facility. From there I followed my usual route to the 416, which was via Eighth Line to Ramsayville Road, to Mitch Owens, to Manotick.

At about 0800 I stopped in at Tim's in Manotick for a small double-double and a blueberry fritter... a favorite of my late friend's, Spider. I could feel the temperature beginning to creep higher. I was debating putting on my Joe Rocket ballistic nylon pants for the highway section of the journey, which would last for the remainder of the day. I had also realized that after much preparation and downloading of good ol' road tunes, I had gone and left my iPod at home... D-Oh!!! *Sigh!!*

0851- My departure becomes later and later. I'm at the junction of Mitch Owens and John Quinn Road. I had phoned my better half from Tim's and she had kindly volunteered to meet me halfway and bring out my iPod. That was so sweet of her. It seems at this point that I'll be riding until at least 2000hrs tonight, in order to make up for lost time. While I waited for her to arrive, I donned my JR riding pants. I wanted all the protection I could get for this first leg of the trip.

0900- I now have my iPod and was able to get another last hug and kiss for luck from my Honey. I am now actually on my way. At Manotick I turned left onto the Rideau River Road and followed it all the way until it crossed the 416 near the Veteran's Memorial Park.

I recall how wonderful it was pulling off the exit on the 401 for the 1,000 Islands Parkway at around 1000hrs. I knew it would slow me down some but I didn't want this whole first day to be nothing but 'work'. I was not disappointed. Traffic was almost non-existent as Baby and I purred along the deserted and sunlit Parkway.

1030- Pulled off the Parkway for my first fill-up. We are at the gas station at Narrows Lane Rd. The river's surface is calm and sparkling. It's just beautiful. Paid my bill inside and grabbed a bottle of water, which I half drained before heading out again.

My next stop following that was for the US Border Crossing at the other end of the 1,000 Island Bridge. I'm gonna have to guesstimate that that was around 1100hrs or so. He asked me where I was bound for and I launched into my dissertation. He looked at me, then past me... "And you're going by yourself...??" "Why, yes...", I replied. He seemed to think that riders didn't do that type of stuff anymore. To be truthful, I don't suppose too many do nowadays. But I ain't everyone... I was almost tempted to relate my solo trip to Daytona, but then thought better of it. Hell, I had places to go and things to see...

I stopped very briefly at the welcome centre which is just after the border crossing. I took a quick picture of it and deeked inside to pick up another bottle of water, after finishing off my first one outside.

1245- Stopped at the rest area 15 miles outside of Syracuse, NY. My Honey and me had stopped here a couple of times before and being here without her, made me miss her all the more. I was feeling a little melancholy but was determined to push on. I phoned her to let her know where I was and that everything was fine so far.

Back on the road, I had decided to take I-481 to bypass Syracuse itself. Yes, the thought was there to grab some lunch at the famous Dinosaur Bar-B-Q, but the thought of fighting with midday traffic in the city's centre was not an amusing one. Baby and I sailed on... Binghamton was only a paltry 65 miles distant.

1535- Stopped at the visitors' welcome centre, just inside the Pennsylvania State line. They had a touching memorial to their local military folks who had made the supreme sacrifice, set up just outside the centre itself. I paid my respects and took a couple of photos. Picked up some pamphlets from the centre and had a water break. Again, I phoned home to give her an update.

As I headed back out onto I-81, I discovered that Pennsylvania is a State that is still under construction. As we approached Wilkes-Barre, traffic simply stopped. It took an hour of inching forward before we discovered that the reason for this bottleneck was a simple merge from 2 lanes down to 1. We remained in one lane for about 4 or 5 miles. This was the first of many such merges. My schedule was really out of whack by now. I had no idea how far I would make it.

1815- Stopped for gas about 60 miles North of Harrisburg, PA. It doesn't look as though I'll make Virginia tonight. Oh well... Many rain clouds moving in too. Am dressed for the WX. Charge!! A hot bath will be great tonight...

As I hit Harrisburg, PA the rain started. Not long after that, I noted that my headlight was not doing a thing as far as visibility went. It then dawned on me that my low beam had packed it in, not too long after we had crossed the Maryland State line. I then proceded on my high beam for the remainder of the night's trip. Thankfully Baby still also had her passing lamps, which could create virtual daylight at the flick of a switch...

2118- Pulled into the Super 8 Motel in Hagerstown, MD. Holy crap, I'm tired. Got a military discount from the manager. Unloaded the bike and dragged everything to the 2nd floor. Nice enough room, clean, comfy and well appointed. Ordered some Chinese from a local restaurant and phoned home to provide a sitrep. The rain was steady from Harrisburg, PA to here. Am only 65 miles from Front Royal, VA. Not too bad... Time for a shower, some food, then sleep. Must check WX for tomorrow and Monday.

Note: The Chinese food arrived from the China King Restaurant (164 N.Burham's Blvd.). It was hot, delicious and there was enough to feed a good-sized subdivision. Yummm!! MSG is gooood!

I ate what I could of the delicious fare, while viewing something mindless on TV. I then collapsed until 0600 the following morning.

So much for Day 1...

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