Friday, October 29, 2010

Oct 27th- the final leg and return home

Heavy winds and rain were battering against the motel room window this morning.  Did not feel like going out.  So i waited a while as i wasn't ex\ctly a rush to get home I knew it would take me about 2 hours to get to today's final destination, and then another 9 hours to get home.  I was looking at 11 hours of riding ahead of me, so i knew i'd have to be 'mentally' prepared for it.

It had stopped raining, but the winds were still there.  I decided to forgo the rain pants and no liners in the overpants.  Just a liner in the jacket should keep me warm.

There was an actual Tim Horton's in town, so i went to that.  I had hoped it was better than the cup-at-a-time machine at the gas station i had last night.

The coffee was still a little 'off' and they didn't have herb and garlic cream cheese. meh.

I headed east to my final destination.  I had mentioned Boston to be my 3rd corner on this trip.  Sure, i could have gone all the way to Maine, but there was nothing there i wanted to see.  I made Boston the 3rd corner for this reason:

a big rock.

A symbolic rock really, but an important one i believe. Plymouth Rock.  This is where the Mayflower landed. A birthplace of America if you will.  A birthplace, not 'thee'

From the motel to this point was about 75miles.  not far, but it was severe winds and rain at times.  Enough so that my boots had saturated and my feet were soaked. I hate that squishy feeling when you walk around with water in boots.

This is where it is currently housed.  It used to be in different places i think... and it's just a fragment of the rock.  Who knows, it's symbolic anyhow.

This is where i would assume the Mayflower would hand landed.                                                                                                                                            

It's a big rock.  You can't touch it and it's 20+ feet away. yip.
meh.  corner done

 The Mayflower II was currently docked.  I was going to back to take some pictures of it, when i noticed that Beast was taking a nap.

lazy bitch.
That's #4 on this trip.  3 times due to wind on the same side. heh.
The worse of it was that i had left my helmet on the right handle bar.  It was pinned under the bar /mirror between the ground.  I didn't notice any damage, but this hit and the fall it took in El Paso makes me think it'll be time to get a new helmet when i get back.  No other real damage i could see.  A bit of fuel leaked out, and my earphones were in a puddle. meh.

Still raining, I picked it back up and decided to just leave, forgetting about the Mayflower II.
The monument to the forefathers.  I found it odd that it was tucked in an out of the way place, surrounded by houses with  no major road to it.
It's massive.  I would have assumed there would have been more traffic, etc.  but alas, i was alone.

I felt like riding up right next to the statue, but thought it might be rude.

Plymouth rock is just south of  Boston, and north to Boston i went.  I followed the GPS mostly, but looking for a starbucks.  I needed coffee.  Even if there was no starbucks at the first 2 locations i looked at, i still had a riot driving around the city.I absolutely love the traffic here.  Not horrible drivers, and the pace isn't totally insane, but still quick.  The way the roads are designed are awesome.  out of a tunnel, into an overpass, through a park roundabout, then back around... 
if i had to get anywhere i would have hated it, but i was just riding around.  I almost lost the bike at one point though... I rounded a corner and the front wheel (and back) drifted a few inches.  then the front again over and over.  Wow.

Real men drift on 2 wheels. heh.

I thought i had a flat in the front the way it was reacting, as the back held it's ground.  So looking down i saw it was still looking ok.  When i put my foot down, i realized what the problem was.

Slime.Due to all the rain we've had, and that the road i was on was tree covered, over time algae must have formed n that side of the road..  No wonder the traffic was bad up ahead.  accident up ahead.  i guess i wasn't the only one with slime difficulties.

I got to some starbucks finally and had my coffee.
found this right outside:

How cool is that?

I left Boston before the rush hour would set it and with soggy feet (which were starting to get a bit cold) I went in search of food along the route out of boston.  Somehow the GPS took me off the main interstates and i wound up in Leominster, MA.
No clue how the gps figured that one out as it wasn't a pure interstate ride across. Still a nice ride though.

