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  #21  
Old 05-22-2016, 09:43 PM
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Hey!

First off,



Sounds like a great trip- sure enjoyed reading the blog!
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  #22  
Old 05-23-2016, 04:27 AM
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You made it home?
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Quote:
Originally Posted by john112deere
I think the lens of time is required to differentiate between the real milestones, and the detours along the way.
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Strippers, ammo and SKS, wow, that is almost sig worthy!!
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  #23  
Old 05-23-2016, 04:30 AM
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Yeah- I was home before I started the thread.
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  #24  
Old 05-23-2016, 06:27 AM
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It was a cool read.....sounds like a fun trip.
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Or, as the great Greek philosopher Testiclees once said: "Man who goes through turnstyle in airport is going to Bangkok."
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  #25  
Old 05-23-2016, 06:22 PM
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Day 7 - Elizabethtown, KY to Williamsport, PA - 668 miles



Today's soundtrack:


...[T]he lifespan of journeys...[s ]eems to be variable and unpredictable. Who has not known a journey to be over and dead before the traveler returns?
John Steinbeck, Travels with Charley

And so it was with this one. It ended at Mammoth Cave. I'd hit the main points I set out to, and had enough adventure to remember for some time to come. I'd bypassed a few places I hoped to get to, but they were too far in the rear view to hit even if I wanted to. I was tired and wanted to go home.

I've spent enough time on the road to know I could've pushed through this- I had four days left, and could've amused myself sightseeing and touring to fill them. But I also knew this trip was winding down of necessity, and it had run out of momentum- the battery issues had sapped my enthusiasm to continue, and I didn't want to spend another expensive night in a crummy motel.

I also knew that I was a thousand miles from home, and for me on this bike, that was too far to go in one day. In the pickup, I would have, and on the bike I think I could have if I had to- but I wasn't going to try.

A little time with the map suggested Cumberland MD, was about halfway. The weather was beautiful, and the next day forecast to me more of the same.



As I rode, I started hatching a plan...if I could make it a bit past Cumberland, maybe State College, I could take the long way around Albany - into the Adirondacks - and avoid that mess...and maybe even be home in time to catch the early Friday band at Sweet Melissa's- my favorite bar in Montpelier.

I just blasted up the highway- I was dimly aware of how beautiful West Virginia is...and I recalled the last time I drove up I-79 north. It was another late night, after a couple distillery tours...and I misjudged how far I'd have to drive past Charleston before I found another room. I was exhausted, it was 34* and raining- and every bridge I worried would be the one that was iced. I've done more than my share of long and late drives, but I can't recall ever wanting to stop as much as that night.

The charge light didn't do anything weird, and I was starting to think I was OK with bike electrics. Not happy- I want to be able to trust this bike and now I don't, quite- but I was thinking I'd make it home.

By Cumberland I knew I was going to at least as far as State College, and I had enough gas to get there (but no further), so I rode right through. At State College, I found gas and looked at the map. Williamsport it would be- I knew I could find the Econolodge again, and it wasn't such a bad place to stay.

Not long after I got onto I-80, I hit the second major traffic slow-down of the trip. Miles of bumping the clutch in first gear...I didn't quite make it without having to put a foot down, but I came pretty close. Tiresome, but at least it distracted me from the fact that too many hours in a helmet were starting to make my scalp itch. Seriously annoying when you can't scratch for hours on end.



668 miles isn't all that impressive, but I believe it's a personal record on two wheels. (On four, I've done 1200 in 24 hrs.)

I made the Econolodge about sunset...but better informed than the last time. I remembered that in PA, you can only buy small quantities of beer at bars- and I'd seen a bar across the road as I left the last time. So I walked over, and saw they had a "six-pack store" on the side. The "store" was linked to the main bar, and this place felt straight out of a movie from the 1980s. Cinder-block walls, bright lights, pool tables and a jukebox. In the movie, somebody would get hit with a pool cue in the first five minutes of the scene. I was tempted to stay and soak up the local color...but I was hungry and tired. The selection was slim, and slimmer for singles. But this was cheaper than the two 12-oz bottles that would have been all I wanted:



I didn't finish it.

(Yeah, yeah, I should've had a Yuengling- but even very reasonable quantities of that beer give me wicked headaches the next morning, so I chose to pass it by.)

