Thursday, June 18, 2009

There and Back Again - Day 5...

Tuesday, 09 June 2009

0444- Sleeping fitfully as my back doesn't much like this bed. Was awakened by a huge peal of thunder. Got up and went to the window to check outside. Am noticing some spits of rain on the window. Went to the bathroom while outside, the thunder continued. (**) Returned to the bedroom and began jotting this down. Looking outside right now, it's pouring! Hope this passes soon and I'll be able to leave around 0600. :(

(**): Originally this passage read: "Went to the bathroom and the thunder continued." My wife read it and laughed herself silly. It has since been edited to read: "Went to the bathroom while outside, the thunder continued".

0620- They are forecasting showers and severe T-storms for the N.Virginia and D.C. areas this morning and again later in the day. I have no idea what the WX is going to be for Pennsylvania or New York State. Guess I'll find out as I go. No real place around here for a good cup of coffee. I'll have to try to grab one along the interstate somewhere.

0730- Baby is dried off and packed. I can feel the humidity out there already. Time to shove off!

0845- Stopped in at the Pennsylvania welcome centre. The WX cleared on the way up from Front Royal. It's overcast but that just makes for better riding. Had an exciting moment while riding through Maryland. A pick-up truck in the opposite lane (Southbound) had it's truck bed liner sucked out and it went sailing up probably some 30 feet in the air, before floating down to the grass median which separates the 4-lane section of the I-81. I have to say I've never seen that in my life! No breakfast yet... Maybe when I stop for gas in Harrisburg, PA.

0900- Guess I lied... Thank God for vending machines. I scored a coffee and a couple of packaged strawberry flavoured donuts for brekkie, right here at the welcome centre. Okay, so it's not the greatest, but it'll be enough to keep me going. :)

0906- Time to roll. As a sidenote, nobody dresses like Americans do. That's all I'm gonna say. :)

1150- Stopped in Hazelton, PA for gas and a coffee. Heavy overcast. Changed into my JR rain gear before heading back out onto I-81. Don't know how far to Binghamton yet... (NY State). By the way, there seems to be a Steve & Barry's store here. (?)

1310- The rain continues to hold off. I'm about 30 miles from Binghamton, NY though still in PA. Nice rest stop here. The next one is in 33 miles (inside NY State). Am taking the rain gear off as it's now sunny again and hotter than Hell. Need water and a butt break.

1430- Stopped for fuel and a burger in Binghamton, NY. (It was actually 40 miles from the last rest stop in PA). Syracuse is only 69 miles from here!! :) The winds here are ferocious! They have to be topping 40-50mph. It's a bit of a strain on the ol' bod but being this close, there's no way I'm going to slow down my pace.

1500- Lunch is over. Time to go...

1600- Took the I-481 and bypassed Syracuse proper. Stopped on the ramp where it rejoins the I-81 and turfed one of my pairs of riding glasses. The foam has come unglued at the base of the lense on the inside and it renders them a nuisance and a liability. I pitched them as far as I could throw them into a field on the side of the road. I'll get a better pair once I get home.

1635- Am now past Watertown. Only 35 miles to go to the 1,000 Island Bridge...

1715- Have just cleared customs and am back on Canadian soil. The winds have finally abated somewhat. Contrary to my expectations, I did not have to go through every piece of kit and clothing that I had onboard Baby. I related my travels to the Customs official, enumerated the list of souvies I had picked up, their approximate value and was waved through. Nice... :)

1835- Landed at Tim Horton's in Brockville, after having traveled the 1,000 Island Parkway and then Hwy 2. You know I'm stopping for a small double-double. Called home to let my Honey know where I was. She sounded very happy to have me so close. :)

I decided to stay on Hwy. 2 and roll along the riverside for a while. I will take the 416 when I get around Prescott.

2000- As I pulled off the 416 onto the Rideau River Road, I stopped to put my rain pants back on. There was a fine rain falling, softening the contours of the greenery around us and giving everything this amazingly fresh smell. We're taking this last stretch real casual like. Nothing over 80kmh. It's a nice, lazy kind of pace. That seems to be what I've gotten used to from my recent trip. Slow and easy. Before long we were nearing Manotick and we banked right onto Mitch Owens. I am reliving the day I started out on this journey. I passed the intersection of John Quinn Road, where my wife had met up with me in order that I might have my tunes on this trip...

2045- I have arrived home. The garage door was open and my Honey was waiting for me. With 57,013km on the clock and a total of 3,308km traveled, it has been the best road trip of my life so far. I can hardly wait to go again...



Thursday, 11 June 2009.

- As I was straightening out the garage this morning, finishing the unpacking of tools and saddlebags, I looked at Baby as she sat there. She is dirty, bug spattered and in need of a good wash and some TLC. How fortunate I am to have her. She is much more than a simple vehicle of conveyance. She is a time machine.

I thought back to only days ago now, when she was resting atop the Skyline Drive as we both took a break from yet another wonderful stretch of roadway. What a marvellous adventure we have both shared... There can be no more compelling reason for someone to learn how to ride, or to get back into it after a long hiatus, than the description of these last few days of travel and adventure. This is what these marvellous iron steeds are made for. There is so much to see out there. So much to discover...

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