Leominster is the birthplace of johnny appleseed, so in his honor, i went to Friendly's!
ok, i couldn't find a regular diner anywhere, so this was the best i could come up with and it's a chain i hadn't gone to before.

I took the chicken melt thing. no clue what it was called, and everytime the waitress asked me for an upgrade i went for it. heh.

Chicken melt, with waffle (cross cut) fries, with the upgrades. heh.

Waffle fries were delicious, smothered in cheese and bacon, also came with ranch dressing and sour cream

Filled with cheese and bacon.  Delicious.  A bit too much Dijon for my tastes, but at least it had flavour and wasn't dull.

This came with a sundae. I took mint chocolate chip and asked what her favourite flavor was. Peanut butter swirl it was.

loved it.  I asked for gummi bears and it came with whipped cream and a cherry.  They don't use cool hwhip. heh

gummi bears!  went great with the chocolate chunks from the peanut butter swirl.
overall, i'd go back again... relatively pleased with that lunch

This was at 3:30 pm.  GPS said about 8 hours ride from home.  As it always takes longer, i figured i'd be home at about 1:30am. With the soaked feet, this was going to suck.

There's nothing more in the journal from that point on.  I didn't stop very often after that, and the ride was from nice, to horrific.  I don't think i had a chance to think about much during the ride.

Last picture on the camera.  I was surrounded by dark clouds and wondered if it would start pouring.The rain was ever present, but it wasn't horrible.  Light rains/ mist at most.

I stopped for coffee before dark and had to do something about the feet.

sitting there outside of Starbucks i took off my boots, and wrung out my socks.  It's pretty bad when it makes a splashing sound on the ground. The wool socks (althought wet) still kept my feet warmish.  If i would have changed socks, they would have become soaked in an instant, so why bother.  This was in Keene, VT as i was still on the back roads.

Here on out was interstate riding.

At one point before it got full dark, the scenery was surreal.
wisps of clouds in the mountains which you'd ride through and it felt like you punched through a wall.  clear as day on both sides of the small clouds but when you were in front, you couldn't see through well at all.  was neat.

It got dark fairly fast and thought next time i pull over i should clean my visor as everything was blurry.  Lifting up the visor i noticed everything seemed blurry.  FOG!.  it wasn't hard to see in most cases but there was a lot of construction on I-91 which i had to be cautious for.  Why?  All the signs that said "motorcycle danger" and "uneven lanes",  "loose gravel"... those are not good signs... You can't see the uneven lanes (where one lane is higher than the other" at night.same with gravel, etc.
come to think of it, you can't see much at 85mph in the dark with fog.

I did get into a groove and didn't have many problems to speak of.  A few uneven lanes made the bike flop around a few, but i just throttled out.

The interstates look straight on a map, but they aren't.  when you're going through the mountains, it's a real coaster ride.

At some point i hit another starbucks right before it closed, and then needed gas along the NY/VT/Canada border.  I needed a slight kick so i got a redbull.  Meh.  i don't get the crashes people say they have, and i don't think it does much in the way of affecting me.

The GPS wanted me to go all the way to cornwall to get back to Canada, and i saw a sign that said "Canada" 5 miles away.  Why go all over when i'm right at the border?

Going through the border was normal.  I start telling them the whole story and they wave me through. hah.
Good thing they didn't find the mexican in the trunk.

no troubles going through montreal, except there was a commotion on the highway i was on the onramp from.
police escort with a long line of rigs going fairly slow... 45 kph.

The truck sandwiched between the cop cars had a massive load.  The single beam it carried was enormous.  It must have been at least 10 feet tall, 10 feet wide and a foot and a half thick at least.  it was about 3 tractor trailer lengths.  When i could pass it, it took me a while. Enough time i could look at it. hah. neato

I finally had a regular tim horton's alongside the A-40 outside Montreal. Tasted like it should.

