Sunday, October 9, 2016

I Made a Mess in New Jersey

The next item on my agenda was to add an unnecessary 30 miles to our day by getting on the wrong highway. "I know the way from here, I don't need the GPS." Except that I've never actually gotten on 91 southbound from home before, and apparently the entrance is on a different street than 91 northbound, where I usually go. We made a giant triangle east, then north, then south, and basically started back at square 1 with fewer miles in the tank.

Determined not to screw it up again, I did so immediately by missing the first entrance to the Merritt Parkway. Fortunately there's another one a few miles on, so no more loops of stupidity (loopidity?) happened that morning. From 15 we hit 287, which I had predicted would be a parking lot, and I was right. We jumped in the breakdown lane and did a steady and thrilling 20 miles an hour until traffic cleared.

Hades and Bumblebee on the Merritt Parkway

In New Jersey, we stopped for gas. State law doesn't allow car drivers to fill their own vehicles, but the rule doesn't seem to apply to bikers, as no has challenged me on filling my own tank there. I swiped my card and was standing at the pump, waiting and rocking out to something in my helmet, when I felt liquid pouring on my foot. I looked down and was shocked to see gasoline fountaining vigorously from the tank, where the pump shutoff valve had clearly failed. I stepped back and jammed the nozzle back into the pump. Everything was dripping. I got the station's attendant.

"Do you have something to clean up a spill?" I asked. "Some cat litter, maybe?"

"No," he said with a smile, and I stared at him. Gas stations are required to keep cleanup supplies on hand. He stared back at me, still smiling oddly. After a moment I grabbed the windshield scrubber and started washing the gas off Bee. The attendant went back in his house, and Rogue and I shook our heads at each other and left. It took a good 30 miles for the stench of gas to stop flooding my face with every breath.

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