We decided to stay off the highway for the remainder of our journey home. A crash on business 11 stuck us in traffic for quite a few minutes, but when we finally found highway 11, it was clear and beautiful. The wind was whipping hard, though. After getting blown into the passing lane a couple of times, I started preemptively ducking down against my tank every time we approached a bridge.
After sixty miles I was chilly, and I imagined that Rogue, wearing less gear and thinner gloves, must be miserable. I parked at Apple Valley restaurant in Milford, Pennsylvania. I was looking forward to a mug of hot cider and some mac 'n' cheese, but first there was a biker store to visit.
The clown on a chopper got our attention first, followed by the adorably chunky dog of some other visitors to the shop. We got to talking to the lady rider who worked there, and she advised us to get back on 84 in spite of the brake problems to shorten our drive, avoid traffic lights, and stay near large towns in case we needed a hotel. Rogue bought a fuzzy purple Turtle Fur to improve her ride.
At Apple Valley, we were seated quickly and then ignored for so long that I nearly walked out. The interior decoration was cute and cozy, but the staff clearly couldn't keep up with the number of guests coming through the door, and the food was unnecessarily expensive. We shared a pot pie, which was tasty but not the most spectacular food I've ever had, and went on our way.
Interstate 84 brought us to the Taconic Parkway. I love the Taconic; it's hilly and interesting and surrounded by tight walls of forest. We had hit the high point of a particularly spectacular autumn, and the trees glowed gold, orange, and red. The sun edged lower in the sky as we wheeled our way north and was sinking below the trees when we hit 90. There we stopped for gas and hot coffee, and we snacked and drank by the cash register to avoid going back out in the cold.
A beautiful sunset with a flaming sky saw us through our last 80 miles. It was fully dark and we were thoroughly freezing when we hit 91. Rogue turned north with a wave, and I turned south, fantasizing about a cup of tea and a big pile of blankets in my own bed.