Since i didn't want to risk getting a speeding ticket, nor wiping out due to the heavy winds on the autoroute, i didn't go over 115kph all the way home.

It's odd that the majority of the winds stopped at the quebec/ontario border.

I made it home at 1:31am.  heh.  Off by one minute.
Time for vacation.  I still want to work out some details, like what i wanted to do vs what i did, bike issues and the stats... like costs, miles, best/worse foods..  and a map of where i went.

No regrets on taking this trip.  Not completely sure the journey is over... motorcycling is my therapy... i might need a bit more therapy. heh.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Oct 26th- big small things, hellish traffic and a taste of home

With laundry done, and no pressing schedule to keep, I slowly got out of bed, and started packing.  Who am i kidding.  I stayed up too late and was dead tired.

I started packing up the bike and looked to see what they had for breakfast at the hotel.  Not much at all.  A bowl of fruit loops and bad coffee it was.


I hit the road and took some coffee stops along the way.  I needed the caffeine today.  No real pictures of the Pennsylvania landscape.  rolling hills, trees changing color.  More of the same.  It was very windy, so i kept the camera in my pocket... until i spotted this place.
"be prepared to see more than you expect"  Now THAT IS BOASTING!

I wanted to see the miniature village.  Would i pay $7 to go see it? Hell yes i would.  I'm not a fan of miniature village, but things like this attract me in the same way most people like to go to a freak show at a circus.  Even if it's a let down, i just need to see it with my own eyes.

A panoramic of the whole thing.  It's freaking huge...also all carved out of wood by hand except for the cars and trains.

big waterfall in the background
they played a night scene set to music of the sun setting, then going to full dark

it went back to full light.. .was neat... well done.
Composite scene of the Endless Caverns

was still neat to go see.  someone took the time and effort and put this all together... i might as well take the time and effort to go see it.  Trains were moving around (not too many, not obnoxiously), some work vehicles were moving a bit... small little details, which didn't overpower the scenes, but still added a touch of life to it all.  Water flowed from the giant waterfall, there were streams, canals, etc.  Again, well done...

I took off looking for food.  There was a restaurant that boasted authentic dutch food.  If there's a place in the USA that would have it, it would be in this corner... this is amish country.

so i went here.
only to find out the kitchen is closed.

I went up the road to the blue mountain family restaurant instead.
I got this:
2 eggs, bacon, hash browns (thinly sliced potatoes, first on this trip to be seen) and i ordered a side of Scrapple.

What's scrapple you ask? It's that squarish thing on the plate by itself.

It's all the little bits of pig meat that's left on the bone after they slaughter one.  They take all the little bits and it looks like they make some sort of meatloaf with it.
How did it take? surprisingly bland. She gave me some syrup for the Scrapple.  Seems some eat it that way.
with the syrup, all you taste is syrup. meh.
it wasn't bad, but it wasn't impressive.

Back tire.  hope it lasts the last bit home.
front is good as new.  Sadly, this is due to all the weight on the back

More uneventful riding until a nasty smell hit me.
this is where the smell hit me.
New Jersey.

whatever you do... don't miss an exit or else you are screwed and it'll take you about 20 mins or 20 miles to get you back.  Brutal.  thankfully, the gps helped a) find a starbucks and b) route a way back to it when i blew the entrance to the place.  stupid one ways.

some bridge in the new york area... i dared not go to through the city itself... traffic around it was insane.  Sure way to not get killed is to just go faster than them.

3 toll booth later (one was $8!!) i was on my way out of the city... and into stop and go traffic.  It took about 2.5 hours to cover something that would have taken about 45 mins.  brutal.

