Saturday, August 27, 2016

Six States, One Day

I decided sometime earlier this summer, probably around the time I moved, that I wanted to spend as much of the season on the road as possible. Toward that end, I moved my schedule around a bit to free up a week and took off to see my friend Frank and my favorite city, Nashville.

My original plan was to do the long day (1,033 miles) on Wednesday, but by Monday I was too tired to want to attempt it, so I told Frank I'd be there on Thursday. I was aiming to leave at 8am on Wednesday.

I got up at 5:30 to pack, install the new risers on the bike, and install the new speakers in my new helmet. I know you're not supposed to farkle the bike and test new gear on a long trip, but I hadn't left myself another option.

At 8:45, I realized that the bundle of tent consisted only of stakes, poles, and a fly, and was distinctly lacking in the presence of an actual tent. After turning my house upside-down, looking for it in every possible location, I texted Abel and asked if he had it. He found it in the garage.

I finished packing and rolled out at 10:30. Unfortunately I was headed north to get the tent, rather than south into adventure. I picked it up, fitted it onto my luggage, spent a few minutes learning how to operate the audio amplifier, and was finally on the highway at 11:20. Definitely not as planned, but I figured I could still get in enough miles to make Thursday fairly comfortable.

I headed down 91 for 15, missed my exit somehow, and hit traffic. A section of 95 was closed, with signs warning to seek an alternate route, and the traffic had backed up onto 91. I got off in New Haven, bought a battery to charge my electronics, realized it came without any charge at all, bought a USB AC hub, and stopped at Panera to eat lunch and use their power outlets. By this time I was started to get annoyed at my lack of progress. I know I'm capable of throwing down the miles, but I was doodling around and not doing it. I got back on 91 north and caught 15 to avoid the clusterfuck on 95.

There were a few slowdowns on 15, but nothing terrible. I took 287 through New York, waving at Jeff as we sailed by the exit where Bumblebee used to live. Well, perhaps "sailed" is an optimistic term; traffic was heavy and we weren't going with any great efficiency.

Route 287 led to 78 and then 81. I rode from Massachusetts to Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Virginia. In Strasbourg, I left the highway and found camp for the night at Elizabeth Furnace.

Signs in the campground warned of bears, so I took my bag of beef jerky, bag of oats, and an apple, put them in a plastic bag, and tied it up with paracord. Then I started throwing it into the trees.

It took me 7 or 8 throws and a broken apple to locate the bear bag in a spot that seemed okay. I closed the end of the paracord into one of the saddlebags to secure it and went to sleep.


  1. Wow, you do get around girl. Sorry about the headlight, the fairing is a pain to get off but it is doable. Where do you find the time to write so much, must be while you sleep. Skyline and BRP are awesome. Plan to try them in the coach.

    1. This trip I've had downtime in the mornings; the guy I'm staying with works nights and I get up early-ish and enjoy my coffee and blogging time.