This room was close to the street, and noisier than the one I'd been in before. So, for the only night of the trip, I turned on the TV as I fell asleep. I'm not a TV watcher, but it beat listening to the traffic.
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Last edited by john112deere; 05-23-2016 at 06:26 PM.
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  #26  
Old 05-23-2016, 07:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mrxlh View Post
You were literally 20 minutes from my house, on day 4, oh well.
Dang...wish I'd been able to plan that a little better.
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  #27  
Old 05-23-2016, 08:25 PM
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Sounds like this leg of the journey was better with the bike behaving.
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  #28  
Old 05-26-2016, 08:24 PM
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Day 8 - Williamsport, PA to Vermont - 448 miles



Today's soundtrack:


Breakfast, throw the stuff back on the bike and off I went...the battery seemed to be behaving itself, and by now I was pretty sure I'd make it home. I'd seen an air machine at the gas station next door the night before, and knew I could use a couple pounds in the rear tire- better yet, it was free. Some dumb "automatic" thing- key in the pressure you want and hold it 'til it beeps. OK- 36 psi, and a brief pump then beeping on the front. The rear...pumped a long time, flashed 28, then said "error". Tried again, same thing. And again...now it said 27. Cleary, I'm a little slow first thing in the morning, but by this point I realized I should stop while I still had enough air to ride at all. And went off to find another gas station, where it cost me a dollar but did bring my tire up to the desired pressure according to my gauge.

Winding north through PA, I was thinking of a friend who used to live and in the area- I couldn't remember exactly which town he'd lived in, but I was close enough that some town-names were one's he's mentioned before. He's a little younger than me, and has recently gotten married and now has a kid on the way. This is the odd part of the age I'm at...watching people my age turn into grownups. I guess I am too...but not as fast as some. I mean, heck- I won't even get a dog because I want the freedom to take off on a weeklong bike trip, he's younger than me and having a child. What's the Greg Brown line? My friends are getting older/So I guess I must be too

Anyway, the weather was perfect and I cruised along through Pennsylvania and into New York. I-88 is boring and flat, but not a bad ride on a nice day. I cut up towards the Adirondacks, and along the edge of the mountains. I almost inevitably get lost in this part of the state- some combination of New York's goofy nomenclature (how many Routes 9 can you have? Are you aware some states use different numbers for different roads?) and sometimes-light signage, coupled with my usually lousy maps of the area and pigheaded refusal to actually study them carefully...usually ends with a few extra miles to get to whatever bridge or ferry I'm aimed at. But not this time- I'd take good notes on my turnings, and found them all without trouble.

The weather was perfect- maybe the nicest of the trip:


Back in Vermont, I headed for the Appalachian Gap- it's a motorcycle destination road for many; for me it's generally just the shortest way between home and someplace south and west. To be honest, I don't even really enjoy it that much on the bike- too steep and slow for me, especially laden down as I was. But it was the shortest and quickest way home, so I took it.

I'd spent a lot of hours in the saddle over the previous week, and although I can't say I was entirely comfortable for all of them, in all cases my discomfort had a specific cause and location that I understood. But now this - this destination road that's conveniently right in my backyard - threatened to break me. I know the road, but kept forgetting or misjudging the curves. Every bump, even the small ones hurt. Not a localized pain, it just hurt everywhere.

It was now occurring to me that although I was almost home, I wasn't actually home yet. Wrecking 30 miles from home after a 3800 mile week would be a foolish thing to do. So I tried, and mostly succeeded, to avoid thinking I was "home" and focus on riding- the road, the bike the traffic.

I made it home around 5:30, unpacked a bit, changed my clothes and headed right back out the door.



3826 miles in 8 days...I walked once, but I never had to push it, tow it or do any complicated roadside repairs. I'm thinking the battery issues were on me- first for setting off on such a trip with an old battery and then, more crucially, for not charging or testing the new one I bought in Harrison. Yeah, it should've worked...but I also should've verified it. Not bad for a 30 year old bike with well over 100k on the clock.



My usual Friday routine is the Honky Tonk Happy Hour at Sweet Melissa's in Montpelier...and as it offered all the things I really wanted (cold beer, good food, live music) I figured to get while the getting was good- I wasn't sure how early or how hard I was going to crash, but I was pretty sure it was going to be an early night.



The band varies week-to-week, but Mark's always there, and always good.
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1997 Ranger XLT 4x2, 2.3L 4-cyl 5-speed -- 2009 Ranger XLT 4x4, 4.0L V-6 5-speed -- 1986 BMW R80

The advantages of modern engineering are in many ways over balanced by the disadvantages of modern civilization.
--Col. W.A. Roebling
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  #29  
Old 05-26-2016, 09:32 PM
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Thanks for taking the time to post all that... I've enjoyed reading it! Looks like an interesting trip
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  #30  
Old 05-26-2016, 09:41 PM
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^^^
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Quote:
Originally Posted by john112deere
I think the lens of time is required to differentiate between the real milestones, and the detours along the way.
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Originally Posted by mrxlh View Post
Strippers, ammo and SKS, wow, that is almost sig worthy!!
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