After that run, i pulled over for fuel/coffee and noticed my back tire... after 10 mins it was still hot to the touch, and the rubber was all sticky.  nice compound, but it won't last long.  I could see a difference in wear from this morning to then.  brutal.  The front tire was cool to the touch. go figure.(this was in Connecticut )

It was starting to get dark... then got dark... and i decided to keep riding.  Then it was foggy.
Fog doesn't bother me much... normally.  the above is about as good as it got, and it got a hell of a lot worse... it was like driving through a cloud.  well, that is what fog is... isn't it?

I saw a sign for a super 8 and thought i should stay there... then i saw a sign that helped my train of thought.

My little taste of home.  It sucked.  They have an automatic machine that brews it by the cup.  This was at the gas station... if this is what home tastes like, home sucks.
it sucked. sucked ass hard.  I'd rather have been drinking regular gas station coffee.

Blah.  got a room at the super 8, and then went out looking for food.  oh... looks like it rained when i was inside.  I took off looking for food and noticed the bike handled totally different.
i was pretty much white knuckled it down the interstate and back. Seems that the added weight on the back stabilizes the bike.. i didn't have that nor the GPS...

After a useless ride around... even mcdicks and burger king only had their drive-thru open.  men.
I settles on some pringles and a sub from a gas station.
What do you expect from a town that has like 5000 people.

oh well, you can't eat like a king everyday.,

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Oct 25th - From Raining sideways to Amish country

My plan today was to go directly home.  I was a little downtrodden last night and said enough was enough.
I went to bed late, and didn't care for getting up early except to get to some emails and have their free breakfast.

I felt the whole building shake and there was some noise outside...
Looking outside, i could see only one thing.
It was raining sideways... debris was flying everywhere.  brutal.  The bike was still standing, so that's good.

I walked out the room and the owner of the motel was walking quickly past me saying "this is not good... this is not good"

I walked out to their breakfast... a couple of bagels, toast and cereal... they also had waffle mix.
meh.  i went for the corn flakes and a coffee.  no picture.

I spoke to the owners wife about the weather.  "So, does this happen often" i ask...
her reply "This NEVER happens"  WTF.  brutal.  There was debris in the parking lot, shingles were torn off the roof of the motel (just had it redone) and a sign was ripped off and broken.

I checked out the NOAA site and seems i was completely surrounded by crap.  flood advisories, tornado advisories and severe storm watches all around.  It put me in a down mood.
i decided to wait until the last possible second to get out of the room... after all,  i was in no rush.

There are no pics in the morning as i packed the camera to be ready for the storm.

got out of the room and packed up the bike... hunh.  no rain. no wind. odd.   getting lucky i guess.
I took off and i couldn't get the bike off the center stand... i was literally moving the bike around n the stand like a tripod.  The pavement as recently redone and it was like a skating rink with all the tar oils coming to the surface.

side note.  my toe hurts like hell.  The night before after filling up, i took the bike off the center stand, and the side stand landed on the joint of my big toe.  Nothing like a 600+lbs hammer to hit you there.  brutal.
This is the same toe/foot i hurt twice already... both times with the front of the bike slid out in soft deep sand (that i didn't see) and put my foot down. ah.  biggest problem.  It's my shifting foot and it's exactly where you put the shifter... swollen, but no change in color...bruised the bone maybe?

Off i went and found a Starbucks the next town over in Johnson city.  lots of hotties and it was a busy Starbucks.  must be a college town.  remember friends.  college towns have two things.  Starbucks, and hotties in them.

The weather was actually nice.  I had my jacket liner in, and just the suit.  i was comfortable.  onwards!
Oddly enough, the bike was running very well, except when i started it this morning and it backfired a lot.

Whenever the neutral light problem came up, the bike was running well.  who knows, maybe i had bad gas gumming up the carbs, something else... but it's running like a champ.  Yay Beast.

i'm not sure what all the speed limits were, but i tried to keep it between 78-85... and i still had some left to pass. heh.

I rode through Marion,VA and could not find a non-chain place to eat.  I had nothing for supper the night before except a pizzaroni at a gas station. was ... gross, but  it put my hunger at bay for a while and then cereal in the morning.  I was hungry and i wanted good food.

I kept riding, certain i would find something along the road.  I was not about to settle.
About 10 miles down the road or so, i found this place.

All i could see from the interstate was RESTAURANT
must be good then, right?

so... would you eat here?  folding chairs, things that don't match... etc.
i looked at the menu and laughed.  They had "hillbilly burgers".

They also have a lot of hikers that come to hike in the hills, and they have a monstrosity called the Hiker burger.  It's 1lbs of beef. seriously.  so took that and tater tots.  I had never seen battered cauliflower before, so i ordered that too.
That's Beaucoup beef!  me love you long time.
taters in the plate, cauliflower in the bowl.

that's a stack.
I spoke to the waitress and told her i never understood why people go to McDonald's when you have places like this.  hate chains.  The burger was good.  Real beef, hand pressed and fried on the griddle... best way to eat a burger.  the veggies on the burger were fresh too... not reconstituted onions!

now THAT's a burger.  freaking awesome.  I told the waitress what i thought about the food and chains... i think i put her in a good mood saying that i've been travelling all over, and i've been avoiding chains and looking for places like this.
Seriously, you're in the area and want good home cooked food. go there.
To note, the cauliflower was good... i liked it.. not even greasy... (also made by hand)
tater tots... they are always awesome...

total price of the meal? under $10.  seriously.
I wanted to tip and there was a tip jar "Cooks Tips" and asked if they shared.  She said to just put it in as it's her husband who's the cook.

my kind of place.  We need more like these across the states.  people need to stop being greedy and stop selling out to the major chains.

I took off and saw a horrific crash on the side of the road... the jaws were used to pull the roof off a car and there were a ton of emergency personnel there.  hope the person behind the wheel will be ok.

There was debris everywhere... trees knocked down, signs knocked over, crap all over the highway.  I seem to have let the storm pass before i left.  good timing for once?

I love this one

all sorts of awesome
it was really windy, but i took some shots.  not many turned out but it was to show the rolling hills.  Virginia has some nice rolling hills.
is nice

but what... what do we there over yonder!
looking nasty and heading across my path.
uh oh.
purdy colors tho
blurry but a huge storm system moving in.

So i figured all i could do was try and outrun it.  which i did for the most part of 2 hours... but i caught up to it.A few little drops of rain (not even enough to bead up on the visor) and that was it.

I didn't know if i should ride through the night or stop over soon.  I got a hotel coupon book (3 actually) and scanned them for a cheap option.  I found one for a town 10 miles up the road and headed there.

The place i got was cheap... but they had wifi.
$40, and i got a room with a king bed, a retro 80s lazy boy (in really good shape) two nice chairs and a table, Tv, Ac and Wifi.
No shampoo though. DAMMIT.  now i have to wash my hair with the bar of soap again.  pain in the ass.

Luckily for me they have a washer and dryer on the floor.  woot.  no soap. crap.  I did a load of laundry with no soap.  Meh, it'll smell a bit better anyhow, it's not like i sweat that much. heh. hot water alone can do wonders.

Hungry a little so i went off to denny's next door.  As a client of this hotel, i get a discount. heh.
I'm in the states, so what else should i get?

The All-American Slam!
it's breakfast... stop making a big deal out of the names. jesus.  I ate most of it.  was... meh.

the greybeard is grey

yes. not that thrilled with it,  but then again, you go to Denny's with high expectations, you go home disappointed.  i had no expectations... i was tired.

To recap, i left Tennessee at 11am... passed though Virginia, West Virgina and Maryland and now in Pennsylvania.  A little town called Chambersburg.  I did 416 miles... not that great... i should have been able to do more, considering i was averaging 80 the whole time.  Maybe Beast is ready for the stables.  Maybe i am.  One thing i know for sure.
It's not time for home just yet.

I'm shipping off to Boston in the morning.